Wedding Planning Guide

fall wedding ideas

Autumnal-inspired wedding details that celebrate the fall season.

With the season’s naturally stunning color palette, it’s no surprise that fall is a popular time to tie the knot. As summer’s scorching heat reaches a cool happy medium before winter, your big day is primed for success. Word to the wise: Fall is the precursor to the holiday season, and includes a three-day weekend with Labor Day, so keep guests’ potential travel plans in mind as you plan the perfect autumn wedding.

But enough fine print—let’s dive into our favorite fall wedding ideas and inspiration!

Fall Wedding Venues

Most wedding venues will work for fall weddings, but certain types of spaces are particularly ideal for an autumnal celebration.

  • Outdoor venues with open-air spaces for the ceremony and/or the reception can be especially beautiful in the fall. Bonus points if the venue has built-in decor and scenery, like fall foliage and mountain vistas, which means you won't have to spend much on additional decorations.
  • Barns, ranches, and local farms are perfect for fall celebrations with a rustic wedding theme.
  • Wineries and vineyards are also a good match for a fall wedding theme. If the weather complies, consider having an outdoor ceremony amid the vines and grapes, followed by an indoor reception in the tasting room or events space (or even in the wine cave—perfect for more intimate celebrations).
  • Historic mansions and private estates are also great venues for a fall wedding theme; again, we love the idea of an alfresco ceremony and cocktail hour, followed by an indoor dinner reception.
  • If the climate is looking a bit iffy for your fall wedding, a good compromise is to rent a reception tent with sides that can be closed; keep the sides open if the weather is warm and temperate, but in case it gets chilly, the sides can be quickly closed for warmth.

Fall Wedding Colors

Take cues from Mother Nature and look to your surroundings for inspiration on your fall wedding colors: rich reds, blazing oranges, golden yellows, deep plums, with pops of gold for added glamour. Here are some of our favorite combinations for fall wedding colors:

  • burgundy + navy + gold
  • emerald green + gold
  • charcoal grey + burgundy
  • navy + copper
  • rust + marigold
  • kraft paper + moss green
  • orange + taupe + cream
  • plum + gold
  • burgundy + blush + gold
  • navy + cream + mustard yellow

"Abstraction" by Kelly Schmidt

Fall Wedding Invitation Ideas

If you've decided to tie the knot in the fall, draw inspiration for your wedding invitation design from the season's beauty and bounty. Autumnal-inspired motifs—golden aspen trees, acorns, faux bois (wood-inspired pattern), oak leaves, sheaves of wheat, cornucopias, or even pumpkins and gourds—can be turned into an illustration or motif to use on your invitations, especially perfect if you're fall wedding theme skews more rustic. Hosting a celebration that is a bit more formal? The changing fall leaves in blazing shades of red, orange, and yellow can be elegantly translated on your invites—think: richly colored burgundy cardstock combined with gilded gold foil. Once your guests open the invitation, they'll get a sneak peek at the fabulous fall wedding theme to come. Here are some of our favorite ideas for fall-inspired wedding invitations.

  • Floral-patterned invitations are always stylish, but featuring blooms that grow in the fall—like dahlias, zinnias, and sunflowers—will give your design an extra seasonal touch.
  • Prefer a look that's a little less obviously inspired by autumn? Marble-patterned swirls in chic shades of grey, combined with pops of rich burgundy or gold, is a subtle nod to the fall season.
  • Watercolor is a perennially popular invitation look—choose painterly shades of mauve, rust, burnt orange, or moss green to make the trend work for your fall wedding theme.
  • As a luxurious finishing touch, wrap your wedding invitation and enclosure cards with velvet ribbon before placing them in the envelope.
  • Seal your envelopes with a wax seal in shades of copper or gold.

Fall Wedding Attire Ideas

Dressing yourself and your wedding party for fall can be beautiful—but also tricky. Depending on when and where you’re getting married, you might have to deal with a fairly drastic day-to-night temperature shift. Draw inspiration from the changing leaves, woodland settings, and the overall moody feel of fall when it comes to selecting your fall wedding colors as well as your wedding party's look. Here are our top fall wedding ideas for attire:

  • Bridesmaid dresses in fall wedding colors that complement the season: taupe, mauve, marigold, chocolate, eggplant, burnt orange, and burgundy
  • A wedding dress with short or long sleeves might be a warmer choice than a sleeveless dress, depending on the fall temperatures at your wedding locale
  • Bridal heels with touches of velvet
  • Pashminas or cardigan sweaters for your bridesmaids that match their dresses and will keep them warm
  • Woolen or knit elements: tweed vests for the groomsmen, a knit throw for the bride to keep warm during the reception
  • For the more casual affair, swap the groom's white shirt for a more relaxed chambray button-down paired with a charcoal-gray wool tie

Fall Wedding Flower Ideas

Take advantage of the stunning fall foliage and work with your florist to incorporate tons of fresh greenery into your bouquet and floral arrangements. Next, add pops of in-season fall florals into each arrangement—the combination of greenery and florals will feel fresh and season-appropriate, a.k.a. the perfect ode to autumn. Here are more fall-inspired floral ideas.

  • Ask your florist to incorporate some of these beautiful fall flowers in your bouquet and floral arrangements: dahlias, zinnias, bittersweet, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, rose hips, and marigolds.
  • Choose greenery-heavy bouquets in beautiful fall hues.
  • Deep purple and burgundy flowers create a moody, sophisticated look.
  • You can still go bright with a fall-inspired array of orange and yellow mixed with white flowers.
  • Textural elements like wheat and dried grasses added to arrangements.
  • Boutonnieres featuring berries, bunny-tail grasses, acorns, or tiny pine cones.
  • Flower girl crown fashioned from fall foliage and berries.
  • Add in-season fruits and vegetables to your reception tables to create a bountiful tablescape: artichokes, pears, apples, and pomegranates.

Fall Wedding Ceremony Ideas

There are no shortage of beautiful indoor and outdoor backdrops for your ceremony in the fall. Here are some beautiful ways to bring in your own style to the main event:

  • Place cozy blankets on ceremony seats in case there's a chill.
  • Big, full ceremony arch filled with seasonal fall foliage, branches, berries
  • Use dried leaves instead of rose petals to adorn your aisle.
  • Rustic wicker baskets filled with wraps or blankets for guests to grab on their way to their ceremony seats in case the weather cools during your vows.
  • Line the ceremony aisle with assorted pumpkins and fall gourds in all shapes and sizes.
  • Have guests toss fall leaves instead of rice or confetti as you exit.
  • Tie bundles of cedar or pine to chairs along the ceremony aisle with brown ribbon.
  • A self-serve station at the ceremony offering hot beverages like apple cider and tea, along with cider donuts.
  • Stacked hay bales covered with a cozy blanket can serve as an autumnal welcome table.
  • Hang an oversized wreath of fall foliage on the front door to your ceremony venue.

Fall Wedding Reception Ideas

Party in seasonal style with our roundup of uniquely fall reception decor ideas.

  • A barn is the perfect indoor reception idea for fall, keeping guests warm with easy access to fresh air.
  • Choose cloth napkins in a rich, autumnal shade to add a pop of color to the reception tablescape.
  • Another fall wedding idea: Incorporate wood elements into your tablescape, from place card holders and table numbers to centerpiece vessels.
  • Decorate reception tables with floral centerpieces, accompanied by smaller bowls filled with fresh, in-season fruit like pears, pomegranates, and apples (they're beautiful to look at and can also double as a pre-dinner snack!).
  • Attach escort cards (in alphabetical order by last name) to a display of fall elements, such as mini pumpkins, apples, or pine cones.
  • Candles, candles, candles—these set an intimate mood and beautiful lighting.
  • Candlelit lanterns as centerpieces surrounded by bud vases filled with blooms in fall tones.
  • One of the most creative fall wedding ideas we've seen: Project pretty leaf patterns in a soft, amber hue onto ceiling of your reception tent.
  • Create cozy lounge spaces throughout the reception space so guests can mingle, with several sofas, low tables, throw pillows, and blankets.
  • Hanging lanterns and string lighting and add a beautiful glow to any indoor or outdoor venue.
  • An outdoor fire pit for guests to gather around and make s’mores.

Fall Wedding Cake Ideas

Your wedding dessert is the perfect blank canvas for some additional autumnal inspiration. To create a wedding cake that wholly reflects the fall season, work with a cake designer who can translate your vision into a confection that looks perfectly fall-inspired on the outside, as well as tastes seasonally inspired on the inside, as well.

Seasonal motifs like fall leaves, berries, pine cones, and acorns can all be fashioned entirely from sugar and affixed to each cake tier. Alternatively, you could decorate the tiers with fresh fruit, instead, for an extra dose of seasonal flavor. And work with your cake designer to select autumnal-inspired cake flavors and fillings. Obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes? Ask if your baker can incorporate similar flavors for one of the tiers, like pumpkin spice cake with honey cream cheese filling and maple buttercream. Chocolate is always a guaranteed crowd pleaser and is perfect for fall. Here are our most delicious slices of cake inspiration for your fall wedding.

  • Opt for a "naked" (partially frosted) cake, which looks rustic yet refined.
  • Decorate the cake tiers with fresh, in-season fruit such as pomegranates, berries, apples, pears, and figs.
  • Adorn your cake with edible oak and maple leaves made from gumpaste to complement your fall wedding colors.
  • Have your baker mimic the look of wood grain on the cake tiers with a faux bois wedding cake.
  • Display your cake on a wood slice for a rustic look.
  • Or skip the cake entirely and serve an assortment of pies with your favorite seasonal fillings: apple, mixed berry, pumpkin, shoofly, spiced pear, salted caramel, etc.
  • If your venue allows it, have an outdoor bonfire at the reception, complete with Adirondack chairs, plaid blankets, and s'mores kits.
  • Choose delicious, fall-inspired cake flavors and fillings, such as:
    • Spice cake with apple filling
    • Chai tea and honey buttercream
    • Brown butter spice cake with cream cheese and maple buttercream
    • Vanilla cake with cinnamon streusel and caramel buttercream
    • Cranberry-orange cake with orange-zest cream cheese filling
    • S'mores: graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow buttercream
    • White chocolate cake with pomegranate curd filling
    • Vanilla cake with coconut, candied pecans, and maple bourbon
    • Pumpkin spice cake with honey cream cheese filling and maple buttercream
    • Vanilla cake with caramel espresso buttercream

Fall Wedding Favors Ideas

Send off your nearest and dearest with love and gratitude, with these fall-friendly favor ideas:

  • Edible favors
    • Homemade jam
    • Caramel apple favors, tied with ribbons in your fall wedding colors
    • Individually wrapped s’mores supplies
    • Cider donuts
    • Small basket of fresh in-season fruit, like apples, pears, or persimmons
    • Small bottle of local maple syrup
    • Mini bottle of locally produced bourbon or whiskey
    • Hot cocoa mix in a mason jar
    • Bottle of freshly pressed apple cider
    • Miniature apple pies
    • Tea tins in fall-themed blends, like cinnamon spice
    • Small jars of apple butter
    • Mulling spices
    • Cider caramels
    • Nut brittle
    • Small bottles of locally sourced honey
  • Other fall-themed favors
    • Small pine tree saplings for guests to plant at home
    • Travel candles in fall scents, like cedar wood, harvest apple, spiced pear
    • Wool socks
    • Cozy pashminas/shawls
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