The Blogging Buff

From repurposed benches to mismatched bridesmaid dresses, blogger extraordinaire Maggie Lord makes sense of the rustic wedding trend.

maggie lord

Photograph by Trevor Reid

Long before the DIY craze, when Maggie Lord was planning her wedding five years ago, she would tell vendors that she wanted an elegant but rustic feel. “They would say, ‘I don’t know what you mean—do you have a picture?’” she explains. It was in this confusion that the Connecticut native saw an opportunity, launching the blog Rustic Wedding Chic to help guide couples looking to give their big day a bucolic bent. These days, Lord (who’s also written three books on the subject) receives hundreds of submissions every month from photographers and brides hoping to have their fetes highlighted on the site. Here she reveals which nuptials make the cut and what works—and doesn’t—for country weddings.

How do you define a rustic wedding?

Well, I learned early on in my blogging career that the word rustic is really an umbrella term that includes venues like farms, vineyards, and everything in between. To me, a rustic wedding has design elements that have something to do with the woods or forest. Most rustic weddings incorporate some sort of natural element, whether it’s wood, birch, leaves, or moss. It’s the natural elements that couples work into their wedding day that start to really bring the look to life.

How do you pick your featured weddings?

We do get a lot of submissions, and 99 percent of the time they’re from the photographer. When I first started the blog, I’d ask people, “Can I please run your photos?” and now I go through hundreds of submissions a month. I always love to look at the wedding as a whole—I go through all the images first—and I enjoy reading what the photographer has to say about the day. I like to have a little backstory, like why a bride chose the wedding style she did, and what made the day special. I really look for the style details that I know our readers are looking for, because there are hundreds of beautiful weddings, but it’s the creative and unique ideas brides want to see.

When do rustic weddings go wrong?

Often, the venue can be a challenge—with barns and farms, there are a lot of logistical issues. Usually they’re not full service, so you have to pull together the vendors yourself, and sometimes you’re dealing with nature. For instance, if you’re having a winter wedding in a barn, it better have heat that works. And I’ll hear about a beautiful farm wedding, but the bride will tell me what you don’t see: that it smelled like animals all day.

How can brides and grooms do DIY right?

Brides see these great DIY projects and think they have to have them. But sometimes instead of saving you money, they can cost you more, because the materials that go along with DIY projects can be expensive. Only take on something if it’s within your skill set. Some couples decide on DIYing large wedding projects like the food. If you don’t have a catering background you might find yourself overbuying, purchasing unnecessary items, or, frankly, not serving good food. Working with professionals or at least having a consultation with a professional is always a good idea.

How have social media and the Internet changed weddings?

The Internet is such a huge resource for couples, but it can also be overwhelming because of the amount of info that’s available. Couples should really hone in on a few wedding blogs that represent their style. Let everything else go.

Do you think wedding hashtags are appropriate?

Some couples embrace it, and put out a sign asking people to use an Instagram hashtag. But if there’s going to be one, let the bride and groom create it.

What dresses work for a rustic wedding?

When I first started, I would Google “rustic wedding dresses” and nothing would come up. We have an entire section of the site dedicated to wedding dresses: gorgeous designs tailored to a nontraditional bride. A bride can wear as elegant or as understated a wedding dress as she wants to a rustic wedding, but she should make sure her dress works with the location and the venue—in terms of style and practicality. If you have an extremely long train and you have a barn wedding ceremony, you might find your train getting stuck on the wood floor. Think about wearing a pair of heels that are a little wider on a farm, because you don’t want to get stuck in the grass.

What are some popular décor trends?

Repurposed items have become popular: Vintage dressers, benches, doors, and other items from flea markets and antiques stores can be turned into wedding décor. Also, mismatched bridesmaid dresses in different colors and styles really spice up the traditional look and add a fun twist. Couples can use hay bales for fun seating options in lounge areas or for ceremony seating. And birch has been making the rounds for the past couple of years—try a birch cake stand.


Four fabulous rustic New England venues, picked by Maggie Lord.

Bishop Farm, Lisbon, NH: Though just two and a half hours from Boston, this bed-and-breakfast nestled in the White Mountains has a true “destination wedding” feel.

Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield: Set on 600 acres of countryside, this restored farmhouse has heat and air-conditioning. Plus, you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride and incorporate herbs and vegetables grown on-site into your menu.

Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, NH: This grand hotel blends the best of a traditional venue with a beautiful, beachy setting—and guests can spend the weekend exploring historical Portsmouth.

The Barn at Gibbet Hill, Groton: The interior of this renovated 100-year-old barn is truly elegant, while the beautiful landscape—rolling hills and pastures—is the best of what New England has to offer.


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