Having an outdoor ceremony or wedding reception set amongst the trees is a wonderful way to embrace mother nature—and save a little money on decor costs. But even though trees are beautiful on their own, you may want to add some embellishments to make the ambiance even more festive for your wedding reception.
From lanterns, to twinkle lights, to ribbons, there are a number of ways you can get creative when decorating trees. Here, nine ideas to use as inspiration for your wedding decorations:
Paper lanterns are a simple option for creating a glowing ambiance at an outdoor wedding. They look great when hanging from trees—and they’re budget-friendly, too. (You can get a pack of 10 paper lanterns for about $20.) There’s no shortage of options, either. Opt for traditional white lanterns, or choose varieties in your wedding colors to stay on-theme.
To hang paper lanterns, you don’t need much—just some twine or fishing line. (You can also use mini LED lights, if you’re planning to light them for your wedding day.) When you’re ready to assemble everything, simply tie a loop in the twine and hook it through the top and bottom of the “C” hook on the lantern to ensure the lantern doesn’t blow away.
Twinkle lights are a classic choice for an evening ceremony or reception. They create a truly romantic look for your nuptials and can be enjoyed year-round. They are also relatively simple to hang from branches or wrap around a tree trunk.
You’ll just need to make sure your outdoor wedding venue has a power source or enough space to run an extension cord (or cords, for many strings of lights.) You may also need to use electrical tape, a mounting hook, or a string light suspension kit to ensure your lights are hung securely and won’t blow around in the breeze. (Note: Use these on secure, mature trees only, or you may damage them.)
For a boho or whimsical outdoor ceremony, hanging colorful ribbons from trees creates a fun and decorative ambiance on your wedding day. As a bonus, they also look amazing as a backdrop for photos. To achieve this look, be sure to use ribbons that are long enough, so you can tie a loop around the tree branch and still have them hang freely below.
Hanging strings or garlands of clear beads is another romantic option for your ceremony or reception on your special day. You can find premade strings or garlands at jewelry or bead stores, or you can make your own. Clear beads will capture and reflect the light beautifully, but you could also hang strings of colorful beads or jewels, if you wish.
To create a warm ambiance for a nighttime event, hang mini lamps or lanterns from sturdy branches. You can use chains or thick rope to hang these. If you’re using solar lights or lanterns, give them plenty of time in the sunlight to charge up before evening starts. Otherwise, you can light candles inside (use LED candles, if your venue doesn’t permit options with real flames) and add rose petals or other flowers for a gorgeous look on your special day.
For a classy ceremony that takes place under a large tree, drape an oversized piece of flowing fabric over two branches to create a mini arch. To complete the look, add lights or other flowers.
Use string to create garlands of real or silk flowers. You can hang several strings in a row around a single branch to create an adorable photo or ceremony backdrop. Or, hang them all around your venue along with strands of crystal beads for a romantic vibe.
Don’t be afraid to embrace the seasons. If you’re hosting a winter wedding, you may want to really lean into the holidays and decorate trees with ornaments and lights. In the fall, you could hang mini pumpkins or apples from trees. Strings of flowers look great for a spring or summer wedding, too.
Looking for more décor inspiration? Check out Zola’s Expert Advice.