Whilst the months of September and October are already popular for weddings (and for good reason), right now there are also a number of couples switching their plans from spring to autumn as a result of COVID-19. So, whether you were already planning an autumn wedding or have had to switch seasons, we offer our top tips for planning a wedding at this beautiful time of year.
Autumn weddings benefit from a beautiful, soft light – perfect for those ‘golden hour’ money shots. The sun is lower in the sky and with the sun setting a little earlier, it can give off the most gorgeous glow and allow you to get the best sunset photos without the need to interrupt your dinner.
The time of year though can make a big difference to how you build your wedding schedule and, depending on the season, you may need to make some tweaks to your timings. Whilst the weather of course can’t be guaranteed at any time of year, the light will make a big difference to your shots and your photographer should be able to help you establish the optimum times for taking your wedding photos.
For autumn weddings, it may be that you want to bring your ceremony forward slightly, to allow you more time to make the most of the natural light – if you’re rearranging your wedding to autumn, be clear to make any changes to ceremony times clear to your guests.
Whilst September and October weddings can often see lovely weather, it’s best to work up a contingency plan too – your photographer will be able to guide on the best place for shots if the weather isn’t playing ball. As the sun starts to dip, the temperature can drop quite quickly; so provide your photographer with a list of ‘must-have’ group shots in advance of your day so that you can get through these quickly and efficiently, before you or your guests get chilly.
Food & Drink
If, like us, you’re seriously into your food, the autumn months offer some of the most plentiful local ingredients to create a memorable gastronomic wedding experience for your guests. For us, there’s simply nothing better at a wedding than sitting down around a candlelit table and feasting with your loved ones, with free-flowing wine and food galore.
Autumn weddings in the UK benefit from being able to pick from a wealth of locally-sourced fruit and vegetables (the likes of apples, blackberries, squash, pumpkins and greens), as well as plenty of red meats and game. Work with your caterers to make the most of the plentiful seasonal produce available. Think slow-cooked meats, rich roasted vegetables and hearty dishes – a proper field-to-table dining experience.
If you’re postponing a spring or summer wedding it may be that you want to tweak some of your menu options – for example switching from salads to soups, and cold canapés to hot. Your caterers will be able to help you make any necessary adjustments to your menu should your wedding date change – just make your stationers aware of any amendments so they can factor this in to your on-the-day stationery.
It’s also worth noting that the season can have quite a big impact on the drinks consumed at a wedding. Spring and summer weddings naturally tend to see a higher number of guests drinking white or rosé wines, beers and fruity cocktails (Aperol Spritz, anyone?!). But, especially if your autumn wedding menu features more red meats and hearty dishes, you may want to make sure you’re stocked up on plenty of red wine too; again, work with your caterers to pick the perfect wine pairings to go with your menu, or speak to a wine specialist who can find the perfect accompaniments to your meal.
Autumn weddings needn’t mean missing out on the cocktails… Sloe berries are in prime season in the UK and sloe gin + Prosecco = the most perfect tipple for your drinks reception (and an easy switch from the likes of the classic bellini). Add a sprig of rosemary or thyme for a simple yet pretty welcome drink that your guests will love.
From a styling perspective, the autumn months offer so much choice and, for those who wish, can allow for a braver, bolder look – think rich, opulent berry tones, golden ochres and dark emerald greens. Or, for something a little softer, pair deep burgundy tones with lighter nudes and neutrals. When you’re creating your colour palette, try to work with the season wherever possible – it’ll help so much when setting the tone for your day. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our blog showcasing five of the top colour palettes for your autumn wedding.
When it comes to weaving in your colour scheme, there are plenty of ways to bring colour to your day. Change up the colour of your table linen, play around with coloured glassware, or opt for coloured tapered candles (Ester & Erik are always our favourites and have an amazing selection of tones to suit all palettes). Deep, autumnal colours such as terracotta, orange, mustard, green and navy work so well with warm metallics such as brushed gold or warm copper, which can be woven in through your chosen cutlery or candlesticks.
With the sun setting earlier, lighting plays a particularly large role in the styling of autumn weddings. Twinkling festoon lights and candles aplenty are perfect for creating an intimate and atmospheric setting for your wedding dinner. Lanterns can be used to illuminate gardens and outside spaces, and fire pits are a great way to keep guests warm during post-dinner drinks.
One of the most important considerations when planning your wedding styling is flowers. Thankfully, the UK has an abundance of beautiful blooms available at this time of year, particularly during September and October. Dahlias, cosmos and scabious are just a few of the flowers in season – your florist can guide you as to what’s available depending on your chosen wedding month. It’s also a great time for your florist to be able to forage for local foliage, tying your flowers into their surroundings. Don’t forget about scent, too – there are plenty of autumnal herbs you can incorporate within your bouquet.
Autumn wedding flowers benefit from having the choice of lots of colour, so you can really add impact here. Or, if you choose to opt for lighter tones and more neutral blooms then you can add a more subtle colour pop through the addition of trailing silk ribbons to tie your bouquets together.
As the leaves start to turn shades of golden yellows and orange outside, autumn presents the perfect opportunity to bring a slice of the outside in. Your florist can help to create breathtaking installations to help add impact and wow-factor to your day. Combine with simple hurricane-vase style candle holders to create a magical look as the light drops.
When it comes to wedding fashion it’s obvious that the season can have a great impact on what you choose, not just for your wedding dress but also your bridal party attire.
For your wedding dress, you may opt for more of a sleeve, or a removable cape is the perfect way to be able to provide some coverage should it be cooler, whilst also allowing you to mix up your look. Capes are bang on-trend and a great way to embrace one of the most popular bridal trends right now. For those changing from a spring to autumn wedding, work with your bridal designer to see if they can add a removable layer to your dress or opt for a simpe but chic (faux) faux jacket or shawl as a back-up should you need it.
Once you’ve chosen your colour scheme, you can look to incorporate this within your bridesmaid dresses, or the details for the groom and groomsmen’s suits – from ties to pockets squares and buttonholes. If you’re opting for colourful flowers, it may be that you want a more neutral tone for your bridesmaid dresses, to really allow their bouquets to pop.
Autumn weddings offer a great opportunity to play with different materials and colour schemes for your bridesmaids, and velvet remains a popular choice – providing that rich, luxurious texture whilst also providing a little extra warmth for your bridal party! As the ground at this time of year is often a little softer and more muddy, on-trend chunky heels are a great choice versus the traditional stiletto heel.
If you’re looking for help with planning your autumn wedding, whether a UK or destination wedding, you can drop us a note here to find out more and organise a time for a chat.