How to create a rustic wedding and not cringe!

Rustic weddings have become a huge trend which doesn’t seem to be fading. Defined as “having a simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside” the word usually brings to mind a bad mix of lace, hessian and babies breath. Most floral designers I know steer clear of the word. Being a florist based in the Hunter Valley with some of the most beautiful country style venues I hear the word a lot and these are my top tips for creating that rustic style that doesn’t make you cringe!


  1. Whatever you do don’t type “Rustic wedding” into Pinterest - this should be against the law! (Extra jail time for “DIY Rustic wedding”)

Golden fields of grasses are a common site in the Hunter Valley

Golden fields of grasses are a common site in the Hunter Valley

2. Consider your venue! Usually it is the location that makes brides think they should go rustic with their theme. Some of my favourite venues to work at have beautiful raw timber, rusted corrugated iron, and paddocks of grasses so I can completely understand why you would feel that the only thing that would suit would be more of the same. This is where I would recommend to hold back! If a venue has raw timber beams with timber tables and trees all around, it already evokes a country, natural vibe and therefore any more can be overkill. Let the building speak for itself and invest in beautiful natural elements that will stand out from all the brown.

If you’re in the country side you can bet that your photos will already have a country feel going on!

If you’re in the country side you can bet that your photos will already have a country feel going on!

3. DIY - generally I’m not for it. You should not be giving yourself extra work to do! But if you want to do it, keep it simple and definitely speak to your floral designer or stylist first! They may be able to save you a lot of time and effort. Trust me - hot glueing lace on to a million jars may seem like a good idea but after all that time, effort and money, they often don’t even look that great, then after the wedding, you are stuck with a million jars!

Most florists/stylists will have their own vases or can point you in the direction to hire - this saves a money/time/stress and they will be able to guide you towards what is going to work best with your florals!

Most florists/stylists will have their own vases or can point you in the direction to hire - this saves a money/time/stress and they will be able to guide you towards what is going to work best with your florals!

Aged vessels and rambling arrangements can create a beautiful garden vibe

Aged vessels and rambling arrangements can create a beautiful garden vibe

4. Babies breath - One of the most controversial flowers ever! I don’t really understand why they are included in rustic weddings as I honestly have never seen it growing in the country side! Plus, let’s please put to rest the belief that it is cheap - this is highly untrue!! Babies breath definitely has it’s place as an awesome flower, using it en masse can create dreamy clouds which I LOVE!
I don’t love mixing it with other cottage garden florals taking me back to the 80’s.. I usually recommend some other stunning delicate white flowers that are a great substitute such as - Geraldton Wax, Thryp, Misty, Micromerdis and Tea tree. Most of these are natives and can easily be bought from local growers which are another bonus!

There are a million other dainty white flowers which have the bonus of being seasonal, local, natural and unique without breaking the budget.

There are a million other dainty white flowers which have the bonus of being seasonal, local, natural and unique without breaking the budget.

5. Hessian! I don’t hate it but I do think it overwhelms in a venue which is already so rustic. If you are liking it for it’s natural texture and style consider a crumpled linen or muslin - This will still give you the vibe but you can also dye it in any colour you like, meaning less brown on brown!

Crinkled natural fabrics such as linen, muslin, chiffon and silk can create that relaxed organic style whilst lightening up a timber table.

Crinkled natural fabrics such as linen, muslin, chiffon and silk can create that relaxed organic style whilst lightening up a timber table.

6. Lace - Again, lace is stunning! I think it has a similar rule to babies breath - either make a feature out of it or pull back. Maybe even use it somewhere other than styling - like having lace in your wedding dress. Lots of little bits of lace everywhere can create a Grandma’s cottage look - totally unsexy on your wedding day..

Lace incorporated perfectly in this relaxed wedding infused with natives and fun!

Lace incorporated perfectly in this relaxed wedding infused with natives and fun!

7. Natives! Yes and yes! My main advice with natives is don’t feel you need to use ONLY natives, they can mix beautifully with roses, dahlias, almost any other flower. ALSO, try to have a colour palette. Mixed coloured natives can start to look a little too much like a Woolies bunch. I like to do a more monochromatic palette - such as blush pink/red/burgundy, or white/grey/green or burnt orange/red/brown. There are a million native flowers out there that you won’t even realise exist so seek out the sweet delicate varieties that pair beautifully with the stronger banksia and proteas we all know and love.

Grasses, natives and unique foliage colourings in this organic and natural bouq!

Grasses, natives and unique foliage colourings in this organic and natural bouq!

8. Sunflowers - I think everyone loves em! They are such a stunning flower and steal the show which can sometimes make it a bit tricky to use in flower arrangements. My tips with sunflowers is to blend in with a colour palette so they don’t contrast too strongly. Try using lots of different shades of yellows and oranges and consider using foliage that isn’t too green, such as browns, greys, burgundies or even dried foliages and grasses. My biggest tip is to use Chocolate Sunflowers - these babies are such an incredible colour and look stunning combined with other flowers!

Choccie sunflowers incorporated in this beautiful autumn wedding backdrop

Choccie sunflowers incorporated in this beautiful autumn wedding backdrop

So, these are the main things I think about with rustic themed weddings - but my biggest pieces of advice would be to choose a VIBE not a THEME! Themes can date very quickly. If you are leaning towards rustic, think about what you are actually liking about it. Is it the raw, natural look - in this case, opt for organic flower arrangements and natural fabrics in your styling. Is it a relaxed feel? Consider an acoustic band and a grazing table to create that vibe. Do you just love sunflowers? Get married in Autumn! Obsessed with cows? You do you, girl! Think about what you are actually trying to evoke and focus on that!

Ashlee Wheelhouse