15 Fall Wedding Ideas That Don’t Scream Halloween


It's the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

15 Fall Wedding colors and ideas

Before pumpkin spice lattes were even a thing, I had a deep appreciation for fall. In New England, September and October are basically the only months of the year not plagued by debilitating snow or humidity, plus there’s that whole leaves changing colors thing that I only realized in adulthood doesn’t happen all over the country. So when it came time for Michael and me to choose a date for our wedding, we picked from what we considered to be the premium season: autumn.

But once we started planning, it became obvious that the wedding industry has opinions about things like fall wedding colors, and generally interprets getting married in the fall as having a fall themed wedding. And we were not exactly down for that (for starters, we were getting married on the beach. Where leaves… don’t happen). The trouble is, unless you want to spend the extra time and money scoping out out-of-season decor and flowers, it helps to use what’s available and in-season when you’re getting married. And in the fall, that means an abundance of leaves, decorative gourds, and the color orange. So much orange.

So today we’ve rounded up ten of our best tips and ideas for incorporating fall elements into your wedding without feeling like you’re hosting a Halloween parade:

15 Fall Wedding colors and ideas

1. Rethink fall wedding colors. Listen, I love orange. But I think I’m in the minority here. So let’s just start with this: your fall wedding does not need to include orange, or yellow, or any combination of the two, unless you want it to. You can outfit your wedding in hot pink and green and still get married in October, and it will be fine. But if you want that cozy autumnal feel imbued in your wedding, an easy trick for coming up with a color palette that doesn’t feel like a theme party is to mix pastels with jewel tones, like deep plum with blush pink. (DIY Wishbone Place Setting via Style Me Pretty. Photo by White Loft Studio.) 

15 Fall Wedding colors and ideas

2. OR Neutralize it. If jewel tones aren’t your thing, muted colors work just as well. (Photo by Eric Kelley via Magnolia Rouge.)

15 Fall Wedding colors and ideas

3. Mix a little pink with your orange. Like I said, I love orange, personally. But if you want to cut some of the fall from your orange, mix it with a muted pink like mauve. (DIY Painted Vases via Rustic Wedding Chic. Photo and tutorial by La Chica de la Casa de Carmelo.)

15 Fall Wedding colors and ideas

4. METALLIC is a neutral. We currently live in a magical time when gold and copper are neutrals and spray paint is available in abundance. Be thankful for that. When I got married, the neutral was brown, and we were all very into it. (Leaf Decor via Style Me Pretty. Styling by Michelle Edgemont. Photo by Brklyn View Photography.)

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5. Orange doesn’t have to be pumpkins: If you want to incorporate orange without resorting to leaves or pumpkins, look to the fruit aisle. Bonus: no one at your wedding will get scurvy. (Tangerine Escort Cards via Elizabeth Anne Designs. Photo by associate photographer Rachel of Melissa Jill Photography.)

View More: http://allisonandres.pass.us/non-floral-centerpieces

6. And pumpkins don’t have to be orange: I mean, it is decorative gourd season. But it can also be hot pink decorative gourd season. (DIY Pumpkin Centerpiece Tutorial via APW. Styling by Michelle Edgemont. Photo by Allison Andres.)

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7. Speaking of pumpkins. Pumpkins are basically organic vases once you scoop out the seeds. (Pumpkin vase via Chatelaine. Photo by Roberto Caruso. Similar DIY with step-by-step guide here.)

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8. Leaves are super cheap. Like really cheap. Which means they can make for really cool big impact decor (like the installation above) or things like escort cards that require volume buys. (Calligraphy leaves via Lamplighter London. Photo by Ann Kathrin Koch. Styled by Knot & Pop.)

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9. And they’re kinda like flowers, but again, cheaper. Which means you can mimic the look of those cool flower walls, but for way less money. (Fall Wedding Inspiration via Green Wedding Shoes. Photo by Nhiya Kaye Photography. Florals by Sax Romney.)

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10. The grocery store is your friend. Fall isn’t just decorative gourd season. It’s harvest season! Which means there’s an abundance of decor options right in the produce department of your local grocery store. (Above: DIY Gilded Fruit Centerpiece Tutorial via APW. Styling by Michelle Edgemont. Photo by Allison Andres.)Ruffled - photo by http://www.cyrience.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/fall-wedding-inspiration-with-a-cider-bar/

11. Who needs cake when there are donuts? I know there are a lot of strong opinions about the proliferation of autumnal foodstuffs. But nobody ever got mad at a pile of apple cider donuts. (Apple Cider Donuts via Ruffled. Photo by Cyrience. Catering by Private Palate. Food Styling by The Judy Lab.)

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12. Or pie for that matter. (Tiered pie via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Jose Villa. Even design and planning by XOXO Bride. Event design by Louloudi Design.)

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13. Let’s get functional: Unless you live in one of those magical places where it’s warm year round, fall weddings mean brisk evening air. Basket of blankets doubles as decor and a preventative measure against the inevitability that someone is going to forget a jacket or sweater. (Blankets via Bridal Musings. Photo by Sarah Kathleen Photography.)

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14. Forget flowers: Dried bouquets make an affordable seasonal alternative to fresh flowers. (Dried Wheat Bouquet via via Storyboard Wedding. Photo by Brittany Dow, Second Shooter Stacey Bishop. Styled by deLoop and Vintage Valise.)

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15. And if you’re going to eschew flowers. Might as well eschew them all the way right? Because leaf crowns need to happen. (Photo from the With Lavender and Lace Lookbook.)

16. USE PIE IN CREATIVE WAYS: These DIY pie place cards are customizeable (pumpkin is great for fall, apples works for spring) and will definitely be an unexpected addition to your table.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • CMT

    I wish more people getting married were worried about their guests’ vitamin deficiencies :)

    • CMT

      (I do totally love the orange idea. More escort cards should be edible!)

    • I was thinking that preventing scurvy should be on everyone’s wedding to-do list.

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  • Susan

    Now I have a deep need for apple cider donuts but no one has any idea what those are on the West Coast! So sad!

    • anotherladyface

      That sucks! They sell them at the grocery store here, and they are the best!

    • JDrives

      Not true!! In Northern California we have a magical place called Apple Hill that opens up from late summer to winter, and they make the most bonkers apple cider donuts. For weeks leading up to the opening date, my Facebook feed is replete with folks posting photos of their donuts like “It’s almost here!!!”

      • Susan

        This looks amazing — hopefully I can think of a good reason to drive up that way since it’s kind of far from SF. I actually asked every caterer we interviewed for our wedding if they knew of a way to get/make apple cider donuts and every one gave me a look like I had told them we were holding our wedding on Mars so I just assumed the magic of apple cider donuts just didn’t exist out here.

        • JDrives

          That is a real shame :( It is a bit of a trek from the Bay Area but would make a really fun day trip! There’s wine tasting, breweries, pumpkin patches, etc. I’m having withdrawals and hoping to be able to go soon myself!

  • MC

    Love this! We got married a year ago and our colors were, by default, turquoise and purple, and we had donuts and blankets, and it was awesome.

  • kcaudad

    We got married on Sept. 22 in a year that the color came later (much like this year). We did a nod to ‘fall’ the colors: sage green, ivory/cream, chocolate brown. We also had wood flowers and dried foliage (branches, seed pods, etc.) and white hydrangeas. WE used green table runners, green sashes on the chairs, brown table napkins, and white table settings. And, we had apple spice cake with caramel filling! That was enough ‘fall’ for me/us!

  • eating words

    My brother got married in the fall, and they had nuts (in their shells) scattered over all the tables, plus a couple of nutcrackers. It was lovely, and—once we got cracking—fun.

    • Jess

      This sounds hilarious and I now want to do it.

  • Rose

    Thank you! We got married about three weeks ago, and since I really didn’t care for much of the fall wedding stuff, I honestly kept thinking of it as more of a late summer wedding. We ended up going with just wildly colorful flowers (lots of dahlias and zinnias; if you’re earlier in the fall, there are totally seasonal flowers, and they don’t have to be chrysanthemums), but if there were more fall ideas that looked more like these (including colors other than orange/red/dull green/brown! pastels, even!), we might have gone for more of that look. I love the white pumpkins with the pink flowers, particularly.

  • We got married mid-November and just did our thing with no regard to the season (there was a blizzard that morning anyway so it looked more winter than fall). We’ve been on the run from the “wedding police” ever since. ;)

  • Kara Davies

    #BecauseDoughnuts

  • Jess

    Thank you for validating my threat to just spray paint random fall things in gold and bronze and scatter them haphazardly around our venue! I think that leaf installation is amazing!

    And… where would I find dried wheat?

    I saw in Southern Living an idea to bleach pinecones that makes them look much fancier. Added that to my idea bank immediately.

  • These photos are beautiful. I especially love the gold leaves hanging from the ceiling. I got married in October 10 years ago and had a “Southern Country Autumn” theme. Photos can be seen on my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/DixieFlapper/my-southern-country-autumn-wedding/.

  • I think the softer colors encouraged in Spring weddings are sweet and delicate and all, but I’m a firm believer in that Autumn weddings have the most versatility with bolder colors and ideas as this article displayed. Good stuff!

  • Michigan Sara

    We got married at the end of September in Michigan and used apples and leaves for our decor. The colors we used were deep red, granny smith apple green, and orange highlights. The centerpieces were small bushel baskets with apples (fill the basket with newspaper, top with decorative fill, add enough apples for each guest to have 2) and paper bags in our colors on the table for guests to take home the apples afterward. We also had recipe cards for an apple muffin recipe that used just one apple.The ladies in the wedding party wore dark red dresses and carried orange-y sunflowers.We definitely had a fall theme, but no touch of Halloweeen

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  • cll

    I’m planning a September wedding using green, ivory/cream, and gold for the main colors (probably with some accents in silver, copper, and bronze). Leaves will be a major decorative element (that hanging gold leaves pic is gorgeous), and we’ll definitely be serving hot apple cider and might do bags of mulling spices as favors. The jumping off point for my theme was the golden evening light we get at that time of year. (Plus green is my favorite color and my favorite flowers are white.)

    I also love the autumn wedding color palettes I’ve seen built around cream + jewel tones.

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