Bringing the Old West into your western style wedding usually means holding at least part of the ceremony or reception outside. Back yards or parks make for an excellent setting. Of course, if you live in the West, or place with a dry, mountainous landscape, this idea will work best. If not, other options include holding your wedding inside an old barnhouse or a dance hall or grange hall.
Look for Western quotes to incorporate into the ceremony. Cowboy poetry is highly popular these days. And who knows how to describe love better than the romantic, rustic cowboys and cowgirls? A trip to your library or a quick search of the Internet will provide you with endless examples.
You'll want to make sure your western wedding theme wear matches the theme. Watch a few of your favorite Western movies to get ideas for attire.
For the bride, you might want to visit second-hand boutiques to find a lacy, Victorian dress if you're going for the Old West look.
If you're a more contemporary cowgirl, think denim and lace. Fresh flowers can easily be donned on a cowboy hat the day of the wedding with a little craft glue.
Bolo ties, cowboy boots and hats are all appropriate for the groom.
Visit flea markets and antique shops to collect tack and other antique items to use for decoration. This would make a fun outing for the bridesmaids or groomsmen to do together.
Think alternative uses for things like old horseshoes: they can take on a new light wrapped with white Christmas lights or raffia (a paper material that looks a bit like hay). Keep an eye out for wagon wheels and mason jars (a beautiful way to display candles). Barrels of hay also make excellent decorations.
Horses are always a good way to add some kick to a western wedding. If you're true equestrians, you might want to say your vows while on horseback. Or you could have a horse-and-carriage carry you and your honey away from the ceremony.
Music is going to be an essential mood-setter at your western style wedding. Whether you're hiring a live country band or playing prerecorded music, make a list of your favorite artists and country songs. You might want to include a mix of old and new music.
Consider songs of Tammy Wynette, Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. If you're hiring a live band, give them a list of songs.
They may not play everything on your list but it will give them an idea of what you have in mind.
You can also use a download service online to create a personalized CD to play at the reception.
If you're feeling generous, send each of your guests home with a copy of your wedding CD. Each time they play it they'll remember your special day!
You'll want your guests to taste the best of the West as well. An open-pit barbecue is a good choice, and will fill the air with a hickory scent. Coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad can accompany the barbecue.
And when the evening is coming to a close, you might want to have a warm bonfire with marshmallows and skewers on hand for the cowboys and cowgirls who want to sit 'round the fire and take it all in.
Here is an exerpt from cowboy poet Charles Williams' poem, "You Were There," that would make a nice addition to the ceremony:
Once I was young an' bold an' strong, I knew my life would be prosperous an' long, An' I could do anythin', without a care or heed, I lit the candle on both ends, went at life full speed.
Work hard, play hard, drink hard, an' ride the rodeo, Only old geezers an' fools would ever take it slow. But that life grows stale, its joys an empty snare, An' when I looked for a post to snub on to, you were there.
From the very first, I knew you were the one, There was somethin' else beneath the laughter an' the fun, You were as pretty as a slick new calf on a field of soft green, But beneath the cute, there was deep, abiding beauty to be seen.
'Course, I didn't see it at first, just sensed that it was there, Like a meadow waitin' for the rain to bring the grass an' flowers fair. What you ever saw in this wild young cowboy, so full of fight an' dare Is more than I can understand, yet when I was ready, you were there.
Let you imagination roam free and enjoy the freedom of the Western wedding theme.