Shabby chic is a term that is floated about quite a lot in the weddings world, but it is often an area that is difficult to define as it blurs the line between vintage and rustic. Put simply, shabby chic is a gorgeous theme that incorporates a slightly worn, home-made feel into any décor for an effortlessly stylish look.
If you’re thinking of including shabby chic elements in your big day then extra wedding points to you, as one of the key wedding trends for 2016 is all about the use of weathered materials and natural elements in the décor.
If you’re stuck for inspiration then read on, as we’ve got 17 shabby chic wedding ideas that are sure to turn any wedding décor from drab to fab.
The shabby chic theme and wedding invitations are two things that go hand in hand, seeing as it’s super easy to convey the look this way. Brown card, string, rough edges and swatches of contrasting materials and prints are all great ways to achieve the look if you’re making the invites yourself.
To prevent your shabby chic wedding invitations from looking too ‘scruffy’, make sure that your invite fonts are neat and tidy to highlight the formality and importance of the occasion.
We love this invite from Eaton Cards and Stationery, which completely nails the shabby chic look.
Signs are a great way to inject character and personalisation into your wedding day. If your wedding reception is outdoors then direct your guests with rustic wooden wedding signs like this one here – extra points for the pops of colour and quirky hanging letters!
Image Credit: Trenderway Farm
Chalkboard signs demonstrate shabby chic wonderfully and are a sure fire way to grab your guests’ attention. We love this vintage style photo booth sign from Wedding in a Teacup, which is super easy to hang up around your venue.
Romantic quotes are an easy peasy yet sentimental way to beautify your décor. For a great shabby chic wedding idea, choose a framed quote on a hessian print or neutral coloured canvas like this customised one from Etsy. Adding the names or initials of you and your partner is also a great way to personalise your wedding.
Image Credit: Etsy
A Vintage Trunk
We love vintage inspired wedding décor and older items that have a distressed or worn look about them are perfect for a shabby chic theme. Got any old suitcases or trunks lying around at home? If so, then these would be an excellent way to collect cards and gifts from your guests.
This world map suitcase from Not on the High Street would also be ideal for this job, or you could just use it just as a decoration if you’re planning a travel themed wedding. We also love the addition of DIY luggage tag bunting to the case.
Image Credit: The Wedding Of My Dreams at Not on the High Street
Birdcages are a very popular accessory for wedding receptions as they can be used in so many different ways. Our favourite idea is a large, distressed looking birdcage that is transformed once filled with lots of fresh, seasonal wedding flowers. Voila – shabby chic centrepiece sorted!
Order of the Day
Make the schedule of the day fun by writing it out on a chalkboard for a personal touch. The handwritten element is a cute touch and makes the proceedings feel less formal.
Image Credit: Winters Barns
Continue the shabby chic wedding theme into your flowers and opt for a posy wedding bouquet filled with lots of lovely dusky-coloured roses that are fully open. Amnesia roses have a gorgeously faded pink and purple hue that would be perfect for a bouquet like this.
Image Credit: Rhubarb and Bramley
Instead of recycling old bottles, clean them and keep them for your reception flowers instead! Lime bottles like these contrast well with some bold summer wedding flowers.
Get creative with your wedding flowers and display them in any old item that you can get your hands on. Baskets, weathered metal buckets, boxes, jars, draws and bird cages are all super inventive ways to display your wedding blooms.
Oh and did we mention that china tea cups are also a great way to display flowers? Read on to find out more ways to make tea cups part of your shabby chic décor.
As mentioned before, old china teapots and tea cups with ditsy floral prints are a whimsical alternative to an ordinary vase.
Another key wedding trend that looks set to go big in 2016 and beyond is the inclusion of quirky Alice in Wonderland inspired details, so if you’re hosting a tea party reception then tea cups being used for anything except drinking tea would be a fitting, surreal element!
For more shabby chic wedding ideas, you could add name tags to the tea cups so that they become cute place holders for guests, or perhaps you may want to use them to hold sweet treats at a dessert table.
Image Credit: Susan Renee Photography
If your budget is limited when it comes to planning your reception then fear not, as there are loads of ways to do shabby chic décor on the cheap.
Keep a stash of clear jars in the lead up to the wedding (they’re also fairly cheap to buy in most home stores) and fill them with things such as beads, flowers, stones, flowers for super easy DIY wedding centrepieces.
We love these seaside appropriate jars which are a great beach wedding idea. The same idea could be applied to any style of wedding – simply fill the jars with items that highlight the theme.
These adorable jars from Not on the High Street have a lovely homemade look about them with their checked ribbon. Fill them with candles and scatter around your venue for instantly romantic lighting.
Image Credit: The Contemporary Home at Not on the High Street
Hessian, also known as burlap, is a great material to use if you’re searching for shabby chic wedding ideas. There are many ways to include it in your décor, just be careful you don’t overuse it and alternate it with other colours so that it doesn’t overpower your theme.
A simple way to include hessian in your wedding is by using it for the table runners or perhaps even as a chair decoration.
Image Credit: Pennine Manor
DIY bunting that looks a little frayed and unfinished is the perfect way to do shabby chic. This cake, photographed by Imaging by Susanne, ticks off two elements of the trend with the use of a mini bunting cake topper and burlap ribbon.
If you’re having a shabby chic themed wedding with DIY style elements then it’s only right that you treat your guests to appropriate favours! Think homemade delicacies such as mini pots of jam with frayed, fabric lids and biscuits presented in antique, retro style tins.
This one is worth putting the time into as your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to and will enjoy tucking into these amazing wedding favours!
Table Numbers and Placeholders
When it comes to the table numbers, think along the same lines as the wedding invitations and look for stationery in neutral colours with little vintage illustrations.
Image Credit: Nina Thomas Studio
Reuse the chalkboard idea again for your table numbers. Choose boards with colourful frames that are suitable for your colour scheme. We also love the addition of a mini globe in this particular table set up – extra shabby chic points!
These metal heart table number holders from Wedding in a Teacup are the perfect embodiment of shabby chic. Place them in vases, birdcages or any other centrepiece that you can think of.
The table plan doesn’t have to be boring, draw your guests attention with this quirky wire table plan holder from Wedding in a Teacup. The wire board also comes with six bird pegs so that you can attach your own stationery – we like how it’s been styled here with a travel theme in mind.
Sometimes the unfinished, natural look can really pull together your wedding décor. Rather than a fussy, formal tablecloth, ask your venue for long wooden tables that are left bare. Don’t go overboard on wedding table decorations here, simply add small arrangements of fresh flowers along with your table numbers and placeholders.
Image Credit: Pedro Portela Photography
This marquee set up is pure shabby chic perfection! We love everything about it from the long wooden tables and chairs right down to the multi-coloured pastel bunting.
Image Credit: Monks Withecombe
Your venue may be able to provide well used antique items or furnishings that can be used as part of your décor. If not, go treasure hunting on sites like Gumtree and eBay if you’re willing to part with the cash.
At Holly and Iain’s real wedding, they used old books, teacups and jam jars in their décor and also provided this vintage typewriter which Holly found in her dad’s shed! This gave guests a unique and special way to leave their messages for the couple.
Image Credit: King Studios Photography
We love these little silver lanterns from Wedding in a Teacup. The distressed metal look is so on trend right now, plus metallics are becoming a very popular colour scheme.
Hang these up outside the venue for gorgeous mood lighting when the sun sets, or you could hand them out to your guests as candle wedding favours – put scented ones in for an extra special touch.
If you love these shabby chic wedding ideas, then check out our round up of 50 vintage wedding ideas which are full of more amazing inspiration.