30 Casual Wedding Ideas for Your Low-Key Big Day

lace flutter sleeve wedding gown
Photo: Russell Heeter

If you're planning a casual wedding—say, in your parents' backyard, at a restaurant, or in a barn—you're probably trying to find the balance between sophisticated and fun. Low-key weddings and elegance don't have to be (and usually aren't!) mutually exclusive. In fact, the following food, décor, florals, and dress ideas from real weddings prove that casual celebrations are just as beautiful as their formal counterparts. We even have the photos to prove it.

The best part about all of these ideas? They're seriously conducive to a stress-free, lighthearted wedding. Encourage your guests to kick off their shoes and take the dance floor by storm in flip-flops. If you're looking to bring your casual fête to the next level, go for subtle interpretations of today's best trends and use geodes, tassels, and neon signs as a way to bring a little modernity to the simplicity.

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Elevated Rugs

austin alex wedding guests lounging on Moroccan rugs
Annamae Photo

Give guests the option to lay back and lounge while you tie the knot. We'd still recommend setting up a few rows of chairs, though, for anyone who might not be comfortable on the ground.

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Batch Refreshments

letitia justin wedding water
Alicia Mink

A wedding bar made easy. These big-batch style beverages house lemonade, tea, and fruit-infused water, allowing for guests to serve themselves. Signature cocktails could be served in similar vessels.

03 of 30

Simple Place Cards

escort cards on wooden table outdoors surrounded by greenery
Michael Radford

An easy and effective method of displaying place cards—such as setting them out in rows on a rustic farm table, as seen here—looks beautiful. This display is proof that you don't need to create an intricate design to make a statement.

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Minimal Centerpiece

white wildflower and votive centerpieces on wooden long table
Feather & Twine

Small arrangements of baby's breath make for effortless centerpieces.

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DIY Entryway

home front step decorating with wreath and drape for wedding
Joey Kennedy Photography

Having a wedding at home? Decorate the entryway with color-coordinated wreaths and fabric.

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Escort Cards Meet Party Favors

sara trisdan wedding beach bums station with escort card towels
This Modern Romance

The team at Amorology, who planned and designed this event, created escort cards attached to plush Turkish towels for some two-in-one fun.

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Confetti Toss

basket of paper cones containing olive leaves
Charla Storey

The bride and her cousin crafted a creative version of confetti: Olive leaves rolled in pages of French books as holders.

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Chair Details

elegant table set up for wedding luncheon
Joey Kennedy Photography

Incorporating tassels is an easy way to elevate any soirée.

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Beat the Heat

alyssa macia wedding woven basket of parasols
Branco Prata Studios

Offer guests a reprieve from the sun at your backyard wedding with parasols.

10 of 30

A Ringing Exit

monogrammed bells wedding favor
Joey Kennedy Photography

Supply guests with hand bells for a celebratory exit.

11 of 30

Fun and Games

giant jenga
Molly Scott

Set up classic party games, like Jenga, croquet, and corn hole, to entertain guests of all ages—even the teenagers.

12 of 30

Happy Feet

flip flop favors
KT Merry

If it's important to you to have a bustling dance floor, make it happen by helping guests get comfortable. Set up a flip-flop station by the band or DJ, and you're all set.

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Cool Sips

summer drinks
Julie Shuford

If a Champagne tower is the hallmark of a black-tie wedding, then a cocktail chilled with flower-filled ice cubes should be the drink of choice for a backyard affair. Bonus points if you top all your drinks off with edible florals.

14 of 30

Family Recipe Desserts

bundt cakes
Becca Lea Photography

If your mom has a famous dessert recipe—like her best-ever Bundt cake—she's been serving up at family parties for years, ask her to consider whipping something up for the dessert table.

15 of 30

Greens Only

green bouquet
Laura Arredondo

For a more relaxed take on a bridal bouquet, make like this bride and carry a clutch of eucalyptus, air plants, and assorted leafy greens down the aisle. Want to dress it up a bit? Pop in petite white roses.

16 of 30

Bleachers and Confetti

becca zac wedding ceremony streamers from crowd
Fer Juaristi

We're not sure what's more casual, seating your guests in bleachers or inviting them to throw full rolls of streamers after you say "I do."

17 of 30

One Tier

natasha nick wedding california cake
Corbin Gurkin

Forget that super-fancy three-tier wedding cake. An array of elegant single layers, decorated with creeping vines, are sophisticated but still appropriate for your laid-back nuptials.

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Stocked Welcome Bags

rehearsal dinner tote
Lacie Hansen Photography

You don't need to fill welcome bags with expensive tchotchkes to make an impression. Try stuffing them with yummy snacks, like dried fruit and kale chips, monogrammed soda bottles, and mini maps instead.

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Rug Runners

rugs ceremony site
Molly Scott

Transform your ceremony venue into a cozy living room by lining the aisle with pretty rugs.

20 of 30

Snow Cone Station

Island Wedding Bar
Bryan Gardner

Bring everyone back to their country fair days with a snow cone station, complete with all their favorite syrup flavors.

21 of 30

Effervescent Tablescape

Cluster Centerpieces in Clear Vases on Boho Table
Kelsea Holder

Leather-wrapped cluster centerpieces look right at home atop a woven runner, which brings bohemian-inspired texture to an effortless tablescape.

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Crepe Cake

crepe cake
Elizabeth Messina

What better way to lighten up your reception than by serving breakfast for dessert? A hearty stack of crepes stands in as an unexpected wedding cake.

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Ice Cream Sandwiches

ice cream sandwich
Jes Workman

Easy enough to eat with your hands, ice cream sandwiches are the ultimate dessert, especially if you're getting hitched in the summer.

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Tiny Churros

Rebecca Yale Photography

Add a little cinnamon-sugar sweetness to the desert table with these mini churros.

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Yummy Stations

Chrisman Studios

A simple way to give guests the full picture of your food stations? Make like this couple and set up guests with a map that highlights what each section is serving up.

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Glass Jar Vases

Connie Lyu

Keep ceremony décor festive and unfussy by dotting the aisle with loosely-bunched flowers displayed in glass jars.

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Tassel Escort Cards

Liz Banfield

Colorful and creative, tassel escort cards offer a little quirk to your party. Plus, they're a super-cool departure from the traditional paper options typically seen at fancier fêtes.

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Bridesmaids' Choice

mismatched bridesmaid dresses
Redfield Photography

Instead of dressing up your bridal party in matching gowns or colors, let them choose their own. They'll be more comfortable in a design and hue they chose for their own bodies and skin tone—and the mismatched look is very in right now.

29 of 30

Neon Sign

neon heart sign
Amber Gress

A trendy neon sign brings a little touch of the club to your backyard wedding's lounge.

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Chipotle Cuisine

buffet line
Molly Scott

Here's how you ensure that every person on your guest list RSVPs "yes": Tell them Chipotle is catering it. And at your wedding, the guac is most certainly not extra.

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