How to Design a Fall Wedding Without Embracing the Typical Fall Foliage Look

There's no one right way to plan an autumnal celebration, and if you're not a fan of this classic seasonal style, know that you have lots of other options.

outdoor reception table with colorful floral display with gold accents
Photo: Rachel Havel

Fall is one of the most popular seasons for weddings. With the cooler temperatures and bright backdrops, it's no surprise that so many couples favor this time of year when choosing a wedding day. And while you might love the time of year, you might not be as enamored with the typical autumnal motifs associated with fall weddings. (We've all seen the leaves and bright reds and yellows along with apples and honey and jam.)

Thankfully, it is possible to design a wedding without the typical autumnal look. Here are some nontraditional fall wedding design tips from the experts.

Feature Rich Colors

"Fall is an awesome time to incorporate elements that feel too heavy during other seasons," says Chelsea Lafollette, the co-owner and planner at Brilliant Event Planning. Ashley Chamblin, the founder and creative director of Ashley M. Chamblin Events, agrees: "We love when our couples use rich jewel tones in their weddings without sticking to a classic deep, warm color palette that people have come to expect from fall." Whether that means that you decide to use a rich blue on your invitations or deep burgundy in your floral arrangements, jewel tones are a beautiful and easy way to ensure your wedding feels seasonal.

Add Textures

From velvet to brocade, textures are another detail that the wedding planners agree make a celebration feel especially seasonal. When designing a fall wedding for a client that wanted their New York City-based big day to feel like a fall in the forest, Lafollette used blue and green velvet linens and moss elements to give the tables a "woodsy feel." Perhaps your aisle can be made from a richly textured fabric, immediately drawing your guests into the autumnal theme. If your reception is outside, offer your guests wool or plaid wraps to stave off the cold night air.

Incorporate Natural Details

Nature seems like an obvious thematic choice when planning a fall wedding, but the pros say steering clear of the cliché is key if you want your party to feel fresh and original. Avoid the expected décor, such as dried leaves and pumpkins. Instead, go for the unexpected, less popular choices that quietly echo autumn. Chamblin recommends incorporating crab apple branches into your floral arrangements; berries are also a great way to add color in a nontraditional, sophisticated way and can be used as table décor or bouquet accents.

"If you would like to mirror the fall foliage you are seeing outside, sometimes big branchy bar or entrance arrangements are just the ticket to set up the look without feeling too overwhelming," she says.

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