Now that we've officially entered the season of pumpkin-flavored everything, autumn fans are rejoicing in this shared excitement of cooler weather, cozy-chic clothes, and all things fall. And if you're a couple counting down the days to your October or November wedding, then things are feeling extra magical.
It should go without saying that if you're the type that loves to go all out with a theme, then you're more than welcome to pull out all the stops on your big day! But for those that like more subtle, seasonal nods, we're here for you, too.
Embracing your autumn wedding without going overboard
In the same way that you don't have to stick to pastels for a spring wedding, there are no rules that say you have to incorporate pumpkins into your autumnal décor. All of that said, it can be fun to embrace the season by planning some themed elements into your celebration.
For Nora Sheils, owner of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, it's all about evoking a romantic yet comfortable feeling. "Nothing says fall like nature's changing colors and moody palettes. Rich and vibrant tones typically lend themselves to crisp mornings, but even when the sun is shining, they evoke feelings of warmth and comfort! In the fall, there is nothing you want more than to be cozy. Utilize uplighting to cast an amber glow on the room to instantly warm it up. It will not only create a cozy vibe, but it also does wonders for everyone's complexions."
Kelley Nudo, client manager of Momental Designs, adds: "Choose wisely when it comes to the venue! A venue that can showcase the splendor of the autumnal landscape is really the way to go because having the backdrop of changing leaves is definitely going to ensure you and your guests can enjoy the beauty of the season without having to go overboard on decor."
What to avoid
Some couples may like the idea of springing for heavy fall themes when planning their wedding, but the idea may not be as appealing down the road. The most important factor to consider is how you'll feel when you look back on photos – will you always be fond of the hay bales and red-orange color scheme, for example? If you're on the fence, there are a few things you can do to avoid going too heavy on the fall elements.
Gretchen Culver, owner of Moon and Stars Events and Rocket Science Events, says, "Sometimes autumn décor can read as 'farm' or 'rustic,' so I would recommend skipping the hay bales, gourds, or hyper-seasonal florals such as mums."
Eddie Zaratsian, owner of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle & Design, notes, "If you want something a little more evergreen, think about having your florist incorporate some dried elements into your centerpieces and overall floral design. Pampas grasses, dried eucalyptus, and other preserved pieces can add major dimension and still lend to that highly coveted fall vibe. It may be best to stay away from orange and yellow florals if you don't typically lean towards those hues and want to avoid the overtly-themed look."
Let's talk color palettes and guest experiences
Don't feel obligated to incorporate colors of changing leaves into your color palette simply because they're seasonal. Instead, there are several ways to pay homage to the feeling of fall, whether it be with rich color or 'tis the season' experiences.
Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, shares, "Try adding some candles in wherever possible and nixing the harsh overhead lights. Regardless of whether you're going to have an indoor or outdoor wedding, candles of varying shapes and sizes can give your space an intimate environment for mingling. Add them to each table, incorporate them into your ceremony altar, and place them (safely!) in groups around the reception space."
Nudo adds: "Using a traditional autumnal color palette that coordinates with the colorful foliage display found in nature is a no-brainer when planning a fall wedding. Using shades such as burgundy, rust, amethyst, and ochre, anchored with rich metallics like antique gold or copper, can be carried throughout the wedding decor and give off fall vibes."
And for the after-party?
Culver suggests: "Who doesn't love a campfire, especially on a cool fall night? If you have outdoor space at your venue (and they will allow it), consider sparking up a fire pit after dinner! Have baskets of blankets and s'mores fixings for guests to hang out late night as they take a break from dancing. There are many companies who will do s'mores stations indoors, so even if you can't roast your marshmallows over a roaring fire, you can still indulge in this sweet treat."
Bear in mind that this is ultimately your wedding, so you can go as big or small on the 'pumpkin-spiced' theme as you'd like. It's all about what you're comfortable with and what you want to remember for years to come!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.