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. :-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Flower baskets. I added some moss and ribbon to birch baskets, which were filled with flower petals for the flower kids.
I did not get a great picture of it, but the ceremony aisle was also lined with flower petals.
Having a wedding at your home basically allows for your Pinterest dreams to come true! And we took full advantage.
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.
We had the ceremony program printed out and made them into paper fans.
A big bonus of having the wedding outdoors was that the Best Man felt very much at home.
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.
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.
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.
With cocktails in hand, the guests wandered through playing games, taking photos for the guest book, and enjoying appetizers.
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!
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.
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.
“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.
We printed the menus on vellum paper, and they made for a pretty table setting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Until next time,