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. When you are thinking of unique fall wedding ideas, draw inspiration from the changing colors around you, the leaves starting to change, fruits that are becoming ripe, and drinks that warm you up. You also may want to consider venues that have both indoor and outdoor options, as the weather may be a little more unpredictable compared to the busier summer wedding season.
Before we begin, don’t forget to look at our Fall Invitation Collection, where we have curated an assortment of warm hues and inspired designs to tie your fall themed wedding together!
Tie the Knot with a Rustic Wedding
Barns, ranches, and local farms are perfect for fall celebrations with a rustic wedding theme. An added bonus is that these venues typically have built-in decor and scenery, like fall foliage and farm views. Because these venues usually offer indoor and outdoor locations, you can plan a rustic outdoor ceremony with a view of the country followed by a barn reception with dancing, or vice versa depending on your preference. And because fall temperatures can sometimes swing, having an indoor space is ideal in case you need to modify plans at the last minute.
Go for a Fall Harvest Wedding Theme
One of the most popular wedding themes for fall is "fall harvest," which highlights the season's bounty. Bushels of apples and pears might come to mind, as well as baskets overflowing with assorted gourds and pumpkins, perched on hay bales. Channel this "season of plenty" vibe throughout your wedding. Use small baskets as vases for your reception table flowers, use hay bales for ceremony seating, and decorate your welcome table with wood crates containing ceremony programs as well as another for collecting guests' cards.
Offer Seasonal Brews
If you and your partner are serious beer-lovers, then we love the idea of serving a flight or tasting menu of your favorite seasonal brews. Even better if they're from local breweries! Choose three or four of your favorite beers for guests to enjoy in smaller sampler glasses. As a good rule of thumb, aim to choose a light beer (like a pilsner or pale lager), a medium beer (like a pale ale), and something dark (like a stout) to have a well-rounded variety.
Consider Bridesmaid Jumpsuits
Looking for a more unique bridesmaid look? Ask your wedding attendants if they'd be open to wearing jumpsuits instead of bridesmaid dresses. Pants are always a more practical idea as fall temperatures begin to drop in October and November. These cropped jumpsuits are a stylish option for bridesmaids who want to stay warm and look chic.
Incorporate Fall Leaves
Few motifs speak to the autumnal season more than fall leaves, and this wedding invitation, which features fluttering maple leaves, will give your stationery an extra seasonal touch. Extend the imagery of fall leaves onto your wedding signs, dinner menus, place cards, and even your thank you cards sent to guests weeks after the ceremony. Carry a colorful and coordinated look across all your wedding stationery.
Blueridge by Jackie Crawford
Consider a Winery Wedding
If "rustic wedding" is not the theme you're going for, there are many other venue types that would perfectly complement a fall wedding. For a more elegant look, consider booking a local vineyard or winery for your celebration. If the weather complies, you could have the ceremony outdoors, with the vines and grapes as your ceremony backdrop. Then, the celebration could move indoors—into a wine cave for cocktails, perhaps, and then to the tasting room for dinner and dancing. As grapes are usually harvested in late August through mid-October, consider adorning your centerpieces with a cluster of grapes to accentuate the theme.
real Minted wedding in Carmel Valley, CA by Photo Credit: Carlie Statsky
Incorporate Fall Branches into Your Decor
Decorating your ceremony and reception spaces with beautiful fall foliage is an easy and affordable way to embrace the season. Ask your florist to create a ceremony arch fashioned mostly of fall branches, adding in some florals here and there for a fuller, more-lush look. At the reception, incorporate fall branches into larger arrangements on the cocktail bar and escort-card table for an extra seasonal touch.
Serve a Seasonal Signature Cocktail
If you've decided on a fall wedding theme, then the key is to weave the fall theme throughout the celebration by selecting all sorts of fall-themed wedding details. For example, for your cocktail hour, work with your caterer to create a beverage menu that highlights the produce available in autumn as well as spices that bring to mind coziness and warmth. Some delicious examples include apple-bourbon ciders (pictured here), mulled wine, Moscow mules, hot toddies, and pumpkin-spice white Russians.
Choose Rust and Marigold Colors
As the leaves change colors, choose a wedding color theme that embraces these nature-inspired hues. The bridesmaids pictured here are dressed in floor-length dresses in varying shades of rust and marigold. Coordinate the wedding party's look with ties for the male attendants in matching colors. Choose a wedding venue where the setting might naturally lend itself to your color theme (like a barn, mountainside resort, etc.).
Set a Fall Scene with Your Invitation
Give guests a peek at your fall wedding to come by sending them an invitation that depicts a scene resembling your wedding setting. Look for a wedding invitation that features autumnal motifs such as trees, rolling hills, and sheaves of wheat. Minted has plenty of designs that include luxurious foil colors such as gold, bronze, or rose gold that can also scream fall if paired with the right theme. If you’re looking for some direction on wedding invitation wording and etiquette, we have a great article that answers all your pressing questions.
In the Country by Paper Sun Studio
Wear Statement Shoes
Bridal heels in luxe textures like rich velvet are a stylish way to acknowledge the season change and add a chic accessory to your wedding-day look. Consider also adding additional velvet touches to your wedding decor like velvet ribbon wrapped around your bridal bouquet handle, tied to ceremony programs, wrapped around the base of the cake tiers, tied around dinner napkins, or even used on reception tables as runners.
Use Wood-Grain Textures in Decor or Stationery
Bringing the rustic, earthy quality of wood grain into your fall nuptials can add interest and texture to your wedding theme. Set the tone for your fall wedding by mailing guests a wedding invitation foil-pressed with an intricate wood-grain pattern. In the invite design pictured, the faux-bois details are pressed into blush-pink cardstock with bronze-colored foil.
Barn Door by Robin Ott
Create a Cozy Lounge Area Around a Fire Pit
By setting up comfortable lounge areas in your reception space, your guests can mingle and interact with other guests in ways they might not be able to if only traditional dinner-table seating is available. Check with your reception venue if you are allowed to set up a fire pit or two. This way if guests are cold, they can head over to a fire pit to warm up.
Add Dried Elements to Arrangements
When we think about wedding themes for fall, this idea is one of our favorites. Adding dried elements like wheat, grasses, and dried flowers to your floral arrangements is an unexpected autumnal touch while cutting down on the need for pricier specialty flowers. We suggest working with your florist to incorporate dried pieces to create a chic table arrangement on a budget.
Plan a Fall Micro Wedding
If you and your partner love the outdoors and are looking to keep your wedding small, consider having a micro wedding held in a place that's special to both you and your partner. This could be a local park, someone's backyard, a favorite restaurant or cafe, or a whole slew of other less traditional and more affordable venue options.
Forage For Some Decor
Turn to nature when it comes to sourcing some of the decorations for your wedding. Go for walks in your neighborhood and forage fallen leaves to use as potential place cards and escort cards (just use a gold-ink pen and your best penmanship). You could also look to attach the leaves to more formal place card options. Some other fall-themed decoration ideas derived from Mother Nature include acorns placed on top of guests' dinner napkins, pine cones used as place-card holders, fall leaves scattered down the wedding aisle.
Serve Apple Cider
Apple cider is a quintessential fall drink, and we love incorporating the beverage into your wedding in a variety of creative ways. If the forecast looks chilly, set up a hot apple cider station at the ceremony and reception to help guests warm up. Or, if the temps are on the toasty side, set up a drink station with beverage dispensers filled with iced apple cider. Your guests will appreciate such a refreshing and seasonal way to cool off. As a wedding favor, you could order bottles of fresh-pressed apple cider from the local cider mill and invite guests to take one home to enjoy later. Go the extra mile and pair them with cider donuts!
Wear a Flower Crown
Flower crowns aren’t just fashionable for Boho-themed weddings. If you love flowers, why not wear a flower crown in your hair in addition to carrying a bouquet? Ask your florist to incorporate fall blooms, berries, and foliage into your crown to highlight the season.
Keep Your Bridesmaids Warm
If the weather is going to be a little chilly, it's important to keep your wedding VIPs warm and comfortable. Gift your bridesmaids with something to wear on the wedding day. Pashminas and shawls in complementing fall hues are a great choice. Another idea is denim jackets, if they work with your overall wedding look, of course.
Throw a Beach Wedding
If you and your partner are drawn to the ocean, a beach wedding is certainly not out of the question for fall. Aim for a late-September beach wedding, when the weather is still warm and balmy enough for an outdoor ceremony and reception. Exchange vows barefoot in the sand (add a few patterned rugs down the aisle to help anchor the space), then dance the night away with the ocean breeze in your hair and the sounds of crashing waves as your background music.
Provide Blankets for Guests
If you’re having your ceremony outdoors and the weather is likely to be chilly, plan ahead and order blankets for your guests to use during the ceremony. Roll them up and display the blankets in baskets near the ceremony entrance. Add a cute sign that says “Snuggle up” or “To have and to hold, in case you get cold” to encourage guests to pick one up and stay warm.
DIY Seasonal Escort Cards
Why not use the beauty and bounty of the season as a unique way to direct guests to their seats? Write each guest's name and table number on a strip of paper and attach the strips to seasonal fruit or vegetables like apples, pears, or miniature squash with toothpicks. Arrange them in trays organized in alphabetical order by last name and display them at cocktail hour so guests can locate their dinner table. You could also offer up local seasonal fruit as party favors guests can grab as they leave your reception.
Add String Lights
Adding string lights overhead will create instant ambiance to your reception space, whether your dinner will be held indoors or outdoors. An added bonus is that string lights are relatively affordable, making them one of our favorite fall wedding ideas on a budget.
Serve a "Naked" Wedding Cake
Naked wedding cakes (a.k.a. partially frosted or unfrosted cakes) are a favorite fall wedding cake option for couples looking for a more relaxed and unfussy look to their dessert. The exposed cake and filling layers are a deliciously cool alternative to the formal look of fondant-covered cakes, making them the perfect complement to a rustic fall wedding. Accent the cake tiers with drizzles of caramel, along with your favorite fall fruits, such as apples, pears, and figs.
Or, Skip the Wedding Cake
Some couples just aren’t cake people! Instead of slices of wedding cake, take a cue from the seasons and serve a dessert that's more autumn-appropriate, like pie! Create a dessert display of your favorite seasonal pies with your favorite fillings: apple, mixed berry, pumpkin, spiced pear, salted caramel, shoofly, pecan… the pie possibilities are endless. If you do set up a pie tasting table, consider featuring all your favorite fall wedding decorations, like an assortment of mini gourds, pumpkins, and pine cones.
Wool Socks Wedding Favors
You might be thinking, give my guests socks? Hear us out. If your wedding is in late October or November, chances are the temps will be dipping right around then, especially if you're in a region that will see snow in the winter. Your guests will definitely appreciate a pair of cozy wool socks to keep them warm after the wedding is over. Wrap a ribbon around each pair, along with a note thanking guests for coming. Display the wedding favors in wood crates near the reception exit.
Make a Communal Bonfire
Before the evening comes to an end, light up a bonfire and invite guests to pull up a chair and get cozy. The roaring fire will create instant mood-lighting and a glowy warmth that's perfect for intimate conversations. Don't forget to provide s'mores-making kits complete with skewers, graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate squares.