Hosting your wedding in front of an enchanting farm or inside of a reclaimed barn is a charming way to include rustic elements into your big day. Whether you want to play up your surroundings or craft a day-of vibe that includes only hints of farm life, it’s important to keep in mind a refined aesthetic—so things don't go over-the-top crafty!
To keep the sophistication of your day top priority, while still adding in rural decor, we asked the wedding industry’s elite in planning and design to help provide some tips—like turning seed packets into chic escort cards—for creating an event that’s doesn’t lack style. Using drapery to embellish the interior beams of your barn ceremony site, playing up the colors of the season (whether the moody hues of fall or the pastel tones of spring), and incorporating garden florals into your table display as farm-to-table arrangements, are just a few ideas to consider when hosting a farm wedding of your own.
Reinvent everyday items
A unique twist on a wedding staple, Becca Atchison, founding partner and creative director of Rebecca Rose Events, incorporated farm elements into the day of design by turning seed packets into striking escort cards. “Fresh foliage and flowers are often found in abundance on farms, and it makes all the sense in the world to incorporate and celebrate them in the overall wedding design,” Atchison says.
Bring your reception outside
With most barns accustomed to dimly lit interiors, Lauren Emerson, owner of Lauren Emerson Events & Design, suggests setting up an event space outside for part of your evening. “Allowing your guests to eat and dance al fresco will immediately elevate your guest experience,” she says.
Include farm-to-table florals
Along with your flower of choice, Jill Remy, owner of Jill & Co. Events, suggests taking your centerpieces one step further by incorporating farm-to-table organic elements. “Set bowls of figs and plums on the tables and use unexpected fruits and vegetables such as pomegranates and artichokes in your centerpieces,” Remy suggests.
Consider a minimalist menu
Amy Mendes, event manager at Mezze Catering, recommends honoring classic farm design elements like vintage glassware, raw wood, and garden florals while considering a minimalist approach to your cuisine. “The ‘less is more’ attitude will make your design choices really pop and bring home the feeling of a farm wedding with a modern twist,” adds Mendes.
Reinvent antique items
“Source vintage mirrors and perfume trays to create elegant signage with custom calligraphy,” suggests Kate Whelan, owner and lead consultant at Kate Whelan Events. Add a metallic element to welcome signs and menu displays while still incorporating a personal feel.
“Make sure to use and enhance the existing architecture of the barn where the wedding will take place,” recommends Lauren Chitwood, owner of Lauren Chitwood Events. To create a balance between rustic and elegant, Chitwood suggests adorning your venue with swaths of gauzy drape and other luxurious fabrics.
Don’t forget to look up
Melissa Porter, managing partner and wedding planner of Asheville Event Co., believes lighting can elevate any farm site. “Chandeliers and uplighting can transform the most rustic space into an elegant reception venue,” Porter says. Adding greenery to your lighting of choice can add even more romanticism to your design.
Use seasonal elements
“Rich, moody tones are of endless inspiration,” says Gina Jokilehto-Schigel, owner and creative director of Shi Shi Events. “For an autumnal event, mix shades of fig, marsala, and plum with classic wedding neutrals to give a nod to both the drama of fall and the timeless wedding design,” she says.
Don’t forget your entrance
The entrance of your barn, or venue, is a great place to incorporate your wedding style. “Tall flower arrangements and beautiful draping make this barn entrance stand out,” says Lindsey Nickel, owner of Lovely Day Events, when describing the rustic and elegant display outside of this ranch-style location.
Incorporate traditional farm elements
Harvest favorites, wooden boxes, and assorted greenery can add an element of whimsy and authenticity to your farm’s overall design. Kristin Doggett, co-founder and creative director of Bellafare, adorned this fall wedding with a corner of garden favorites like apples, lush plants, and details of rustic decor.
"We are always looking for a way to elevate that simple mocktail,” says Bill Coyne, director of business development at Cloud Catering & Events. An alternative to the traditional cocktail, opting for mocktails is a refreshing way to serve non-alcoholic drinks during your event. “It's really simple to infuse a simple syrup with fresh thyme or rosemary; and then garnish with a fresh sprig,” adds Coyne.
Plan around golden hour
Make the most of your gorgeous setting with an outdoor cocktail hour as the sun sets. Brianna Sumey, sales director at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards says, “At golden hour, the elegant set-up will add a touch of sophistication to your barn wedding.”
Integrate custom signage
Add touches of modernism into your design with custom signage. Jennifer Haf, owner and designer of Bloom Floral Design, added greenery and blush blooms to a contemporary welcome sign for these barn nuptials.
Incorporate seasonal cuisine
“I am continuously inspired by the great work of our farmers and build our menus around what they have at peak season,” says John Karangis, executive chef of Union Square Events. Considering this, as well as the couple’s food likes and dislikes, often dictates the final menu.