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stylesheet. ranching out.

12th May 2015 | Julia Braime

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image source, photography by Q Avenue Photo

Every now and then we like to take a little bit of inspiration from our good friends across the pond in America. This is most certainly the case when it comes to weddings as those US couples sure know how to throw a stylish celebration of love.

One look that American brides and grooms have got down to a tee is rustic style ceremonies with simple, laid back detailing and swoon-worthy attire. And now UK couples are starting to dabble in the fetching theme too, particularly those fond of the outdoors that crave an alternative to cutesy fete style weddings.

Now we may not have the rugged backdrop of Texas, Colorado or California to set such weddings against but the look can be replicated in our open fields, enchanting woodlands or within simple barns and tepees. And you don’t have to play out the theme in full – instead you can take just bits of inspiration here and there to give your big day a relaxed ranch type feel.

So here we roundup three varying rustic looks to help create one heck of a wedding hoedown…

pretty prairie


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Rylee Hitchner| image source, photography by Braedon Photography| image source, photography by Laura Murray Photography| image source| image source, photography by Love, The Nelsons| image source, photography by Laura Murray Photography| image source, photography by Tess Pace Photography| image source, photography by Kristine Paulsen Photography| image source, photography by Ryan Ray Photo| image source, photography by Janelle Stephanie

Barn weddings lend themselves well to this clean and natural look that is prettied up with playful blush tones in attire, accessories and décor.

The key is not to cover up but to complement the barn’s simple shell with wooden chairs and tables, textured materials such as hessian and big blousy blooms like peonies and roses. Flowers are in fact the most effective method of décor to create the right feel and can be used in flowing hanging arrangements, sprawling centre pieces and to adorn cakes and displays. Cool festoon lighting strung along beams should help to complete the desired look.

Elsewhere brides should look to loose, just-picked style arrangements for the bouquet and can also incorporate flowers into their hair to add to the prettiness.

Simple cakes finished with rough butter icing and homemade style sweet treats such as cupcakes, sponges and fruit tarts suit the theme and can make a gorgeous focal point at the reception.

When it comes to ladies’ attire there are two main choices; blush hues to match the décor or simple white, ivory or cream tones for a more natural look. Men meanwhile can bring a little check into play as a nod to the ranch theming.

rustic romance


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Jeff Hall| image source| image source , photography by Adam Lowe Photography| image source, photography by Hugh Forte| image source| image source| image source, photography by Steven Barber| image source, photography by Q Avenue Photo| image source , photography by Verdi| image source

This look is particularly well suited to cool couples that want an outdoor wedding but without a strict colour palette.

It’s a fairly stripped back look with just hints of detail here and there, leaving the rustic setting to do the majority of the talking. Where ceremonies take place indoors stick to neutral colour décor in delicate flower petals, tulle type fabrics, clear candle holders and twinkling fairy lights as not to overpower or distract.

Then for the outdoor reception use what’s readily available to add pockets of interest, such as rusty wheelbarrows, hay bales, wooden barrels and worn furniture. Pops of colour can be added in flowers though keep things looking fresh and free rather than preened and polished.

To keep the relaxed vibe consistent through the day it’s a good idea to have an informal meal, whether this be a rustic style sharing platters of fresh salads, meats and crusty bread, or on-trend finger food like pulled pork sandwiches served in brown paper bags. Other tasty treats could include the bride and groom’s favourite cocktails served in jam jars and a cake made up of rounds of cheese which guests can snack on at the reception with crackers, grapes and chutneys.

When dressing the bridal party mismatched attire can work well for the bridesmaids adding to the laidback feel while brides and grooms can add interest with textured materials such as lace and tweed.

cowboys & indians


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Photographs by Anjuli| image source| image source photography by Beck Rocchi | image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Kelly Boitano| image source| image source, photograpy by Adam Barnes

While most couples wouldn’t want to take this theme too far, a little cowboy and Indian inspiration within a rustic wedding can be classy rather than cringey.

Delicate feathers, like those used in Indian style headdresses, can create an aire of romance when incorporated into wedding styling elements such as table decorations, the bride’s bouquet and hair accessories. Pretty dreamcatchers can also help set the scene whether hung from beams, trees or barn doors.

In terms of colour palettes earthy tones of greens, browns and yellows mixed with richer hues of either blue, pink or purple work well.

To show their wild side brides might like to throw on a pair of cowboy boots or ask their maids to don a pair for the big day. This can not only look incredibly cool but is also a very practical choice for outdoor weddings as it avoids ladies experiencing an awkward stiletto sinking moment.

Though I prefer a suited a booted groom myself, men following this theme have the option of adopting a more laidback look by teaming a shirt and waistcoat with a pair of denim jeans, a big-buckled belt and boots, James Dean style. Yee-ha!

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