By bringing the outdoors in and adding some elements of nature, you can keep it real as you tie the knot.
Watch a re-run of a TV show like “Four Weddings,” and it’s not unusual to see the wedding party, the wedding venue and the reception awash in theme-related details: bows, balloons, purple uplighting, kitschy signs, fake mustaches. But experts say a contrived, over-decorated look is no longer trending. “Some of the most striking weddings we’ve seen are when they’ve kept it really simple and the focus is on the location and on themselves,” says Bryan Davis, director of sales and marketing at Edgewood Tahoe. How to achieve this understated elegance? Pick a beautiful setting, then incorporate nature and the season subtly into your event.
FLOWERS—Today’s bouquets have a natural “gathered-from-the-garden” look and are often seasonal blooms supplied by a local farmer. (Dahlias, garden roses and heirloom mums and carnations are seeing a resurgence.) Not only can the bride and her attendants carry these gorgeous creations, they can also wear them in their hair: fresh flower crowns and headbands, or—perhaps the prettiest option—“floating flowers” pinned sporadically through long curls. The groom and his groomsmen can sport distinctive floral designs as well; it’s even popular to have mismatched boutonnieres, so each one is unique.
GET OUT THERE—The easiest way to include nature is to get married in it. Especially in summer or fall—when the days are longer and the weather is more reliable—choose a beach, forest, waterfall, vineyard, rose garden, mountaintop, state park, orchard or your own backyard. A warm breeze and a golden shaft of sunlight will be the only decor you need.
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN—If an outdoor reception—lasting hours longer than the ceremony—makes you picture meat bees and droning leaf blowers, you can still capture the idea: Trade out fussy table linens and centerpieces for plain wood tables artfully strewn with greenery, tree branches, grape vines, fall leaves or seasonal produce (like white pumpkins in October). If there is a gorgeous view out a big set of windows, so much the better.
FARM-FRESH FOOD—Nothing says summer like a juicy strawberry or crisp ear of corn; nothing says fall like crunchy apples and savory winter squash. Serving your guests in-season, organic produce—as well as locally sourced meats and fish—incorporates place and time into your wedding day. You can also pair these meals with local wines and craft beers, or signature cocktails using seasonal ingredients. And don’t forget the final touch: a summer wedding cake garnished with cherries, apricots and raspberries; or for fall, a black walnut cake with bourbon maple cream cheese frosting.