How to Plan a Western Wedding

It can be as formal or as fun as you like

By Jen Whitten

Married Couple on Horses
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Wedding planning involves walking a fine line between traditional elegance and your own personality. It is not uncommon for brides to wonder if their favorite music or theme is appropriate for the big day. While it is advisable to consider the comfort level of all your guests when thinking about an option out of the ordinary, you don't have to squelch who you are to get married. Even if not everyone in your family is a fan, you can plan a Western wedding in as formal a manner as you like.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Ideas of what a Western wedding is can vary based on whom you consult. It can be anything from a wedding featuring country-western music to a wedding with a cowboy and cowgirl flair. Define what it means to you and use that as your guide throughout the planning process to avoid muddled elements that don't quite work together.
Planning a Western Wedding

Step 1:

Decide on the season for your wedding. Depending on where you live, winter weddings can rule out a wedding under the stars. Knowing when your wedding will be helps narrow your location choices.

Step 2:

Find a venue. While you can have a Western wedding in any location you like, some spots are more authentic than others. Look for converted barns, rustic ranches or locations boasting wildflower fields outside. As in real estate, location is the most important element.

Step 3:

Shop for wedding apparel. Even the most traditional of gowns can gain a Western edge with the addition of a bit of blue or red embroidery. For an all-white look, consider shortening the skirt and adding a modest amount of fringe. Daisies or wildflowers in your hair will help tie in any gown.

Step 4:

Hire entertainment. Rather than the standard DJ, think about hiring a live band to play all your favorite Western tunes.

Step 5:

Create an Old West atmosphere. If your theme leans more toward the days of the Gold Rush, use appropriate elements in your décor. Decorate with wagon wheels, strong boxes and cactus plants. For casual weddings, replace chairs with fabric-covered bales of hay.

Step 6:

Work on the reception menu. Western wedding receptions feature a full array of food with all the fixings. As a rule, you cannot go wrong with anything from the grill. Catfish, chicken, steak and brisket are all popular options. Fried chicken anyone?

Step 7:

Arrange your transportation. Exchange the standard wedding limo for a stagecoach or carriage. If you and your groom are comfortable, consider riding off into the sunset on horseback to make your grand exit.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Always hang horseshoes above doorways with the curved part facing down. This is a longstanding good luck superstition.
  • Dress groomsmen in boots, cowboy hats or bolo ties for a more Western look.
  • Walk down the aisle to the accompaniment of a fiddle instead of the standard music.
  • Be aware of allergies. If you or a member of the wedding party is allergic to hay, don't use it. Puffy, red allergy eyes are not what you want in your wedding album.

About the Author

Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.

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Planning Reminder:

pink table décor

Trendy to traditional

You may have family demands keeping you from nixing some traditions, but if you want to get rid of the bouquet toss and it's not going to break anyone's heart, get rid of it. Your wedding should reflect your style. Sit down with your groom and decide how to make your wedding unique.

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Wedding Glossary


A wedding centered around a specific theme that is not color or pattern focused, such as a winter wonderland theme.

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