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It’s that time of year again when the air is brisk, pumpkin spice is bursting off store shelves, and the leaves are slowly dying a very very pretty death. I’m not gonna lie…fall IS my favorite time of year! I love the fall colors, the sweaters, the hot cocoa, the holidays are coming, and it’s not too cold yet for you to start wishing it was summer again!

Though when it comes to wedding planning, fall can either be a breath of fall fresh air, or a challenge (depending on your location). We personally, my husband and I, originally wanted a fall wedding, but ended up having our wedding a week before Christmas! I’ll have to right a blog about the pros and cons to having a Christmas wedding later. Since we’ve been wedding photographers for 15+ years, we’ve seen it all, and so here are some tips/pros and cons to planning a fall wedding!

#1 A fall color scheme or something different?

For this category I’m going to break it up into two main sections. Essentially, it’s your wedding, and you can incorporate any colors you would like. However, if you want to stick to color seasonal trends, here are some ideas:

Purples

When you think of colors of fall leaves, there are shades of reds, oranges, and golds. Thanks to my art school training, the opposite and complimentary color of yellow is purple so it would be safe to say purple would be an ideal color to use for a fall wedding. We’ve seen brides incorporate different shades of purple or use a deep richer purple. Purple tends to look good on everyone and is very visually appealing when paired with fall colors. Whether you plan to bring a lot of purple into your wedding planning or a little is up to you, but here are some ways that our brides have used purple.

Blues, Reds, and Oranges

Another color that is pretty popular for fall weddings is blue. Blue and orange are complimentary colors, but can also look very classy when paired with reds. In particular, the men of the wedding party will look very handsome in navy suits while adding a splash of seasonal color or red to little details, ties, or the flowers. Or you can ditch the blue and just stick to traditional fall seasonal colors. The only only thing about orange (and yellows) is that not everyone will look good wearing this color, so it’s best to use it as an accent color rather than a main color.

#2 What fall decor should I use?

The fall season can actually be one of the easiest for DIY weddings. If you want a more rustic look, just look out in your back yard or nearby woods for inspiration. Adding pine cones, greens, twigs, and stumps can be very easy and cheap to use for decorating a rustic fall wedding. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration (and a chainsaw), and that’s what Pinterest and blogs are for! I would say if you want to incorporate fall elements into your decorating it’s best to go subtle rather than over the top. Don’t have your decorations try to outdo each other or look like you just walked into a Halloween or fall craft store (unless that’s your thing…no judgement). So if you want to add pumpkins and mums to you wedding decor, go for it! They are easy to find and it’s a way to add color while sticking with your fall theme. Heck, you can even grow the pumpkins yourself if you’re the gardening type! And there are lots of options of either keeping them simple or using them in unique ways. Scroll down and take a look.

#3 What to plan ahead? The weather? What else?

So this one, of course like any seasonal wedding, has it’s pros and cons. What if it rains? What if it’s too cold? How long will I have daylight? So the pros to having a fall wedding are it’s not going to be too hot (especially if you pick a date in late Sept or October), the colorful leaves make a beautiful backdrop to your ceremony and picture planning, and it can be easy to decorate fall themed weddings. However, with having a fall wedding, not only do you need to plan in case it rains, but you also need to plan if it happens to SNOW. Yes, we’ve seen temperatures drop unseasonably on wedding days leaving the bride and her party to just grin and bare it.

It’s best, like any wedding, to plan ahead:

  • Make sure when you are planning your timeline that your don’t schedule your picture time later in the day when it’s past daylight savings time. You won’t have the daylight left unless you want night photos.
  • Make sure football games or other seasonal events won’t get in the way of your day. Out here in “Lion Country” at Penn State, no bride wants to have her wedding on a home football game weekend (cray cray)!
  • Be prepared for the cold for your guests if the reception is outside by providing enough space heaters and areas to block the wind. We’ve seen guests leave very early due to the cold. If you want outdoor photos, plan to have you and your girls wear either shawls or furs. Take coats with you or provide ways to take breaks to get warm again. Every bride says she’ll be fine in cold before the day, but tends to change her mind once she’s bare shouldered in the cold.

By not making plans ahead of time, your enjoyment of the day will suffer, and we don’t want that to happen!

#4 Food planning and sweet treats are easy!

Candy, trail mix, and pies are all on the table with a fall wedding! Even your dinner menu can resemble a Thanksgiving meal! The yummy pumpkin spice is a hit among guests and can be used in different ways. We’ve seen pumpkin spiced cake and pumpkin pies both being served at a weddings! Both are delicious and are a crowd favorite. Candy tables, candied apples, candy corn, hot apple cider, pumpkin scented candles, flavored teas for favors, and the list goes on! There are literally so many fall favorite delicious options!

#5 I Want Those Fall Photos!

So if the reason you are having a fall wedding is to get those incredible fall photos, then   you are not alone! Lots of brides LOVE fall mainly because they have fallen in love with the gorgeous color of the season! If this is the case for you, plan to have your wedding during the peak time of fall in the area of your wedding. For central PA, peak times tend to be mid-late October. Of course each season is different, some falls tend to be better than others and for that, there’s no planning. It’s best to have your wedding or photos being taken in the forest or very wooded areas. I know…a no brainer, right? But you will be surprised how many parks don’t have those beautiful leaves that you see in neighborhoods or on the side of the highways. Joel and I always wonder why the best fall trees are always planted in parking lots at shopping malls. My advice would be is to ask your photographer where the best place is to get those fall leaves especially if your venue won’t provide the fall backdrop opportunity. And be flexible. Most fall locations may look great a week prior to the wedding and then change because of a bad rainstorm the following weekend. It’s what Joel and I call “The Great Fall Chase” each year…literally chasing the fall leaves anywhere they look best.

#6 So what if I still want fall photos, but I don’t want my wedding in October?

This is for the bride who loves fall, but may not have the chance to have a fall wedding or wants extra fall picture opportunities! Do an engagement session during the fall. They are easier to plan, and you are almost guaranteed those fall leaves in your pictures (I say almost because nothing is ever definite). Some brides will have a fall wedding and schedule a fall engagement session to match the wedding for “Save the Dates.” Or if you know for fact you will not be having a fall wedding, but still want some fall photos, an engagement session in the fall will be sure to fulfill that fall photo itch. Plus, you can always reschedule a shoot if it rains or you’re sick, but not a wedding! You have more flexibility since there’s less pressure and 100+ guests are not attending!

Best case for any bride…plan ahead…enjoy the moment…and go with the flow! Even if your wedding is fall-TASTIC or just hinting of fall, it will be a beautiful remembrance of the day that you and your love have become one..(and they lived happily…ever…after!).