The majority of wedding ceremonies in the UK take place in the summer months and it’s easy to see why many couples opt for this season, with its higher probability of warm sunshine. However Autumn, with its warm and inviting colours, can set a perfect backdrop for an enchanting wedding ceremony – and there’s a good chance you might get some sunshine as well!
At the time of writing, we’re now firmly into the season of cosy jumpers, warm boots, red wine, crisp air and trees doing their spectacular colour change thing that makes you go ‘oooooh’ whenever you’re out and about.
If (like me) you’re the sort of person who can’t resist picking up conkers or stomping through an inviting pile of crunchy fallen leaves, it could be that having an autumn wedding would be a perfect choice for you.
You can infuse your whole wedding day with all the things you love about autumn, but without making it gimmicky or laboured. You can apply this to your whole day of course but, as a wedding celebrant, you know I’m going to focus on your wedding ceremony here. But from start to finish it’s about capturing the magic and the spirit of the season and making it relevant to you two and your love story. How might you do that? Well let’s explore, shall we??
Create a cosy autumnal atmosphere for your ceremony
Autumn has an awesome palette of rich, earthy colours – it doesn’t have to be all ‘Halloween orange’! Think russets, browns, golds, terracotta and deep reds. Keep things as natural as possible – wooden benches perhaps, log slices, squashes, pumpkins and gourds, or pretty autumn leaves. Keep lighting to natural daylight, candlelight or firelight ideally, but definitely warm and low if that’s not possible – no harsh overhead downlights!
Flowers can really add to this warm and earthy theme, with seasonal dahlias or late sunflowers being obvious contenders for bouquets, buttonholes or wedding ceremony arches, along with deep green leaves and berries (be careful with these though!)
If the weather is kind, consider having an outdoor ceremony, especially if you’re surrounded by autumn trees at their best. This might be around a fire perhaps, and you two, your wedding party and your guests could snuggle up in (fake) fur coats or cosy wraps. I guarantee you that going back inside to warm up with a mulled wine afterwards will feel like heaven!
If you’re having an indoor wedding, rustic barns lend themselves to a cosy feel, as do big old ‘stately home’ type venues, or castles of course.
Autumnal elements to include in your wedding ceremony
Just like the planet we live on, we humans are seasonal creatures and marriage is too. When you commit to one another, you commit to who you both are now and also to the people you will both become. Just as the trees don’t stay the same all year round, neither do we – and our longer cycles of course see us into old age and all the changes that brings. But you are committing yourselves to it all together, even though you don’t know how it will all pan out just yet. That’s the whole magic of marriage – being in the present whilst also accepting that future change will inevitably come.
You might want to incorporate this theme into your ceremony. Ask your celebrant to weave an autumnal thread throughout your wedding ceremony, acknowledging perhaps the changing leaves on the trees that surround you or the contrast of the warm fire with the cold wind, and to link this to how your lives will change over the course of your marriage.
You could also include some of the magic of the time of year with the wording in your vows: being each other’s shelter, cuddling up, letting your partner warm their cold feet on you in bed, making a hot drink for them on a chilly night… all of these have a lovely seasonal feel to them as well as illustrating your love for each other.
How about incorporating some seasonal warmth by way of a symbolic ritual too? A handfasting done with earth-toned coloured ribbons and wording along the lines of the seasons or changes of life? A conkers match mid-ceremony – maybe to decide who says their vows first? Or sharing some warming whiskey from a quaich?
And finally, you could consider including some autumnally-themed wedding readings to be included in your ceremony. Here are a few that caught my eye:
5 fantastic autumn wedding readings
- ‘A Blessing for Wedding’ by Jane Hirshfield
- ‘Song for Autumn’ by Mary Oliver
- ‘When I Heard at the Close of Day’ by Walt Whitman (maybe without the first couple of lines)
- ‘Apache Blessing’ (traditional)
- ‘The Little Yellow Leaf’ by Carin Berger
Keep cosy! And, if you want a celebrant who lights your fire, why not get in touch?