The best part about a picnic wedding is that it can take place just about anywhere. Beaches, parks, farms, and forests are excellent choices, and at least one of those is likely easily accessible no matter where you live. You can even use your own backyard to fully customize your dream picnic wedding!
To give you some inspiration for your big day, we put together a list of picnic wedding ideas for both your ceremony and reception, giving you the option to pick and choose picnic wedding elements or embrace the theme to the fullest. We cover everything from DIY centerpieces to cottagecore venues and everything in between. But first …
What is a picnic wedding?
This may sound cliche, but a picnic wedding is whatever you want it to be. The first thing that comes to mind is usually checkered blankets, wicker baskets, and small backyard gatherings. But picnic weddings go well beyond that. Sure, they’re typically more intimate and laid-back, but we’ve seen plenty of large, formal picnic weddings over the years, too. As long as you have outdoor space, your soon-to-be spouse, and your friends and family, the options for a picnic wedding are endless.
Explore 36 of our favorite picnic wedding ideas:
Sub-themes that complement a picnic wedding
As we noted above, picnic weddings can be so much more than a checkered blanket and basket! Here are a few of the most common sub-themes that go hand-in-hand with picnic weddings.
1. Cottagecore. Combine pastels with brass for your wedding colors. Wear strawberry accessories with lace gloves, and add thrift vintage tablecloths to elevate this look.
2. Hiking. Adventurous couples can orchestrate a mountaintop reception followed by a forest picnic with guests who are willing and able to make the trek.
3. Blueberry patch. Why not host your reception at a blueberry picking farm? Bring a change of clothes and enjoy warm summer fruit fresh from the bush.
4. Autumnal. For fall picnic weddings, color palettes featuring burgundy, gold, and brown look stunning.
5. High tea. Park picnic weddings can still be a classy affair when you plan for a proper English tea service with live violinists.
6. Stargazing. If you host your picnic reception at night, bring telescopes, tarot cards, and/or a chart reader along to connect your special day to the cosmos.
Delicious picnic wedding menu suggestions
Whether you plan to serve brunch, lunch, dinner, or heavy hors d’oeuvres, there are plenty of picnic-friendly choices at hand. Just be sure to work with a caterer who can coordinate keeping foods at the appropriate temperatures throughout the event if you’re far away from electrical outlets.
7. BBQ. Serve up some freshly-grilled chicken, steak, and seafood alongside your favorite summertime sides for this laid-back picnic wedding reception idea.
8. Wine and cheese. Even if you’re not hosting your picnic wedding at a winery, you can still treat your guests to delicious tastings and a decked-out charcuterie board.
9. Farm-to-table. Host an organic and sustainable family-style meal on or nearby an actual farm.
10. Tea party. Cucumber sandwiches, iced or hot teas, scones with clotted cream, and plenty of mini delicious wedding cupcakes make this a really exciting menu and activity all in one.
Picnic wedding ideas for dresses and attire
Look stunning on any budget with a variety of stylish yet whimsical outfit details that fit the picnic theme.
11. Thrifted lace. Look for dresses or individual accessories such as headbands or sashes.
12. Mid-length hemlines. Long enough to be modest, yet short enough to enjoy a laid-back atmosphere.
13. Off-the-shoulder boho. Wedding dresses with this shape give off a flowy and carefree vibe.
14. Earthy neutrals. Any outdoor wedding can benefit from connecting the naturally-occurring colors in the landscape around them to their attire through ribbons, coats, and even florals.
15. Embroidery. DIY is a big trend with picnic weddings, and an embroidered handkerchief or jean jacket goes well with the theme.
16. Straw hats, gloves, and parasols. Stay safe in the sun and get amazing photo props at the same time.
DIY wedding picnic baskets to try
Wedding picnic baskets can be used to organize table settings, package gifts for attendees, and even become enchanting and affordable centerpieces. Here’s how:
17. Use heart-shaped baskets. Heart-shaped versions are a touch more romantic and act as a lovely keepsake for years to come.
18. Stuff mini baskets with goodies. Think bags of mints, tea-light candles, and dried herb soaps guests can take home as a unique wedding favor.
19. Display buffet items. Line with cloth and serve bread buns, brownies, or even chilled wine bottles from this themed holder.
20. Pack reception lunch kits. Give each guest their own basket filled with catered sandwiches, fresh berries, granola, champagne, and orange juice for a boozy wedding brunch.
21. Hold floral arrangements. There’s nothing prettier than a wicker basket filled with baby’s breath and farmer’s market blooms as a wedding table centerpiece.
Picnic wedding ideas for decor
If you want a little extra style, consider one or more of these versatile options.
22. Perhaps our favorite of all the picnic wedding ideas on this list: Cut a rug on an actual rug by bringing out a versatile one (or two or three) you can use underneath your sweetheart table or in your photos and then transfer to your dance floor later on.
23. Hang baskets filled with complimentary sunscreen and bug spray from trees using ribbon.
24. Place chandeliers among the branches of a forest.
25. Tie wide burlap ribbons around mason jars and stuff them with daisies for table centerpieces.
26. Use wood-slab chargers and brass table settings.
27. Decorate sustainably with dried grasses and living succulent plants as both table decor and take-home gifts.
28. Take one long, thick string or ribbon, then tie 6-foot pieces of alternating lace and burlap the whole way down, and hang it as a photo backdrop between poles.
29. Mix and match blankets, floor cushions, couches, chairs, and decorative pillows for both comfort and style.
30. Use macrame runners, chargers, and chair decorations.
31. Bring in fringed parasols for each picnic group along with pretty boho beach chairs.
Venues that can accommodate a picnic wedding
Explore these bookable picnic wedding venues and see just how charming this theme is in real life. Our examples below are all great options, but if you don’t see one near you, search on Wedding Spot to find one that fits both your style and your budget. Keep reading to discover beautiful spaces, accurate pricing, and key features all picnic wedding venues should have.
Location: Woodside, California
Cost: Starting at $6,030 for 50 guests
Host your ceremony under towering redwood trees and your reception under the stars on an all-wooden porch overlooking the scenic mountain landscape.
Location: Madison, Georgia
Cost: Starting at $8,412 for 50 guests
Like all classic picnic wedding venues, The Farmhouse Inn has a stunningly rustic design, a historic barn, and pastoral views that will transport your guests to an enchanting rural world.
Location: Claremont, California
Cost: Starting at $9,562 for 50 guests
Get the best of both worlds with a combination indoor/outdoor venue like this one. Enjoy a pre-ceremony or reception picnic outside in the gardens with the option to bring the party into the ballroom later on.
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Cost: Request a quote
Tropical picnic weddings on the beach are relaxing, laid-back, and luxurious. Dine all together, banquet-style, as the ocean waves lap the shore next to you.
Location: Glen Ellen, California
Cost: Starting at $3,113 for 50 guests
A sophisticated picnic wedding needs at least one type of wine and when you plan to host it in Wine Country, you’ll have dozens to choose from.
Important picnic wedding tips to know
Comfort, safety, and logistics are all key categories to keep in mind when planning your picnic wedding events.
Make it accessible. Anyone who has a physical disability will need to have adequate access to flat, paved strips from the parking lot to the main event area. Golf carts are great for chauffeuring guests.
Test cellular reception. Once guests get to the area, they may have trouble finding the party and will need some way to get a hold of everyone else.
Use clear signage. Get permission ahead of time for public areas but have signs at every area entrance and half-mile.
Double-check restrooms. Rent your own or reserve them ahead of time and make sure you hire an attendant.
Prepare for the season. Bring basic weather supplies to deal with anything that comes your way.
Arrange transportation. It may be easier to have everyone park in one area and shuttle them to the main event.
Bring allergy supplies. Benadryl, tissues, and eye drops could be helpful in a pinch. Also, make sure anyone who has a bee or any other severe outdoor allergy brings their own epi-pen just in case.
How to have a picnic wedding ceremony
All you need to separate your wedding ceremony from the rest of a public park, natural backdrop, or even your reception area is:
A decorated archway
Rows of seating with an aisle way
At least one additional decor item like a sign with your initials and the date or battery-powered lanterns lining the area
Otherwise, the natural setting will provide most of what you need decor-wise. As far as equipment for music and microphones go, make sure you have access to electricity nearby if needed to run anything. However, we’ve seen live acoustic guitar and a wedding officiant with some stage training work brilliantly.
Put these picnic wedding ideas to good use!
Up next, embrace the great outdoors even more with 63 outdoor wedding ideas for any couple.
Find the perfect venue for your picnic wedding!