Planning Autumn Wedding

The autumn wedding season is upon us. For three glorious months, couples have the opportunity to be married in the most diversified of the four seasons.

Autumn weddings can comfortably be held outdoors providing that you ensure the comfort and safety of your guests. Many weather-related concerns must be considered when planning an outdoor event during this time of the year. Indoor options must be discussed with each venue and vendor should the weather take a sudden turn for the worse. Deciding earlier in the week what course of action you wish to take will alleviate some of the stress you may incur if you wait to make a decision.

In parts of Australia if it is the look of the brilliant gold, red and orange leaves that you want, the second or third week of May seems to be the most colorful time of the year.

If your venue does not have adequate photography location options that suit your style, ask your florist to design a backdrop or trellis using autumn foliage. This can be used for formal photographs as well as for the ceremony. Many parks, museums, universities and arboretums allow photographs to be taken on their properties, but most do require permits. When preparing your timeline, take travel time and traffic into consideration.

When planning your wedding décor, don’t limit yourself to matching your bridesmaids’ gowns with linen colors. Include accents of gold, red or burgundy on your wedding gown, incorporate unique vests or bowties on groomsmen and tie everything together with flowers that compliment your choices. Different styles of bouquets and boutonnières can be matched for each of your bridal party pairings to give you a multitude of floral looks. Color blocking using these shades in your bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonnière will set you apart.

Before choosing your ceremony décor, ask your venue, church or synagogue what they allow to be displayed. If you are permitted to take the altar flowers following the service, use them to enhance the entrance of your reception venue or as centerpieces on food stations, your place card table or on the band stage. Arrange with a family member or friend to transport the arrangements after the ceremony.

For the reception, simple accents such as hollowed-out miniature pumpkins with votive candles inserted add a festive touch. Put spiraled sheaves of wheat on food station tables or your place card table. Ask your florist to tie sheaves of wheat or dried corn stalks to the poles at the entrance of the tent and accent with pumpkins, gourds, chrysanthemums and hay.

In lieu of place cards, use gold or silver markers to write guests’ names and table numbers on miniature gourds. If guests will be selecting their meals, use gourds, which differ in color, to indicate each guest’s choice.

If you are a creative couple, have your guests “design” the table centerpieces. Attach their place cards to a variety of potted plants in assorted decorative containers. Ask your florist to design a multi-tiered stand on each table for guests to position their plants. Assign table assistants to instruct guests to incorporate their plant into the centerpiece. These plants can also serve as favors.

Cornucopias of fresh fruits and vegetables can also be used as centerpieces. These items can be donated to local shelters after the reception. Contact a shelter to arrange for pick up or delivery of the food at the end of the evening.

For a Halloween-themed wedding, ask your family and bridal party members to carve your table numbers into pumpkins. This should be done close to your wedding date for freshness. Pumpkin-carving tools and number templates are available at craft stores. The candlelit pumpkins become part of your centerpieces and can be accented with colorful leaves, nuts and miniature gourds arranged at their bases.

Entertainment for children can be drawing on pumpkins with washable markers, along with craft projects using artificial colored leaves, glue sticks and construction paper.

Instead of a guest book, have your guests write their notes to you on paper leaves and attach them to a faux or real tree using autumn-color ribbon ties.

Color-match cocktails to your décor and have them served as guests enter the reception. Add seasonal produce, such as acorn squash, corn and apples to your hors d’oeuvres and dinner menu. For dessert, serve a spice or carrot wedding cake with cinnamon frosting accompanied by pumpkin mousse or gingered pears.

Transportation on the wedding day can also be autumn-themed. Hire a horse-drawn wagon to transport your bridal party. Children can be entertained with rides on the wagon. Make sure an adult supervisor goes along for the ride. Check with your local municipality for regulations regarding special permits that may be required.

As the autumn season enters June, adding evergreen trimmings, pinecones and holly can enhance your décor. Holly berries are poisonous, so plan accordingly if children will be invited. It is recommended that you use artificial holly branches on bars, at food stations and on your wedding cake

The following is a list of the Basic Beach and Park Wedding Items most brides and grooms could plan for: Wedding Officiant, Photographer, Videographer, Live Entertainer, Florist, Limousine, Hairdresser, Cake, Hotel Accommodations, Restaurant Reception, Traveling Expenses, Car Rental, Wedding Attire, Rings, Marriage License, Tips. Larger weddings - & small beach & park weddings - may add D.J. Entertainment or Live Band, Wedding Coordinator, Rehearsal Dinner & Rehearsal, Facility Rental, Programs, Decorations, additional Flowers & Favors.