Planning a laid back, relaxing rustic wedding seems like an effortless and low-stress choice on the surface. In reality, it takes a lot to make a wedding seem so casual. It’s the little details that really bring these kinds of themes to life and make them seem polished and considered.
This goes for everything in the wedding from the venue to the decor to the food to the flowers and of course, the entire bridal look. When you’re trying to dress as a rustic themed bride, there’s a fine line between pulling it off and it looking a little bit basic. The devil is in the detail and when it’s done well it looks amazing.
Want to find out how to pull off this gorgeous, effortlessly chic, rustic bridal look? Let’s get into it.
First things first, let’s start with your beautiful wedding dress. Fundamentally, a rustic bridal look is flowing, lightweight, and simple in its embellishment. This is supposed to give an air of natural freedom that is integral to this overall theme.
With this being said, wedding dresses that use chiffon are a favourite among fans of this theme. You can go with a simple sweetheart neckline and an A-line silhouette, or maybe you want to go slightly more Grecian-inspired with a one shoulder moment or knotted shoulder look. The key here is to be lightweight and floaty.
As this is the case, you don’t necessarily need a full length gown. You can pull off a rustic themed bridal look with a tea-length wedding dress, you’ll just need to be more considered with your approach to your accessories, especially your shoes, to dress the look up a bit.
A huge part of a rustic inspired wedding is the venue and the surroundings. The rustic theme is predominantly a natural, rural affair. Think about natural wood, barn-based reception venues, plenty of flowers including beautiful wildflowers, and environmentally-inspired details.
With this in mind, you’re going to want to tie your surroundings into your overarching rustic bridal look. If you’re surrounded by cascading willow trees, why not mimic the movement of this with your hairstyle or bouquet. If there are loads of wooden elements, why not use the shades in your makeup or in your accessories?
Think about it this way, you’re going to be having your wedding photos taken in this environment, so you want to feel at one with it. If you can pull inspiration from your surroundings, it’ll create a more cohesive, holistic look that will ultimately bring your rustic wedding theme to life.
We’ve spoken briefly about hairstyles, but honestly, it’s quite an important element of a rustic wedding look. If you think about beautiful women in nature, chances are the images that come to mind are of fairy, goddess or elven-type women that have long tresses, cascading effortlessly. Maybe there’s a small braid here or there, but mostly the hairstyle is down.
Having your wedding hair down plays into the idea of a rustic wedding being wild, free and effortless. If you want to add something to make your wedding hairstyle more special, consider a flower crown. This is a natural way of paying homage to more traditional veils and gives you an opportunity to further tie your floral arrangements into your rustic bridal look.
You’ll also see that most of these rustic hairstyles have a soft barrel curl. This can be achieved on pretty much any length of hair and gives an effortless, elegant look that’s as soft as the nature around you.
Makeup and accessory style
Speaking of softening aspects of your rustic bridal looks, your wedding makeup look should be fairly natural looking. Think about soft pink and peach shades for your lips and cheeks, a light brown that mimics the rustic wood on your eyes, and a carefully shaped and lined brow.
For a rustic vibe, it’s all about enhancing what’s naturally there and using what you’ve got. That applies to everything from decor to makeup. Keep it simple and let your natural beauty shine through.
In terms of accessories, you’ll want to keep it minimal. There’s a beauty in the simplicity of a rustic theme. If you look at reference images, you’ll see that there are very few pieces of jewellery on the bride. This allows your engagement and newly received wedding ring to take centre stage and speak for themselves.
When it comes to your shoes, it does depend on your dress and your venue. As rustic weddings are often rural, you’re probably going to want to avoid stilettos as you’ll spend most of the day sinking into the grass. However, you probably don’t want to wear hiking boots or sneakers unless they’re box-fresh white or covered by the hem of your wedding dress.
If you’re going for a tea-length dress then you can make a style feature of your shoes by wearing cute ankle boots that make a statement as well as keeping your feet warm and dry!
Let’s round out this article with a few final tips for creating a rustic themed bridal look:
- Don’t overthink it. The whole point of this wedding theme is to be relaxed and natural. If you start layering on more and more details, it’ll detract from the vibe you’re trying to achieve.
- Match your bouquet to your dress and accessories. If you have a flowing long gown, consider having a cascading bouquet that mimics the direction of your dress. If you’re having a shorter gown, make sure you adjust the size of your bouquet accordingly. You don’t want your bouquet to cover up your entire dress.
- When it comes to photographing this look, keep it candid. Although these candids may be set up and designed, make sure you get shots where you’re looking down at the floor, off into the distance, or look like you’re wandering off into the distance. This will capture the spirit of freedom, nature and effortless elegance and fun that this theme is known for.
Rustic Chic Bridals
This styled bridal portrait session from Laura Gordon is absolutely fantastic. The film photography + natural lighting and stunning floral crown and bouquet from Anthomanic are breathtaking. Plus, I love it when people come together to help each other out and that’s exactly what happened with this shoot. Laura had a vision, her photographer friend Abby volunteered to model, Rebekah (another photographer) offered up her wedding dress for Abby to wear, and Amanda of Anthomanic did the florals! And about that floral design – some of the components are spray-painted gold. Isn’t that genius?!
Laura Gordon: “I had a specific vision in mind for this session. I knew I wanted it to be a bridal shoot right away because bridal portraits are one of my favourite things to shoot! I wanted to create a scene that was totally me. I know that sounds kind of odd, but this is for my portfolio. I wanted to have something really awesome that reflected my style. In my mind, I knew I wanted to evoke a dreamy, soft feeling while still being very beautiful. With a gorgeous model like Abby and the perfect location all I needed were some florals.
I gave Amanda of Anthomanic a description of the type of shoot I was looking to create, told her I wanted a bouquet and a floral crown, and listed some of my favourite flowers. It was a gazillion degrees outside, but they day of the shoot finally came! On the way I gave Amanda a call to check up on things and she began to describe the bouquet. She said, ‘I hope I didn’t go too crazy with the spray paint!’ To be completely honest, I was kind of nervous when she said that. Spray paint? On a bouquet? Then she went on to describe it and it sounded amazing! After I saw the bouquet and the headpiece I almost died. They were so much more than I’d hoped for!”
Credits: Photography: Laura Gordon Photography // Floral Design: Anthomanic // Dress: Oleg Cassini from David’s Bridal on loan from Rebekah // Model: Abby // Location: Virginia.