Ideas for a successful country wedding: the menu, bar, decor and the little touches that make all the difference
When we talk about a country wedding, we imagine a magical place, like a field of flowers, or a vineyard. As good weather in Quebec is never a guarantee, this same type of wedding can also take place under a marquee or in a barn. Wherever it happens, it will be a joyous time! Here are a few ideas for organizing your dream country wedding at the end of the summer, or in the fall.
What is a country wedding?
A country wedding can come in many styles, depending on your tastes, the number of guests attending, and where you choose to have it. As a general rule, a country wedding is idyllic, romantic, full of poetry and down-to-earth. It takes place outside in a rustic setting with nostalgic decor, giving it its unique character and welcoming feel. The number one advantage? It can be quite economical, as you can improvise part of the decorations and use recycled elements. It’s time to bring out Grandma’s collection of crystal vases to create beautiful centrepieces and pick flowers from the neighbouring field for the gentlemen’s boutonnieres!
Organizing the wedding: a few key questions
Before you start planning your country wedding, it is important to ask yourself a few questions. Do you want a turnkey wedding and are you ready to go into debt for it? Or do you prefer to organize some of it? How many guests will there be? Will they be coming from far away? Where will the wedding take place? What will be included? What kind of meal will you provide? Will there be an open bar? Do you want to have themed wedding invitations? Would you like to offer your guests a small keepsake at the end of the wedding? All questions are good questions!
On a final note, remember that organizing a wedding can be very demanding, but on the other hand, delegating everything is more expensive. Depending on your budget and how much time you have before D-day, you may have to make some compromises. You will need to find the right balance to ensure that your dream day does not become a huge source of stress! A good compromise is helping plan the main elements (venue, meals, bar, and outlining ideas for the party and decor), and delegate the event management and last minute preparations to a wedding coordinator. Some caterers, like Robert Alexis (!), can also help you with planning and finding suppliers (for example, a DJ and florist), as well as transporting alcohol and decorations.
Where will you have your wedding? In a field, a vineyard, or a barn?
By having your wedding outdoors, in a field or even a backyard for a more intimate ceremony, you create a relaxed and bucolic atmosphere. For an outdoor ceremony, make sure you have a marquee – remember, we’re in Quebec! If your wedding is during springtime, you can choose a rustic inn for your guests to gather in. If it’s during the fall, choose a vineyard during grape harvest season, and a great room we call “the chai”, for a perfect setting! Opting for an inside event will save you spending a lot of time on The Weather Channel. You can always have the cocktails and ceremony outside if the weather is nice, as a good balance.
Country decor: rustic, recycled, local and welcoming
The key to countryside style is mixing objects from different eras. For example, you can place mismatched chairs around tables, use old barrels for cocktail stands, or garnish haystacks with blankets to make benches for the ceremony. Lighted garlands and old-fashioned signs will create a festive and relaxed atmosphere to the evening, and wildflowers simply placed in glass bottles make centerpieces so charming your guests will want to take them home!
The outfits: romantic reigns
For the bridal gown, simplicity reigns supreme. Lace, corsets (not too tight, you want to able to breathe, not like Kim at the Met Gala!), vintage jewellery or a recycled dress are some of the infinite options. And for the bridesmaids? Simple, summery (why not the maxi dress?), maybe even mismatched. For colours, think retro, like a dusty rose or creamy white and touches of gold. For him, try a classic navy blue or warm grey. Be daring and use a range of wildflower colours, with flower crowns woven in hairstyles. Let your guests know that more relaxed, colourful and summery outfits are welcome, and remind them to bring a light wrap and comfortable shoes if the wedding is outdoors – and so they can dance!
The meal: comforting, hearty, and above all, local and seasonal
A buffet for the main course
For a more dynamic event, you can serve the main course as a buffet. This formula limits the amount of time that guests remain seated, instead inviting an easy flow for mingling. The best way to do this is to have several themed food stations. An antipasto station, for example, is equally appreciated whether it is a hot day or a cool evening. Think prosciutto sliced at the buffet and a variety of cheeses, accompanied by grilled vegetables and fresh fruit. Add some olives, marinated artichokes, virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and an assortment of artisan breads, grissini and fine crackers. To keep the countryside atmosphere, present the food on wooden crates or mismatched dishes. Not only are mismatched dishes charming, they can also be found in all good garage sales!
A country table according to Alexis Arslanian
For Alexis, country means sharing. Even if you opt for a sit-down dinner, you can have beautifully presented platters for your guests to share. For example, to accompany flank steaks you can serve chimichurri sauce, summer vegetables, or colourful salads.
And rather than the traditional wedding cake for dessert, use fresh fruits in season to create a variety of delicacies with a light touch. For example, raspberry Palais Royal cake, wild berry coulis, crème anglaise with freshly grated orange zest, and the thin, sweet baked wafers of tuile de grué. It’s simply mouth-watering!
The bar: refreshing, unpretentious, self-serve
A refreshing cocktail makes a wonderful aperitif. Think of the classics, like a Bourbon Lemonade, an Old Fashioned or a Moscow Mule. With dinner, choose generally popular wines, such as a white Chablis and a red Chianti. During the evening, you can opt for a more casual solution by having cocktails, fruit juices and flavoured water at a bar where guests can serve themselves.
Where can you find ideas for your country wedding?
Pinterest is your best ally. Here you’ll find everything you can imagine, for every taste. For more options, enter the key words “country wedding”, “country wedding dress” and “rural wedding” to get a multitude of ideas. Let yourself be inspired and create the magical evening you’ve been dreaming of forever!