I’m so excited to welcome you back to my wedding planning blog series! It took a bit of a hiatus as I worked my way through busy season, but it is officially BACK, and I am SO excited to be bringing you some helpful content! If you’ve been tuning in over the last year or so, you know that I’ve been working my way through a mini-series all about hosting your wedding during different seasons throughout the year!
My seasonal series was originally born because I had so many friends and potential clients asking about the best time to have their wedding! Honestly, there isn’t a “best” time to have a wedding because choosing a date and a season is all about what you prefer as a couple— it is such a personal decision! However, if you are a little overwhelmed with making decisions and don’t quite know where to start, I’ve been doing a bit of myth-busting by sharing a few things you may not have thought to consider for each specific season. We’ve been through winter, spring and summer… and now it is time to dive into our final season: fall!
If you missed my post for winter, get caught up on the series here!
If you missed my post for spring, get caught up on the series here!
If you missed my post for summer, get caught up on the series here!
Fall, more specifically October, is probably the most popular season for portrait and wedding photographers (because the time is so much more condensed than the summer!). The weather is thought to be crisp and cool after a hot summer, the holidays are right around the corner and the need for a holiday card image is pressing, and everyone seems to love the gorgeous colored leaves! While wedding and portrait photographers are typically known for being very busy during this time of year, it is important to remember that other vendors are also very busy! October specifically is a huge month for weddings and dates will book quickly. I say this A LOT, but if there is a venue, vendor, or a team of vendors that you have your heart set on working with, and you are planning a fall wedding… don’t wait! Send that inquiry email ASAP and book as efficiently as possible.
Now… today, we’ll be breaking down what else you should absolutely consider while planning a wedding during the fall season! For easy reference, this post dives into what I think of as fall here in DC: end of September to early November! This may vary based on where you live!
Now… let’s get started!
You cannot control the color of the leaves or the amount of leaves on the trees
This point seems to break hearts year after year… the simple truth: you and I cannot control when the leaves will begin to change, how fast they will change, OR how long they will stick around! An overnight windstorm could cause all of the just-changed leaves to fall… Mother Nature could take her time working her autumn magic… the trees could look more dead than autumn… trees could change at different rates from the one next to it… there are SO many things that could impact how “fall” the world looks on a wedding day! Though I do wish I could guarantee plentiful gorgeous fall leaves for every October wedding day, it is important for a couple to go into their day with an open mind. Peak fall foliage dates do change slightly from year-to-year, and though these prediction dates are a great guide, it may not always be a set-in-stone reality or in line with your visionI Regardless of the color of the leaves outside, I know your day will still be gorgeous & at the end of it, you’ll be MARRIED (which really is the best part of all of this, right?!).
The weather can be rather unpredictable
I feel like this has been a point in nearly every single one of my seasonal post, but it is SO important to keep in mind as you plan your wedding day. When it comes down to it? Weather is just pretty dang unpredictable in every single season but can have a huge impact on your day. When I went to school at Penn State, we had Halloweens in jeans and t-shirts… and Halloweens where it SNOWED! During the fall, it can be freezing cold one day, warm the next, and BOTH warm and freezing in the same day! What is more important to remember than the changing weather though is that autumn 50 degrees feels A LOT different than winter or spring 50 degrees! (It’ll most likely feel colder because you’re not used to chillier temps!) If you love the cold, a late fall wedding may be perfect for you: just keep in mind… this could mean a snowy wedding day! If you’re not the biggest fan of chillier weather and still want a fall wedding, I highly recommend sticking to a wedding date earlier in the fall season!
Either way, it may be smart to ask your venue about their heating plan if your reception will be in an outdoor barn, tent or other space that doesn’t have “typical” climate control. If you will be having an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour, I always love when couples incorporate blankets and/or a coffee/tea/hot chocolate bar to help keep their guests warm!
Lighting changes quickly this time of year
This is the part of fall that makes me SO sad each year! I love that it is light outside until about 8PM during the summer… unfortunately, this isn’t the case during the fall! Please keep in mind: Daylight Savings time ends during the fall! Even before that though, there is a HUGE shift in sunrise/sunset time.
On October 1 of this year, the sunset was around 6:50PM in DC. On October 31, it set around 6:05PM! Daylight Savings ended on November 3, so that means we lost nearly a full hour of evening sunlight in just the month of October (without the clocks even changing!)! After Daylight Savings time ends, the shift in the amount of evening sun that we lose daily is even greater. At the time of writing this post (November 20!), the sun is setting, on average, around 4:50PM.
This should have a huge impact on how you should schedule your wedding day. I encourage so many of my fall and winter couples to share a first look for this very reason, and if they are not opting to share a first look, I highly recommend that their ceremony begins at least 3 hours prior to sunset. (That way, we can get some gorgeous portraits outside without being super pressed for time.) When picking your wedding date, I highly recommend consulting a sunrise/sunset calculator to see historic averages for your potential dates! I love THIS sunrise/sunset calculator and use it when I receive an inquiry AND when I timeline for a wedding day!
BONUS: You can get creative with your fall color palette!
This bonus point comes from a place of love: there are SO many fall color palettes to choose from, so feel free to get creative! I’ve found that so many fall weddings often fall into the same color scheme, usually involving deep reds, burgundy, golds, and oranges. Though absolutely stunning (and gorgeous with the changing leaves outside), keep in mind there are SO many gorgeous color combos, so if this one isn’t for you, don’t worry!
A few of unique fall palette ideas for you, just in case you were feeling trapped by “traditional” fall color schemes (click each link for inspo!):
This is a *technical* note that I am hoping translates in a blog post! Fun fact: warm primary color tones (like reds, burgundy, browns, and oranges) found in many fall wedding color palettes are also found in skin tones, hair tones, and autumn leaves. Though our eyes interpret these things to be very different from one another, computers and camera sensors aren’t always that smart! Please be very intentional when selecting your tones of red, orange or burgundy, especially if they make up a large portion of your wedding day color palette! Adjusting warmer color tones (Think oranges, reds, burgundy, mauve, and bright pinks) while editing will have an impact on so many other parts of your images including, but not limiting, skin tones, hair tones, autumn leaves, and florals. Keep in mind: I am always adjusting for flattering skin tones and colors that are consistent with my style. If I’m warming up or cooling down an image specifically for the color of a dress or florals, this could mean that funky tones may make themselves present in the skin! (And no one wants to look like they have sickly grey skin!!)
Please know that ALL color palettes, not just warmer palettes, may appear to be warmer or cooler in your final images, and this is all based on light! Let’s think about painting your home for a second (hang with me y’all): when you are choosing paint for a room in your home, it is suggested that you bring home a paint sample, paint a portion of your wall and watch how the paint color changes throughout the day to ensure that you like it. Is the paint color really changing throughout the day? Nope! The way that reflection and light hits the paint color at different times (and with different light!) causes your eyes and brain to interpret the color in different ways. This is why color that your dresses are in the store may not be exactly how they look on your wedding day or in your final images… light has a huge impact on color. Different light may pull different tones out of your selected color palette making, say, a burgundy tone look more purple or slightly redder, simply based on light.
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