It’s officially Fall, which means that you can finally justify the scarves you have been wearing for the past week, and also: it’s time for fall weddings! It’s the magical season where the leaves are changing and the air is getting a bit more crisp and cool, so it’s no coincidence that some of the most unforgettable weddings happen during fall. More specifically, in the outdoors, during the Fall.
The best part about Fall outdoor weddings? They’re perfect for brides on a budget, or DIY-savvy brides. However, you can’t just show up to a random area in the forest and expect nature to do the rest. You’re not Snow White, as much as you wish you could be.
While the whole point of an outdoor wedding is to let nature to be the backdrop, sometimes you need a little more than a tree and some moss to set the tone. You need to separate the ceremony from the reception and show your guests where they need to go. Basically, you need to create a small venue in the great outdoors. Otherwise, your guests will be lost in the forest, and that could be detrimental toward the end of the wedding.
We’ve scoured through tons of romantic, rustic, and glamorous outdoor weddings to find some of the best DIY backdrops and arches for your big day. Most of them have DIY tutorials, but some don’t. For the backdrops without tutorials, just have faith that you can, in fact, do it yourself.
Paper Flower Wall Tutorial
If you’re a bride on a budget, or don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a backdrop then you probably don’t have it in your budget to splurge on a huge wall made of real flowers. That’s generally reserved for royalty like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Kidding.
But you can easily achieve a budget-friendly version by making a paper flower wall. Plus, it will last longer and you might be able to reuse it later. This paper flower wall by Alana from Dream, Create evidently took months to complete, but she maintains that it was a simple project despite it being time-consuming. Alana teaches you how to make three paper flowers: the dahlia, waterlily, and rosebud and the final result looks gorgeous. Put it outside in natural light and it would make for some fabulous pictures.
Get the paper flower wall tutorial here.
DIY Chalkboard Backdrop
You can absolutely make this adorable chalkboard backdrop by yourself, using one of the many chalkboard or slate wall/backdrop tutorials. Grab some plywood, foam board, or an old vintage world map like Leigh Anne from Your Home Based Mom. You can use a chalkboard backdrop for the ceremony, like this couple, or use it as a fun photo backdrop for all of your guests.
You could even add chalkboard elements throughout your entire wedding-using it for table settings, signs, or games for your guests’ kids to play. Your options are limitless!
Check out the chalkboard backdrop tutorial here.
DIY Wax Paper Backdrop Tutorial
Wax paper isn’t the first thing we think of when we think about planning an outdoor wedding. When you’re doing the wedding planning and executing yourself, though, almost anything can be used to make a statement.
You need ribbon, crotchet string, wax paper, and a few hours to kill. We love the varying length of all of these ribbons, and it’s a nice variation on the run-of-the-mill streamer backdrops we keep seeing. With this wax paper backdrop, you can still see what’s behind you, which is important when you’re having an outdoor wedding.
Get the full tutorial here.
DIY Carnation Backdrop Tutorial
We’ve seen a few of these flower backdrops and they look so understated and elegant, perfect for an outdoor wedding. Plus, carnations are much less expensive than roses or lilies. The process is kind of the same as the wax paper backdrop above, except you’ll need fishing line and embroidery needles. APW calls this a “lazy girl’s tutorial” but it’s still pretty involved.
You essentially thread fifteen carnations on fishing line, using knots to secure them. Pro: no need to measure, the flower placement should be random. Con: if you don’t do it the day of your wedding, you’ll have to refrigerate the lines and bring them to the venue. To do this project, you’ll need about 5 bouquets of carnations, and you’ll probably end up back at the store for more.
Get the full tutorial here.
Flower Heart Backdrop
You simply must have fresh flowers at an outdoor wedding. The smell of fresh flowers combined with the nature surrounding you just makes for a beautiful wedding. This flower heart backdrop was initially used as the backdrop to a beachside proposal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it at your own wedding.
All you need is some chicken wire, foraged flowers, and some wood for the posts. The greens (eucalyptus, pepper tree leaves, jasmine) make the form of the heart and the flowers add the colorful pop to the wreath. Secure the wood posts by placing them in 2 pots and you’re all ready for some amazing photos.
Get the proposal story, photos, and DIY tutorial here.
Lace-Wrapped Tree Trunk Arch
There’s no tutorial accompanied with this DIY backdrop/arch, but you can easily do it on your own if you have an epic tree like the one shown in this picture. The odds of finding a tree with branches that dip low enough to touch the ground are pretty slim, but using a long extended branch to wrap fabric around from might be just as effective.
This couple made the tree the focal point of the ceremony, so there wasn’t much they had to do to create a backdrop. To focus guests’ attention on them, and create an “arch”, lace was wrapped around the hanging branch.
See more pictures of this gorgeous outdoor wedding here.
DIY Pergola Tutorial
The lovely team at Green Wedding Shoes outdid themselves when they made this Draped Pergola. They didn’t make a pergola from scratch (because who can even do that?) but they took a plan pergola and turned it into this gorgeous, flowy wedding tent using fabric, ribbon, and flowers.
We love the look of the green eucalyptus against the bunches of hydrangea flowers. Also, a helpful tip from the experts: use some water tubes for the flowers, no one will be able to see them and they’ll make your flowers last much longer than they would have without the tubes.
Get the tutorial here.
DIY Burlap Wedding Arch
Tanya from Twelve O Eight held a wedding in her backyard for her daughter and the whole thing was DIY, including this DIY burlap wedding arch.
In total, Tanya used 7 yards of burlap (which we’re assuming she bought from a fabric store) and crafted some paper flowers to adorn the top of the arch. If you don’t dig burlap, you can try hanging some flowy, weighty fabric from a tree. This is a super easy way to define the place where you’ll exchange vows.
Get more details here.
DIY Pipe and Drape Backdrop Tutorial
We’re ending this backdrop roundup with a basic tutorial for making a great tool not only for weddings, but parties and photoshoots as well.
Chris from Celebrations at Home gives you step-by-step instructions for how to make a draping system using pipes, concrete, and some plastic buckets. You can use this pipe structure to hang fabric from, or use as a place card structure for your guest tables. Chris uses it as a backdrop for a dessert buffet, and we aren’t even mad at him. It ends up looking great.
Check out the end result here.