Casual weddings can be just as fun, personalized, and fabulous as the most formal of events. Here, we share some of our favorite casual wedding ideas. From a barn party to a garden fete, there's something for every bride and every wedding.
When this couple's outdoor picnic wedding was moved inside for a rainstorm, this colorful, gingham-wrapped silverware helped keep the indoor party light and cheery.
Each table at Jeremy and Andrew's reception has a different theme; perched atop the "music" table's orange shag carpet is a rack of eight-track tapes and a Woodstock LP tucked into a Fisher-Price record player. (Florist Candi Milliard rooted succulents in a retro cork planter and used craspedia to playfully suggest a disco ball.)
"We wanted fun and quirky," says bride Chloe of the paper table runners she designed with Athena Preston. "The bluebirds look like something from the cover of a 1950s book, and the spiderwebs and foxes make it all a little wilder." The old chairs, collected mostly at flea markets, exude a bucolic charm.
This effervescent letterpress invitation suite for Joanne and Luke's city hall wedding was designed by San Francisco artist Jeff Canham, a friend of the groom. The card on the bottom right invites guests to a casual celebration, complete with taco truck, the following day at Golden Gate Park.
In this intimate ceremony, bride and groom Laura and Matthew recite the same wedding vows said by the bride's parents, who celebrated their 40th anniversary earlier that week. The flower girl wears a hair wreath that was handwoven the previous afternoon by the bride's sister and bridesmaid, Hollis. The ring bearers hold pillows contributed by each family.
A dessert bar of the bride, Mimi's favorite sweets boasts chocolate chip-cornflake-marshmallow cookies, brownie bites, and crisped rice treats. Hundreds of chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate truffles made by Mimi's godmother are also served. A small banana cake from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City (the couple's favorite bakery) is finished with a custom topper by Paul Pape Designs based on the couple's avatars on Nintendo Wii.
At Satoko and Alex's outdoor reception, a different ranch animal presides over each table, set with mismatched plates and napkins for a rustic, intimate, family-dinner vibe. Satoko bought them, along with votive holders and centerpiece vessels, at tag sales, antiques stores, Goodwill, and the Alameda Flea Market.
Bride Vanessa's sister-in-law hosted a crafting night before the wedding and brought along a button maker. At the party, guests made a series of personalized buttons. Some had messages about the bride and the groom, some had hearts drawn by their niece, and some had motifs designed by the groom for the wedding. The bride's sister-in-law also wrote "I Love You" in many different languages for some of the buttons (including "Mena Tanda Wena," in Zulu). The 500 buttons were scattered around the tables at the wedding for guests to wear and keep as mementos.
Bride Sarah's background in the food industry played a large part in this weekend wedding's menu. She developed all the recipes and served the reception meal family-style, with large footed tureens and pedestal bowls passed down the table. In addition to charcuterie, a variety of cheeses, figs, and fresh raspberries is served as an homage to the bride's time cooking in the south of France and as a vegetarian option for groom Andras and other guests.
A focal point of Kristen and Joshua's ceremony location is the "Tree of Life" backdrop. The bride's friends threw a "Tree of Life" quilting party before the wedding, hand-stitching the tree as they sipped sangria. The bride plans to display the quilt at some point, but first the bride and groom need to find the wall space in their already art-filled home.
The head wrangler at Teton National Park, where Laura and Matthew had their wedding, wanted to do something special for the couple: This wagon ride to the reception is his gift. He had spent the previous week sanding and repainting the wagon, meticulously grooming the horses, and making it into a chariot for the wedding party.
Lush and romantic arrangements of organic dahlias, chocolate cosmos, chocolate geraniums, white garden roses, and white sweet peas fill silver vessels like soup terrines, julep cups, and candy dishes at Claire and Benjamin's reception. The centerpieces also include bowls of fresh green produce.
In lieu of a wedding cake, a dessert buffet at this reception is laden with sweets from a local bakery, a favorite of bride and groom Theresa and Jon. Extra seating cards are calligraphed with the names of the desserts; patterned paper bands and red and blue cotton ribbon trim the cake stands.