rustic wedding reception

Your Guide to Styling an Al Fresco Wedding Reception

Your Guide to Styling an Al Fresco Wedding Reception

Picture this: an enchanting al fresco wedding reception under the open sky, surrounded by nature's beauty, and infused with the warmth of the sun or the romance of a starlit night. 

Al fresco weddings have a unique charm and offer a dreamy backdrop for your special day. If you're an event stylist looking to create a memorable outdoor wedding reception, you're in for a treat. Explore unique entertainment options, weather contingency plans, creative outdoor decoration ideas, and some sought-after al fresco wedding venues and receptions.

alfresco wedding reception

What is an Al Fresco Wedding Reception?

An al fresco wedding reception, often referred to as an "outdoor wedding reception," is a celebration that takes place in an open-air setting, typically surrounded by natural beauty. These events offer a unique atmosphere that combines the beauty of the outdoors with the joy of a wedding celebration. Whether it's a garden, beach, vineyard, or rustic farm, al fresco weddings have a distinct charm that appeals to couples who appreciate nature's splendor.

What are Some Unique Entertainment Options for an Outdoor Wedding Reception?

Entertainment is a vital part of any wedding celebration, and al fresco receptions provide the perfect canvas for unique and memorable activities. Consider these outdoor wedding reception ideas to keep your guests entertained:

1. Live Music and Dancing:

professional DJ

  • Arrange for a live band or a talented DJ to provide music that complements the outdoor setting.
  • Set up a spacious dance floor under the open sky and encourage guests to dance the night away.

2. Lawn Games:

outdoor games

  • Create a playful atmosphere with lawn games like cornhole, giant Jenga, or bocce ball.
  • These games provide casual entertainment and keep guests engaged during the reception. 

3. Fire Pit and S'mores:

roasting marshmallows

  • If your al fresco wedding reception extends into the evening, set up a cozy fire pit.
  • Offer s'mores as a sweet treat, allowing guests to enjoy the warmth of the fire while indulging in this beloved campfire snack. 

4. Cocktail Stations:

cocktail drinks

  • Surprise your guests with interactive cocktail stations where they can customize their drinks.
  • From a build-your-own mimosa bar to a DIY margarita station, these options add a fun and personalized touch to your reception. 

Do I Need a Weather Contingency Plan for My Al Fresco Wedding Reception?

While alfresco weddings can be incredibly romantic, they are also at the mercy of the weather. To ensure your day runs smoothly, it's crucial to have a weather contingency plan in place:

al fresco sunset view table

1. Tents or Gazebos:

  • Consider a venue that allows you to borrow large tents that can provide shelter in case of unexpected rain or harsh sun.
  • You may also opt for venues that have structures such as gazebos to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings while staying protected. Easily style this structure with a wedding arch backdrop to let it blend with the theme.  

2. Keep Guests Informed: 

  • Let your guests know in advance that the event is outdoors and may involve exposure to the elements.
  • Encourage them to dress accordingly and provide some shade options such as parasols or umbrellas. 

3. Backup Venue:

  • Work with your chosen venue to identify an indoor or covered space as a backup.
  • Having an alternative location on standby can ease your worries and ensure the celebration goes on regardless of the weather. 

4. Professional Advice:

  • Consult with a professional wedding planner or meteorologist who can provide insights on the likelihood of adverse weather.
  • They can help you make informed decisions about tent sizes, fans, or heaters as needed. 

What Are Some Creative Outdoor Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas?

garden wedding backdrop
beautiful wedding reception

Alfresco wedding venues offer endless opportunities for creative and unique decorations. Here are some inspiring ideas to elevate your outdoor decor:

1. Wedding Arch Backdrop:

  • Create a stunning focal point for your ceremony or reception with a grand gold arch backdrop.
  • Adorn it with fresh florals, greenery, or draped fabric to add a touch of elegance to your outdoor setting. 

2. Charming Color Palettes:

  • Embrace the charm of a dusty rose wedding theme, using soft pink hues to create a romantic and vintage-inspired atmosphere.
  • Incorporate dusty rose tablecloths, napkins, and floral arrangements for a cohesive and stylish look. 

3. Wedding Table Runners:

  • Incorporate stylish elements such as a rustic burlap table runner to add texture and warmth to your reception tables.
  • Pair them with natural wood elements, mason jar centerpieces, and string lights for a rustic-chic vibe. 

4. Discounted Wedding Supplies:

  • Get creative with budget-friendly decor by exploring discount wedding supplies.
  • Find unique and affordable decor elements such as candles, vases, and artificial flowers to make your al fresco wedding a stylish yet cost-effective affair. 

Outdoor Wedding Lighting: Setting the Mood

al fresco dinner

One crucial element of al fresco wedding decoration is lighting. Proper lighting can transform your outdoor space into a romantic and enchanting setting. Here are some outdoor wedding lighting ideas to set the mood:

String Lights

Hang string lights above the reception area to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. They can be strung between trees, along the edge of the tent, or crisscrossed above the dance floor.

Candles and Lanterns

Use candles in various sizes and lanterns to add a soft and romantic glow to the tables and pathways. Opt for flameless candles for safety in outdoor settings.


Hang elegant chandeliers from trees or the ceiling of a tent to create a sense of opulence and sophistication.

Fairy Lights

Scatter fairy lights throughout trees and bushes for a magical and whimsical ambiance.


Illuminate trees, architectural features, or the perimeter of the space with up-lighting in the color of your choice.

What Are Some Popular Open Air Wedding Reception Venues?

When choosing an al fresco wedding venue, consider your preferences, guest count, and the style you envision for your celebration. Here are some sought-after al fresco wedding venues and reception locations:

1. Rustic Barns and Farms

  • Barn weddings provide a rustic and charming atmosphere, perfect for a countryside celebration.
  • Soften the venue by using a complementing color palette such as a dusty rose wedding theme. 

2. Garden Weddings

  • Garden venues offer a lush and vibrant backdrop with an abundance of flowers and greenery.
  • Consider botanical gardens, private estates, or country clubs with beautiful garden settings. 

3. Beachfront Bliss

  • Beach weddings provide a serene and picturesque backdrop with the sound of waves in the background.
  • Opt for a beachfront resort, a secluded cove, or a public beach with the required permits. 

4. Vineyard Celebrations

  • Wineries and vineyards offer a romantic setting with rolling hills and endless rows of grapevines.
  • These venues often have charming tasting rooms and outdoor areas for your reception. 

Styling an al fresco wedding reception allows you to create a unique and unforgettable celebration surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors. With careful planning, a weather contingency plan, affordable supplies and tablecloths on sale, and the right outdoor wedding lighting, your al fresco wedding can be a dream come true. 

Explore various al fresco wedding venues and reception locations to find the perfect backdrop for your special day. For more economical choices, make use of discount wedding supplies, the key is to infuse your personal style and create a magical, open-air wedding celebration that you and your guests will cherish for years to come. 

Don't forget to take advantage of CV Linens Rewards to find the perfect tablecloths on sale and other decor items for your al fresco wedding. Elevate your outdoor wedding reception with a touch of elegance and style while embracing the beauty of the open air, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Our Products

Polyester 120" Round Tablecloth - White
Spandex Pillar Covers for Metal Cylinder Pedestal Stands 5 pcs/set - Black
Burlap Table Runner 13"x108" - Natural Tan


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