Though summer is the most popular season for weddings, fall is, some would argue, the best season for saying “I do!” The sun has lost its glaring heat, making outdoor ceremonies much more tolerable, and fall foliage provides a gorgeous array of colors for your wedding color palette.
The temperate fall weather also gives brides the opportunity to try some unconventional styling choices for their decorations, stationery, and attire. Some of the biggest wedding themes trending at the moment fit in beautifully with the fall season.
Though, often, the reception is given a lot more attention when it comes to planning your big day, the ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day. It is during the ceremony when you vow to live the rest of your lives together. So, to help you make your ceremony every bit as amazing as your reception, here are some fantastic themes for an early fall ceremony.
Fall brings with it a sense of nostalgia. Watching the gradual change in the leaves can get you to reminisce about the early days you spent together as a couple—and what better way to acknowledge the passing of time and change of season than with a whimsical vintage-inspired wedding ceremony?
A vintage theme harkens back to a simpler time, but simplicity does not mean your wedding needs to be bland. Vintage motifs are gorgeously detailed, and you can incorporate them into every element of your wedding ceremony.
All things green and white. A fall vintage wedding can take inspiration from the muted green palette of early fall, as opposed to the bolder red and oranges usually associated with the season. Cascading greenery in bouquets and aisle decorations evoke wedding styles of a bygone era.
An eye for detail. When it comes to vintage-themed wedding attire, delicate lace is generally the fabric of choice for the bridal gown. Depending on the era you wish to evoke for your wedding, gowns can be embellished with pearls, sequins, feathers, or intricate needlework.
The mild fall weather also means you aren’t limited to short or sleeveless gowns. Add some vintage glamor to the look of your wedding party with long-sleeved bridesmaid’s dresses and bridal gown.
Embellished bouquets. While there are still plenty of delicate blooms to choose from in early fall, go for a subtle-looking bouquet by incorporating a vintage lace motif by including the last of the Queen Anne’s Lace or Baby’s Breath.
Another fantastic way to incorporate a vintage theme into your fall bouquet is to use family heirlooms. Pinning antique brooches or cameos to the fabric on the bouquet adds to the nostalgia and can be a thoughtful way to acknowledge your family history.
Groomsmen can include vintage details in their boutonnieres, such as binding them with twine or burlap and using antique buttons in addition to the floral arrangement.
Pre-ceremony party. Greet guests as they arrive at a welcome station. Include some charming retro treats such as your favorite childhood candy, or stay in the spirit of the season with some candy apples or mini apple pies. You could also serve tea and coffee in vintage tea cups for added nostalgia.
Nostalgic décor. Decorate the aisles with vintage lanterns surrounded by lace, burlap, and a selection of foliage and flowers to complement your bouquet. Large urns on either side of the aisle, overflowing with seasonal flora, suggest old world charm.
Quote the classics. Use quotes from your favorite classic books as part of your vows or have your wedding programs bound with vintage-inspired bookbinding.
Fall is the ideal season for styling a charming rustic-themed wedding ceremony. Handcrafted details, combined with natural colors and textures, create a gorgeous, relaxed country-style atmosphere. Neutral colors inspired by natural materials can provide a great color base for experimenting with bolder autumn colors, such as plum, rust, or deep green.
Play with textures. Textured fabrics and natural woodgrain are the staple styling elements for your rustic theme. Try a burlap aisle runner lined with woodblocks for displaying floral arrangements or tie burlap and lace ribbon bows around your guests’ seating.
Cottage garden flowers and herbs. These are a simple but elegant choice for rustic fall décor. During the early fall, there are still plenty of different blooms left in the garden. Try using lavender and rosemary in bouquets and boutonnieres.
Barn wedding. For a truly rustic country-style ceremony, you can’t go past the barn wedding. As a bonus, the barn requires as much or as little in the way of styling as you like since the barn is already built from beautifully rustic weathered wood.
Experiment with seating. Instead of saying your vows at the chapel, why not bring the church pews outside? Combine the beautiful wood finish with some metal pails overflowing with Baby’s Breath flowers, for a chic way to decorate your aisle. Or try wooden picnic benches and antique lanterns to complement the colors of the season.
Create a wedding arch. Jump on the DIY bandwagon and create the perfect place to say, “I do.” A simple woodworking archway decorated in gorgeous green foliage or draped in intricate lace panels provides the perfect backdrop for your vows.
Homemade refreshments. Following the ceremony, your guests may want something to snack on before wandering over to the reception. Continue your handmade rustic theme with a fun array of seasonal homemade refreshments. Spiced cookies, popcorn, pies, and s’mores are some fall favorites.
Fall is perhaps the most romantic season of the year. While many brides opt for elaborate fairy tale weddings, your fall fairy tale wedding doesn’t need to involve castles, glass slippers, and transforming carriages (though pumpkins are in season). Make your fairy tale a more intimate occasion by drawing on motifs from your favorite fairy tales.
All that glitters is gold. One of the biggest bridal trends is that of metallics, which plays perfectly into the golden and rust colors found during fall. Using a color palette that includes shades of gold is a subtle nod to the fall season and adds glamor and class to your wedding.
For a touch of golden glamor, choose wedding stationery with a subtle golden sheen or, for a bigger statement, glittering metallic bridesmaid’s dresses make a chic complement to an ivory ball gown.
Sparkling jewels. Jewel tones are a huge wedding trend for 2017 and are a glamorous alternative to conventional autumnal colors. These deeper, darker hues are perfect for a fall color palette and reflect the decadence and drama of a fairy tale. Some stunning color ideas are ruby red, emerald green, amethyst, and sapphire.
Twinkle, twinkle. For indoor or evening weddings, create an enchanting atmosphere during the ceremony by decking out your ceremony venue with twinkly fairy lights. Make use of the vertical space when hanging the lights, such as twisting them around tree trunks or stringing them diagonally across your ceremony venue.
Use books of old fairy tales in your décor. Stacks of books can adorn refreshment stands, displaying the names of the food and drink on offer. To really make a statement, have your wedding vows calligraphed onto your aisle runner.
Literary signage. Use classic quotes to bookend your ceremony. Have a “Once Upon a Time …” sign at the entry to the ceremony venue, and a “Happily Ever After” sign for when the ceremony is over. Or get inspired by Disney with “A Tale as Old as Time …”
Tell your story. For a bit of fun for your guests after the ceremony, set up a photo booth complete with a Polaroid camera, storybook backdrop, and character masks. Have space for the guests to display the photos, such as a beautiful leather-bound book, for a wonderful wedding keepsake.
INTO THE WOODS
Fall is a time for celebrating nature, incorporate this celebration into your own festivities with a whimsical woodland theme. Be inspired by the outdoors by pulling your color theme from the rich array of autumnal flora and fauna, and enjoy the fall weather with an enchanting outdoor ceremony in the woods.
Fall leaf motifs. Incorporate the woodland theme in a subtle way with your wedding stationery. Select leaf prints and animal motifs for your invitations, RSVPs, and thank-you cards
Keep the aisle natural. Instead of flower girls scattering flower petals, have them throw colorful autumn leaves for a beautiful, seasonal ground covering.
Use the natural setting for your décor inspiration. Bare branches can be positioned between trees and draped with delicate fabrics to create a romantic arbor. Or find a few branches to build a tent or tepee to sign your wedding documents.
Get cozy. Though the weather may still be on the warmer side in early in the season, fall can bring with it a bit of a chill. Keep guests cozy and warm during your outdoor ceremony with some snuggly shawls or blankets. Select blankets in your color palette, or have them monogrammed with your initials. Lay them on and around the seating areas for them to use when they need to.
Game on. A fun way to keep your guests occupied before the reception is to lay out some retro lawn games reminiscent of camping trips and family get-togethers. Some signature games to include are ring toss, oversized Jenga, and giant tic-tac-toe. If you feel ambitious, you can handcraft some of these games.
Early fall means enjoying the last of the seasonal bounty and celebrating the plentiful fall harvest, and what a fun way to celebrate the beginning of your bountiful life together than with a farmer’s market inspired wedding? This theme is perfect for a more casual affair, full of fun and laughter. Farmer’s markets are bright and bursting with color, so don’t be afraid to make bold choices when it comes to your ceremony.
Big, bold colors. Fall has an amazing color palette. Choose bold colors to set the tone for a joyous occasion, by drawing on the colors found in market produce. Think bright apple red, pumpkin orange, and dusty green artichokes. Combine these colors with seasonal flowers for a bountiful bridal bouquet and wedding party arrangements.
Make a grand entrance on a hay wagon. Deck out the interior with hay bales covered in beautiful fabric to keep you comfortable. The hay wagon could also serve as post-ceremony entertainment, with hay rides for the guests before they head over to the reception.
Creative seating. Rather than opt for conventional seating options, try using hay bales covered in lambskin rugs for comfort. This is a fun and novel way to include the Farmer’s Market theme into your wedding ceremony.
Tasty décor. Have some fun with the amazing plants and vegetables that fall has to offer and decorate the aisles of your venue with some amazing giant pumpkins. Pumpkins come in a variety of colors, so, if orange is not part of your color palette, try white- or gray-toned pumpkins for a more subdued décor option. Stack them in piles, carve them with your initials—the possibilities are endless.
Alternative ways to celebrate the couple’s walk up the aisle. Use wheat instead of rice or flower petals for the toss as the couple walks back up the aisle. Wheat was the traditional grain of choice for many years for the toss, as it symbolized fertility and fruitfulness and is a fall seasonal favorite.
Get the party started early. Warm apple cider is a thoughtful way to greet guests as they arrive at the ceremony and, by offering drinks before the ceremony, you encourage guests to mingle and start the festivities early. Try a selection of warm, cold, and hard ciders to cater to the differing needs of your guests.
Have a small snack buffet available after the ceremony offering a variety of farm fresh produce and homemade snacks. You could also choose to give your party favors before the reception, and display them alongside the light buffet. Food themed party favors like jams and jellies made with autumnal fruit are always a hit.
Fall is slowly becoming the prime season for weddings. The mild weather and autumnal color scheme can allow you to make some unconventional and creative decisions that best express your personal style. Make sure your meticulous planning extends to your ceremony, and you are guaranteed to have a wedding that no one will forget.