A Country-Themed Wedding

Written by Jennifer Marlo

A country wedding can be a beautiful and unique alternative to a more traditional wedding ceremony and/or reception. If you enjoy relaxing in pastoral settings, or even if you just find them intriguing, a country-themed wedding might be for you.

If you have decided you do want a country wedding, the first step in the planning process should be to decide on a date. This will dictate much of your wedding, whether it will be held indoors or outdoors, what you and the wedding party will wear, even what decorations you will use.

Once you have decided on a date, it seems logical to select a location. If the season permits, an outdoor wedding can be beautiful. However, Mother Nature does not always cooperate, even for the most ardent nature lovers. If you do choose to have an outdoor ceremony or reception, always plan for the worst. It is better to be married in your second-choice venue or a tent than to have all your guests drenched by a sudden spring downpour. Many towns have older, small, quaint churches that would be perfect for a country wedding.

No matter where your wedding is held, natural, beautiful decorations are a must. To get your creative juices flowing, think about the country. To you, the country might mean white picket fences, fields of wild flowers, freshly baled haystacks, or a neighborhood get-together around the grill. Whatever your definition of country, use it to guide your decorating decisions. A charming entrance to the wedding ceremony or reception is a flower-covered arch. Arches can be rented or bought inexpensively and easily covered with fresh flowers or silk garlands. Another delightful and less-used option is a white picket fence or gate. These can be constructed solely for the wedding, or may already be a part of the venue. Either way, decorate the fence especially for your wedding. Place a fresh or silk wreath on the gate, or tied bundles of flowers or herbs on the fence posts.

Make the most of natural elements by using them as inexpensive and beautiful decorations. A simple terra-cotta pot of flowers can serve as a gorgeous centerpiece. If you have a little more money, mini pots of the same flowers would be adorable place cards and favors. If the wedding is indoors, hang honeysuckle vines or floral garlands from the ceiling. Intertwine them with white Christmas lights for a stunning starry night effect. If the wedding is outdoors, hang lanterns from trees or drape the trees with white lights. Glass mason jars can be filled with water, stick in some fresh wild flowers, and you have an instant, unfussy centerpiece.

Mason jars can also serve as drinking jars. Nothing says country like drinking lemonade or iced tea from a jar. Stack the jars upside down near the buffet table or set one at each place setting. Provide large gallon jars of iced tea and lemonade to fill the jars and don't forget to include a long stainless ladle for each jar. Drinks in glass bottles look delightful in iced galvanized buckets and provide your guests with more options. Along with the beverages, you can easily supply your own hors d'oeuvres without a lot of preparation work. A buffet setup works well for country weddings. A large mound of attractive, ripe fruits can serve as both decoration and appetizers. The perfect accompaniment to fruit is a nice selection of crusty breads, crackers, and cheeses. Serve the breads in napkin-lined galvanized tubs with a variety of butters and spreads. Whatever your main course is, it shouldn't be too complicated or frou-frou. Simple grilled chicken breasts and vegetables or a pasta and salad bar work well and are usually reasonably priced. For a final country touch, choose a simple, yet delicious wedding cake adorned with fresh or silk flowers.

The most important step in creating a country wedding is to personalize it. Take your own ideas and images of the country and adapt them for your wedding. Whether you and your fiancee choose one country touch or a whole country theme, your wedding is sure to reflect your unique personalities.