The more I write about rustic outdoor weddings, I wonder why anyone would want to be married indoors on stain resistant carpet and under artificial light. Unless, of course, you're trying to catch a break on hotels and honeymoons when an off-season (cold weather) wedding feels like a more affordable choice. But let's say you have the budget to bring your guests outdoors, where your reception feels more like an adventure even in tight-fitting new shoes. Searching for a name and seat assignment on a rustic escort card - tied around the trunk of a large tree - promises your family and friends a day filled with sunshine and sweet surprises.
Who would have thought just a few years ago,
that chicken wire would be such welcome wedding reception décor?
Shasta daisies - light and lovely for a spring or summer wedding. And delicate oxeye daisies, the ones we weaved through our hair that carefree time of year when our thoughts turned from boring books to blue-eyed boys. Daisies are perennials, with bushy blooms that grow in hot sun or partial shade. Once you plant them in well-drained soil, they'll stop at nothing to please. Indoors and out, in bouquets and boutonnieres, it's hard to resist their cheerful rustic charm. Some say they are invasive. I say look at all the lovely ways you can have a daisy themed wedding - for free.
Fresh and colorful. And outdoors under the sweet summer sun if Mother Nature smiles down on you. If you don't have a fancy split-level deck or matching patio set - not to worry. A variety of worn and weathered picnic tables will serve your prized fruit platters and crunchy cucumber sandwiches well (always use English cucumbers - longer, thinner, sweeter and individually wrapped with cellophane). Here are my suggestions on how to host the perfect summer bridal shower:
Be Spontaneous. Each invited guest walks into the room, and may or may not see a bunch of total strangers. She gets introduced around and quickly forgets all the names, including her own. Seat her near someone her own age and offer the drink of her choice. Holding a cup or glass gives a girl some cover so she can size up the room and finally make eye contact with the homemade meatballs.
Let everyone unwind in their own way. Strangers can become friends over conversation and a cup of freshly brewed coffee or chamomile tea. Also have available a refreshing non-alcoholic punch made with a delicious blend of fruit punch, orange juice and a chilled bottle of ginger ale. Signature cocktails such as frozen margaritas, mojitos and spiked lemonade make a simple "how well do you know the bride" (which nobody seems to know that well) seem more frantic and fun.
Fresh fruit. At least half of your friends are obsessing about anti-oxidants in every thing they eat and drink. What woman doesn't want to look and feel lovely, inside and out? You can help my making freshly picked blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cherries find their way into delicious fruit tarts, mini cheesecakes, party platters and kabobs.
Fresh flowers. They don't need to be store bought to be beautiful. Whatever blooms in your backyard (here in southern Virginia, it's ravishing red, white and hot pink azaleas), will do. Nothing colorful in front yard or back? Trader Joe's has a sweet supply of seasonally-designed bouquets starting at $3.99 each.
Bridal shower games. Too many games make a girl restless and bored. I know because I went to a shower where there were more written exams than I took my freshman year of college. And harder too.
A naked wedding cake with thick, creamy layers of homemade buttercream icing, covered with freshly picked strawberries and raspberries - exquisite! Even more beautiful with baby's breath and a slight dusting of confectioner's sugar. The real beauty of these rustic style cakes is that you can forget the consultation and delivery fee, say goodbye to $2.50 to $12.00 per slice, and make your own wedding day dessert. Afraid of making a mistake - whose going to know? I made mine and you can too. You'll need a three or four non-stick cake pan set from Amazon (free shipping) for less than $30. A rotating cake stand and eight inch spatula (I prefer flat to angled) makes it much easier. Directions for how much cake mix to use will be included with your pans. Most importantly, make your buttercream from scratch - so easy with confectioners' sugar, vanilla, milk and butter or margarine (or shortening for all white icing).
Metal lanterns for weddings - where to find the best and most beautiful? Today on eBay I found an unbelievable selection of nautical, colonial and Moroccan style lanterns - in red, amber, fuchsia, green, blue, lavender and clear glass - for less than $11.50 each (free shipping). These intricate hand-wrought lamps are a little over 10 inches high - use them indoors or hang at random levels outside. A little more expensive are twelve wood and metal lanterns at Save-On-Crafts from $15.99 to about twenty five dollars each. The eight inch galvanized metal lantern with a simple votive candle would be a warm and lovely light for your rustic themed wedding. Here are my favorite ways to turn metal lanterns into visual masterpieces.
What is the main difference between a beach and nautical themed wedding? Nautical is all about ships and those military men who master the speed of the wind and the surface of the sea. The navy blue and white striped uniforms, proudly put on over 300 years ago by sailors serving the British Queen, were adopted by navies all over the world and are the inspiration for many of these modern nautical wedding ideas. Navy blue and white - crisp, clean and classic.