It's beginning to look a lot like fall, and when the season changes so do the weddings. Whether you just got engaged and plan on tying the knot outside next autumn or your big day is right around the corner, here's everything you need to know about throwing an outdoor fall wedding.
Do Avoid Big Football and Baseball Weekends
Otherwise, you may find half of your guests huddled around the TV inside instead of outside dancing! "I've had entire weddings organized around a particular team's schedule, and that's not always a bad idea," says wedding and event planning expert Sandy Malone. "In one extreme case, I had to get on the roof and disconnect the satellite in the wedding villa to make the bride's father believe we'd lost the signal the day of a big horse race, or we never would have gotten his daughter down the aisle on time."
Don't Let Leaves Become a Hazard
Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design in New York City, warns against the danger of wet leaves at your outdoor fall wedding. Why? Because they're slippery! "If you'd rather your guests not break a leg or a hip, make sure any surfaces you'll be walking on are safe in or after the rain, particularly tiled patios and leafy paths." She also suggests having your florist check out the wind situation, especially for tall pedestal or tripod ceremony pieces. "Use flexibility in bringing them down to earth if necessary."
Do Have a Plan B for Low Temperatures
The only predictable thing about fall weather is its complete unpredictability; it could be hot, cold—even snowing! If you're getting married outside under a tent, Malone strongly recommends reserving sides for the tent and heaters in the event that Mother Nature does decide to wreak havoc your wedding week. "While it might not be your ideal setup, it's miserable to have cold (or God forbid, wet!) guests pretending to have fun at your wedding."
Don't Choose a Venue Where the Ground Is All Dirt
In case the weather literally rains on your parade! "Having a tent is one thing, but the ground is an important factor to consider too," note wedding and event planners Jennifer Arreguin and Natasha Burton of Swoon California. "You don't want a dirt-covered first look and grumpy and dirty guests."
Do Warm Guests up With Drinks and Blankets
According to Arreguin and Burton, a cool fall wedding definitely calls for warm cocktail options (hot toddies, anyone?) and a fully stocked tea and coffee station with all the fixings. To avoid any last-minute chaos, wedding planner Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events, advises purchasing a bunch of inexpensive pashminas (or wraps, blankets, etc.) in your wedding colors in advance and have them available for your guests to cozy up in.