Forward to Fall
Autumn provides bountiful ideas for wedding motifs. The ripe beauty and richness of autumn provides a cornucopia of inspiration for couples who choose to wed during that season. The mood of such harvest holidays as Thanksgiving, and yes, even Halloween, can provide a sumptuous collection of ideas for wedding colors, décor and menus.
Los Angeles wedding coordinator Julie Pryor of Pryor Events said that at her business, weddings during September and October are outpacing the traditional June nuptials. “In Southern California, our weather is typically sunny and warm in the fall,” Pryor said. “Many brides choose this time of year, as fall is their favorite season.”
Landing a location
California’s temperate autumn weather makes it wonderfully suitable for outdoor venues, and Pryor urged couples to be creative in selecting their locations. Think of a winery, a Malibu ranch or an art gallery. Texas-based event designer Tara Wilson’s favorite California locations include Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil, known for its breathtaking views, and Clos Pegase, a winery with a gorgeous underground wine cellar that makes an unexpected place for dinner.
Carissa Jones-Jowett, of Irvine-based JL Designs, which provides floral and event styling services, said a barn or an orchard can be dressed to the nines for a wedding ceremony. “Just make sure to always have a backup plan in case of inclement weather” if the celebration is held outdoors, she said.
“One of the easiest ways to inject fall sensibility into a fall wedding is choosing the right location; quaint inns, lodges, wineries, farmhouses are typical favorites,” said Maria McBride, wedding style director for Brides magazine and author of several wedding books. “They naturally exude fall charm all year round, but when these properties are booked during leaf-peeping seasons, it’s a comforting combination of color, harvest flavors and homey details.”
For one magazine photo shoot, McBride went on location to Lake Placid, N.Y. in the Adirondack Mountains. “I wanted to create a fall destination wedding set against the backdrop of vibrant fall foliage,” she said. Using the forest for inspiration, she set tables with candle lamps with birch lampshades, chocolate-velvet tablecloths and faded blue denim napkins. She also dressed a lakeside dock with Oriental rugs and wood chairs as a nuptial ceremony setting.
Whatever the location, the season creates a lofty sense of celebration. “I think people love the fall, and it reminds them of the holidays and family traditions,” Pryor explained.
“I like to approach the design focusing on elements that evoke the feeling of fall,” said Rebecca Stone of L.A.-based Duet Weddings, a wedding planning business. For a fall wedding, she starts with materials like old barn siding to create menu boards and incorporates nubby fabrics such as unbleached muslin, teastained linen, twine and antique lace into the décor. She ties strips of burlap around napkins and the bases of plant pots set on tables.
Feel free to pluck style ideas from fall holidays, but beware of falling into the orange pumpkin cliché. This is the time to pick the best of the gorgeous season and interpret it with grace and restraint.
“You need to be careful not to turn your wedding into a Halloween or Thanksgiving celebration, but you can certainly incorporate touches of the fall holidays,” Pryor said. She suggested embracing deep colors, such as burgundy mixed with golds and deep reds.
“Rather than the typical chocolate, orange and burgundy, why not try using eggplant, rust, bronze and caramel?” suggested Jones- Jowett. Stone loves the idea of muted antique neutral tones paired with a mixture of apricot, champagne and light blush.
To set a fashionable mood at the wedding, borrow from the bounty of the season by letting the fruits, flowers and even vegetables work their way into the décor. “For example, decorative kale is always fun to work with, and there is a variety now that is fluffy and almost ruffled around the edges with specks of white on it. It has such great texture and movement, and it’s large enough to make a great statement in any fall arrangement,” said Megan Fickling of La Partie Events in Santa Monica.
Faux Bois patterns are popular right now, said Jones-Jowett, who proposed many uses for the imitation wood at a wedding. “Use the pattern in all your stationery, line your aisle in tree stumps set with pillar candles and even have your baker create a Faux Bois texture on your cake,” she said.
Wilson suggested picking up on a trend big in fashion and home décor right now. “For a fall wedding, incorporating animal prints into the décor and other elements is very fresh,” she said. Place faux animal skin rugs, for instance, beneath the cake tables to add visual interest.
Jones-Jowett is also a fan of using the fabrics found in fall attire. “Flannel, plaid and cableknit sweater material are huge right now,” she noted. “Use the fabric to make custom napkins, to wrap your floral vases and even have your bridesmaids wear dresses in that style.”
What to Eat
Don’t forget that an autumn-inspired spread of scrumptious food is a sure way to please guests and make a wedding memorable. “I think when the temperatures get a bit cooler, warm, comforting foods are always the way to go, and of course using the best seasonal ingredients,” Stone said. “It could be fun to do a fanciful take on a Thanksgiving feast — comforting food with an elegant twist.”
A “wedding pie,” for instance, could take center stage in place of a traditional wedding cake. “Apple, pumpkin and pecan pies are all wonderful during that time of year, and conjure up such cozy fall memories,” Stone said.
For dinner, Nathaniel Neubauer of Contemporary Catering in L.A. suggested such robust entrees as double-cut pork chops stuffed with dried apricots and crushed pecans topped with blackberry-apple chutney.
How would Jones-Jowett have a fall wedding come to an end?
“Get a fire pit and instead of roasting s’mores, roast fresh apples, and have a station where guests can top their apples with cinnamon, whipped cream, salted caramel, nutmeg, vanilla ice cream, brandy or rum.”
— Robin McMacken, Special Advertising Sections Writer
Top: As shown by this wedding setting created by wedding planner Sasha Souza, rustic wineries and barns make great settings for fall weddings. © “Signature Sasha, Magnificent Weddings by Design.” Center: JL Designs created this arrangement out of Balsa wood flowers, scabiosa pods and various greens in a bark-covered vessel. Photo by Gabriel Ryan Photographers. Above: A vintage wagon was the dessert bar at a Duet Weddings reception. Photo by Jules Bianchi Photography.
This story was edited and designed by the Custom Publications staff of the Los Angeles Times Advertising Department. Questions or comments? Contact Darlene Gunther at 213.237.3133 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising inquiries, contact Sandra Gilson at 213.237.4646 or e-mail her at email@example.com.