Out of Your Gourd: Planning the Perfect Fall Wedding

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Most people are into spring weddings, but I think a fall wedding can be the bomb. For one thing, you’re way less likely to have to jockey for space in your first-choice venue. And you also avoid stacking up in a wedding rush among your pals. Given the choice between being the only wedding in October or one of six in June, I’ll take competing with Halloween goblins any day.

Location
If you’re in a part of the country where fall won’t get too crazy-cold, being outdoors with the fall leaves as a backdrop is a terrific way to go. Or, depending on your region, you might choose a vineyard or orchard. (If you do go with an outdoor wedding, check over here for some planning tips. Of course you can go with an indoor wedding and bring a little fall color inside with you. I like the fun compromise of choosing a roof and walls, but having them be on an old barn or woodsy cabin. It’s a nice way to be inside but still feel the crisp fall weather a bit. Speaking of that…

Bride want fire!
Fall is, you know, getting-cold-time. So whether you go open-air or hardtop, you’ll want to have an area where your guests can get warm. Especially the elderly and the wussy. You don’t want your guests to have to cuddle together to survive unless you are absolutely sure you have all your matchmaking victims correctly paired up. Have a bonfire or a fireplace or something lined up, ideally with the word “heat” or “fire” in its name.

Oh, yeah. Dresses.
Speaking of fall getting-cold-time, give some thought to what you and your Gal Support Squad will be wearing. Don’t make your bridesmaids wear spaghetti-strap gowns unless they have seriously pissed you off. For that matter, don’t put yourself in a filmy strapless gown unless you want to relive that moment when your mom made you wear a sweater over your Halloween costume.

You may be thinking that you don’t really want a blinding white dress for a fall wedding. Trust those instincts. I mean, you’re a bride and all, so you can get away with white if you want it. But if you’ve been thinking about an off-white or cream-colored dress, fall is the time to whip one out. You can even go nuts with some gold highlights. (Or red and orange! Have I mentioned that I’m in favor of colored wedding dresses?) And since the color will go with the season, you’re much more likely to be able to wear that eggshell-colored dress without people snorting and speculating on your sexual history. Or, if you buy into the white-for-virgins thing, I guess it’s a way of advertising your happy trollop status without being too blatant about it.

Theme and décor
Another great thing about fall weddings is that the theme takes care of itself. Because autumn totally counts as a theme. Bingo, you have your colors. (Or if you’re not crazy into golds, oranges, and reds, you can go with chocolate browns and blue accents.) Decorate with fall fruits, sheaves of wheat, and gourds, gourds, gourds! Seriously: gourds are easy to get and come in a kajillion shapes and sizes. Scatter them around artfully and you, my dear, can consider your room decorated.

Don’t forget to give your guests the joy of cider, which conveniently comes in both hard and nonalcoholic varieties, and is tasty hot or cold. And you can probably get it at the same farmers’ market where you bought the gourds.

Flowers
Your bouquets and floral arrangements will also probably look a little different than normal, which is kind of the point, so roll with it. Plus in-season local flowers will be way cheaper than flying birds-of-paradise in from the tropics. (Unless you live in the tropics, in which case, hell, fly in the exotic cool-weather flowers just for grins.) You’re in luck if you’re a girl who loves roses, which will be perfectly in season most places. But you’ll also have a good line on daisies, chrysanthemums, yarrow, fuchsia, and amaryllis. Ladies marrying men in the Billiam category, please note that Sweet William will be in season. It almost makes me wish The Hunk was named Billy.

Food
If you’re a fan of hearty fare, fall weddings are the time to indulge. Thick pumpkin or squash soups or a nice stew will hit the spot for your guests (and are good stealth vegetarian options), and carnivores may want to go with heavier meats and sides. Turkey or quail can be a nice change for wedding guests who are used to chicken. Don’t be shy about working pumpkin, apple, or pecan pies in there, and did I mention cider? Because: Cider!

Cake
If you can’t stand the thought of white icing on your wedding cake, a fall wedding will allow you to get away with Chocolate City. Remember how we talked about using chocolate browns with blue highlights as your colors? Genius, I tell you! Genius! You might also like to go fall-centric but out of the ordinary with a spice cake or pumpkin cake.

Fun
Your fall wedding can allow for themed friskiness outside of the usual reception activities. Why not bob for apples at the reception, or make s’mores in the indoor fireplace? If you’re already planning on trashing your dress, why not have the wedding party transportation to the reception be a hayride?

The best thing about a fall wedding is that it’s already a little unusual, so it gives you license to be as unusual as you want. Make it your own and have fun.