Everything in life evolves, including wedding trends, and it makes me happy to see that the stuffy, formal affairs of the past are slowly transforming into relaxed, fun and incredibly memorable occasions.
For some strange reason, all the time-saving technology and devices we now have in our lives have made us busier and more stressed than ever before. As a result, the ‘less is more’ and ‘keep it simple’ concepts are becoming so much more appealing, as they are the antidote to the craziness of our fast-paced existence and are having such a positive impact on all areas of our lives – even weddings!
Let’s be honest, we’re all looking for ways to relax, unwind and chill-out these days, so it makes perfect sense that this sentiment has also influenced the latest wedding trend. Many couples are starting to favour an easy-going, casual wedding day rather than the traditional, formal affair designed with a cookie cutter template which can result in a day filled with fussy protocols, rigid rules and uncomfortable guests!
Don’t panic! A casual wedding day doesn’t mean you have to delete the speeches, cake-cutting and first dance. It’s about setting the scene and creating an environment that guarantees the best day ever – not just for the happy couple, but for everyone involved in the celebrations.
If you’re looking for tips on how to create the perfect, casual wedding day, something that your guests will be talking about for years to come (for all the right reasons of course!), then read on!
For the perfect casual wedding venue, think: outdoor spaces, pretty gardens and open marquees. These provide the perfect blank canvas on which to paint your vision of a warm, welcoming and inviting space where your guests can relax and have fun.
Casual Wedding Furniture Hire
Casual weddings are predominantly cocktail-style events – where guests can mingle and move around (some sitting, some standing), so you’ll need to provide enough seating for approximately 50% – 70% of your guests. This will encourage guests to mix and move about, as well as offering some welcome comfort to those wishing to rest and recharge. The 50% – 70% rule can also apply to your ceremony as, these days, most only last for approximately 30 minutes. Standing guests will gather around the perimeter of the chairs, creating a more relaxed setting for your nuptials.
It’s important to keep your style in mind when booking furniture and props. If you’re going vintage or rustic, wine barrels and Bentwood stools or black, Tolix stools will create a relaxed, beer garden vibe for your reception. You can also provide extra chilled-out comfort options for your guests with large floor cushions, rugs and blankets.
If you prefer a more modern style, hire some white high bar tables and combine them with white, Tolix stools and add a couple of cocktail lounges and coffee tables for good measure. Cocktail lounges are a great way to create ‘open-air rooms’ i.e. areas which encourage groups to congregate and relax. Add some natural, mood-lifting greenery and make it feel like home by placing large, eye-catching potplants (hired from Mr Potplants) here and there.
Going rustic? Serve your drinks from a barrel bar (a stunning piece of heavy timber placed across two wine barrels) or a pallet bar (made from recycled wooden pallets). Esky barrels are another novel way to serve drinks. An esky barrel is a wine barrel which has a built-in esky full of ice and drinks. This enables your guests to help themselves to their next drink without having to head to the bar!
For a more modern or even a traditional white wedding style, serve your refreshments from a white, champagne bar, styled with florals inspired by your bridal party bouquets (and remember: when it comes to wedding flowers, fresh is always best)!
Another awesome idea is to hire a caravan bar to serve drinks to your guests. I have no idea why, but there’s something so sweet and playful about being served a drink from a vintage caravan such as Velvet Betty – it’s one of life’s great mysteries! The Little Bar Cart bar hire service is also a favourite of mine and it’s perfect for a fun, relaxing and casual wedding day.
Lighting is another important element to consider when planning your casual wedding day and it is very often overlooked. The right lighting creates the right atmosphere which, in turn, creates the right mood – resulting in relaxed, happy guests and a party they will never forget. For peace of mind, you can’t go past professionally-installed festoon lighting to create this magical effect and the best thing about this type of festive lighting is that it suits every wedding style (it’s a no-brainer)!
Casual Wedding Food
Cocktail style weddings = cocktail-style food.. or does it?
There are so many options and ideas when it comes to catering for a fun and casual wedding day. If you’re having food passed around in the traditional way, then go for fun, quirky, delicious morsels of pure delight. Think: petite comfort food that bursts with flavour such as little burgers, mini homemade beef pies, tiny cheese toasties served with an equally tiny cup of tomato soup or petite chicken and vegetable pasties. Inspiration for sweet comfort food in miniature form are plentiful when you visit Pinterest or Google. The toughest part will be narrowing it down to create your dream menu for the day! Amarlou Homestead specialises in simply scrumptious, flavour-filled morsels of pure delight!
Designer grazing stations, both savoury and sweet, are very popular and a good fit for a casual wedding. They’re also great for the budget-conscious as the DIY aspect means no waitstaff are required and your guests will happily graze away all night serving themselves for free!
One of my personal favourites when it comes to catering for a casual wedding day is: food trucks! Whether it’s one or a few, food trucks are always exciting and never fail to add personality to your event. For dessert, mobile ice-cream services such as That Little Gelato Cart are always a crowd favourite!
Instead of having structured, formal entertainment, i.e. seated guests watching a show, casual weddings are the ideal setting for wandering performers to make people laugh, start conversations and keep everyone interested and engaged. Think: magicians conjuring up amazing close-up magic, celebrity lookalikes mingling, chatting with and entertaining your guests or a musician on the move!
Easy going, casual weddings are also the perfect environment to take part in a little light-hearted competition. Encourage your guests to get to know one another with a round of croquet, bocce or ring toss or set up some giant lawn games such as Jenga, noughts & crosses and Connect 4 – all available to hire from Over the Moon Events.Now that you’ve got an idea of what your fun, relaxing and extremely entertaining wedding day might look like, keep in mind that the style and wording of your invitations conveys this message! And remember: although we’re keeping it casual, it’s still important to include a dress code so no-one is stressing about hiring a black-tie suit or shopping for a ballgown!