You’ve chosen a gorgeous barn venue and now it’s time to get your wedding decor checklist together. A venue can help set the tone for your nuptials and make your guests feel comfortable, but how it’s decorated will bring everything together to perfectly showcase your vision and style.
While this part of wedding planning is fun, it can also get overwhelming as the checklist of details to consider continues to grow. Since we’ve hosted many barn weddings (check out our Washington state wedding venue), we wanted to give you this wedding decor checklist so the venue will look as amazing as you feel.
First: What’s Your Rustic Barn Decor Theme?
Before you can check off each detail of your wedding decor checklist, you need to determine the overall style and theme that you will follow for your wedding as a whole. With a rustic barn as the centerpiece of your big day, there are many directions you can go in – leaning into the rustic charm or elevating it to be more chic and modern.
Here are some general ideas to get you started.
- Lighting: Consider how you want the lighting to play a role in the evening. Are you going for a soft feel with tealights, lights in mason jars, or many small candles? Or do you want the space to feel bright and open with chandeliers or the natural light of a daytime wedding?
- Materials: Many couples embrace the barn theme with burlap, cast iron, wood, and other natural elements that you would find in nature. However, this isn’t necessary, especially at Edlynn Farm because our barn was designed to allow each couple to make it their own. It was designed to be a neutral backdrop that could support any theme and vision.
- Style: You can lean into the old barn style with vintage chandeliers, film cameras, and classic glassware that can help your guests step back in time. Alternatively, you can go more romantic and elegant or even black tie if you want.
Once you have clarity around these elements, you can dive into the nitty gritty details in the wedding decor checklist below.
There are countless ways to personalize your ceremony, which is one of the first experiences your guests will have with you on the day of the wedding. This is especially important if the ceremony itself is inside the barn. You want to make sure the overall theme is similar to the reception, but that the part where you say “I Do” stands apart as its own event on the big day. Here are a few aspects to consider to customize this and make it your own.
Programs are helpful to guide guests throughout the day and let them know what to expect. While you might immediately start thinking about how you want them to look, don’t forget to consider where they’ll be placed or handed out so guests can find and use them. Even more importantly, what information do they need to contain? Here’s what we recommend considering including:
- For a ceremony inside the barn, we recommend a program or sign that indicates where guests will go after the ceremony. This way the venue team can flip the space into reception mode. Having this schedule outlined is very helpful!
- For an outdoor ceremony, specify whether you want guests inside the barn until reception time or not. If not, you can indicate that in your programs (and/or signage) that cocktail hour will be held outdoors and that everyone will enter the barn together for the reception and “grand reveal” of the couple and wedding party.
Here’s are some programs we loved from our recent weddings :
Signs allow you to easily communicate important details with guests about where to go and what to do as they prepare for the ceremony to begin and once it’s over. As such, you may want signs for:
- Telling Guests where to sit
- A reminder to silence and put away phones for an “unplugged” ceremony
- How to get to cocktail hour
- Where to go after the ceremony
- Wedding hashtag to share all the memories they capture
We loved this sign from a recent wedding at Edlynn Farm:
✔ The Ceremony Arch
The style of the ceremony arch available at your venue will impact how you decorate it. If there’s an arch, you can do a beautiful flower display like the one you see below from one of our recent weddings at Edlynn Farm.
You might also consider draped linen, other floral installations or even containers of florals & greenery flanking the altar. Check out all these altar decoration options to spark your creativity. You can also get inspiration from real-life weddings in our outdoor ceremony gallery and indoor barn ceremony gallery.
✔ The Aisle
Use the aisle to bring some of your theme or colors into the ceremony in a subtle way. Consider the placement of flowers, bows, and other decor along the rows and chairs and down the middle. You might also drop flower petals along the aisle that you and your wedding party will walk down or place a flower display along with a sign at the start of the aisle.
You might even consider “live florals,” which is a design where single stems of florals are embedded into the ground, so it looks almost like they are growing just there. We’ve seen this as a few weddings at Edlynn Farm and it can be beautiful:
Cocktail Hour Decor
Cocktail hour is yet another chance to create a special experience for your guests and showcase your style and theme. It is an opportunity to serve traditional alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic wedding drinks and snacks for guests before the main reception begins.
You might also opt for a coffee cart or lemonade stand in addition to the other options OR as a creative alternative. Other fun ideas include yard or table games so guests can enjoy some friendly competition before the reception begins
✔ Tables and Chairs
Decide whether guests will be standing or sitting during this time. Even if guests are standing, make sure there are some seats for older guests and attendees with disabilities. At Edlynn Farm, we provide this for you if you let us know ahead of time—so make sure to confirm whether you or the venue will be taking care of this. You might also consider high-top cocktail tables.
✔ Bar Decor
Beyond the basics of making sure tablecloths and other elements match your theme, you can further decorate this area with signs and decor. Check out some cocktail hour signs and decor from recent Edlynn Farm weddings for inspiration.
✔ The Guestbook and Gifts Table
Invite attendees to sign a traditional guestbook or look for alternative options to connect with your loved ones. Don’t forget to include a space for cards and gifts, as well, which guests will likely want to leave for you. We love how this Edlynn Farm couple decorated their gift and guest book area.
The reception is where your guests will continue to eat, drink, conversate, and dance the night away. It’s also where they’ll spend the majority of their time at your wedding. There are several elements to consider as you decorate your reception space. Here are a few main areas to focus on.
✔ Seat Assignments
If you have decided to do assigned seating, make sure your guests know where they’re sitting—but don’t forget to have a little fun with this. There are so many ways to make your seat assignments a unique part of the day. Check out these creative seat assignment ideas to find the one that fits the look and feel of your big day.
If you have decided to do open seating, but have tables set aside for immediate family or wedding party, be sure to have signage on those tables so guests don’t accidentally sit at those tables.
✔ Table Decor
Your table decor can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like—and we’ve seen both done beautifully. From tablecloths & place settings to centerpieces, there are many ways you can use this as an opportunity to be both functional and memorable. Check out a few of our favorite tables from past Edlynn Farm weddings.
✔ Your Bridal Table
If you and your partner want to sit at a special table alone, there are many ways to decorate this space to make it stand out. We love when couples choose this option because it gives guests a way to easily find you so instead of doing rounds at the tables, you can just sit and enjoy your dinner. Here are some recent bridal tables that we loved at Edlynn Farm:
✔ Menu Items and Directions
Of course, you want to include the menu or buffet food items and whether it will be served or guests will help themselves to the buffet. This may seem simple and perhaps not important, but at each step of the way, you want to guide your guests. Plus, this serves as another memento of the day for guests to take home with them if they choose. Check out these menu card ideas for inspiration.
Remember to ask your caterer how many tables can be released at one time so they have the opportunity to keep everything hot, fresh and stocked on your buffet table(s). If needed, include this information on the menu card or table.
✔ Hanging Decor
Ask your venue what your hanging options are so you can add small details to the walls and ceiling. Can you bring in twinkle lights or a chandelier? Can you change what they already have set up in the barn? This can be an important part of making the barn space feel extra warm and romantic, so we’re very flexible with our couples with this decorative aspect.
✔ The Cake or Dessert Table
If you want to turn your cake table into a memorable part of your reception, get creative with how you highlight and decorate the entire table, beyond the food that’s on it. There are many ways to go about this, so check out all these dessert table decoration ideas from real weddings to get some fun ideas.
Choose Wedding Decor That Reflects Who You Are
No matter what the overall theme is for your wedding, the goal is to have all of the decor elements work together to bring your vision to life, resulting in the most memorable wedding day. Use this wedding decor checklist to make sure you check all the boxes while staying true to you.