Your Essential Guide To Planning A Fall Wedding

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Your Essential Guide To Planning A Fall Wedding

Though summer, and especially June, might be the most popular season for weddings, autumn is the next most common season to tie the knot. Fall is a perfect time for a wedding. The weather is cool enough so guests won't be sweating miserably in their dress clothes; the outdoor light is softer than in summer, making it perfect for photographs; and there is a feeling of family and coziness in the autumn air.

Date And Time

Autumn includes several holidays that might conflict with a wedding, including Halloween, Veteran’s Day, the Jewish High Holy Days and Thanksgiving. You will probably want to avoid the weekends around those days. The theme of your wedding is somewhat tied to the time of day: Do you want a casual brunch? A formal evening event? An outdoor wedding? If you are dreaming of an outdoor wedding, keep in mind fall's early sunsets.


It might be a given that you will marry in your church or synagogue, making the location of the wedding predetermined. Or, maybe you want a garden wedding in your own backyard. Restaurants, hotels and parks are other common wedding venues. Some couples choose quirky locations, such as on a boat, at the mall where they met or in a barn. Popular locations can book many months in advance, so as soon as you know where you want to hold your wedding, reserve the date.


Take a realistic look at your budget. Weddings can easily cost $25,000 or more. Decide how much you want to spend and then work all your other arrangements around this amount. If you have a very limited amount to spend, your best bet is a casual daytime wedding at a home or park. Other ways to trim the budget include:

  • Cutting back on the guest list
  • Serving hors d’oeuvres and desserts instead of a full meal
  • Choosing seasonal flowers, rather than more expensive blooms
  • Hiring a DJ instead of a live band
  • Limiting alcohol to wine and beer, instead of a full bar
  • Creating your own centerpieces and wedding hall décor

Guest List

The typical American wedding has 165 guests. You will obviously be inviting your family and close friends. Your budget and location will determine how many guest you can include beyond your closest circle. Invitations should be sent out at least a month prior to your big day.


Weddings can be any style from formal black-tie affairs to casual picnics on the beach. Here’s where you can personalize your wedding and work the season into your festivities. Some popular fall wedding themes are:

  • Rustic
  • Falling leaves/fall colors
  • Halloween
  • Harvest

Do You Want Creative Centerpieces?

Once you have all the basics of wedding planning taken care of, it’s time to start thinking about flowers. Work the season into your table decorations by using pumpkins instead of vases. For each table, carve the top off a medium-sized pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp. Set a jar inside the pumpkin, and use it to hold water for an arrangement of fall flowers like chrysanthemum, Shasta daisies, gerbera daisies, roses and dahlias. If you want a more elegant style, spray paint the pumpkins gold before using them to hold flowers.

Do You Want Fall Colors?

Your color scheme will guide you in shopping for invitations, wedding clothing and reception hall décor. Even a black-tie wedding can bring in touches of autumn. Typical fall colors of gold, orange, deep green or burgundy look beautiful at a formal event. Use fall colors for the tablecloths; bridesmaid’s dresses;groomsmen’s ties and cummerbunds; and balloons or other reception decorations. Instead of a pure white bridal gown, a softer shade of cream looks warm and flattering in the more muted light of autumn.

Do You Want Something Different For Drinks?

Hot apple cider is a fall staple and a delicious drink for your reception. Make it memorable by serving the cider in apple cups. Start with a large apple and cut off the top. Use a melon baller or paring knife to carefully hollow out most of the apple flesh, leaving a cup that tastes as good as it looks! Serve cider in the apple with a stick of cinnamon for garnish. If you prefer apple cider with a kick, hot apple toddy is a cocktail that combine apple cider with whiskey and sugar.

Do You Want To Bring Fall Into The Ceremony?

Bring the harvest into your ceremony with autumn-themed decorations along the main aisle. Instead of rose petals, let the flower girl scatter silk leaves in autumn colors down the path. Tie raffia, tulle or ribbon around small sheaves of wheat, and hang them from the side of the guest’s seats facing the aisle. If the couple will be standing under a floral arch during the vows, decorate with fall flowers and work in harvest touches of dried ears of corn, miniature pumpkins and more bundles of wheat.

Do You Want To Send Guests Home With A Special Favor?

Instead of the usual book of matches, Jordan almonds or chocolates, send each guest home with a caramel apple wrapped in square of gauzy tulle fastened with a ribbon. Other favor ideas that evoke autumn are tiny jars of maple syrup or preserves.

A wedding is special at any time of year. As a celebration of love and the creation of a new family, any time is right. But fall has a special beauty that adds a warm glow to a wedding and lends itself to many decorating ideas to bring the season into your nuptials. 

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