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Autumn heralds the changing of the seasons with bold colors and in many places, a definite nip in the air – unless you’re getting married in Hawaii in which case you can still pull off a tropical-themed wedding! But not everyone is so lucky, so what’s a bride to do if you’re tying the knot in the continental U.S.? Well, as always it depends on location – an October wedding on the West coast could easily be an all-outdoor affair, but if you’re in Maine, staging your ceremony and reception inside is by far the safest bet. Here are some traditional elements to accentuate your fall wedding and make it a sublime and delightful affair.
If you live where the weather is mild and predictable in the fall, you could pull off a stunning outdoor wedding in places like California’s Wine Country – the golden hues and ripe fruit hanging from grape vines lend a wonderful touch. And a few strategically-placed space heaters here and there will allow your reception to be held under the stars. Most couples however will opt for traditional locations – from staging a grand affair in a luxurious palace to a more sedate affair in a quaint chapel and ballroom – wherever and whatever you choose, think bold to make your fall wedding a visually memorable event.
Another point to keep in mind is the timing since fall is a busy season, what with all the holidays and other obligations that crowd calendars. As soon as you and your fiancée pick a date, send out a whimsical “date-saver” card in advance of the formal invitation – that way your guests won’t be caught out with other obligations.
For your fall wedding you have a rich palette of colors to choose from – brides traditionally wear white, designers offer stunning gowns that shimmer and glitter with gold. Speaking of gold, this is one of the most traditional of colors for a fall wedding – from ribbons around the bouquets to the place settings at your reception – gold is truly a go-to color and one that is perfectly in harmony with the season. Other players that feature in the autumn color wheel are bold magentas, deep purples, burnt oranges, earthy browns and warm peach tones. If your wedding will take place inside, you can still invite the feeling of being in the great outdoors by creating arched arbors with cut branches still draped in their fall foliage.
Without a doubt, lily of the valley is by far the bridal bouquet favorite, but finding them late in the year may either be expensive or not an option at all. Work around this dilemma by choosing traditional in-season flowers – at this time of year chrysanthemums, dahlias and asters are at their best. You can also create stunning table arrangements by incorporating fall fruits and vegetables like crabapples, ornamental peppers and cabbages into your settings.
Another popular tradition is to bring in the texture and the lush hues of the fall with coxcomb and crocosmia, as well as seasonal berries, fiddlehead ferns and soft velvety lamb’s ear leaves. And by all means, don’t just settle for a clear glass vase which is fine for spring and summer – think copper urns and pots, as well as earthenware or wooden vases draped with lichens and moss.
You’ll want to dress your reception tables according to your color theme – whether it’s with dark purple damask linens or brown, accented with burnt orange, bold yellow or shimmering gold. Choosing flatware can be made easier if you stick with a theme – for example, twig-shapes lend themselves to a more rustic setting whereas gold-tipped classic flatware is always in good taste at a formal table setting. Your stemware will stand out even more if you select contrasting colors to beautifully offset the main setting – such as purple if your linens are brown; or gold-rimmed if your linens are purple or magenta. Small golden votive candles in rustic clay holders lend romance to the task of illuminating the room, and as for favors, think chocolate maple leaves, nuts or even tiny pumpkins in golden boxes tied with a contrasting ribbon. A popular modern tradition is to simply make a substantial donation to your favorite charity and announce your gift at the table with simple but elegant cards at each place setting – or a larger one at each table.
Serve a grand banquet for your guests by offering dishes made with the warm and cozy foods of the harvest season! Select from a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes, squash and corn. This time of year is also marvelous for pears, apples, grapes and many delicious root vegetables. Hors d’oeuvres can be as simple as gourmet popcorn and pumpkin seeds, to smoked sausages and home-made pretzels with an assortment of tangy mustards. Mini-kabobs and crostini are a popular fall tradition as is an assortment of cheeses and hearty breads like rye, walnut or jalapeño corn bread. As for main courses, you can accent either traditional or vegetarian fare with the bounty of the season. Poultry glazes delightfully with apple cider, and pork of course is marvelous when partnered with apples. With meats you can choose to serve wild or brown rice with nuts and cranberries as well as a seasonal vegetable. For a sumptuous vegetarian main course you can’t go wrong with manicotti stuffed with butternut squash, or a creamy mushroom risotto. And lastly, your cake can be white, but it will truly stand out if you dress it up in fall flavors and colors! Think cream cheese with nuts, ginger, carrots and applesauce. Or a sumptuous cheesecake decorated with flowers and nuts is a sure bet. Whatever you choose, fall offers a bounty of colors and flavors that will make your wedding—and your wedding day pictures—something to remember!
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