25 Casual Wedding Ideas for Your Low-Key Big Day
If you're planning a casual wedding—say, in your parents' backyard, at a restaurant, or in a barn—you're probably trying to find the balance between sophisticated and fun. Low-key weddings and elegance don't have to be (and usually aren't!) mutually exclusive. In fact, the following food, décor, florals, and dress ideas from real weddings are proof that casual celebrations are just as beautiful as their formal counterparts. We even have the photos to prove it.
From lining your aisle with plush rugs and seating your guests at picnic tables to serving your favorite food chain's cuisine for dinner (Chipotle, anyone?), there are endless ways to introduce laid-back details to your big day. If you believe that the best things in life are the simple ones, just wait until you see the following petite bouquets—they bring all the beauty with none of the fuss. When it's time for dessert, we're all for going out with a bang. Serve unexpected treats that you'd eat at a barbeque, like mini churros and ice cream sandwiches.
The best part about all of these ideas? They're seriously conducive to a stress-free, lighthearted wedding. Encourage your guests to kick off their shoes and take the dance floor by storm in flip flops, instead. And if you're looking to bring your casual fête to the next level, go for subtle interpretations of today's best trends and use geodes, tassels, and neon signs as a way to bring a little modernity to the simplicity.
For a more relaxed take on a bridal bouquet, make like this bride and carry a clutch of eucalyptus, air plants, and assorted leafy greens down the aisle. Want to dress it up a bit? Pop in petite white roses.
Instead of dressing up your bridal party in matching gowns (or colors!), let them choose their own. They'll be more comfortable in a design and hue they chose for their own bodies and skin tone—and the mismatched look is very in right now.
Give guests the option to lay back and lounge while you tie the knot. We'd still recommend setting up a few rows of chairs, though, for grandmas and grandpas who might not be comfortable on the ground.
Fun and Games
Set up classic party games, like Jenga, croquet, and corn hole, to entertain guests of all ages—even the teenagers.
If it's important to you to have a bursting dance floor, make it happen by helping guests get comfortable. Set up a flip-flop station by the band or DJ and you're all set.
Geode Place Cards
An easy way to instantly transform simple white place cards? Top each with a unique crystal or geode, which double as favors.
Here's how you ensure that every person on your guest list RSVPs "yes": Tell them Chipotle is catering it. And at your wedding, the guac is most certainly not extra.
If a Champagne tower is the hallmark of a black-tie wedding, then a cocktail chilled with flower-filled ice cubes should be the drink of choice for a backyard affair. Bonus points if you top all your drinks off with edible florals.
Family Recipe Desserts
If your mom has a famous dessert recipe—like her best-ever Bundt cake—she's been serving up at family parties for years, ask her to consider whipping something up for the dessert table.
Bleachers and Confetti
We're not sure what's more casual—seating your guests in bleachers or inviting them to throw full rolls of streamers after you say "I do."
Forget that super-fancy three-tier wedding cake. An array of elegant single layers, decorated with creeping vines, are sophisticated but still appropriate for your laid-back nuptials.
Stocked Welcome Bags
You don't need to fill welcome bags with expensive tchotchkes to make an impression. Try stuffing them with yummy snacks, like dried fruit and kale chips, monogrammed soda bottles, and mini maps instead.
Transform your ceremony venue into a cozy living room by lining the aisle with pretty rugs.
Tassel Escort Cards
Colorful and creative, tassel escort cards offer a little quirk to your party. Plus, they're a super-cool departure from the traditional paper options typically seen at fancier fêtes.
Snow Cone Station
Bring everyone back to their country fair days with a snow cone station, complete with all their favorite syrup flavors.
Leather-wrapped cluster centerpieces look right at home atop a woven runner, which brings bohemian-inspired texture to an effortless tablescape.
Perfectly arranged cabbage leaves bring colorful, casual charm to a petite clutch.
What better way to lighten up your reception than by serving breakfast for dessert? A hearty stack of crepes stands in as an unexpected wedding cake.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Easy enough to eat with your hands, ice cream sandwiches are the ultimate dessert, especially if you're getting hitched in the summer.
A trendy neon sign brings a little touch of the club to your backyard wedding's lounge.
Add a little cinnamon-sugar sweetness to the desert table with these mini churros.
A simple way to give guests the full picture of your food stations? Make like this bride and set up guests with a map, that highlights what each section is serving up.
Glass Jar Vases
Keep ceremony décor festive and unfussy by dotting the aisle with loosely-bunched flowers displayed in glass jars.
Talk about an unexpected wedding bar! If you have an old Chevy pickup at your disposal, load her up with your favorite beer.
If you're throwing an outdoor summer wedding, set up a (spiked!) pink lemonade stand to help guests cool off before the ceremony.