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We all knew that when Danny’s daughter Kelly got engaged, this was going to be her chance to really show off her creativity. From the proposal to the day of the wedding, it was one unforgettable event after another.
The bride was looking for a rustic-chic look and so it began at the engagement party held in the backyard.
How do you throw a rustic chic party?
Here are Danny’s top tips for throwing an epic rustic themed party:
- 1 – Mix and match materials – These include light wood, dark blue, metal, and rope. Don’t be afraid to mix old and new contemporary items.
- 2 – Use your backyard – Use this for rustic materials!
- 3 – Use your friends! They have a ton of stuff in their basements and their garages. You’ll be surprised at how many items we borrowed from others.
- 4 – Pull from the Garbage. Not only is this FREE, but you can also customize these elements as you wish.
- 5 – Personalize like crazy – Schedule the engagement photo shoot before the party so you have plenty of photos to display.
- 6 – Whatever you make for the engagement party, keep for future events! These flowers and flower garlands made an appearance in both bridal showers and even the wedding.
Here are the items you will need in bulk: Flower garlands, lanterns, wood paper, white card stock.
Engagement Party Invitation
We ordered these beautiful rustic invitations right on Zazzle.com.
Rustic Engagement Party Welcome Areas
We separated the welcome entrance into three different areas.
We started out with directional signs that lead guests to the yard. These signs were handmade signs. Some were taped to the fence and some we glued the signs to craft wood sticks that were driven into the grass.
The first thing guests saw was this blue bike and custom window treatment. We covered these two things with white flower garlands from Michaels.
The window frame we actually found in the garbage! We used chalk marker to write the bride and groom’s names.
The second area to welcome the path is this beautiful pallet wall with the engagement banner. This too we covered in white flower garland. We made this silver and gold banner that said “He Asked, She Said Yes”. We used stencils to draw each letter onto cardstock paper. Then each one was cut out by hand.
We also handmade the diamond rings at the top. We used cardstock to make the base and then covered it in white and gold paper.
Finally, we had a classic Radio Flyer wagon full of fern plants. We added a few more directional signs to lead guests to where the party is in the yard.
The flower garlands and ferns are a preview to what is to come.
Don’t have time to look at all this now? PIN FOR LATER!
Backyard Party Decor
Once the guests got into the yard, they were mesmerized with all this beautiful backyard party decor. This gorgeous display of rustic and romantic elements set the tone for what was to come.
We purchased the white bike and the while ladder at Home Goods. Add the delicate touches white flowers and greens. In this case, we continued to use ferns.
Similar to the blue window frame in the entrance, we found this display board with a similar look. We added quite a few photos to begin personalizing the event.
PRO-TIP: Use a music stand to hold frames if you don’t have an easel.
Spread out several lanterns and some large battery operated candles to the bottom.
Epic Engagement Party Decorations:
Similar to the flower letters on the bike, we made this beautiful flower heart and attached it to the tree with wire.
We borrowed this wine barrel from a friend of a friend (haha). We adorned the top with simple clear jars full of baby’s breath.
Make all family members mingle with this cute sign that says “Choose a seat, not a side. We’re all family one the knot is tied”. This we paid with a simple black foam board and chalk.
The focal point of the table set-up was this elaborate double picnic table. The picnic tables are below an amazing arenagment of white flowers hanging from the tent.
Take a wood log (you could also use a wooden plank from home depot to do this). You will need long hanging flowers and lots of fern. We purchased all these from Michaels. Use floral wire to tie the hanging flowers first. Then add more fern to the top.
Use a clear wire or a thick fishline to attach it to the top structure of the tent. Complete the look with hanging mason jars. Add battery-operated candles inside the mason jars.
Romantic Engagement Party Centerpieces
Get enough of the same flowers so you make small centerpieces throughout the party.
On the picnic tables, we made a long matching floral centerpiece. We used cardboard to make a base and glued on floral foam. Then added the same white peonies and the same green ferns. Every foot, add tall thin candle holders.
Traditional Cocktail Table Setting
Surrounding the picnic tables we placed a combination of cocktail tables and dinner tables. Using the same white flowers in galvanized vases. Each place setting had a silver charger. Top off the charge with a doily and a heart-shaped monogrammed sign.
Pallet Wood Wall For Party Decoration
Pick up the pallet wood planks from local supermarkets and gardening centers. They gave it to us for FREE! This does require a lot of hunting time but it’s totally worth it.
We used these all throughout the party. First up, the main pallet backdrop wall. We joined together about 8-10 feet high. Overall it was about 25 feet wide.
This massive rustic wall is the base for all the rustic party decorations. The center focal point was a large green eight foot wreath that we..wait for it….found in the garbage. We added some Christmas lights so sparkle when it got dark.
In the wreath stood this handmade monogram that we made from cardboard. Check out how to make this here.
Get a bunch of picture frames, monograms, and wood signs to cover the wall. It works best if the frames are different sizes and neutral colors to add variety.
Then add a variety of side tables to display desserts. We even included small crates, stools, latters, and a trunk.
Pro Tip – Personalize the display as much as possible with the invitation and engagement albums, bride & groom flutes or mugs.
Burlap Card Box
This was a bridal burlap box we got from Michaels. This originally had some ruffle and flowers and we removed it. Printed out mini letters. Attached mini letters to twine with mini clothespins
Finalize the overall look with candles, lanterns, wood signs, topiaries. Use burlap to cover all the empty spots throughout the tables.
Dessert Table Settings
We used a variety of serving trays for the dessert display. We opened up the console table and place plastic grass squares to serve cupcakes.
DIY Donut Wall
We got this little page board from Michaels and made it into a mini donut wall.
This gorgeous semi-naked cake we got from a local bakery. Topped it off with the bride and groom’s names.
On top of that, we had a variety of desserts. Some we made, some were purchased.
DIY Engagement Party Favors
We put these easy favors together ourselves. Use a clear cellophane bag and close the top with twine. Add a tag that says “Matt popped the question, Kelly said YES”. Pile up the popcorn in a basket or wooden crate.
Engaging Photo Booth Ideas
The first photo booth idea was a station with a classic polaroid camera. We purchased these fun wedding-themed props. The box that held all the props is an easy DIY project you can make with wood themed paper.
To display all the photos we used another wood pallet wall. Add twine and mini clothes pins for guests to hang the photos themselves.
Flower Wall Backdrop
What do you think of this incredible mega hand flower wall? The entire thing is handmade. Yes, EVERY single petal is hand made along with the structure that holds it up. This served as an incredible backdrop for guests to take beautiful photos.
We made sure you have signs with the hashtag spread out throughout the party.
Romantic Party Seating
We took three pallet walls and stacked them on top of each other to make this beautiful coffee table. Make sure it’s as level as possible. Add another flower centerpiece and candles to the top. Finally, throw some pillows on the ground so guests can sit and enjoy themselves.
Continue to add little romantic seating areas throughout the yard so guests could really spread out.
PRO TIP: Do a mini photo session with the bride and groom before guests arrive.
We rented a fold out table for kids so it’s perfectly sized for kids. We covered the table with brown paper roll so that the kids could draw on it.
Chalkboard easel sign and wrote on both sides. One side said “Kids Table” and the other side said “Where the Cool Kids Are”.
Add cute colored canisters to hold markers and crayons. We added white paper stock, stickers, glitter, and envelopes to a brown basket. We asked the kids to make a card for the cute couple.
Save this idea for another Party! PIN FOR LATER
Rustic Bar Set-Up
The bar had three main areas. First, we had this six-foot fold-out table covered with a roll of fake grass. They sell this in Home Depot and it comes by the yard. This “Love is Sweet” banner was made from burlap and moss. The chalkboard frame had the list of his and hers cocktails.
On top of the table we added this handmade crate stand and also added a “His & Hers” mini sign. Add big vases with citrus fruit to finalize the look.
The second area to this bar is this amazing glass display. Once again, we borrowed this old ladder from a friend’s garage! We purchased four wooden panels from Home Depot to make the four levels. These panels are 1’x4’. These panels held mason jars and wine glasses for the guests.Hang a green plant to the top and you’re done with this gorgeous display.
Add some colorful straws and markers into a tin. Guests can use them to write their names to the empty tag on the mason jars. We wrote the instructions for this on a foam board with chalk.
Finally, you have the actual bar that holds all the liquor. The base for this handmade bar is a wood pallet we got from our local supermarket…more on these pallets later! We combined this one big wooden pallet to other wood panels to put this together. It even had a shelf!
The rustic touches don’t stop at the food! Add simple food signs on mini chalkboards. We tied up utensils and napkins with twine. Each bundle had a tag with dining messaging in different languages.
Sweet Coffee Bar
Use a small table to set up a coffee bar. Add a variety of milk and cookies. Milk bottles can hold different types of milk. We also found vanilla flavored spoons.
Since this is a yard party, don’t forget to offer your guests bug repellent!
As afternoon turned into night, this engagement party got better and better. What do you think?