For lots of us, autumn has arrived! For me, a long-time Central New Yorker, autumn is my favorite: where the air is crisp, the leaf colors are jaw-droppingly glorious, and everything edible is in some irresistible form of a locally-grown apple. This makes me very happy girl. When I was little I dreamed of a fall wedding, I didn’t have a face to the groom, but I had the dress (ballgown with off-the-shoulder quarter length lace sleeves, of course), the location (here, duh), and a menu filled with more maple and apple baked goods than guests– because that sounds like a great idea when you’re 14! Then I met the man who was to become my husband, (at 24!) and together, we were Spring. SPRING? You mean that time of year in CNY where everything is muddy, barely has color and there’s still a possibility it could snow?! But I realized something wonderful, I am Autumn. But our love is Spring: bursting with new life and blossoming with each new adventure. And if our wedding was to be of our love, it needed to embrace Spring.
But how do you get there? How do you know when to get married, especially if it’s not that obvious? Let’s look at some quick pros & cons to help sort it out. And for conversation’s sake, let’s agree that there are 4 seasons: Winter (December-February); Spring (March-May); Summer (June-August); Autumn (September-November). I’m sure most of you reading this may be looking to have your wedding in the Syracuse / Finger Lakes Region, but if you live in season-less San Diego, go ahead and read through, you’ll find some pointers that apply, but we won’t worry about you having to avoid the elements, you lucky duck.
I am an appreciator of Winter. For those who know the battle of the beautifully frozen, yet often frustrating elements, you may not be as fond. If you’re not, I suggest you skip over this season! But first–
BIG TIP FOR ANY SEASON: You must more than tolerate any weather element that may come your way on the big day. Weather is a reality. (Did that sink in for y’all?) It doesn’t do anyone, especially you, any favors to deny this truth.
Wildly romantic. Fur stoles, early evenings (candlelight ceremony anyone?) and an abundance of white, fluffy, glistening elements offer endless inspiration. Also, it’s usually a less popular time, depending on location. You may find a solidly-booked-in-June venue to be available and a little less costly in the off season.
Travel. Really, you can manage most weather delays and potential curveballs by putting lots of time in your day, picking a smart & beautiful venue, and staying chill with the way the day unfolds. What’s hard is that it’s impossible to manage travel. I would suggest a winter wedding if the majority of your guests are local. Little learning curve and less room for travel error. If you have a high percentage of travelers and you’re dead-set on a winterly location, give plenty of room for error and be absolutely okay with plans being spoiled. That means, have and embrace plan A, B, C, D & Z. And you’ll need to be okay if everyone coming from Miami can’t make it to Maine because there’s a massive Northeaster blocking their way. (Other little pointer, do your research with a travel agent/expert, there are magical locations that have long-lasting snow due to altitude and more-manageable winter weather.)
Ah, Spring. Budding, blossoming, refreshing Spring! The colors are alive, from the brightest colors to the softest pastels. You can finally not run around without a billion layers on, and people have come out of their bleak-mid-winter haze. With the coming-to of life, romance is known to blossom as well. Making it a favorite time for weddings no matter when Spring arrives in your land.
BIG TIP FOR ANY SEASON: Take some time to think about your favorite things and research when they are in season. Being in tune with what comes along with your season will make execution of your wedding easier, more cost-effective and natural- in all the best ways.
This season especially has an abundance of “in season” offerings. You may have heard this phrase before, but to clarify, there is benefit for the environment, and your pocket, to take advantage of goods, like flowers, that are naturally “in season.” Let’s put it this way: if your favorite flower is the peony, and you have to have a million on your wedding day, you’ll be out of luck in by July.
It is the most popular season! Which means demand is high, so getting your favorite venue on your favorite date might be impossible- unless you’d like to be engaged for years longer. You’ll have competition for all vendors– especially in months that are known for weddings, like June. So if your top priorities are impossible to obtain for your wedding day due to high demand, it might be more worth it to you to shift your season to get those priorities in their proper place. Obviously, if your season is your top priority, then something else will have to shift to make it happen. Yes, weddings, as well as marriage, will constantly ask you to perfect your compromising skills!
We all want to have fun in the sun!! Whether it’s instilled in us as kids with summer break, or if it’s innate to our human makeup, summer inspires the playful, sun-shining, laid-back, easy livin’ side in us. Making it easy to create an environment for guests to simply enjoy themselves.
BIG TIP FOR ANY SEASON: Consider your light. Even a 4pm wedding can still have a beating sun for an outdoor ceremony. Direct sunlight isn’t as favorable as the soft, glowing romantic light you’ve pinned a million times and if that’s what you’re hoping for, spend lots of thought on timing based on where the sun will be when. Best advice: if photography is a top priority, before you settle on the date and location, chat with the photographer you want to book. They can tell you a lot about things like timing and light!
Endless summer days lend themselves to tented weddings, lawn games, lakeside soirees, and excuses for s’mores. You can have your ceremony any time of day, start into food and cold refreshing beverages any time you’d like, and let the party linger well into the evening without loosing the sun. Lots of amazing food is in season, fresh and prepared in creative ways.
Just because they aren’t frozen, doesn’t mean there aren’t elements to navigate. Beating sun and heat can be dangerous for guests, and you must be prepared for a last minute thunderstorm. Luckily things like rain showers blow past quickly and you’re less likely to be totally washed out without it being well-covered by the local weatherman. That doesn’t mean don’t have a back up plan. If your festivities are outdoors you’ll want to consider extra rentals– while al fresco is preferred, you may have to keep that tent on the rental contract until the last minute. Make sure to know what the cancellation policy is and when you’ll need to decide by. Make sure your venue has lots of water available and don’t skip the salad– hydration from every angle will keep guests from getting dehydrated and sick.
Oh! And you might want to make sure you don’t mind sweating on your outdoor wedding day. Always makes me giggle when a bride, dressed to the nines, complains that she’s melting. Of course you’ll sweat darling, it’s summer.
I suppose I could gush about Autumn’s splendor forever, but let’s suffice it to say, this season, whether it’s early or late, has such a variety of wonders about it. Here in the Northeast, September, October and November are vastly different, September is still wrapped in summer, October bursts open with color (usually only for a few token weeks) before November is slowly overcome by Old Man Winter. Yet every turn is filled with beauty and abundance, ready to be embraced.
BIG TIP FOR ANY SEASON: Be mindful of national holidays and school vacations. Yes, Autumn is chock-full of long weekends like Labor Day and also conflicted with things like going back to school (August in southern & mid-western states). Whether it’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or June plagued with graduation parties– be mindful. Families have their annual plans on holiday weekends, so you may find the guest count is lower than you expected. Travel is also big those weekends and makes it more costly for guests to get to you. **See final big tip below**
The changing of seasons give endless inspiration and beauty. Yet not everywhere experiences fall, so these pros really apply to locations that experience these wonders. Depending on where you live, you may not have the extreme change that is experienced in mountainous areas or places where the evening temps can dip low enough to turn green leaves into the rainbows overnight. Cuisine changes to heartier dishes and beverages that warm the heart and body- heavily influenced by inspiring seasonal spices. Fires ignite in fireplaces again and the earlier evenings allow you to enjoy candlelight at dinner again.
When it’s beautiful out, it is beautiful! When it’s not, it’s mostly not. Outdoor receptions dwindle, but the hopes of outdoor ceremonies or photo sessions still stay high. I suggest having thoughtful style options for your rainy (or cold!) day option. Accessorize with the colors you hoped to have seen in the trees if there were sun, or have really great backup photo locations, that encourage you to have the fun you want to have, regardless of the dreary, soggy skies. Avoid things like guests having to go outside to get to the restroom trailer, or having to walk a long distance from parking to venue. Add heaters and extra lighting to your rental contract, again, with the option to cancel if the weather has turned in your favor.
My biggest tip?
Remember that beyond your wedding day you’ll have anniversaries to celebrate! (A lot more of those than wedding days!)
When do you want to celebrate your anniversary every year?
Is it a good time to travel if you love to travel? Is it a season you love to enjoy so you can continue to love through the season? Is it a holiday weekend? Remember it won’t land on the weekend every year, but it will land around it, and if it’s the kind of holiday where BBQ’s, lots of family and mosquitos reign, is that how you want to celebrate every year? For some of you, the answer is a resounding YES! For some of you, you might be re-thinking- and that’s okay! Best to think now then to resent the choice in years to come. You’ll have lots to celebrate as the years of happy & ‘seasoned’ marriage add up!