Outdoor Wedding Ideas

A fall garden wedding shows how to keep it simple with natural, outdoor decor.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Morgan Trinker Photography

DIY Ideas for a Handmade, Homegrown Outdoor Wedding

See how nature lovers David and Mary Beth Shaddix tie the knot in a gorgeous outdoor venue, but keep the purse strings tight with a DIY design.

Handmade Bouquet and Boutonniere

My mother and a close friend made the bouquets and boutonnieres by hand, using carefully selected cuttings from our farm and and a wholesale shop. The vibrant colors of maple leaves found on our farm were not only perfect for this November day, but also represented our beloved nursery, Maple Valley.

A Budget-Friendly Backyard Location

Venues can be a stressful—and expensive—part of wedding planning. While we wanted the homey feel of marrying in our own backyard, we didn’t want the pressure of readying a place where we live and work. Beloved neighbors opened their doors—and their hearts—for use of their gorgeous lake property and cabin.

Grow Your Own Flowers

Old-fashioned zinnias are happy and bright additions to tabletops. Such robust and intricate blossoms are perfectly suited for solitary stems, which save both time and money. It costs one pack of seeds and a little space in the garden.

Custom Artwork Invitation

We opted for original artwork to personalize our invitation and gained the bonus of a one-of-a-kind watercolor. The commissioned illustration intertwines our love of the outdoors: blueberries and hydrangeas are favorite plants, a peony represents a birthday gift, zinnias from the garden, honey bees from our hives, and purple martins represent David’s hobbies on our farm. Erin’s original watercolor is now artwork in our home. Illustration drawn by Erin O’Toole and invitation design by JoshuaRMoore.com.

A Photographic Guest Book

As guests arrived at the property, they were asked to sign the guest book and pose for a portrait.

Make Your Own Vases

Mason jars have become the ultimate multi-purpose magician in transforming for limitless DIY uses. We sought a more unique and personalized flower vase by upcycling Snapple jars. The “S” is our monogram and we made each vase into a standout piece by painting the interior with white enamel.

Use free tabletop accents — and reuse them!

Wooden risers elevated the outdoor decor, complementing the rustic cake tables and woodsy lakeside setting. These cherry tree slices were later turned into bowls by the woodworking groom and slabs for growing staghorn ferns.

A Guest Keepsake

An antique wooden frame, made by David’s grandfather, made for a fun photo prop and created a memorable moment that we could share afterwards as a keepsake.

Grow Your Own Centerpieces

We potted unusual plants for conversation pieces: carnivorous plants, succulents and ferns in our wedding color palette. While we are fortunate to run a wholesale nursery, anyone can benefit from planting live plants for affordable centerpieces that live on well after the wedding. Chocolate terracotta pots are affordable, unique options.

Paint the Way with Handmade Signs

Pallet wood proves useful for many DIY projects and was a perfect choice for our outdoor signage. Lead guests from vows to cake if you have a larger venue with separate areas.

Ceremony Music

Consider gifted friends and relatives sharing their talents as your very personal, one-of-a-kind wedding gift. Rob, a close friend, shared his guitar skills for our ceremony music. Playing “Georgia On My Mind,” Pachelbel's “Canon in D,” and “Here Comes the Sun” were tearjerkers and memorable moments.

The Aisle

As nature was our guide, it naturally provided our outdoor aisle to the altar. Sugar maples, known for their vibrant fall color, had been planted in an allée down the peninsula and made for a perfect entrance set to Pachelbel's “Canon in D.”

The Altar

Our sacred spot for vows was a natural choice. At the tip of a small finger of land pointing into the lake, a large, old solitary pine marked the spot. With such a scenic setting at sunset, we opted for no additional decor.

Easy Seating

Create a comfortable outdoor lounge—and photo op—by stacking bales into a custom couch. We supplemented wooden chairs provided by a rental company with bales of wheat straw. It’s moveable, stackable, marries well with our outdoor decor—and could be used as mulch in our garden afterwards.

Fresh Garden Greens

Our garden is an important part of our daily dinners and our wedding reception was no exception. For a few packets of salad green seeds, we fed over 100 guests with fresh lettuces.

Farm Fresh Eggs

Our hens contributed to the festivities with colorful eggs that the chef deviled three ways.

A Cake Buffet

Homemade touches didn’t stop at decor. A handful of friends and family members pitched in to make cakes of all shapes and sizes including caramel, vanilla pound cake, almond pound cake with apricot filling, pumpkin-shaped spice cake and carrot cake. Not a crumb was left except the top layer of one we saved for our one-year anniversary! Many guests still talk about the parade of cakes.