The Perfect Outdoor Wedding

By Jun 25, 20159 Comments

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Love is in the air! I had the opportunity to attend and help out in a wedding this past weekend. It was one of those weddings where everything aligned, and was the most perfect night. In a previous post I shared a Donut Bar bridal shower for my husband’s cousin Caitlin, and today I have pictures from her beautiful wedding in Lake Tahoe, California this past weekend. My favorite thing about this wedding is that it was a total DIY wedding, where the bride, her mother, and family friends pitched in, and used all their talents to produce a beautiful and EXPENSIVE looking wedding. I have all the DIY wedding decorations details for easy party ideas for your wedding reception.

Ideas for a beautiful outdoor wedding on a budget | DIY Wedding Ideas | Trail mix bar, tablescapes, kids activities, cake table, and more. This is the perfect outdoor wedding.

The Perfect Outdoor Summer Wedding: DIY Wedding Decorations

There were so many personal elements it’s hard to know where to start! The bride wanted a rustic, but elegant feel for the wedding. She didn’t want anything over the top, and wanted her nearly 200 guests to feel right at home.

Ideas for great DIY wedding decorations. The pine cones make great card holders, and I love the flowers, too.

We blended hints of rustic like pinecones and evergreen trees, with more delicate flowers, like hydrangeas to achieve this look.

DIY Wedding Guest Book

The guest book featured little envelopes where guests could write a small message for the bride and groom.

This is a really cute wedding guest book idea! Each page has little envelopes, and the guests write a note to the bride and groom. It will make an amazing wedding keepsake.

They could then seal it, and the newlyweds can open them over time! This was such a fabulous project put together by the bride’s mother.

Instead of just signing their name, guests write little notes to the bride and groom. Love this wedding guest book idea! Looks like an easy DIY project.

The amazing wood signs were made by the bride herself!

Signs are a big thing for weddings this summer. Love how they incorporated them throughout the decorations.

Add your wedding hashtag to a sign so all of your guests know to use it when they share pictures from your special day.

She had no previous experience in signage, and I would say she hit a total home run. You will see her signs sprinkled throughout the party.

Trail Mix Bar

The highlight of the party was the trail mix bar by far. It is the perfect addition for a rustic Tahoe wedding.

Trail mix bar! Great idea for an outdoor wedding. Love the moss on the table and the pinecone sign holders.

Personalize the trail mix bags with a special stamp. Love this idea for a rustic wedding.

The bags were personalized with the brides stamp, and each jar included all of the bride’s favorite goodies.

Pine cones make cute sign holders for the trail mix bar.

Love the big monogram for the bride and groom.

Wedding Lawn Games

For the younger kids at the wedding, and the young at heart she had some fabulous lawn games.

Lawn games are a cute idea for an outdoor wedding. Love the sign - it is a lot of fun. Great DIY wedding decorations ideas.

It was such a fun way to pass the time between cocktail hour and dinner service.

Giant Jenga lawn game! This is a must make DIY idea.

The kids were entertained, and it prevented any meltdowns.

DIY Wedding Flowers

OK, time to be amazed… the flower arrangements were done at home! Amazing right?

DIY wedding decorations | These flower arrangements are beautiful. Love the tip in the post about how to save on flowers and still have full, lush arrangements.

The arrangements turned out lush, and full, and looked like they cost an arm and a leg. Any city has a flower mart, and you can buy a membership for around $100 for the year, which is well worth it. Once you are a member you can place orders for the flowers you want, and pick them up.

Now here is a little trick… we placed a plastic cup ( I got mine in groups of 3 from the dollar tree), inside the wooden box, and arranged the flowers in the cup.

Use plastic cups to arrange your flowers in the box, so they are full and held in place without having too use too many flowers.

As you can see in the picture the cups are taller than the box, that’s ok, you can cover them, and make the arrangement larger, if you want it lower, just snip an inch or so off the cup. If you use large flowers like hydrangeas or spider mums around the vase they will cover the gap between the cup and the box.

Use a smaller cup inside your large vase to secure the flowers without having to use too many. A great way to save a little money without sacrificing your look.

The arrangement looks as if the entire box is filled, however you have saved about half the amount of flowers, and the flowers are totally secure! We also did this with the flowers you see in the vase arrangements.

The darling place cards were made of pinecones glued to small wood circles, again another DIY project!

A sprig of evergreen is a nice touch for the napkins in a rustic outdoor wedding.

Each place setting had a sprig of evergreen tucked in to the napkin, which added another element to the table, and was such an easy thing to do.

The wedding head table. Love the little signs and how well the rustic touches mix with the classic pieces.

The log wood head table was my favorite part. We mixed lanterns, flowers, and candelabras. The candelabras were actually a garage sale find for $15. I can’t encourage you enough to get out there and look around for some fabulous deals! The guests were served water in mason jars, which fit perfectly with the theme.

Cake table! Love the idea of having different flavors of cake at your wedding. No need to limit yourself to just one flavor in a tall cake.

The cake table was comprised of various types of cakes arranged on large slabs of wood. To add an even more personalized touch we made USC sugar cookie football helmets and logos, since that is where the bride and her groom met.

The bride and groom

I think the best part about DIY wedding decorations is that you really can pull together as a team, and achieve an incredible event. When planning your wedding, or any event, don’t be afraid to call on all your resources, and use all your loved ones talents. I can guarantee that they will want to help you out in any way they can!

About Leah Leatherby

Hi! My name is Leah Leatherby. I graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Textiles Marketing and Science. Since then, I have had four little ones – three boys and a girl. My life now consists of planning parties, baking cookies, and watching my kids. My husband has 75 first cousins alone, so we pretty much have an event every weekend! It keeps us busy, and lets me get my creative juices flowing.


  • This is my kind of wedding. I hate seeing a bunch of money being wasted on weddings and receptions. It is possible to have a meaningful, special day if you can put a little DIY touch on it. Love the idea of the trail mix bar….so unique!

  • Nellie says:

    Hi Leah,
    This is my first time to visit, and certainly enjoyed myself. What a lovely reception, I loved
    everything about it, the theme of rustic/elegant was marvelously pulled off.
    Really lovely……..
    Thanks for sharing it…..

  • Very nice pics! diy is so amazing that it looks like it was very expensive! Saw you at This Is How We Roll
    Kristine 🙂

  • Tianna says:

    such gorgeous wedding! I love all the rustic forest decor ♥

    stop by and chat 🙂 http://storybookapothecary.com

  • This is a beautiful wedding! So perfect for the surroundings. Love it!Thanks for sharing at The Living With Style Linky Party!
    Lory xo
    The Robin’s Nest Designs

  • This is beautiful. I love a good DIY wedding and I love Lake Tahoe. I lived in Sacramento for about 20 years before moving to the midwest! Congratulations to the bride and groom!

  • Laurie says:

    Love this post! My daughter is also planning an outdoor wedding. Some great ideas here! Thank you for sharing with us at Brag About It!

  • Pamela Smith says:

    Wow! Absolutely gorgeous! Having a wedding at Lake Tahoe is pretty amazing by itself, but then the decorations made it fantastic! I am pinning this! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cathy says:

    This is such a gorgeous setting for a wedding. Love all the beautiful and creative touches you did here. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy