Outdoor Wedding Decor Ideas

Updated 2/13/24

Today marks the first anniversary of my daughter Alex’s wedding, which we hosted here at the lake house last summer. Now that we’ve had some time to reflect, I thought I’d share some outdoor wedding decor ideas with you. As a bonus, it gives me a chance to look back at how beautiful the yard looked last year! Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, as this post is a long one. :-

Planning for an Outdoor Wedding:

When Alex and Ross started planning their outdoor wedding, they knew they wanted it to be at our lake house. They decided to have both the ceremony and reception here for their guests’ ease. The lake property was the perfect place for their dream wedding. It has a beach area with steps leading up to our backyard.

The Bride and Groom loved the “backyard wedding” idea but wanted the overall theme to feel more elegant than a backyard BBQ. We began planning the decor details once Alex chose her dress, which had some Art Deco/ geometric pattern elements. Since the bride loves blue, and it’s perfect for a beach vibe, she ran with that for her color scheme. After debating several shades of blue, Alex settled on dusty blue and grey for her bridal party, and we added mixed metals and a pretty peachy pink for some contrast in the decor. When you are having a wedding outdoors, I believe letting your beautiful surroundings shine through is best.

Wedding Dress hanging on a covered porch for an outdoor wedding.

Outdoor Ceremony Plan

We decided to separate the reception space from the ceremony (which would be held on the beach), allowing the caterers to be closer to the house and kitchen. I highly recommend you have a plan B for a summer wedding in case of rain. Ours was a large outbuilding on the property.

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony on a lake beach. White chairs and White tents.

We rented white chairs for the ceremony seating on the beach (the guest list was 120), and the groom’s parents made an arbor for the couple to stand under. I decorated the arbor with a floral swag and some tulle. The dock ended up being the perfect place for lanterns.

Flower swag with peach roses on an arch on a beach.

We also rented a tent for the DJ and his equipment and any guests who preferred some shade. The weather was ahhhmazing for this time of year. It ended up being 74 degrees with blue skies.

Wedding Ceremony on a beach at a lake house.
Wine ceremony at an outdoor wedding.
Bride and Groom at an Outdoor wedding ceremony on a beach at a Lake House.

DIY Wedding Decor Ideas

DIY Flowers

Much of the decor was DIY because it’s what I do as a Home Decor blogger. I worked as a floral designer years ago and decided I could handle DIYing the flowers. Even with experience in floral design, I was still a bit nervous about finding the specific colors and flowers my daughter liked, so I found Kukka Flowers. It’s a company that sends you pre-selected flowers, and you arrange them yourself. This made it so easy. I’ll write a post about the actual arranging next week. They also have videos to help you if you feel you need more support. I ordered the Yours Truly collection, which they allowed me to personalize a bit, and the flowers were so beautiful! I also ordered additional fresh flowers from a local supplier for the floral arches, floral arrangements, and table decor.

DIY Bridal bouquets in vases ready for the bridal party.
Bridal Bouquets in soft blues, pinks and green. DIY
White Lisianthus for wedding flowers
Bridal bouquet as decor on a vintage blue settee.

DIY Flower baskets. I added some moss and ribbon to birch baskets, which were filled with flower petals for the flower kids.

Flower Girl Baskets with moss and ribbon.

I did not get a great picture of it, but the ceremony aisle was also lined with flower petals.

Flower Girl in blue dress at a beach wedding.

Having a wedding at your home basically allows for your Pinterest dreams to come true! And we took full advantage.

Wedding Signs

Signage was the perfect way to help direct guests to the various activities throughout the day and evening. We had a local graphic designer design the signs and printed them at a local printer. My husband framed them.

The paintbrush idea was an excellent last-minute addition to dust off sandy toes, as most guests had removed their shoes during the ceremony.

Wood table holding paintbrushes to dust off sandy feet at a beach wedding.

We had the ceremony program printed out and made them into paper fans.

Paper fan at an outdoor wedding

A big bonus of having the wedding outdoors was that the Best Man felt very much at home.

Best Dog as the groomsman.

Peter, of course, had to play a part in the big day! And he blended in perfectly with the wedding party with this vest/tie set we found on Etsy.

Cocktail Hour Decor

After the ceremony, the Bridal Party took a spin around the lake for some pics and a private moment while the guests enjoyed cocktails and yard games.

Bride and From take a pontoon ride after getting married on a Lake.

We had yard games set at the front of the house. The graphic designer also made the signs, and we glued the prints onto thin MDF for stability.

Signs for yard games at an outdoor wedding reception.

With cocktails in hand, the guests wandered through playing games, taking photos for the guest book, and enjoying appetizers.

Photo Props on a vintage dresser for a wedding receptions

We had a Polaroid Guest book where the guests posed for pics with props. The Puppets below were a shower gift from me to the couple. I have a thing with puppets, and our kids receive a set at their Bridal shower. It’s a weird, random thing, but the wedding guests loved the Ross puppet!

Bride and Groom Puppets as Photo Props at an Outdoor Lake House Wedding.

One of my favorite things we did was print out and frame several verses of the poem I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, which was read at the ceremony, and placed them around on the tables. Printing on the dusty blue paper helped carry the color theme throughout the reception.

Wedding Reception Decor

Our yard is quite large, so we set up focal points (vignettes) with rented vintage furniture and things from my home. I think one of my favorite additions was adding rugs under some seating, making it feel so cozy and unexpected in an outdoor space.

Tea lights and vintage glass bottles filled with pretty greenery added a lovely touch.

We rented tents for the reception space and lined the inside of them with faux garland borrowed from a friend to cover the poles inside the tents. Next, we mixed in fairy lights; it looked lovely once the sun went down.

Tent with chairs and tables for an outdoor wedding reception.

“Reception seating was informal, so a seating chart wasn’t necessary. The reception tables were rustic, so I used Italian Ruscus draped down the middle of the tables on top of the cheesecloth I bought from the local fabric store to soften them. I didn’t want the tables to feel too” rustic wedding vibe.” They felt light and airy and perfect for a summer night reception.”Reception seating was informal, so a seating chart wasn’t necessary. The reception tables were rustic, so I used Italian Ruscus draped down the middle of the tables on top of the cheesecloth I bought from the local fabric store to soften them. I didn’t want the tables to feel too “rustic wedding vibe.” They felt light and airy and perfect for a summer night reception.

Tablescape for an outdoor wedding reception at a lake house.

We printed the menus on vellum paper, and they made for a pretty table setting.

Table decor on a rustic table.

Head Table Decorations

Head Table decor for an outdoor wedding reception. Rustic Table

The couple has a favorite wine they call their LOVE wine. They made it part of the wedding ceremony and served it to the guests during dinner. We labeled the bottles with the story of why they love the wine so much (the wine they discovered on their first trip together) with their guests.

Wine bottle as table decor for an outdoor wedding decor.

Desert Table Decor

Talk about a CHEESECAKE!! Instead of a traditional wedding cake after dinner, these foodies served a “Cake of cheese,” which was a huge success for the guests; it was beautiful, and the guests could nibble throughout the evening. It was beautiful as well as tasty. If you are local to Grand Rapids, MI, it’s from The Cheese People. The layers are Triple Blue Cheese, Donatello, and Cheddar.

Wedding cake made from Cheese for a non traditional Cake option.

Time to Dance!

We used whiskey barrels filled with quick-mix concrete and eight feet 4 x 4’s for the dance floor. We filled them 3/4 with the concrete for weight. Then, we added dirt and planted flowers around them. Next, we hung string lights at the top. I wish I had a better shot, but they worked beautifully. We bought outdoor string lights from Home Depot. Our outdoor patio is a circle shape that makes for a lovely, intimate dance space.

Wedding reception dance floor on an outdoor patio with string lights and guests are dancing.
Outdoor Dance floor with string lights at an outdoor wedding. Bride and Groom dancing.

The finale of the evening was the send-off. We purchased extra long sparklers so the guests could send the happy couple off in style without any mishaps. It added such a magical feel to their perfect wedding day.

Outdoor Sparkler Send off for bride and groom.

And that’s a wrap! For some additional Fall wedding ideas, check out the decor we did for my youngest daughter’s wedding here (and yes, they got married in the same YEAR! LOL.

Special shout-outs to Chantal Elise Photography – Kate @Valley and Oak, who were both amazing at their jobs (Kate rocked that Cake of Cheese table!

Looking for more inspiration for your outdoor wedding? Check out this from Porch.com

I can’t resist posting an update on the happy couple. This photo was from her baby shower two weeks ago!!

Related Posts:

Hosting a virtual baby shower (book-themed)

7 ideas for a gorgeous Fall wedding

I live on a Lake, and these are the three things I swear by to keep mosquitos at bay

Until next time,



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  1. Maureen says:

    Oh my cuteness! Everything looked amazing. I love the decor and those Polaroid props – so fun!

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

  2. What a fabulous wedding! The decor is absolutely breathtaking and everyone looks fabulous. That cake is so amazing and Peter really does look so handsome in his wedding garb! I love that you shared this post now to inspire other brides who have to make changes to their plans. And congratulations on that new baby coming! Thanks for linking up with me.


    • Libbie Burling says:

      Shelbee- Thank you. I was excited to find you and will be sure to check with you and your friends again. xx

  3. Rebecca says:

    Beautiful wedding, Libbie! Your daughter and son-in-law look so happy! You’ve been featured this week at Celebrate Your Story! Congrats on the grand baby, too 🙂

  4. Joan MacIntosh says:

    Your decor was SENSATIONAL,simply beautiful.exquisite,AND welcoming.I love both couples .WHAT A LOVELY FAMILY!! CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH COUPLES!!

  5. Caisey Cronin says:

    I was wondering where you got the signs for the yard games and rules. I love them!

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