Caption This: "A Rustic Backyard Wedding Reception"

Over the past few years I have helped several friends plan their weddings.

First it was my sweet friend (and former nanny) Lauren.

Then it was the lovely Alyssa, inspiration for the famous wedding emergency kit.

Most recently I had the pleasure of helping my friends at Looksi and Shutterfly plan a rustic backyard wedding reception.

{While I have been compensated for this post, all of the ideas and opinions expressed within are my own.}

There's something so magical about a wedding.  It is the blending of two lives: two lives that are full of rich history.  What better way to celebrate a bright future than with pictures from the past—pictures that capture the people and paths that led the bride and groom to each other.  

In this sweet and simple backyard reception, a table is set exclusively for the attendants.

In lieu of place cards we used these metal plaques from Shutterfly to indicate where the attendants should sit.  Each has a picture of the attendant with the bride or groom from some point in their history.  In this case all of the attendants were either siblings or childhood friends of the happy couple, so we had lots of fun photos to choose from.  In the image below the bride is pictured with her sister (and maid of honor).

The caption reads: "Maddy with Maid of Honor (and sister) Lucy."  In this next shot we have a similar picture of the groom and his best man/brother.

Other attendants were honored as well.

I chose these plaques, with their "barn wood frames," specifically because they match the rustic theme of the reception.  I like the fact that the pictures are superimposed on metal so there are no concerns about them falling and breaking.

Another fun thing about this idea?  The attendants can take the plaques home with them.

Let's turn our attention for a moment to the sign behind the table.  Early in the planning stages I knew I wanted to have a chalkboard sign of some sort for decoration.  The problem?  I didn't have a chalkboard.  I fully intended to purchase one when I came up with this idea instead.  Using an empty frame that I already owned (you might remember it from this post), I simply taped some black Kraft paper to the back using painter's tape.  Voila!  Instant chalkboard.

And although you can totally write on the paper in chalk, my handwriting is—shall we say—less than beautiful, so I simply cut out some white letters on the Silhouette and made the sign that way.  In the event that you don't own an empty frame, you could just as easily tape some black Kraft paper over an existing picture.  Then when you're done simply remove the paper and dispose of it.

But back to the reception...

As guests entered the backyard they were directed to a small vineyard where they were invited to sign the guest "book".  Book is in quotes because it was not actually a book at all.  Instead, it was a piece of Wooden Wall Art from Shutterfly, featuring the church from the ceremony.  At the bottom is a caption with the couples' names and wedding date.   I love this idea because after the guests sign the picture it becomes a lovely memento for the couple to hang in their new home.   (Note: we started out using Sharpies for the signatures but they bled the tiniest bit so we switched to extra fine tip felt markers which were perfect for the job.)

(church photo credit: Kelly Elko, Eclectically Vintage)

One last fun idea from Shutterfly is the table runner that graced this table. 

There are four spots for pictures so we thought it would be fun (and in keeping with our theme) to use pictures of the bride and groom as children next to pictures from their own parents' weddings.

I feel like these runners are just perfect for a wedding because, in addition to the four pictures, there is also a spot for a one-letter monogram. What better way to commemorate the fact that from this point forward they will be one, sharing the same last initial?

Opposite the monogram is a heart, and in the center is a spot for text where you can write any message you'd like such as the couples' names or their wedding date.

Much like the wooden wall art, this table runner is sure to become a family treasure that the couple will use for years to come.  

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed creating it.  If you (or anyone you know) are getting married, I highly recommend poking around on the Shutterfly site to see what inspires you.  (And in the event that you're not up for the task yourself, let me know; I'm fresh out of weddings to plan!)



  1. I love all the details you incorporated. You are a genius with the kraft paper chalkboard idea and I I simply adore that guest book. Great job. You are such a great friend.

  2. Great ideas...great job! I'll try to remember when my daughter ever gets married.

  3. It looks fantastic, the sign begind the table is a really nice touch!

  4. Love every thoughtful detail you created and thought of. Stunning.

  5. Love it, E!! You are so clever! Linda xx

  6. That table runner is divine! And I love those barn wood plaques - I didn't see those when I was perusing the site! So lovely!

    I love the idea of a backyard wedding... you've come up with so many fantastic details, Elena!

  7. So many great ideas. I'll be pinning some of these pictures. laurie

  8. Absolutely GORgeous, Elena, from start to finish. Breathtaking. Love all the beautiful details, and I just can't get over those thoughtful attendant plaques in place of standard place cards. I will suggest that to every bride I know. Well done!

  9. What a beautiful job Elena! I love those barn wood plaques and the table runner is such a great idea!

    1. Thanks so much Shanna! Yours was amazing too!! I'm still thinking about those painted frames.

  10. Rustic backyard weddings are my favorite and this one is styled so beautifully! I really love that whimsical table runner and the wooden wall art guest book!

  11. LOOOOOVE backyard weddings! Our daughter''s wedding was in our backyard. Rustic wasn't fashionable then, but if it was this would have been perfect. Awesome job!

    1. Thanks Karen! And we got lucky that rustic is in vogue since our backyard definitely has a rustic aesthetic ;)

  12. Now I have a sudden desire to plan a wedding!! Love the signed photo of the church and the paper chalkboard! Such great rustic touches - great job!!

  13. The ideas and details are so adorable! I loved every little bit! I had NO idea Shutterfly could be such a one stop shop!

  14. There are so many great ideas here! I love the barn wood plaques, the church photo, the runner, etc! My step-son is getting married in Sept. I wish he would let me plan some of the details!

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  16. Great job! Loved all your ideas and the whole display!

  17. You have put together such a lovely wedding plan for your friends. Between the church guest book, the craft paper chalk board and those flowers, I can't decide which one I like the most. It's all so creative. Love the idea that those Shutterfly wooden frames have the photos imposed on them, and the idea of the picture from the past with the bride or groom. Very well done!!

  18. It all looks so nice. I love the wooden plaques with the photos. The church print is a great idea too! Thanks for the inspiration! ~ Angie

  19. Oh Elena I LOVED this post! My daughter is getting married next year and I love the photo idea. So nice to acknowlege the relationships! I also like your "chalkboard idea". Totally pinning this.

  20. Hi Elena, random question...do you know where the church in the photo is located? It looks like the Methodist church in my home town.


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