With so many of our summer weddings being postponed until autumn I have asked my friend Emma Joy The Wedding Planner to share her wisdom for planning an autumn wedding.
What to think about if you’re planning an autumn wedding
Autumn: “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, as Keats described it so beautifully. It’s when nature has its last hurrah before winter. Leaves are aglow with colour, fruit is ripe for picking and many British flowers are at their peak. The light is soft and golden and often the weather’s better than it was in spring or summer! Historically, autumn’s a time of abundance and generosity, when we get together and celebrate the harvest. All in all, it’s the perfect time to have a wedding!
As with any time of the year, autumn presents many exciting opportunities from a planning and styling perspective. Here are some top tips to help you make the most of them…
- First things first, don’t underestimate the good ole British weather! Often the weather’s lovely in September and early October, so I’d encourage you to be bold and plan to be outside. Just make sure you have a good plan ‘b’. If you don’t have a planner, have someone on standby to help you change things around at the last minute.
- Even if you’re not having your ceremony or drinks reception outdoors, your guests may arrive wearing coats. Hire a coat rail for your marquee or check that your venue has somewhere to hang them. Blankets would be a nice touch if you’re going to be outside. If you think they might feel cold, think about where you’re seating your older guests in relation to windows and doorways.
- If you were originally planning a spring or a summer wedding, but you’ve had to postpone to the autumn, consider adjusting your timings to make the most of the daytime. If you haven’t already sent your invitations, you could even explore whether it’s possible to bring your ceremony forward slightly.
- On the subject of timings, ask your photographer when the light will be at its best for your family groups and couple shots. It might be that there’s also a better location to have these taken. If you’re really concerned about losing the light after your ceremony, would you consider a ‘first look’? This American tradition, whereby the photographer captures the soon-to-be-wedded couple seeing each other before the ceremony, is becoming increasingly popular over here, but admittedly, it’s not for everyone!
- Autumn offers up a bounty of delicious food, so talk to your caterer about ways to celebrate the season’s best with your menu. Again, if you’re postponing, you may wish to make a few tweaks to the dishes you’ve chosen and how they’re presented. I would definitely recommend hot canapés and seasonal vegetables over salads, for example.
- There are so many exciting colour palettes to choose from at this time of year. Berry tones are a lovely nod to the season and work really well with shades of pink and peach. But if pink’s not your thing, how about jewel tones like emerald green or sapphire blue? Alternatively, green and white is a classic combination that looks beautiful year-round. If you were originally getting married earlier in the year, don’t feel you have to go back to the drawing board when it comes to your styling; choosing different coloured table linen or table stationery should be easy to do.
- Embrace the season when it comes to your flowers and you’ll be richly rewarded with the variety of blooms, scents and textures that autumn produces. Cosmos, dahlias, garden roses, hydrangeas and zinnias are all at their best at this time of year. And keep an open mind if your florist suggests using grasses, seed pods or even berries in your arrangements! For more autumn wedding styling inspiration click here.
- If you’re concerned about the weather, consider asking your florist to create a floral backdrop inside your marquee or venue, and try to position it near a window so that there’s lots of natural light. This will be a great place for formal and informal photographs, as well as looking and smelling beautiful.
- Candlelight instantly creates a cosy and welcoming atmosphere that’s perfect for autumn. Check if your venue allows real candles, but even if they have to be LED, you can still go to town! Use pillar candles in hurricane vases on stairways, in alcoves and along your aisle. On your tables, use tea lights and taper candles in assorted heights. They’re a little pricey, but I always recommend buying Ester and Erik candles because they’re elegant, come in a wide range of colours and they burn brilliantly.
- Finally, when you go for your next dress fitting, see if you can try on a bolero or a little jacket. Even if it’s a sunny day, it might get chilly and something like that could come in handy if you’re travelling to and from church, or heading outside for photographs.
If you’d like more ideas and advice about how to plan an incredible autumn wedding, send me an email at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you.