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Real Weddings: Natural & Organic-Inspired Wedding Reception

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rustic fall winter wedding

Even though weddings are usually done on a much larger scale than at-home parties, the level of creativity that goes into the receptions makes them a wonderful resource for drawing inspiration & ideas from for everyday celebrations & holiday parties as well, even if you just emulate a few of them or modify the ideas to fit your budget.

rustic fall winter wedding

For example, this gorgeous wedding reception, which was designed by event planner Beth Helmstetter (who you might remember from the fun & unique “Eclectic Baby Shower” we featured earlier) – has some great inspiration for fall or winter celebrations – from Thanksgiving to Christmas to bridal showers or engagement parties held this time of year.

rustic fall winter wedding

Read on for the details, as told by Beth, as well as lots of “Style Steal Tips” at the end of the post…

Louisa and John are this amazingly down-to-earth pair with a love for nature and the desire to ensure the guests were comfortable at all times. For this reason, we decided to go with a residential yet organic feel when designing the day.

To bring in the natural feel, we used many elements including an old tree stump in lieu of a cake plate, pine cones as place card holders and bark to hold the centerpieces. Also, fresh herbs adorned everything from the ceremony arch to each guest napkin.

rustic fall winter wedding

For me, linens are one of the most important details when designing an event. Not only are they the canvas for the table design, but napkins are the one decorative element that guests actually touch and feel. In Louisa and John’s case, we went for a Russian linen in the shade of wheat (pictured at top), which was luxurious to the touch and served as the perfect canvas for the dinner tables, all while being completely organic materials.

rustic fall winter wedding

As guests arrived, they were offered Reed’s Ginger Ale (the bride’s favorite) and were greeted to the sounds of Cale, a hot Spanish Guitar group from Los Angeles. After vows were exchanged, Louisa and John ensured every guest felt a part of their day by including them in group pictures and greeting everyone individually.

rustic fall winter wedding

For dinner, Louisa choice buffet service which included all fresh and organic ingredients from the local community including scallops on the half shell, herbed salmon and fresh peaches drizzled in local white honey.

rustic fall winter wedding

rustic fall winter wedding

Guests spent the evening conversing and dancing to the sounds of a DJ who spun Louisa and John’s favorite lounge music throughout the event.

rustic fall winter wedding

Thanks again to Beth for sharing these gorgeous pics! And now for some take-home tips:

STYLE STEAL TIPS for home celebrations:

  • Use Birch Vases or Birch Vase Sleeves filled with a few large white flowers and herbs or other greenery as centerpieces (Resources: Signals.com and
  • Go for a color palette of bright white, wheat/light beige, and earthy green
  • Accent napkins with fresh herbs or (or a less-expensive greenery option, like the bouquets of mixed greenery available at grocery stores – usually for around $5 – or event leaves from your backyard. White blossoms also look gorgeous as napkin accents.
  • Use inexpensive aluminum buckets (available at stores like Home Depot) filled with ice to create a pretty, chilled display for bottled drinks like organic beer or sparkling sodas and water
  • Large mason jars or candy jars simply labeled and embellished with twine make great serving containers for drinks like lemonade, sangria, punch or cucumber-infused water. Float fruit, lemon, or cucumber slices in the drink for a pretty display.
  • When it comes to food, it’s all about presentation! How great does the wheat grass-covered serving tray used to serve the scallops look?! And the use of all-white serveware really makes the colors in the food pop.
  • Choose party favors that coordinate with the “natural theme” like the unique-shaped Tea Forte favors pictured above. ($20 for 20 at beau-coup.com)
Vendor Credit
By |2018-02-12T20:47:22-07:00November 24th, 2008|Party Decor Projects, Weddings|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Ashley November 24, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Oh I loooove all the birch details!!!

  2. Erica November 24, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Wow – this is truly gorgeous! The centerpieces are so beautiful, and I love the “tree stump cakeplate”idea!

  3. Karen November 24, 2008 at 8:36 am

    The tablescape is just beautiful! I might add some red elements and do something like this for our Christmas Eve dinner. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Joanna (letsentertain.net) November 24, 2008 at 8:38 am

    So beautiful! I love all the natural elements especially the birch!

  5. Jill November 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I agree with everyone about how fabulous the birch accents are – and I also really love the cylinder candles that look like eyelet lace!

  6. Neil Cowley November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Wow that’s a lot of great detail photos. A lovely organic esthetic.

  7. dwellings and decor November 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    This wedding is stunning! This is almost exactly how I am envisioning my wedding. I really hope I can capture a similar feel. Thank you so much for posting this!

  8. MixMingleGlow November 24, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    LOVE the cake “plate”! Everything is just gorgeous.

  9. Sandra @ Ribbons and Favors November 25, 2008 at 8:16 am

    I must admit that wedding cake plate really caught my eye. Talk about an attention grabber with the contrast of that all white cake and wood cake stand. Impressive!

  10. Madelyn @ Southern Weddings November 25, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I adore this wedding reception. The textures and colors are so fantastic! I love the food options and the way they were presented! Wonderful post!

  11. Wendy November 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

    This wedding is seriously breath-taking! I just adore that grass covered serving tray and the birch vases!

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  15. Elizabeth November 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    What a beautiful wedding! I love the paper that is wrapped around the votives. I would love to do this for my wedding but cannot find that type of paper anywhere. Can you tell me what you used and where I can find it?

  16. sarah November 12, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I am so in love with this wedding theme! It’s exactly what we are going for. I’m just trying to figure out where I can collect enough fallen birch limbs to hollow out and make candle holders from. I’m feeling very crafty these days. http://www.travisandsarah2010.blogspot.com

  17. Sarah2 November 13, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Love her dress! Any details on who the designer was?

  18. Louise May 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Oh my goodness. After searching the web . This is my wedding!!! I was going for the Black/White Damask print fushia/Lime scheme. This Organic Inspired theme has taken my breath. I have thrown out all previous ideas and have lovingly committed to this theme. I think I will still try to incorporate some yellow and black, colors I love, to this thema and it will still work magically. I come across this page because I am doing hanging mason jars as vases hanging from my tent and shepards hooks and now I am in love. When you know, you know. This is US!!!!

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  23. Elizabeth Renee Mahaffey June 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I really think that these ideas will help to make the perfect nature inspired wedding reception.

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