Charming Barn Wedding Ideas

29 Mar

Recently, my friend asked me to help with her wedding.  She’ll be having her wedding ceremony at a beautiful outdoor location- with never-ending, rolling plains surrounded by gorgeous gardens & flowers.  Her reception will be in a huge barn on the property.

From what flowers to use for her bouquets to what she should do for centerpieces…she is overwhelmed!  In terms of a “theme” or “style”…there is none.  Yet!

However, she has picked her colors; coral, gray/silver, & cream- fabulous!

She was not one of those girls with ideas for her wedding when she was ten.  I’ve always thought she was stylish, and talking with her made me realize she just needed some help gathering ideas & inspiration to execute her style and help her figure out what she wants.  I think she knows what she likes and just doesn’t know how to explain it or isn’t able to put her finger on it.  I’m positive when she sees the right thing she will say “yes, that’s exactly what I want!”

Do you ever have that problem?  If so, I would love love to collaborate with you or your vendors to help you come up with the “whole look” for your wedding.  Usually, once you have an idea of how the end result should look it is much easier to find & pick items that execute that look every step of the way, especially if you let me help you with a list of what to buy!  :)

Email me/leave comments on the blog if you have any questions or need design help for your wedding!  Or keep visiting this blog for more inspiration.

Here are my ideas, loves, & obsessions that I think would work great for any budget-friendly barn wedding, in case you are thinking of having one too:

1) THEME-   in other words the look, feel, style, and tone

You don’t have to go “country” to pull off a fabulous barn wedding.  Think  “Elegant-Vintage-Garden-Chic”…yes…a term I coined, I think, unless it’s out there somewhere else.  *eek*

The long name has its purpose though!  I love the use of vintage-inspired elements in weddings these days.  I have to say it is one of my all-time favorite trends right now.  But, unless you’re really big on vintage antiques and shabby chic finds, you should mix in a few other elements.  That’s totally not required though (some ALL vintage-inspired weddings I’ve seen are still at the top of my list)  However, a mix & middle ground is the way to go for most people, so that’s why I want to add a bit of elegance (which can be more formal & glitzy) with a bit of garden (which is soft, romantic, & natural) and a touch of chic (which is trendy and stylish).

Below, you’ll find some inspirations that are Elegant, Vintage, Garden, or Chic…or a mix of several of these.

2) BOUQUET & CENTERPIECE FLOWER OPTIONS

Wedding flowers are tough to figure out because there are just so so many choices out there.  For the long winded (take a *deep breath*)  “Elegant-Vintage-Garden-Chic” look there are plenty of options to go with.  While my all-time favorite is the Peony, I’m also obsessing on Ranunculus & a variety of heavily petaled roses & open garden roses (there are tons!).  You can see them on my recent post on flowers.  I would create my bouquet & centerpieces with at least some of these “soft” flowers if I was doing a barn wedding.

See how romantic and full the “heavily petaled bouquets” look?

Images: Emily Rose Wood, Country Living, Angie Silvy

I’m also really digging the “just picked yourself” bouquet look.  It is down-to-earth, natural, completely budget friendly, and understated (in a good way, yes).  Can you see how these bouquets below look like they were just picked out of a garden?  Some actually were!  And others were created by a florist to look that way.  They’re pure, natural-looking, and perfect for an outdoor wedding!

(loving the table numbers painted right onto the glass)

Images:Katie Day, Sutherland Kovach, Ruffled

Also, I’m loving thistles, berries (Craspedia Billy Balls & Brunia Berries), soft grasses, Lambs Ear, and Dusty Miller.  Yum!  Lambs Ear & Dusty Miller are extremely soft leaves (they feel like velvet!) and they add instant romance.  …and…if you add a few Billy Balls to your floral arrangement you have an instantly chic/trendy bouquet.

I’ll call this the use of “extras” in your bouquet.

Dusty Miller

Lambs Ear

(These are Billy Balls.  Love them!)

(Billy Balls used in a centerpiece of Ranunculus flowers.)

Images: Sarah Yates, Etsy, Mindy Rice, Last Petal, Fifty Flowers, So Happi Together

Another one of my favorite trends right now is the “single flower bouquet”. This is where you pretty much use only one type of flower to make your whole bouquet.  Super chic & elegant.

Above: Ranunculus.  This is a gorgeous flower & a gorgeous bouquet.  The little filler flowers (Baby’s Breath) could easily be  replaced with something small in one of your wedding colors.  Maybe Hydrangea or mini Daisies.  Image: unknown

Above: Zinnias.  They come in many pink, salmon, and coral – ish colors so they are great for my friend’s wedding, but they come in many many other colors too.  Mix several shades together to create a richly textured look.  Image: Martha Stewart

Above: Poppies.  You can find poppies in gorgeous shades of coral, red, white, pink, yellow, orange and more.  What I love about this bouquet is how soft it looks & how unexpected it is to use this flower.  Image: Martha Stewart

Above: Hydrangea.  Gorgeous!  They are totally budget friendly and very soft, elegant, and simple.  I’ve heard you can have these “spray tinted” in any color too.  From what I’ve seen..it looks really beautiful and natural…but I think I’d look into whether it can rub off on you or not.  Image:  Style Me Pretty

Above: Baby’s Breath.  Probably one of the most budget-friendly flowers out there, but when used in bulk & as a stand-alone display, they look anything but.  Image: Raw Photo

3) CENTERPIECE CONTAINER IDEAS

There are tons of ideas for centerpieces that would work great for this type of wedding!

I would love to see any of these used in the centerpieces at a barn wedding:

*metal containers, pitchers, & cans. The DIY Piece in the bottom left corner is easily accomplished by spray painting metal containers and chipping some paint off (in your wedding colors perhaps?)

Oh, and look how absolutely charming the metal watering cans are when used as vases!

Images: Yes Bride Green Wedding Shoes, Elizabeth Anne, And Unlimited, Frolic, Free Stylin Beth

*glass bottles in all different sizes & shapes. The great thing about this option is anything goes and it’s easy to put together.  Mix & match “found” bottles to create a truly eclectic look.  The DIY piece below is super simple.  Use chalkboard paint on the bottles to create a mini drawing board for you to write your table numbers on with chalk.  Or, paint your table numbers onto burlap wraps, or directly on the glass bottle.

Images: Country Living, Once Wed, Green Wedding Shoes, Elizabeth Anne, And Unlimited,

* tin cans. So trendy right now and eco-friendly too (reuse!).  Your guests will applaud your totally creative use of materials.

(These ones are covered in fabrics & papers.  What a perfect idea!)

(Absolutely stunning, colorful, and eclectic)

Images: I Plan It Right, Elizabeth Anne, Re-Nest, Budget Brides Handbook, Ritzybee

*mercury glass vases. This is a bit more pulled together, a bit more elegant, a bit more glamorous and traditional…yet still totally perfect for a barn wedding.  It will add that touch of elegance and formality in an otherwise casual environment.  Mercury glass is like a silvery mirror with specks of “imperfections” throughout, giving it an aged, antique look.


Images: This Next, Etsy, KioKreations, Ruffled, Once Wed

*ceramic pieces (cake stands, vases, pitchers, etc)  Another trend where you can mix & match.  Try sticking with all the same color pieces if you’re worried about clashing.  Or, find pieces in your wedding colors & they’re sure to look good together!

(It’s easy to paint on ceramic with paint!  Make sure to use a ceramic tile surface conditioner to prime it first, then paint over the primer, and then clear coat it with a clear enamel glaze.)

(How cute are those pitchers & cake stand when used to hold flowers?)

Images: Style Me Pretty, Peony & Plum, Sloan Photographers, Project Wedding,   

*mason jars- you can find some cheap ones here or at antique stores or garage sales.  Or, if you’re my friend…I have about a bazillion you can borrow that came with my farm house.  ♥  Now you want to be my friend, huh?  :)

Images: Katie Day, Ruffled, Sarah Yates, Kathryn Leach, Emmaline Bride,

Loving the burlap wraps around the mason jars in some of these photos above.  Super simple.  1) Buy burlap fabric  2) Cut into strips  3) Glue or tape (double sided) to your mason jars.  You can do this with any of the above ideas too (especially the glass bottles, tin cans, and ceramic containers).

I also love the super simple raffia and twine tied around the tops of the mason jars- also seen above.  You can dress any of these up by using ribbons instead of twine or burlap.

Also, don’t rule out IKEA!  They have great jars & containers (ceramic, metal, glass, & more) for great prices.  Check out these jars, tins (think b&w wedding), and containers from IKEA.  Love love them for centerpiece containers.

4) DECORATIONS

Simplicity is key here.  The “garden” part of the theme I would do for an outdoor/barn wedding entails the look of simple, down-to-earth flowers picked from the garden on the way to the wedding, found items from thrift stores & at home, and do-it-yourself decorations.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for decorations!

* FIND A FABRIC YOU LOVE & USE IT THROUGHOUT EVERYTHING

If you’re looking for another way to bring your wedding colors into your decorations a bit more…how about finding a wonderful fabric (patterned or solid) and carry this fabric, or several coordinating fabrics, through everything (think napkins, place mats, escort cards, table runners, hanging fabric strips, photo-booth backdrops, wraps around mason jars, etc.)

Here’s how to make these fabric detailed escort cards yourself.  My friend recently did this exact thing at her wedding and it was gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

Image: Elizabeth Anne

Images: Intimate Weddings, Ruffled, Once Wed,

To make napkins like the ones above just cut the fabric into rectangles & roll or fold!  As long as you don’t handle the material a lot before your event most fray-able fabrics won’t fray much…or you can always pull out your handy sewing machine to finish the edges…but personally, I think a little fray adds a lot of style.

…or how about a custom silk-screened napkin like the ones below?  We, at Lifework Media, would be more than happy to design & make some for your event!

Images: Kar Kar Style, Otto Schulze Photographers

Just cut the fabric in wide enough and long enough strips to serve as your table runners (below)!

Image: My DIY Wedding Day

Or use your fabric for other accessories like “tissues” or bouquet wraps.

Images: Ruffled

* MAKE A PHOTO STRING DISPLAY


You can visit my photo string display post to read more about this decoration.  It’s simple, almost free, trendy, and “you”. 

Image: Ruffled

* CREATE BUNTING

You can visit my bunting posts here and here to see more of this lovely, budget-friendly trend!

Images: Nessak Photography

* HANG STRING LIGHTS

You can buy some cheap ones here!  This just adds an extra punch of elegance to any outdoor or barn location.


Images: Every Last Detail, Wedding Dress Blog, Wedding Bee, Green Wedding Shoes

*MAKE CHALKBOARD SIGNS FOR EVERYTHING.

This is a current fav!  And seriously a “must-have” for a barn wedding, according to…well…me.  :)  Here is some info on chalkboard paints.


Images: Katie Day, Yes Bride, Engaged & Inspired, Christan P, Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, Jonathan Hoffner

* BUY OR SALVAGE OLD WINDOWS

Write on the glass with window paint markers; ie: your seating chart, menu, cute sayings.  Love this!

Image: Style Me Pretty

* USE STREAMERS

Streamers don’t look cheap if done right!  Try using them (in your wedding colors) to line your aisle, or hanging from a tree for a whimsical & sweet decoration.

Images: Green Wedding Shoes, Scott Chester Photography

Well, there you have it.  My favorite loves, obsessions, and swoon-worthy trends for the perfect outdoor/barn wedding.  Hope you enjoyed looking and found something you just must have!

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13 Responses to “Charming Barn Wedding Ideas”

  1. Chris C. July 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    This is beyond helpful- thank you for your helpful suggestions and excellent visuals. I am planning my own barn wedding and reading this has definitely narrowed down what I want. Thank you, thank you!

  2. johnson October 11, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    This is a great source for me to use in wedding planning. Thank you.

    • lifeworkmediablog October 11, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      You’re welcome! I’m glad it has been helpful. I need to write more of these kinds of posts! Good luck with your wedding!! xoxo

  3. yohanian October 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    hey, this is all exactly my plan for my wedding! yey, they look really good together. :) thanks for posting this, can i link/post this on my blog? :)

  4. emilyarnim November 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Wonderful post!

  5. Nhung Tran November 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    this is very helpful. Thanks so much.

  6. Birchwood Hotel January 4, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    Great Post, this will be very helpful for our readers at Wedding Places. Will bookmark and share this page.

  7. TINA GRISE February 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    What did you use to cover the bales of straw, we were thinking using quilts what do you think of that idea, just want to know what you used to cover bales of straw. Thanks Tina

    • LW Media & For The Love of Press February 21, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Quilts sound wonderful, colorful, and homey…what a nice touch! Or, if you’re still unsure about quilts, why don’t you buy some fabric (or multiple but coordinating fabrics) and use that! Just cut to size (so it can hang down the sides by several inches) and then tie knots on all four corners to help hold it nice and tight. Hope that helps!

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