The pendulum has really swung recently when it comes to the world of wedding decor. When I got married a mere five years ago, it was still a really sparkly, shiny little bubble. Picture lots of brightly lit ballrooms and black limousines, tightly clipped and domed floral bouquets, plated chicken and champagne flutes, you get the gist. This was back in the olden days, pre-popular wedding blogs and pre-Pinterest — pre the whole barn-wedding phenomenon. Nowadays, even the most upscale brides are embracing the whole rural-and-rustic thing: bales of hay (as chairs), burlap runners, wagon wheel chandeliers. The barnification of wedding culture continues to baffle me. I believe that unless you grew up shoveling fertilizer, there is no need to use your wedding day as an opportunity to re-create a dilapidated cowshed, then prance through it barefoot on an aisle made of manure.
While I am all for creating a groovy, relaxed ambience that allows for your guests to kick back, I think the trick is to strike a balance between over-the-top ornamentation and agrarian economy-chic. Think simple strung lights, lush table garlands, and old-school handfuls of rice. Here are some cool, cost-efficient, and visually sensational DIY decor ideas that I hereby grace with the Stone Fox stamp of approval.
Why not give all your guests little bottles of bubbles from the dollar store to blow while you and your newly betrothed are climbing into your honeymoon car? It’s like fairy-tale psychedelia — Cinderella meets Tommy.
Colorful, worn Moroccan rugs are an amazing addition to any outdoor wedding. They make the space look inviting, mellow, and high-style all at once. Plus, once the wedding is over, you can reuse them to make your newly married home cozy and colorful.
Like most bizarre marriage rituals, no one quite knows how it originated (it’s rumored the pagans thought that the grain could transfer fertility to the newlywed couple), but it’s a classic, low-budget way to create a climate of celebration. (By the way: That whole hippie thing about how tossed rice kills birds? Total urban legend.) Plus, it’s an awesome way for your aggro bridesmaids to work out their rage.
The chuppah is a tapestry attached to the tops of four poles, and, in Jewish tradition, symbolizes the safety of the home that the couple is about to build together. Jewish or not, I’m all for it. My Irish-Catholic husband literally cut down some branches in a forest upstate and we threw my nana’s quilt over the top and called it a day. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add some wild leaves and flowers.
Skip the vases altogether—they’re an unnecessary expense when it comes to centerpieces. A garland packs an equally luscious punch, plus your guests won’t have to shout at each other across huge floral arrangements. Dahlias, eucalyptus, wine grapes, pomegranates, lemons, and Juliet roses can be artfully arranged and draped to create a tablescape rich in color and texture.
The “Just Married” Car
If you can get your hands on it, the classic vintage Volkswagen bus (preferably in a pastel shade) adorned with empty beer cans is positively the coolest way to get out of Dodge.
Marigolds are beautiful, low-maintenance, and have a clean, earthy smell. Plus, they are a natural mosquito repellent. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, why not use them to make a mandala in the lawn to create a sacred space and symbolize the journey you’re taking with your partner? My friend Leigh did this at her Northern Cali wedding, and she said, “I walked through it myself before the ceremony. It was a great, meditative way to get present. Plus, my guests wandered through it when they wanted to take a break from the dance floor.”
Pots of Herbs
Few things make me happier than sustainable decor that can be passed onto your guests to take home. I’m obsessed with placing small pots of fresh herbs around your wedding venue (lavender, sage, and basil are some of my favorites) and handing them out at the end of the party.
Call me a sucker, but I love these little guys. You can buy them anywhere, use them again, and it’s a foolproof way to create a dreamy golden vibe that envelops your guests in the essence of warmth.