Just engaged this past Valentine’s Day or know someone who is? If the answer is YES! (enthusiastic all caps is a must in this case) then you’ve got some planning to do: and we’re here to help inspire you. In this article, we’re focusing on fall weddings since we think autumn is the absolute best time to have a wedding in New England. Think about it- the temps are cooler (which means no sweating off your makeup before you have a chance to say “I Do”) and the foliage is spectacular.The summer heat has passed, and a fresh season with new smells and colors is emerging with new fall trends. Susan Lane Events has some great venues in mind for a fall-inspired wedding, and we’ll even give you some food for thought on how to incorporate the theme in your décor selections, menu, and entertainment!
“Fall Orchard Frenzy” at Elm Bank
Located in the Boston suburb of Wellesley, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Elm Bank is without a doubt one of the most sought after wedding venues in the area. Featuring colorful and immaculately manicured grounds, this top Massachusetts wedding venue is truly one-of-a-kind. There are many spots on the property for fantastic photo ops and the backdrop of the New England fall foliage would be just heavenly. Receptions of a smaller scale can be accommodated in the Carriage House or if you are hosting a grand affair, renting the adjoining tent on the property would be ideal. There is no fee for holding your ceremony on-site in one of the gardens so why not take advantage of that? We’re picturing colorful leaves running the aisle and bouquets of wildflowers in deep fall colors for the bridal party arrangements. Exchange your vows under a customized arch made of elegantly placed branches and twigs with matching fall-inspired floral accents such as dahilas, gold spider mums, and dark colored roses with pomegranate accents.
For your fall garden wedding, we absolutely love the idea of having cocktail hour in the gardens after the ceremony and enjoying a specialty drink of caramel apple cider martinis. A bountiful cocktail hour stationary display of fine wines and harvest cheeses, including a customized olive oil bar will surprise and delight all of your guests. Seasonal wines paired with cheeses perfect for the autumn breeze will be a wonderful beginning to a culinary journey that you’re wedding dinner is bound to be. Having trouble coming up with a fall color palette that doesn’t include brown? We’ve got you covered there! Our trend reports tell us that the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid- a rich, crisp purple hue that pairs beautifully with gold for an elegant alternative to brown. Gold chiavari chairs and gold rimmed chargers and glassware would be so elegant in the carriage house. Some other ideas we love for this apple frenzy are listed below.
– Looking to make your placecard and guest book table stand out? We love the idea of apple place card holders with customized tags and Thumb-print Tree Guest Books in the shape of an apple tree. For your card box, bushels from the orchard would be a great addition.
– Stuck on favors? Our favorite apple-inspired favor is definitely apple cinnamon pancake mix with personalized maple syrups! Place them in bushel baskets near the guest book and place card tables with a sign allowing guests to “Take One!”
– Tall centerpieces with gold bases and full, rounded arrangements are key to adding some height to your tables. Go even bigger with tall, candlesticks on top of the floral arrangement for subtle, ambient lighting.
– Our favorite autumn menu favorites include a starter course of harvest salad with arugula, spiced pecans, butternut squash, and cider vinaigrette and a main course of duck breast seared medium over polenta, topped with a pomegranate reduction. Hot mulled cider served with wedding cake is a must! This will be sure to warm your guests up on a cool, fall evening!
– Guests craving a late night snack? They always do! Servers can butler pass demitasse cups of hot apple cider and miniature cider donuts. Or, place some warm donuts by the exit with some personalized to-go bags to have later on back at the hotel!
“Rustic Autumn” at the Barn on the Crane Estate
For brides wishing to go the more casual feeling and rustic route, a barn wedding with a picturesque backdrop is ideal. We love the Barn on the Crane Estate in Ipswich because brides have their choice of a ceremony backdrop in addition to the gorgeous rustic barn: a seaside beach ceremony or a vegetable garden ceremony! The Barn itself holds up to 140 guests and features high, tile ceilings and terra cotta walls for an authentic, 19th century rustic look. Photo ops are a must on the stone wall at the entrance to the barn, perched upon a vast landscape with stunning views of Castle Hill.
For the brides who have their heart set on a wedding by the beach, the venue can set up white garden chairs parallel to stunning ocean views. Since it is fall and the weather is bound to be on the cooler side, why not have pashminas available at the entrance to the ceremony location as a keepsake to shield guests from the autumn breeze? Servers can butler pass hot toddys or hot apple cider to keep them warm and comfortable prior to the ceremony. For this location, we love the idea of a DIY throw away confetti bar- something the guests will be sure to have fun with! Guests can fill up their confetti vessel, such as a cone, with the fillings of their choosing such as herbs (lavender, thyme, rosemary), petals, and rice. Line the aisle with beautiful mason jar filled florals tied to the seats or on standing hooks.
For the reception, cranberry and chrysanthemum centerpieces with long branches, attached with hanging votives stand out in the rustic barn. Deep colors and warm uplighting compliment the rustic color tones of the ceilings and walls in the barn which would be a perfect undertone for a late fall wedding. The menu would include something hearty such as butternut squash bisque as a first course and coffee bean crusted shortribs with harvest root vegetables for a main course. A dessert feast would follow with a homemade pie bar, s’mores station, and of course, cranberry accented wedding cake with buttercream. Here are some other fabulous ideas for this late fall soiree:
– Apple cider sangria served in mason jars! This can be made ahead of time and served all evening along with beer and wine in lieu of a full bar.
– Wine barrel tables for the cocktail reception displays and dessert table would be so unique!
– Silver or clear chiavari chairs would compliment the deep red colors of the chrysanthemums perfectly. Rustic, sliver chargers would be a nice touch to add to the tables as well.
– For favors, include mini local jams or seasonal mini-pies for guests to take home. These favors can act as placecards as well- just tie a tag on the favor and place at the entrance to the barn. Or for something extra special, include a recipe that was passed down for generations so that guests can replicate the pie authenticity at home!
“Whimsical Chic” at Tower Hill Botanic Garden
A gorgeous botanical garden with multi-seasonal venues, Tower Hill in Boylston is a hidden gem with spectacular views of the rural foliage! The Orangerie is available from April until September for an early fall venue and their main gallery with an enormous fireplace is perfect for late fall and winter events. This is the perfect venue for a couple who wants the seclusion of an intimate venue while being surrounded by beautiful gardens and florals of all kinds. As one of the most romantic places in New England to propose, the Orangerie has inspired an amazing wedding style inspiration: Whimsical Chic!
Off-beat weddings and receptions have become increasingly popular in the world of event planning and we can see why: simplicity combined with authenticity is enticing. For the ceremony, a lovely perigola stands between the grass bed where you’ll exchange your vows. Decorate these beautiful pergolas with upside down parasols covered in the color of your choosing. We love the idea of the bride carrying a simple, handmade brooch bouquet down the aisle in lieu of a traditional floral bouquet. Of course at a botanical garden, we DO have to bring in the florals at some point- and the reception is the perfect place for that! Imagine out-of-the-box floral combinations in mismatched vases. Bamboo chairs and long, elegant dining tables. Wicker chargers and elegantly embroidered linen napkins will be set for dinner. Speaking of dinner, the off-beat bride will most definitely fall in love with a menu made up of entirely local, organic menu items. Our favorites include a tapas style first course with four locally inspired seasonal selections and a family style entrée course of pomegranate marinated rack of lamb with cous cous and cucumber mint sauce to accompany. We love weddings on a “whim” and came up with some great ideas for the not-so-cookie-cutter bride:
– Our favorite “modern yet simple” trend? Baby’s breath! It can be used with literally any color combination. We love the idea of mixing baby’s breath with single buds of a variety of seasonal florals. Our #1 combination? A single rose bud mixed with baby’s breath scattered throughout the tables in coordinated, tiny black and white vases.
– Placecards lined up in acorn filled trays and accented with a pair of birds would be a nice touch for a whimsical reception. Table numbers would match to keep the color scheme and font consistent.
– White pumpkins and fall décor are a must here at a Tower Hill autumn wedding as the gorgeous fireplace in the venue is begging to be dressed up for fall. Keep going with the whimsical theme and add pumpkins and wooden lanterns along with hurricane candles and long branches as accents along the width of the fireplace. Add a vintage birdcage to use as a card box and some of your favorite love quotes carved on the wooden boxes or pumpkins!
– Tie in the pumpkin idea a bit more with a pumpkin pie martini as a specialty drink! We love the delicious caramelized sugar rim!
– With the food truck craze in and around Boston, hire one to cater to your guests for a late night snack! Our favorite late night bite is a greasy grilled cheese from Roxy’s- perfect ending to an evening of dancing!
Like what you see and want to talk fall wedding themes and venues? Contact Susan at (508) 763-1663 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For wedding planning information and a complete list of services, please visit www.susanlaneevents.com
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Photo credits: Dreamlove Photography, Sarah Maller Photography, Vinwood Caterers, Caper’s Catering, Vintage Design Company, Crane Estate website