Let’s take a few minutes & talk about outdoor wedding decorations.
It seems silly to have an entirely different category just for outdoor wedding decor but there is a reasons.
When your outside things just work different. There’s wind, heat, cold, bugs, mud. Do I need to keep going?
Need an example? Say you want one of those natural looking wedding cakes that only use buttercream icing. But your wedding is outside & at the beginning of July.
Sadly, your cake won’t hold up. The buttercream will melt unless it’s kept indoors in the air condition.
Related: 15 Outdoor Wedding Tips
It’s the same with your decor. Some things will work just like indoor weddings while others won’t.
To get you started on your journey here are 40 outdoor wedding decor ideas.
Simply click on a link below to jump to that section or scroll through.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Which means I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. This is at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here
Outdoor Wedding DIY Decoration Ideas
Don’t worry. It’s easy & can be done in 3 steps.
Step 1: Make your programs. Use the amazing templates on PicMonkey. You can get a free trial here. Or you can start from scratch & make your own.
Or if you already have programs headed your way that’s fine too.
Step 2: Grab your supplies of fan handles & rubber cement.
*Side Note: Although you can use hot glue to glue your sticks to the paper, I don’t recommend it. Hot glue does not dry smoothly which will leave ridges in the middle of your program.
Step 3: Glue only the top half of your stick to the center of your fan & press down.
Then you’re done!
Marquee letters are beautiful but they are expensive as well.
However, you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost.
Check out this awesome tutorial from Urban Bliss Life.
Grab some wood crates (old or new) to create an instant decor scene for your wedding.
Paint the crates to match your wedding color scheme.
Then stack them together in sort of a pyramid shape.
*Pro Tip: Make sure you give your decorations varying height levels. This really makes them to stand out.
Now that you’ve got your crates done you’ve got to fill them. But what with?
- Pictures of you & your fiancé
- If it’s a themed wedding, you can fill the crates with different theme memorabilia
Leaf Escort Cards
These escort cards from Style Me Pretty are simply adorable. Use a Sharpie oil based paint marker to write the table number on the leaf. Then tie it to the name card for instant budget-friendly charm.
Or you if you don’t want to use paper then you can put both the name & table number on the leaf.
Use pieces of wood or even palettes to make your own signs.
Be sure to use the right paint markers to script your words. I’ve honestly tried about a dozen different paint markers & Sharpie holds up the best.
Tree stumps can be used in a variety of different ways.
Large tree stumps can hold decorations at the end of the aisle or at your entrance.
Thin round pieces of tree stumps can be used as bases for your table decor.
You can also group varying heights of tree stumps together to hold drinks, gifts, pictures, favors, & more.
But where the heck do you get tree stumps if you not near the woods? You can order them from Amazon of course! I don’t think there’s anything that Amazon doesn’t have.
I’ve ordered several of these tree stumps for different weddings. They work great for decor!
Twine balls are easy to make rounded balls that you can hang from the ceiling or even trees.
Check out this tutorial from Ruffled.
Renting chairs for your guests can quickly add up.
If you want to have something different & save money then you can switch up the seating.
Instead of chairs try:
- Hay bales covered in fabric
- Tall palettes
- Eclectic seating (a mix of chairs & sofas)
Outdoor Wedding Altar Decorations
If flowers aren’t your thing (I’m not a huge fan) then it’s ok. You still have options. Balloons being one of them.
- Hang balloons from trees & arbors
- Use balloon columns & arches
- Inflate large balloons to have rising in the background at different heights.
If you want to add a unique touch to your altar then you can create a backdrop.
Here are several backdrop ideas:
- 2 wooden doors
- A poem written on large paper
- A fake wall
- Chalkboard wall with a design
- Flower wall
- A large palate decorated with your initials
Floral arches are another way to frame your altar.
They’re traditionally made up entirely of greenery & flowers.
An arbor is similar to an arch. The major exceptions being that is normally made from wood or metal & is generally square in shape.
You can use fabric, lights, ribbon, florals & greenery to jazz up your arbor to fit your style.
Hanging decorations are an inexpensive way to really amp up your altar decor.
You can hang,
- Real flowers
- Paper flowers
- Twinkle lights
- Lighted vases
There are hundreds of possibilities.
*Pro Tip: Hang decorations with clear fishing line. That will give the decorations a floating appearance.
If you’re going for a more rustic theme wedding then your altar decor can be made from nature.
Meaning use a mixture of branches, twigs, & greenery to make an arch.
Part of having an outdoor wedding is embracing the beauty of the nature around you.
But you can add to that with some drapery.
If there are trees in the area then add some elegance by hanging drapery over its branches.
Outdoor Wedding Reception Ideas
I love mason jars! They are one of the most multipurpose pieces of glassware ever.
They can be used as covered drinkware to keep those pesky bugs out. Simply add a straw.
Paint them & then use them as vases.
Use chalkboard paint & write cute messages to your guests on them.
Pictures of you & your fiancé are a cute way to add personal decor to your reception.
Picture Wall: You can use your pictures to create an entire wall showcasing your love.
Framed Centerpieces: Place framed pictures of you as part of your table centerpieces.
Floating candles not only give you a romantic feel for your reception lighting but it’s so simple to do.
Fill vases, mason jars, & bowls with water. Then place a floating candle in the center.
Be careful with your candles. Some have a short burn time. I always recommend that my brides use candles that will burn for over 4 hours or more.
If you find a good deal on candles somewhere else, test them prior to your wedding to see how long they will burn.
It’s better to know before the wedding if you need new candles rather than have them burn out 20 minutes in.
Bunting flags are another name for pennants.
These triangles can be made from cardstock or fabric. And string together with ribbon or clear fishing wire.
Hang then outside from trees or posts. Or add them inside of a tent for an extra pop.
Pallet Dance Floor
Unless your outdoor venue has a dance floor already there then you’ll need to provide a dance area for the reception.
Large sections of pallets can be put together to make your own dance floor.
Give your tables a true pop of color by using color glasses instead of clear.
Lighting isn’t just for making sure you & your guests can see. You can also use it for a major decor pop.
Here are some ideas:
- Use lamps as centerpieces
- Hang light bulbs from the ceiling
- String rows of twinkle lights in the ceiling. You can hang them parallel or criss-cross them
- Wrap lights around trees
- Drape string lights behind drapery
- Place lanterns & torches around the venue
- Take advantage of candles
Photo booths have 2 purposes at a wedding reception.
They give your guests a form of entertainment while they’re waiting.
And, they give you an instant decoration element.
Make your reception stand out by offering your guest a food bar.
You can offer several different food bar stations instead of a traditional meal.
Here’s an example. Instead of offering a grilled chicken with roasted vegetables dinner, you could offer a bbq bar & a pasta bar with all the fixings.
Or add a dessert bar for the end of the dinner. Offer up a s’mores station, ice cream bar, or even a pie bar.
Who said you have to go big or go home?
Outdoor Wedding Tent Decor Ideas
Hang Paper Lanterns
Paper lanterns are inexpensive, fun, & very pretty. Especially when there are tons of them hanging from above.
Although your tent is considered drapery itself, sometimes you need a bit more pop.
So why not add ribbon?
Large spools of ribbon matching your color scheme can be used to drape across the top of your tent area.
Whenever you hang flowers there is a certain wow/romantic feel that’s suddenly created.
It’ll do the same for your tent.
Flowers can be hung by single stems or in bunches with clear fishing line.
Looking to add a wow factor to your wedding tent?
Add a chandelier!
Now, before you freak out about hanging a heavy chandelier in the tent there’s a few things to remember.
First, when you use a quality vendor, their tents are made to withstand. Plus they will have the right equipment to hang it so that it won’t fall.
Second, you don’t have to use a lighted chandelier.
Get creative & use a combination of wreaths & flowers to make your own chandelier.
You can even wrap hula hoops in garland to be hung for a larger scale chandelier.
If you’re having a tent at your wedding then give it some extra charm by decorating the entrance.
Outdoor Wedding Path Ideas
Depending on your outdoor venue it may be hard for your guests to tell which way to go.
Help them out by creating paths that flow from entrance to ceremony to reception.
Lanterns are beautiful in their simplicity.
Use lighted lanterns to create a path. If you’re worried about one tipping over while the candle is lit then you can also use battery operated candles.
Avoid your guests getting confused on which way to go & keep all the bugs off of them with 1 thing.
They’re a inexpensive way to create a path & you can reuse them.
If you’re having a fall wedding or your venue won’t allow lighted torches then you’ll want torches. They give you the appearance of being lit without the actually fire.
Create your own path by using flowers.
Use flower petals to make a unique designed path. But beware petals may fly away on a windy day.
Old wine bottles can be spray painted & filled with flowers.
Or you can use bunches of flowers placed on the ground.
Re-purpose old wine barrels by turning them into decorations on your path.
Place flowers, pictures, lanterns, or signage on them to add some charm.
I love wedding signage. It’s the only time I can get away with using puns that come off as cute.
You can use signage that points your guests in the direction of the wedding.
Backyard Wedding Decoration Ideas
Although not traditional I love backyard weddings. They’re great for when you want to keep your wedding small & intimate. And especially great for having a wedding on a budget.
But that doesn’t take away from you being able to decorate!
Decorate The Pool
Does your backyard have a pool? Then add that to your decoration.
Simply adding a few elements around or over your pool can take your yard from, “hey there’s a pool” to “WOW, look what they did with their pool”.
Just like the photo above with floating flowers & floating candles. A few of these floating in your pool will make for beautiful decoration.
Or you can place a wood board across your pool to make for an instant aisle. Just make sure it’s sturdy wood so that it can hold the weight of people walking across.
Sometimes just adding greenery is all the decor you need.
For example you can,
- Add wreaths to fences & doors.
- Using leafy greens as table runners instead of tablecloths
- Tie or loop garland around chairs
Got a swing set in your yard?
Instead of trying to hide it, decorate it!
- Add flowers
- Hang drapery from it
- Make it a photo booth station
Instead of traditional seating with individual chairs you can use picnic benches.
Or a combo of the 2 seating arrangements.
I can hear you from here thinking that’ll cheap but just because you’re using a picnic bench doesn’t mean you’re missing out on table decor.
You can still decorate the table the same way that you would any other table.
Wheelbarrows & Buckets
Use what you have on hand. This is important no matter if you’re trying to save money or not.
Why buy something that you already have?
So why not take advantage of the wheelbarrows & buckets you have on hand.
Or even the ones that your family & neighbors may be willing to let you borrow.
Please not the gross buckets you wash your car with. I don’t mean those at all. When I say buckets I mean large nice ones. Use these items to create instant drink coolers!
Fill them with ice & then add drinks.
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