You’ve found the perfect barn to host your wedding. But now you need to set up for it! A budget friendly, rustic barn wedding is easier than you think with this 30 creative decoration are great for a tight budget.
From decor, table settings to favors, you can plan for an affordable wedding when using these ideas and most can be DIYed with the help of your wedding party or a groom with a bit of skill with a drill.
Images by elopement photographer Brittany West Photography
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1. Lighting-Hang some string lights on the barn rafters.
They will look like stars and provide lighting for your guests as night falls! Add some lanterns! They provide light and look beautiful when hanging from trees or in doorways.
Add some lanterns! They provide light and look beautiful when hanging from trees or in doorways.
2. Rent a few vintage pieces of furniture to add some character to the space.
A few well-placed benches, chairs, or tables can make all the difference!
3. Catering- Set up a food truck!
This is a great way to save money on catering and offers lots of unique options for your guests. From street tacos, pizza to BBQ or fried chicken; food trucks are a creative way to save on catering.
Food trucks come in many different sizes so you can find something that fits your budget, number of guests and preferred foods. If a food truck isn’t for you then think about hosting a potluck style dinner where guests bring their favorite dish to share with others!
This is another great way to save on catering costs as well as offer unique menu items from those who love cooking.
You may even be able to get friends or family members who are caterers involved and they might provide the space needed for serving – talk it over before committing but this could be a wonderful solution if you have two very busy families going head-to-head trying plan everything at once!
4. What about the cake?
If your heart is set on a full on four-tiered, fondant cake this tip isn’t for you. A wedding cake with only a crumb coat has become popular for barn weddings and somewhat resembles birchwood with its white buttercream icing.
This minimal cake design saves on labor costs from the bakery and the savings gets passed on to you.
5. Dried flowers are a great option for barn weddings as they add color and texture while being a fraction of the cost as live flowers.
Pampas grass, bunny tails, dried lavender, poppy seed pods, and dried fronds are a very popular floral trend for 2021 weddings and are perfect to implement into a barn wedding.
6. Budget Decor-If you have any old barrels or crates lying around, bring them in to use as tables or stands for decorations.
They can also be used to create floral centerpieces. Old wine or liquor barrels are great rustic items that can be used for a variety of purposes.
You can place them at the entrance of the barn as decoration, use them as cocktail tables, set up a sweetheart table with them or add floral centerer pieces as decor.
Horseshoes are also a traditional western barn wedding decoration and also are representative or good luck. Hang them up in the venue or place one on each table at your reception with candles inside of glass jars to create an extra special touch.
Wood slices are also an inexpensive way to create signs for your wedding. The thicker slices can also be drilled into to create tea light candle holders. Brides have also used thick wood slices as rustic cake stands.
7. Hang some fabric
It’s an easy way to add some color and personality to the room without spending a lot of money. Drape it over doorways, across walls, or from the rafters. Create curtains or drapes around doorways and windows.
This is an easy way to add some color and privacy. Create a focal point for your guests by hanging a large piece of fabric from the ceiling such as a ceremony location or under a ceremony tree.
This can be done relatively cheaply with something like muslin or chiffon which is available at most craft stores and in different colors. Just make sure that it’s long enough to cover the entire length to drape to the ground.
8. String together some vintage bottles and mason jars filled with flowers or candles for a simple but elegant centerpiece idea.
Make use of old barn doors by hanging them on tables, propping them against walls, or laying them down for extra seating space! These are great ways to save money while still providing unique décor pieces that people will enjoy looking at/sitting near during their stay.
9. Put some extra lumber and crates together for a simple seating area that is perfect for the reception dinner or drinks afterwards.
You can also arrange old benches, chairs, or tables in this manner.
10. Create small chalkboard signs with cute messages on them throughout the space to guide people where they should be going (such as “Welcome” at the entrance).
This will save you from trying to explain directions all night long while keeping things fun and relaxed!
11. If you’re having children at your wedding, take advantage of it by creating a kid friendly area filled with games like bean bag toss or checker boards.
Inexpensive entertainment at your wedding for kids could be adding Kraft paper on the children’s table and providing crayons to create their own art while parents are socializing and dancing.
12. Set up a photobooth!
This is a fun way for your guests to capture memories of the day. Create a photobooth backdrop using hay bales and colorful fabric scraps. It’s an easy way to add and fun to your wedding photos. All you need is a backdrop, some props, and a camera!
13. Decorate the barn doors!
Hang signs, create a wreath, or use chalkboard paint to write messages for your guests.
14. Use hay bales as seating.
Not only are they comfortable but they also add to the rustic vibe and can be bought from a feed store and donated to a farmer after the wedding to give to livestock. Make sure the hay bales aren’t treated with harmful pesticides before allowing your guests to sit on them.
15. Hang vintage quilts or blankets on the walls.
They will help keep you warm in the evening and add some extra charm to the space.
16. Find a venue that is BYOB and set up a bar!
An open bar can be a big expense and on average will cost a couple $2,300. But a well stocked bar at a wedding is a great way to keep your guests happy and hydrated. Finding a venue that will allow you to bring your favorite spirits is key.
You can either set up a makeshift bar or, if you’re feeling extra crafty, make your own out of some pallets and crates. Inexpensive mason jars can be used for signature cocktails.
Put an old or distressed wooden ladder on wheels behind your bar area with plenty of bottles of wine on top as decoration. This adds color and makes a great conversation starter too!
17. Create a sign for the entrance to the barn!
This will help direct your guests and set the tone for what’s to come and can be created from old lumber or pallet wood.
Turn old barn wood into signs for different areas of your event such as bar, bathrooms, guestbook table etc. This adds personality while being practical too!
18. Utilize the surrounding area to create a rustic wedding.
Have your ceremony under an old oak tree, under some willows or beside a lake! You can also have fun taking pictures outside of the barn with it in the background as well.
19. Use vintage, crochet doilies under floral centerpieces or shape them to create lanterns by laying them on an inflated balloon and spraying them with fabric softener.
Once they have dried overnight battery operated lights can be added inside and strung up over a dance floor for reception lighting.
20. If you have vintage, mismatched china to serve your wedding food on, it will fit the rustic theme perfectly.
If not, think about using galvanized metal trays or buckets as serving dishes! You can buy inexpensive ones at discount stores like Ross and TJ Maxx then spray paint them with chalkboard paint so guests know what’s being served without having to ask. Hunt for bargains at Goodwill, Craigslist, or flea markets.
21. Use chalkboard paint to create menus, seating charts, or just fun messages for your guests on old wood pallets.
It’s an easy way to add personality to the space without spending too much money. Wood pallets can be used to create a variety of different things like signs, photo booths, or even bars! If you’re creative and have some handy skills, this could be a great way to save money on your wedding.
22. Utilize props and furniture you already own or can rent cheaply!
If the wedding is outside, bring out some lawn games like corn hole or an oversized jenga set as entertainment during the cocktail hour. Collect vintage items like old suitcases, crates, milk jugs etc. and use them as centerpieces or placeholders on tables.
Avoid purchasing these items from antique shops since the markup is usually quite considerable. Try searching for these items at estate or garage sales. Not only will this save you money but it’ll also give your wedding an extra unique touch!
23. Use bunting banner to decorate doorways or reception dance areas!
It looks beautiful hung up anywhere inside the barn but will also be useful for hanging over doors leading out of it main exits or entrances.
24. Hang antique mirrors on the walls to add depth and lighten up a space.
Mirrors also create deceitful tricks, making an area appear bigger than it is!
25. Lighting-Every barn should have at least one working fireplace or rustic wood burning oven that’s big enough for people to stand around comfortably.
If the venue doesn’t have a fireplace consider renting an outdoor fire pit. The glow from it sets an intimate mood to gather near it for your loved ones after dinner has finished!
Bring candles out too if there are no fire sources or lighting inside the barn as this creates ambiance when flickering.
String up some fairy lights around the venue for an extra touch of magic (or use battery powered LED tea lights if electricity isn’t readily available). Not only do they look pretty but they also help to the mood for an intimate gathering.
26. Utilize square hay bales for seating at tables.
Not only is it comfortable but they also add to the rustic vibe of an outdoor wedding. You can either bring them in from a local farm (for free) or rent some yourself. You can lay vintage quilts over them to add color to seating at the ceremony location.
Just make sure that what you’re using hasn’t been treated with any chemicals as this could be harmful when eaten off of/near by it during food preparation/serving times.
27. Of course burlap is a rustic and cheap way to add some texture to your décor.
You can use it as table runners, chair sashes, or even drapery! Add twine to the burlap decor to match.
Accent the burlap with white lace to add femininity to your barn wedding decor. Burlap, twine and lace can all be bought at craft stores and are usually cheap.
28. Wagon wheels look beautiful hung up as décor!
They are a classic decoration that is versatile enough to use inside or outside. Rustic wagon wheels can be used as chandeliers by decorating them with greenery and adding lights to them. You can even paint them different colors for added vibrancy and pizazz!
29. Florals-Use flowers sparingly throughout the space so they don’t overpower other decorations but do add color to any unoccupied areas of bareness around your barn.
Use what’s local/in season when possible because this will save you money on transportation costs while still giving off plenty of charm and beauty during photos/when used.
Baby’s breath is an inexpensive and simplistic way to add some color and femininity to your wedding decor.
If you’re looking for a way to add some color and life to an all white barn wedding, think about using wildflowers in your décor. Not only are they beautiful but they’re also affordable and can be picked up from local farmers markets or roadside stands.
Collect branches from your local forest and use them to create a rustic archway. It’s an awesome way to welcome guests into your ceremony site and additional branches can be added to bouquets and centerpieces to tie it all together.
Gather pine cones from your local park (or purchase online) and spray paint them gold or silver for a simple yet elegant centerpiece idea especially if you are having a fall or winter wedding. It also works really well when hung up in doorways or windows or in mason jars!
30. Hang photos from past weddings within you or your groom’s family around the wedding venue at various points of interest.
Not only does this give your space character reflects on the family history of the couple. Usually, these photos are in black and white or sepia, so it only adds to the rustic vibe.
Framing old family photos in shadowboxes and hang them around the barn during your reception so guests see who is coming to celebrate with you. You could also place one portrait style picture behind each guest seating area if budget allows.
For a more rustic version of centerpieces think about using vintage washboards, gramophones and telephones which all look beautiful when adorned with simple flowers such as baby’s breath!
Another alternative for centerpieces is the use of candelabras stacked on top of each other (i.e., three different sized candelabras) one large centerpiece flower arrangement.
Try using old books as table cards for a more formal look. This is especially useful if you’re having multiple dinner courses and want guests’ attention easily directed at the proper place settings throughout the night.
Old western boots are another rustic decoration that can be used as centerpieces, decorating tables and to create photo opportunities. Western weddings in barns are very popular so you can find cheap cowboy boots at second hand stores or online.
Other Ideas to consider when on a budget:
-Use recycled items like old doors, windows, sashes and shutters as décor especially if they’re boho chic in style. Just make sure that these pieces are sturdy because moving them around during wedding festivities could cause damage.
Just in case you haven’t booked your venue yet, let’s briefly touch on finding a wedding venue that is within your budget.
Typically a barn wedding venue should be less expensive than a hotel wedding venue within your area. But let’s say it’s popular, choosing a weekday to have your wedding is always a cheaper alternative to booking your wedding venue on a weekend day like Saturday.
Maybe having your wedding on a weekend is a must, another option is to choose a wedding date during a less expensive time of year. January through March are typically wedding venues slow season. In many locations this is the perfect time to request a discount from the wedding venue.
Your wedding dress is another detail that has money saving aspects. Thrifting a dress or finding a dress that is off-the-rack can help you stay within your budget.
Ebay and Poshmark are two great online resources to find a gently used wedding dress. Also, consider wearing something simple like a lace shrug or bolero instead of investing in an expensive veil. Borrowing a wedding dress from a friend or family member is another great way to cut costs.
While a new wedding dress is nice it is definitely not the only way to look gorgeous on your wedding day. If having your dress custom made or even purchasing it off-the-rack doesn’t fit into your budget, consider looking at renting bridal dresses instead of buying one.
Renting gowns are becoming more popular and there’s no shame in wanting an amazing look without breaking the bank! It is also nice to be able to return it after use so someone else can enjoy their special day wearing it as well.
My final piece of advice for staying frugal on the most expensive day of your life is to request financial help for the wedding instead of gifts. This could be in the form of cash or a check.
If you’re worried about seeming too greedy, put a note in your wedding invitations letting guests know that you would appreciate their help to make your dream day come true.
Weddings are the one day that you want to share with all of your loved ones and the majority of them will be excited to help, but having them give gifts for attending is not necessary.
If any family members or friends offers to help out financially (for example by paying for flowers), allow them to do so and enjoy their presence on your special day!
There are so many ways to add personality and charm to your wedding on a budget! With a little creativity, you can create beautiful spaces that your guests will love. Not only will they appreciate the unique decor, but they’ll also be able to relax and have fun in an environment that is truly reflective of you as a couple. So get creative, have fun, and enjoy your barn wedding!
Weddings are expensive no matter what route you choose for décor, so it’s important to consider all of your options before making any final decisions. These 30 tips should give you a good place to start when planning the perfect barn wedding on a budget!