The most memorable weddings aren’t always necessarily elaborate and extravagant. Some are low-key, understated, and more casual — yet elegant and lovely all the same. Here are ideas you can take inspiration from.

Backyard is the new ballroom

When it comes to low-key wedding venues, backyard weddings are the epitome of romantic, simple, and casual. Forget bridezilla-sized Chelsea Clinton events. Instead, think Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: a surprise backyard affair with less than a hundred guests, with catering from two local Palo Alto restaurants.

Backyards work because comfort, ultimately, is the key to pulling off a relaxed, low-key vibe. In this sense, other venues that could work include a quiet, secluded beach, a lush campground, a charming little vineyard or barn, or even your favorite local restaurant or cafe.

Settings in nature will more likely appeal to your low-key desires. But opt for places, too, where you’ll have enough flexibility to add luxury decor details and design elements.

Go low-key and stay true-to-you with rustic elements

low-key wedding

Destination St. Louis

Embrace your rustic spirit and seize the opportunity to be as creative as you wish. According to BBJ Linen’s article about rustic wedding decor, rustic is all about creating a distinctly personal vibe while taking in the outdoors as an inspiration for your décor and design.

This means letting wildflowers or bright daisies supplant roses as your centerpieces; skip those over-the-top floral arrangements. Instead of rounds, use long farm-style tables with textured, to-the-floor linen. You can also place lanterns along paths and hang string cafe lights in trees or along a ceiling line to create a more casual and intimate atmosphere. These laid-back details will maximize fun for everyone — and make for a low-key wedding to remember.

Nature-inspired colors

Give your celebration a sophisticated feel by letting nature guide you as you pick your palette. Particularly if it’s an outdoor affair, go for earth tones and hues you see in the surrounding landscape, or pastels and neutrals like blush, champagne, and sage.

Garden roses, fluffy pampas grass along the aisle, and hand-tied bouquets with a range of textures and shades of green will never go out of style. As for tables and chairs, use natural wood and neutral tones. If you wish to add a measure of metallic to the mix, a rich copper is a great choice, since it breaks up softer hues while still reinforcing the theme.

Mix and match 

low-key wedding

Inspired Catering – Régine Danielle Events – Maha Studios

If casual is the name of the game, don’t be afraid to think of alternative seating options for your ceremony.

We’re not saying forget the rows of more supportive or higher chairs for older guests. But do go ahead and lay some picnic baskets on the grass, plus a few poufs, cozy couches, and oversized pillows for your guests to lounge on. Not only do these provide a little measure of quirk to your party; the mix of textures and colors will also enhance the photogenic appeal of your nuptials.

Offer cool sips and cocktails

Wine and champagne towers are de rigueur in more formal and structured occasions. For your wedding, you can set the stage by offering sangrias, mellow margaritas, or a signature cocktail that might hold a special meaning in your relationship. Even sweeter if you chill those sips with flower-filled ice cubes and top them off with fruits or edible florals.

Preparing simple chilled cocktails, a water and tea station, or a cooler of drinks as pre-ceremony refreshments is not a bad idea, either. Bonus points if you can add a cute sign — made of wood, crafted from twigs, or written on chalkboard — that encourages guests to drink to having a fun, laid-back time.

Rethink traditional activities

Don’t hesitate to nix some of the traditional planning-intensive activities common in flashier wedding extravaganzas. Again, low-key means let your ingenuity shine.

Instead of seven-course meals with expert pairings of wines and spirits, why not opt for freshly made pizzas or a build-your-own burger station, followed by family recipe desserts? Instead of hiring a string quartet or an entire jazz ensemble to play throughout the night, you’ll probably be better off enlisting a pianist, that friend of yours taking up DJ courses, or at least a smaller group of musicians that won’t crowd your dance floor. And instead of table photos, energize the enthusiastic crowd by setting up classic party games like corn hole, trivia quizzes, croquet, and Jenga.

Planning your perfect day can just mean keeping it simple. A low-key wedding is perfect for laid back couples, and can be just as memorable as an extravagant affair.

low-key wedding