11 top tips to help you create a deliciously rustic, natural DIY theme for your outdoor wedding

Outdoor weddings are a really exciting opportunity for UK brides and grooms in 2014. More and more venues are offering outdoor spaces where you can have your civil ceremony, and rustic styling with influences from nature can be as gorgeous as it is a dream to create!

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But faced with a lawn, a gazebo or an ornate bandstand for your wedding ceremony, how do you begin to decorate your space? Many couples want to personalise their ceremony backdrop and make it theirs, and I think that’s a wonderful idea. Carrying on the theme to wedding tables for the reception will help coordinate your day – and it’s ever so easy to DIY with a little help from the experts!
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I was delighted to be involved in this rustic and natural DIY inspiration shoot with lovely Surrey wedding photographer Karen Flower. Karen told me how much she’d enjoyed styling the shoot, and said “We did all the styling ourselves and used my own linen and bought containers from Ikea” – and isn’t it amazing what you can achieve?!

The key to creating such a gorgeous rustic DIY wedding style is to mix tones and textures. Rather than focusing on a single colour, which can be so restrictive, imagine a painter’s palette and choose a range of natural tones to work with. Then look for flowers and foliage, papers and fabrics, and be creative using them!

1. Create your own rustic DIY wedding tablescape

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When designing this shoot, Karen used her own table linen to give a clean, bright white background. Adding the rustic elements on top of this just adds to their character. The natural elements – leaves and floral arrangements – stand out against the bright white cloth. To create this look for your own wedding, add mismatched crockery and find quirky containers – Karen’s came from Ikea! The apple place settings, spiky seedhead and fabulous floral arrangements by Parsley and Rose all work together to create a gorgeous tablescape for an outdoor wedding.

2. Choose a bouquet which fits the rustic outdoor theme

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Plenty of foliage and lots of different textures can really make a bouquet stand out. Whatever your colours may be, eclectic is the name of the game when it comes to rustic bouquets. Be playful, include grasses and leaves, and choose flowers from a local grower wherever you can! The bouquet for our rustic outdoor wedding shoot was created by the fabulous Parsley and Rose

3. Your bridal look can be natural and ethereal but still glamorous

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Eliza Jane Howell’s beautiful dress designs are truly exquisite and perfect for a rustic, natural styled wedding. Many of the dresses by Eliza Jane Howell have stunning beadwork and this dress, called ‘Joan’, has such a delicate and ethereal style with its sleeved cape and gorgeous beading around the edges and also framing the neckline. Flo and Percy’s ‘Spirit of Summer’ headpiece looks gorgeous with Michaela’s dark wavy hair and complements the beading on the wedding dress.

4. Place settings are where your guests get a close-up so make them extra special!

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Choose a rustic style and torn edges for place name cards, and tie them to flower stems, sprigs of herbs or apples. I’ve even seen place names pinned to lemons and limes – this looks amazing and keeps a natural style for your day. By me – website link is

5. Be creative with stationery

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Whether you DIY or hire a stationer to make your on the day bits and pieces, don’t let yourself be limited to boring, bland printed stationery. Add raffia or natural twine, bits of hessian or lace, and consider handwritten calligraphy and torn edges for that ‘handcrafted’ look.

6. Add a decorative table runner in natural colours… and play with it too!

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Table runners can add colour or texture, and there are so many ways to use them on your day. With white table linen add a kraft paper or hessian fabric table runner. If you’re having rustic tables without the white covers then consider a white or colourful table runner down the middle of tables… trust me, the effect will be gorgeous! Use fabric paints or calligraphy inks to add your monogram, names, or a fun quote to hang down from the ends of the table!

7. Play with buttonholes and make them interesting!

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Buttonholes have a bit of a bland reputation but they’re making a comeback… and I suspect DIY brides and wedding blogs have a hand in this! Quirky buttonholes are fun to make and wear, and they tie the guys’ outfits in with your reception styling.

8. Decorate chair backs in a rustic style

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While you’re lavishing all that attention on tablescapes, remember the chairs too! Now we’ve all pretty much ditched boring chair covers we can hang things from chair backs… like Mr and Mrs signs or quirky, rustic bits and pieces which add to the natural DIY theme.

9. Go for a natural, naked wedding cake with fresh flowers

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Cakes are really going to be the stars of 2014 weddings, and right now my favourites are naked cakes… just so beautiful and perfect for a natural DIY theme. I’d always choose a professionally made cake for the tiers, but you can decorate it yourself with flowers, leaves, berries – just make sure they’re clean and safe! This cake was by Blueberry Hill Cakes who have sadly closed their business, but do ask around in your area for naked cakes!

10. Play with tones and textures to add interest

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Moss and even grasses can add an extra dimension to decorative arrangements for wedding tables and centrepieces. Don’t be afraid to mix leaves and flowers, twigs and branches, even pebbles and glass or beads if it works!

11. Find a great wedding venue and an amazing photographer to capture it all!

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I can’t emphasise this last tip enough: choose a wedding venue which has the facilities you need: a lawn, a gazebo, a civil licence… and staff who genuinely understand what you’re trying to achieve. And when it comes to your photographer, choose wisely. You need an experienced professional with an understanding of modern weddings, who won’t ignore all those beautiful details you’ve created!

With thanks to Karen Flower Photography for all of the images used above – do visit her website at – and to the following wedding suppliers who contributed their wonderful talents to this shoot!



Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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