How to Plan a Countryside Wedding

Ethereal, charming, and all-around enchanting

Updated 06/30/18

Photo by Alex Bramall

A spotlight for all things natural and ethereal, weddings showcased in the heart of the countryside emphasize a couple’s love for nature and simplicity. With design styles ranging anywhere from romantic to rustic, casual elegance is the cornerstone of a countryside wedding.

Countryside weddings are known for being lovely and idyllic, full of comfort and warmth, but can be tricky to plan. We recommend keeping it simple: choose loose and asymmetrical floral arrangements, a mixture of vintage and classic decor, a few nods to tradition, and cozy furniture setups. Don't forget to incorporate sweet sentiments from your relationship make for an event brimming with charm.

Private chateaus, cherished manors, and intimate villas often make for exclusive hideaways for hosting a countryside ceremony or reception, and are begging to be decorated with garden floral bouquets, serene tablescapes, and traces of antiques. While blending elegance with personalization, here are 15 tips for planning your countryside wedding from some of the industry’s top wedding planners!

01 of 15

Select a captivating venue

<p>A couple walks through lush gardens.</p>

Christian Oth Studios

Whether you host your countryside nuptials inside or outside, the character of your venue and overall location speak to the vision of your theme. Calder Clark, owner and creative director of Calder Clark, suggests choosing a venue with surroundings that are as equally captivating and picturesque. “There’s just something momentous about the lush grounds of a centuries-old manor that makes for the quintessential venue,” she says.

02 of 15

Plan with a seasonal focus

<p>Weathered trees amongst a lush landscape.</p>

Allen Tsai

Callista Osborn, owner of Callista & Company, recommends choosing your wedding date according to the varying seasonal changes that will take place throughout the landscape of your venue. “Visit your venue, or reference photos at different times of the year, in order to grasp the variation in foliage, grasses, and flowers throughout the seasons,” she says.

03 of 15

Showcase the property

<p>A wedding ceremony held outside of a chateau.</p>

Perry Vaile Photography

Often set within the heart of a lush landscape, chateaus provide a unique retreat to countryside I dos. Hosting your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception within different locations throughout the property will help guests experience the vast and elaborate appeal of your chateau. Melissa Porter, managing partner and wedding planner at Asheville Event Co., agrees, adding, “This will showcase the property and provide different backdrops for each event.”

04 of 15

Integrate hints of greenery

<p>A bride holding a green and white bouquet.</p>

This Modern Romance

“Incorporating greenery throughout your wedding will create an estate-like feel no matter your surroundings,” says Jennifer Zukovsky, co-owner of Fionna Floral, emphasizing the addition of foliage in all elements of decor. Using your bouquet as a source of fresh florals and an assortment of green plants will add cohesiveness to your day-of look and lush location.

05 of 15

Embrace picturesque backdrops

<p>A bridal party on the bridge of a lake.</p>

The Day by Joanna Toto

Joanna Toto, photographer at The Day, captured the beauty of the lake in the context of these bridal party photos. The country setting made for images that were both timeless and elegant.

06 of 15

Be mindful of extravagance

<p>A minimal tablescape with assorted floral arrangements.</p>

Jen Huang

Crafting tablescapes full of assorted arrangements can easily turn into an eclectic display of colors and textures. To ensure a layout that evokes refinement and timeless style, Anna Le Pley Taylor, owner of Anna Le Pley Taylor, suggests crafting a tabletop with centerpieces that embrace minimalism. “Low arrangements of cream and blush-colored blooms complemented a display of similar tones and simple decor,” she says.

07 of 15

Keep it intimate

<p>An intimate ceremony with sparse furniture.</p>

Jose Villa

Keeping your guest list small encourages the ethereal feel of countryside nuptials. For this outdoor service, a setup of select wooden chairs and benches acted as the layout for an intimate ceremony. Sonia Hopkins, owner and principal event designer at XOXO Bride Events, says, “Crafting an intimate space amongst the vastness of your landscape is enchanting and strikingly charming.”

08 of 15

Construct an enchanting altar

<p>A floral altar framing a newly-married couple.</p>

Jen Fariello

Adam Donovan-Groves, owner of Donovan-Groves Events, promotes the use of spring flowers in elaborate ceremony altars. “We love using local blossoms in a thoughtful way to help embrace the location and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape,” he says.

09 of 15

Elevate lounge areas

<p>Lounge area amongst trees and foliage.</p>

Sylvie Gil

“Custom lounge furniture and striking florals can make for a hidden oasis to your bucolic wedding,” says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events. With a setting already bursting with scenic charm, keep decor minimal and organize florals to match the color scheme of the surrounding foliage.

10 of 15

Draw inspiration from your surroundings

<p>Gray farm table with floral arrangement.</p>

Michelle Beller Photography

When creating an idyllic tablescape, Lisa Gorjestani, owner of Details Event Planning, recommends capturing the essence of your location while being cautious not to over decorate your space. “We used the deep forest greens from the property’s abundance of greenery, as well as weathered grey walls as the inspiration for our display,” says Lisa. “We built on that with soft grey linens, white and green florals—with a hint of blush—and candles running the length of long farmhouse tables.”

11 of 15

Embellish natural environmental features

<p>A draped fabric altar on a tree.</p>

Michelle Beller Photography

For this outdoor ceremony, Claudia Hoste, owner of Hoste Events, worked with her bride to create an innovative altar that was inspired by the raw and organic beauty of the al fresco space. The draping of the fabric over one of the property’s towering trees served as a focal point for the ceremony and tied-in with the other natural elements of the couple’s elegant countryside affair.

12 of 15

Incorporate farm-to-table florals

Courtesy of Cibi Events

Enhancing your tablescape display with florals that come straight from the garden is a simple way to add charm and originality to your event’s decor. “Farm-to-table florals are great for creating a refined layout with plenty of understated elegance,” says Christina Baxter, owner of Cibi Events.

13 of 15

Maintain a neutral color palette

A wooden reception table.

Jose Villa

Making sure not to compete with the nearby greenery and budding florals of your surroundings, Rosemary Hattenbach, owner of Rosemary Events, suggests sticking to a color palette of taupe, cream, and other woodland-inspired tones to complement the thriving landscape.

14 of 15

Highlight clear-top tents

<p>A clear-top tent outside of a venue.</p>

Taylor Rae Photography

“Clear-top tents add a range of benefits to an outdoor space,” says Lauren Fox, owner of Fox Events, adding, “The translucent fabric allows for natural light to shine through as well as provide unfiltered views of your surroundings.” Add sparkle by hanging strands of twinkle lights once the sun sets to give guests a chance to embrace the beauty of their surroundings during both day and night.

15 of 15

Craft a fresh and seasonal menu

<p>A couple eating entrees with a dinner menu.</p>

Manchik Photography

Lisa Dupar, owner of Lisa Dupar Catering, advises couples to take the caterer's advice on the type of cuisine that will work the best in your country setting. “A menu of fresh summer salads with slow-cooked wild salmon fillets served al fresco will not only present elegantly, but they will be logistically safe to execute," she says.

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