What to Look For in a Rustic Wedding Venue

Check out this all-inclusive list of all the things to consider and look for in a rustic wedding venue as you make your final choice.

By The Zola Team

rustic centerpiece
Photo by Env Photography

Rustic chic is a wedding staple style here to stay. By incorporating country, vintage, and/or industrial elements into all areas of your wedding design, it embraces one of the most popular approaches to wedding planning today.

Choosing a wedding venue requires consideration of space, accommodations, and how well the setting fits your personal vision. Even with the parameters of rustic chic as your aesthetic, there are still several ways to customize it and make it your own. The choice of where is usually the second decision behind the choice of when for a wedding celebration. Once you have secured a venue, you can start to fill in the details for how you want your ceremony and reception to unfold.

To get started on what to look for in a wedding venue, here are a few things to consider before making your final selection.

Overall Aesthetic

When sourcing rustic wedding venues, allow some of your decision-making to be reserved for what lights you up. Although budgets are always a lingering factor, if a place gives you goosebumps in a good way, follow the feeling. If you are instantly drawn to a certain building, consider what makes it stand out.

Many rustic weddings take place in a vineyard, winery, ranch, barn venue or similar outdoor space. However, open fields, warehouses, or even an apple orchard can carry a similar rustic charm as well. By choosing a building or area that already has the atmosphere and structure you’re looking for, there may be little you have to add to it in terms of flowers and decorations.

Space Flexibility

As you tour different spaces, ask how many guests the venue can accommodate. Even if you haven’t finalized your headcount yet, you likely have a rough idea of how many people you want to attend. After looking at the raw space, ask to look at examples of how it’s been used in the past and if it can be restructured in any way.

For example, are there sliding doors that open or close off part of the space? Will there be enough room for a sit-down reception or is it made for standing room only? These are the kinds of questions you’ll want answered to ensure the space can fit your wedding needs.

What to Look For in a Rustic Wedding Venue Photo Credit // Malcolm Brown Photography

Full-Service or a la Carte

Another factor to consider when choosing a rustic wedding venue is a space that will fit your budget and time availability. An a la carte option may seem less expensive, since you can pick and choose what you want to add to your decor and setup.

On the other hand, the convenience of a full-service option may be more appealing, especially if you don’t have the time to help with decorations. Although you may not be able to customize this option as much, you’ll have chairs, tables, and anything else that already comes with the space fixed.

Depending on what you’re envisioning for your wedding day, look at how much DIY will be needed. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. It simply comes down to what the space can offer either way.

Vendor Options

Certain venues may not have a full-service option, but have recommended and/or approved vendors they work with instead. If this is the case, then vet the vendors to see if their services meet what you have in mind for your big day.

On the plus side, if there are already contracts in place with chosen people to provide flower arrangements, food and beverage, and audio-visual equipment, they will be well-versed in the capabilities of the venue already. On the other hand, it leaves you less room to pick your own people if you already have specific vendors in mind to carry out your wedding plan.

Temperature Control

The airy space of a rustic wedding venue may be better suited for the temperate months of the year versus having your celebration in the dead heat of summer or the coldest days of winter. Many venues have solutions in place for temperature control, but seasonality is something to consider when choosing your rustic spot.

Also, think about how easy it is to get to and from your location of choice. For example, if you choose a barn wedding venue out in the country, road quality and easy-to-navigate directions for guests are something to keep in mind as well. Will you need to coordinate special group transportation? Are there overnight accommodations available? All of these details are important to communicate with the venue coordinator to see if they have experience handling similar types of situations and what types of solutions they can provide.

Audio-Visual Capabilities

A rustic atmosphere or industrial setting may not have the wiring capabilities for a full-blown audio setup. Note how many electrical outlets and lighting fixtures there are and where they’re placed. Will there be easy access for your DJ or band to set up their equipment that makes sense for the reception layout. How is the reverberation inside the venue?

The venue coordinator will be well-versed in all of the technical information, which is good to know ahead of time. You don’t want to learn later that there may not be enough power to sustain the events of the day.

Menu Offerings

The number of outlets and fixtures is also important to consider for caterers you may have present at your reception. Some venues will have full-service amenities, including a kitchen and menu options, while others may offer a bare-bones type of structure.

Think about the meal, if any, you’d like to offer your wedding guests and if the venue can accommodate what you have in mind. Some spaces may not allow alcoholic beverages or only beer and wine (not hard liquor), which is also a question to ask if that’s part of your reception plans.

General Accommodations

When selecting a rustic wedding venue, what other accommodations do you need? Is there room to get ready on site? Are there working restrooms? The logistics of wedding planning are just as important as the overall atmosphere you want to create.

The idea of what you want may be much different than what certain venues can accommodate. Each has its own special offerings, but ask these same kinds of questions at each place you tour. Although two wineries may look similar, for example, what they provide may be wildly different.

Cost Factor

Planning any style of wedding requires a conversation about cost. Are you on a strict budget or do you have savings to spend on a whim? This will narrow down which venues may be a better fit, but that doesn’t mean the rustic elegance needs to dip. For a rustic wedding on a smaller budget, a cozy backyard ceremony with close friends and family members may be a good solution. You don’t have to worry about wedding venue costs and can keep the other vendor expenses low, too.

On the other end of the spectrum, where cost is less of a concern, you may want to rent out an entire ranch to accommodate all of your guests with all the bells and whistles. The good news is there are plenty of rustic venue spaces and unique atmospheres to fit every couple regardless of budget.

Inline Modern&RomanticWeddingatJuliette OnthetimesPhotographyPhoto Credits // On the Times Photography

Customizing the Space for Your Ideal Rustic Wedding

Once you’ve chosen the rustic wedding venue of your dreams, there are countless ways to decorate a wedding venue to make your vision come to life. From flowers and seat placements to lighting and cake options, all of these details emphasize the look and feel you want to achieve.

Certain wedding flowers evoke a more rustic feel, such as sunflowers, daisies, and garden roses. Popular colors are dusty rose, pale yellows, earthy greens, all of which embody this style. Wood accents are also a main feature of rustic weddings. And etched wood cards or pine cones make creative seat placement ideas to add to your chosen space.

The lighting also makes a difference in the overall ambiance of your celebration. If you plan to have an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception, take advantage of the natural light of the day. In the evening, switch to the soft glow of twinkly lights, oil lamps, or other creative options that make sense for the venue. Additionally, rustic wedding plans often include a semi-naked wedding cake or fun alternatives, like cupcakes or a donut wall.

The beautiful venue you choose serves as the base, but once you start to fill in the details of the wedding package, it’ll start to feel more personalized to you as a couple. Keep a list of your must-haves and where you have wiggle room to compromise as necessary. After all the questions are answered and the accommodations make sense, it’ll come down to your gut and what feels like the best place for you to celebrate your special day.

For more wedding venue ideas, see Zola’s expert advice in the resources below:

  • Questions to Ask When Touring a Wedding Venue
  • Historic Wedding Venues in the US
  • Top Nature-Inspired Wedding Venues in the US