Featured StoryFall Into Modern Romance
Photos by Sarah Schmidt Photography
Crisp air, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. There’s a nostalgic, wholesome quality to the fall season that gets people downright giddy. Beyond its comfortable temps, fiery landscapes, and seasonal fun (apple picking! hayrides!), fall is also one of the most popular times to get married. Chances are, you and your guests have attended a Fall wedding before. So how do you plan a Fall wedding that feels full of autumnal flavor, and is unique and personal to you and your fiance(e)?
We’re here to help: using this stunning real wedding from newlyweds Christina and Patrick for inspiration, we’ll show you how to put together a warm yet elegant fall soiree. And since the COVID-19 pandemic will affect large gatherings for the foreseeable future, look out for extra tips on creating cozy environments while celebrating.
The theme of Christina and Patrick’s wedding color palette was “Fall, but Modern.” The combination of red, peach, ochre, and marine blue is both warm and cool at the same time. It incorporates traditional autumnal reds, oranges, and deep yellows—but the rich blue tones (seen in the table linens, candles, and bridesmaids’ dresses) keep the palette from veering too far into stereotypical fall colors. Along with touches of eucalyptus green and white scattered throughout the florals and decor, this combination of colors is both seasonally thematic and unexpectedly sophisticated.
How To Make It Yours:
- Take inspiration from the colors that appear in nature. Look to the trees, flowers, greenery, even the sky or the birds that you might see during your outdoor wedding.
- Once you have a seasonal palette in mind, add an unexpected color (or two). Look for colors that complement traditional autumn tones, but result in refreshingly new combos.
- When it comes to fall weddings, think beyond pumpkins and gourds to other farmstand finds. Imagine the dusty purples of figs and concord grapes, or the warm neutrals of wheat and straw.
- If you fall in love with something that doesn’t quite fit your wedding colors, whether it’s a table linen or a pair of shoes, don’t worry: incorporate it anyway. The best wedding palettes work as a gradient of colors, rather than a rigid prescription.
Want to see more fall wedding color inspiration? Find your perfect palette by browsing through other real weddings here.
While more high-profile—dare we say “fun”—elements like gowns, rings, or flowers might dominate your thoughts when you begin to plan your fall wedding, don’t pass over the paper goods. Invitations set the tone for your entire affair. They are the first clue about your wedding’s style, formality, and theme or color palette that your guests will see.
Christina and Patrick chose to feature leaves, a traditional fall symbol, on their invitation to signify their wedding season. A pen-and-ink illustration of red leafy branches pops against the card’s white background and introduces the warm tones of their wedding colors. Another element of their color palette, marine blue, makes a subtle appearance in the border surrounding the center text. Colorful yet traditional, these invitations communicate a lot about what to expect at Christina and Patrick’s elegant event.
How To Make It Yours:
- Incorporate your wedding colors to make your invitation suite a cohesive part of your overall wedding design.
- Consider decorative elements that connect your outdoor fall wedding to the season’s flora. Think leaves, berries, acorns, grains, grapes, or other elements of the fall harvest…the options abound.
- Alternatively, incorporate the landscape of where you’ll be getting married, rather than an individual object from nature. If you’re getting married on a farm or overlooking the mountains, think about using this backdrop in your invitation design.
- Match the formality of your wedding to your invitations. Patrick and Christina’s invitations are elegant, but not too fussy—just like their wedding vibe. If you’re having a casual backyard party, feel free to use a more casual tone and typography. If you’re going for a fancy affair, communicate it through formal language, a scripted font (or calligraphy), and fine stationery.
Flowers can be one of the most beautiful ways to express your wedding style and give your celebration a unique feel. The floral elements in Christina and Patrick’s wedding show off the rich tones of their color palette, adding both energy and romance throughout.
Fall’s harvest shows up in botanical elements
not traditionally seen in bridal bouquets…
Christina’s bridal bouquet is a study in fall femininity. Against the backdrop of white hydrangea and greenery, pops of color—peachy roses, burgundy scabiosa, and red and ochre amaranth—add autumn vibes. Fall’s harvest shows up in botanical elements not traditionally seen in bridal bouquets, such as wheat sheaves and green hanging amaranthus. Seeded eucalyptus and dusty miller are the final touches for a layered, textural quality.
These bouquet flowers lay the foundation for the rest of the wedding florals: peach roses, red and mustard amaranth, strawflower, and scabiosa compose the multitude of small arrangements scattered on the reception tables. These tactile arrangements whisper “fall” but remain modern thanks to their white ceramic vases and the sculptural branches of silver dollar eucalyptus.
How To Make It Yours:
- Incorporate your wedding palette into your floral design by choosing flowers in similar hues. Tonal variation, especially light and dark versions of the same color, provides more visual interest.
- Add untraditional botanicals that symbolize the season: wheat and other grains, herbs such as sage and rosemary, and berries such as viburnum and bittersweet.
- Explore fall foliage beyond maple and oak leaves: grapevine, olive, and even fruiting tree branches (like crab apples or persimmon) are different but still seasonal spot-on.
- Non-floral elements can further enhance your fall wedding florals—think feathers, dyed pampas grass, or dried seed pods. Just a few of these non-floral touches can go a long way in adding personality to your bouquet and arrangements.
Decor & Personal Touches
One of our favorite elements of Patrick and Christina’s fall wedding is the subtle nod to the season found in their reception decor. Check out these charming white mini-pumpkins, which have been hand-calligraphed in gold ink to display table numbers. Choosing white pumpkins instead of traditional orange adds a modern sophistication to this functional piece of decor, and lets the gold numbers stand out while adding a touch of gilded glamour to the tablescape.
Another way Christina and Patrick personalized their celebration was through custom-decorated cornhole sets. Setting up lawn games and other activities for guests to explore is a perfect addition to outdoor fall weddings. Take advantage of the open environment to add fun entertainment throughout—just be sure to spread out activities to allow plenty of room for social distancing.
How To Make It Yours:
- Include traditional fall decor in understated doses. Small touches can go a long way when placed in highly visible locations, such as reception dinner tables.
- Add sophistication to common fall decorations like pumpkins by using non-traditional colors and materials. If you can’t find a natural color that suits you, paint, glitter, or otherwise transform ordinary pumpkins to fit your vision! Or consider gourds made from unexpected materials like wood, rattan, ceramic, or glass.
- Take advantage of the open environment at outdoor weddings by offering entertaining activities. Lawn games like cornhole, bocce, or giant Jenga amuse guests both young and old, and many game sets can be customized with your wedding details.
- Fall lends itself to so many nostalgic outdoor activities: from fire pits (complete with s’mores-making kits) to tractor rides to jumping in giant leaf piles, get creative! Your guests will love these fun details.
Contact one of the following local businesses who offer a vast selection of rental items to create the look and vibe you’re looking for: Jonathan G Willen’s Vintage Affairs Event & Wedding Rentals and Party Plus Tents & Events.
Christina and Patrick’s three-tier wedding cake is classic and simple. Fresh flowers decorate the white buttercream confection, except for a subtle, striped pattern on the upper and lower tiers. It pays homage to the fall season through the same peach and red-hued florals that appear throughout the wedding. The couple chose to make their cake even more of a focal point—and truly personal expression of their union—by displaying framed photos of beloved family members around it.
Wedding desserts have evolved…
don’t be afraid to get creative with your sweet treats.
Wedding desserts have evolved beyond traditional cake, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your sweet treats. For fall weddings, evoke orchard vibes with gourmet candy apples and fancy-dipped marshmallows on sticks. Since these handheld treats can be individually packaged in advance, they’re an even safer option for your guests.
How To Make It Yours:
- Go simple and classic. The less fuss and decoration, the better certain details (like the beautiful texture of buttercream frosting) will shine.
- Amplify your fall color palette by decorating your cake with fresh, autumnal blooms and botanicals that carry on your floral design.
- Augment or replace a traditional cake with fall-festive desserts such as candy apples, dipped marshmallows, mini pumpkin pies, or apple cider doughnuts.
- Turn your wedding cake display into a personal moment for you and partner by showcasing family photos, heirlooms, and other sentimental items around the dessert table. Since guests naturally want to take a peek at the sweet treats that await them, they’ll be sure to notice these meaningful symbols.
If this cake has captured your sweet tooth, get in touch with one of these local bakers or cake makers to chat about how you can recreate this classic, fall wedding cake for your own celebration: Charm City Cakes, Debi’s Cake Studio, Graul’s Market, and Yia Yia’s Bakery.
Bride’s Wedding Style
There’s no better way to communicate your personal wedding style than through your wedding day attire. Christina’s bridal look is equal parts vintage elegance and classic romance; from her dress to her shoes, jewelry, and hairstyle.
Rather than a traditional gown, Christina chose an ivory two-piece ensemble that pairs a vintage-inspired lace halter top with a high-waisted, full skirt. Check out the illusion netting and button details on the back—great for showing some skin but still keeping it demure! Make Christina’s vintage-romantic bridal style your own: book a few appointments at these nearby bridal boutiques to find the perfect classic-with-a-twist gown for your outdoor fall wedding. Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection, Cherie Sustainable Bridal and K&B Bridals.
While you’ve got vintage lace on the brain, find shoes to match! That’s what Christina did with this utterly chic pair of bridal flats. The gold-studded lace detail on these pointy-toed flats perfectly mimics the lace on Christina’s bridal top. Beyond being pretty, this is a practical pick. Bridal flats along with wedges or block heels are ideal for indoor or outdoor fall weddings, for dancing and because we all know, grass and high heels do not play well together.
Christina’s bridal hairstyle keeps the vintage-romantic style going with a neat but loosely structured updo and floral hairpin accessory. Following a soft, off-center part, Christina’s strawberry blond locks are woven into a wide braid along one side before being tucked into a loose bun at the nape of her neck. A hairpiece of white, jewel-encrusted flowers adds a vintage touch, while a few wavy tendrils frame Christina’s face and natural makeup. Like her simple cake, Christina’s wedding makeup is a lesson in less is more: to keep her look natural, her features are played up with subtle color and just a hint of shine. The end result is a polished glow in which Christina still looks like herself but can handle hours of photos.
Recreate Christina’s wedding hair and makeup with a local stylist and makeup artist who knows exactly how to nail this pretty-not-fussy look: #NoFilter Glam, Colleen Bode/Arbonne, and Fresh Faces by Cindy.
With the intricate detail of Christina’s lace bodice and hairpin accessory, she decided to keep her wedding jewelry classic and minimal. Petite pearl drop earrings, a thin gold bangle bracelet on her right wrist, and her wedding rings completed her vintage, romantic, understated look. Her unique engagement ring features sapphire stones around a center diamond. We love how the sapphires and the warm gold bands of Christina’s rings perfectly coordinate with her warm/cool fall wedding palette. Find wedding jewelry that compliments your look and the vibe of your wedding date at Smyth Jewelers.
How To Make It Yours:
- Update vintage materials and silhouettes with modern sensibility.
- Mix and match bridal separates instead of a one-piece gown for ultimate customization. Pick the cuts that most flatter you on top and bottom for a look that’s distinctly yours.
- Echo details of your wedding gown in your shoes. This could be a repeating material, texture, color, or simply an evocation of the same style or era.
- Choose flats for an outdoor or indoor wedding! Besides saving you the discomfort of wearing heels for hours, flats, wedges, or block heels are much easier for dancing and navigating outdoor terrain. No bride wants to feel like she’s sinking into the ground while saying her vows.
- Keep your hair and makeup fresh and natural-looking with a hairstyle that’s structured but still loose. Add accessories like hairpins, combs, or even fall flowers for vintage charm or to enhance the seasonal theme.
- Don’t shy away from unique gemstones when choosing your fall wedding jewelry. Yellow and rose gold can mimic the warm sunset colors of autumn, but mixing warm and cool tones is always refreshing.
Groom’s Wedding Style
Christina must have tipped off Patrick about her bridal style vibe, because his blue three-piece suit is right in line with her vintage-modern look. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a blue suit when it comes to fall weddings, outdoor weddings, or cocktail-formal weddings. More interesting than black or gray, a blue suit provides richness of color while sticking to classic sartorial style—and in Patrick’s case, a marine blue suit upholds the wedding color palette, as does his crimson necktie. Our favorite detail here is definitely Patrick’s double-breasted vest, which adds just the right amount of interest to an otherwise straightforward groom style and reinforces that vintage vibe.
Suited by this suit? Take inspiration from Patrick and shop for a wedding suit of your own at one of these local menswear stores that can help you find your signature groom style: Christopher Schafer Clothier and Tuxedo House.
How To Make It Yours:
- Opt for a wear-again suit. The price might be slightly more at the outset, but the multiple uses you’ll get out of a suit means it will pay for itself.
- An unexpected (but not outrageous) color such as indigo blue, olive green, or tan will set you apart, and might even coordinate with your overall wedding colors, but still look classy.
- Match the fashion style of your partner through refined details: accessorize with a vest, a necktie or bowtie, socks, a pocket square, or even a vintage timepiece to add fun details to your groom ensemble.
Photography is very important in preserving your life together for you as a couple and for the generations ahead.
Sarah Schmidt Photography considers it an honor to be invited by couples to document their most cherished moments. Her core values of happiness, authenticity, serving others, faith & hope are evident in the touching photos she creates. Her vision, from behind the lens, merges, the beauty of what is happening, its genuineness and combines it with natural lighting.
Now that you’ve seen the breakdown of elements that went into Christina and Patrick’s lovely Fall affair, we hope you feel prepared to tackle each detail and truly make it your own. Best of luck planning your own Fall wedding!