When you think about weddings, “simple” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. There’s a certain extravagance that is associated with these events, but the reality is, some of the most elegant weddings are the effortless ones. And there are plenty of photos of simple and beautiful weddings to prove it — which can serve as a much-needed reminder that there's no need to go over the top.
Recently, my boyfriend turned to me and said woefully, “How are we ever going to have a wedding?” It was a legitimate question. Both of us are painfully aware of how much the costs for a reception can add up, between the venue, catering, flowers, DJ, photographer, etc. In fact, according to the Brides American Wedding Study, the average wedding set couples back more than $44,000 in 2018 — which is quite a jump from $27,000 in 2017,
But here’s the thing: weddings don’t have to be lavish — nor do they have to break the bank. There are so many ways to simplify the whole shebang, whether it means doing DIY decor, hiring a friend’s band to play music, or having the whole affair in your parents’ backyard.
That’s why I’m in awe of these particular weddings — they’re stunning in their simplicity, thus demonstrating that your big day doesn’t need glitz and glamour to be memorable.
An Outdoor Oasis
As it turns out, a backyard wedding can be straight up breathtaking. Iron lounge furniture and gorgeous white lanterns turned this Italian reception into a chic cocktail soirée.
An Astonishing Arch
There’s nothing quite like a flower-adorned arch to make the “I do’s” feel extra special. Thanks to this singular addition, the outdoor ceremony feels like it’s straight out of a fairytale — not to mention, it provides a perfect photo op while the couple is exchanging their vows.
A Sweet Self-Serve Buffet
This couple swapped out the traditional cake for an assortment of pies, which was a fitting choice for a nostalgic summer camp wedding. Undoubtedly, the wooden sign and DIY wreaths add to the rustic charm of the dessert table.
A Woodland Wedding
A summer reception in the middle of the forest not only makes the celebration feel more private and special, but it also lends some striking backdrops for photographs. The vibrant paper blossoms add a splash of color and a playful vibe to the otherwise simple setup.
Who knew a circus tent could work so perfectly for an outdoor reception? String lights, candles, and dainty floral centerpieces all add to the charm of this bohemian wedding in Nicasio Valley, Calif.,— and the white fur throw lends an eclectic touch to a simple wooden bench.
An open bar has never looked so classy. The glassware acts as decor in this clever country chic setup, which includes a selection of spirits and a chalkboard sign with the list of signature cocktails.
DIY Drinking Cups
There’s no reason why you need to have fancy glassware for your big day. These simple glass mason jars are charming AF — and guests were guaranteed not to lose their libations because they could write on the heart-shaped adhesive with a gold pen.
Unfussy Hors D'oeuvres
Who says french fries aren’t fitting for a wedding? With an innovative carne asada twist, this appetizer was served in sleek boats on a rustic wooden tray for a classy take on comfort food.
What makes this wedding stand out is the unexpected venue — an old bar in Jackson, Miss. (the bride and groom's hometown). Plus, a build your own po’ boy bar and an array of local brews gave guests a taste of the South. After the couple’s first dance, the bride changed into a jumpsuit (a brilliant move, IMHO), and used the belt from her dress to cinch the waist. Fortunately, both families pitched in to decorate the venue, too, so they were able to throw a charming celebration on a budget.
Table Numbers With A Twist
It’s truly all in the details when it comes to weddings. And honestly, is there any cuter way to find your table number? These rose-gold horseshoes offer a more interesting alternative to the typical paper cards — and they double as a keepsake, too.
So, what’s the lesson learned here? It’s totally possible to keep it simple and still throw a beautiful wedding — all while sticking to your budget. Remember: bigger isn’t always necessarily better when it comes to your big day — and these stunning photos are all the evidence you need.