Get tips on planning a homemade country-style wedding.
Country Wedding Reception
Abby and Greg Duntz found the field of their dreams on rural property belonging to the bride’s parents—the rustic setting for their wedding reception.
Bride and Groom in a Cornfield
The charm of the farm won out over big-city venues when Chicagoans Abby and Greg picked a place to tie the knot.
Wood Veneer Wedding Invitation
To suit the casual feel of their wedding, Abby and Greg designed invitations using a wood veneer paper stock.
Bride And Groom Leaving Church
The wedding ceremony was held in a small local church. Abby’s father, a minister, helped officiate.
Wedding Rings in a Corn Husk
A farmer friend planted corn to serve as a country-style backdrop to Abby and Greg’s wedding celebration.
Wedding Party In A Cornfield
The wedding party posed amid head-high cornstalks.
Bride and Groom By Windmill
A windmill added a romantic country touch to a portrait of the happy twosome.
Wedding Reception Tent
A reception tent was set up at the edge of her parents’ backyard, Abby notes. “There was nothing but farmland to look at in every direction—which we loved!”
Wedding Reception Tables with Runners
To personalize the dinner tables, Abby and her mother selected Amy Butler fabrics, which they sewed into floral-patterned runners.
Leftover fabric from the reception table runners was used to frame the wedding programs. “It was the hard work of Greg, my bridesmaids and a hot glue gun that got them done,” says Abby.
Oil Lamps on Reception Table
Abby and Greg hit every antique store they could find to collect 80 vintage oil lamps they used as table decorations.
Reception Table Number Featuring Dog's Photo
Photos of the couple's dog, Cooper, made whimsical table numbers.
Flower Arrangement In Cheese Box
Antique cheese boxes were used in nostalgic floral centerpieces.
Wedding Guest Book on Antique Table
The guest book rested on one of the antique tables Abby’s parents collect.
Scrapbook Wedding Guest Book
The scrapbook-style guest book invited guests to leave a note for the couple in their own little envelopes.
Wedding Reception Place Card Holder
Abby’s dad built a place card holder out of recycled barn wood.
Calligraphed Wedding Place Cards
Hand-calligraphed place cards hung on mini clothespins.
Strawberry Jam Wedding Favors
The bride and groom spent a full day mashing strawberries, mixing and canning their tasty wedding favors.
Hay Bales Around Fire Pit
Hay bale seats were set up around a campfire prepped for making s'mores.
Wedding Cake Toppers
A friend who is a pastry chef made a small Boston cream wedding cake topped by wooden peg figures representing the couple and their pets.
Wedding Reception Desserts
Hundreds of bars and pastries filled the dessert table.
Wedding Reception Tent In Moonlight
A waxing moon bathed the festivities in a loving light.
Bluegrass Band Playing
A bluegrass band serenaded guests into the wee hours.
Wedding Guests Making S'Mores
The celebration ended sweetly with guests choosing from homemade marshmallows—in caramel, vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon flavors——to make gourmet s’mores.
When Abby Ernst and Greg Duntz started checking out cornfields, they weren’t preparing to harvest. They were planning their wedding.
Though they live in downtown Chicago, they found that big-city wedding venues didn’t suit them. But while visiting Abby’s parents near rural Franksville, Wisconsin, “we were relaxing in their backyard, surrounded by beautiful farmland,” Abby recalls, “and we knew—this place was us!”
In keeping with their dream of a wedding that was intimate, comfortable and personal—a chance for guests to experience real Midwestern charm—they made their special day as DIY as possible. With help from family and friends, they built, baked, canned, sewed, restored and recycled. “My father married us in a small neighborhood church,” says Abby, a pastor’s daughter. An outdoor celebration followed in a 40-by-60-foot tent on her parents’ lawn, bordered by acres of green-and-golden stalks.
“That was one of the best wedding presents of all,” Abby notes. “Mom and Dad’s neighbor is a farmer, and he knew we wanted a backdrop that really said country. So he planted corn just for the occasion!”
Less pomp, more personality
According to a 2012 survey of 18,500 brides conducted by theknot.com, more couples are choosing casual weddings. Last year, 17 percent of brides described their weddings as casual, compared to just 12 percent in 2009.
Do-it-yourself is another trend, with 48 percent of couples designing their own programs, 47 percent making their favors and 37 percent sending DIY invitations. In fact, rustic weddings, or those with rustic elements, have become so popular that they sparked an entire website in 2009, rusticweddingchic.com.
Photography by m three studio photography.