The Delights of an Autumn Wedding: Why Mine Was Reasonably Priced and Successful
I always wanted to have an autumn wedding; I think it was because of the warmth autumn evokes. In 2011, I got my wish and married for the first time at 47 years old. There were an inordinate amount of guests who commented on how nice my wedding was; these included prominent members of the community who regularly attend elegant social events. Following are some of the reasons I believe my wedding was successful and reasonably priced:
1. I Married In A Beautiful Restaurant
Marrying in a restaurant which handles weddings is a great idea. Tuscany in Salt Lake City, the restaurant in which we were married, also happened to be the place where my husband and I first fell in love.
Upscale restaurants that handle weddings normally have an individual who oversees social events. They are in part wedding planners. The great thing is that the social director often comes with the overall cost. Our in-house event coordinator was Candice Corp. She was great. She had a list of favorite event vendors, and she was readily available via phone and e-mail. She held my hand every step of the way; in fact, I think it was she who unfastened my veil when it caught on the wall as I was preparing to walk down the aisle. It was very cost-effective to have Candice as a go-to person instead of hiring a wedding planner, and I believe I still received all the support I needed.
It goes without saying that the meal is included with a restaurant package. Furthermore, if the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing and decorated for the season (Tuscany was for autumn), you save on the cost of decorating and a separate venue.
As far as choosing a restaurant for an autumn wedding, I recommend one which has its own aesthetic warmth. People will likely be spending more time indoors than outdoors, so a sense of coziness is essential.
2. Eliminating Alcohol Served Multiple Purposes, Though My Husband Admits to Fortification Prior to Arrival
We got married at 11:30 a.m., and hosted a luncheon to follow. Because about half of our guests were non-drinkers, we decided not to serve alcohol. I believe that it is more appropriate not to serve alcohol at a daytime wedding. In the evening, most people will be expecting a drink, but in the daytime alcohol is generally not as assumed. For the toast, we procurred several cases of a unique, sparkling, cranberry cabarnet (non-alcoholic). Additionally, my parents are non-drinkers for religious reasons, and my husband and I thought we would be honoring them by respecting that. As a result, we saved money, and any chance of inebriation was eliminated.
3. The Ceremony Was in the Late Morning with an Afternoon Reception
There were many children at my wedding, and that was part of the reason we chose to have it during the day. Children are not as fussy or tired at daytime weddings.
Luncheon event menus are always a better value; this is mostly governed by portion size and menu selections.
4. I Only Had 50 Guests
Though the number of guests one invites is a personal choice, for me a wedding with 50 guests was just right. Somehow I knew that it would be less stressful if I did so. We were able to serve a lovely, sitdown luncheon with an elegant menu without getting too pricey. I felt free to mingle, and was able to give each guest at least some attention. Where I live, larger weddings are the norm, but so many guests enjoyed the congenial atmosphere, they voiced their intent to encourage their children to celebrate on a similar scale. The room in which the guests were served was cozy, and it allowed people to socialize comfortably.
I have many cousins, so I only invited one “symbolic” cousin from each side of the family. I did invite another cousin, "Matt." with whom I shared a residence; he put up with my moods, and I felt that he deserved a place at my wedding. I communicated to all other cousins that it was nothing personal—but that a smaller wedding better suited me, and they seemed to understand. I was gratified by their acceptance.
5. I Put My Nieces Front and Center
I have three sisters, but chose not to have bridesmaids or a matron of honor. Part of this was because I would have had to select just one sister as my matron of honor, and I didn’t want to do that. I have beautiful nieces who at the time ranged from 2 to 15 years old. When I told them they would be bridesmaids or flower girls, they were so excited! I was surprised by their enthusiasm. As the dresses arrived and they tried them on, they were so happy and felt very special. My sisters purchased outfits or accessories which were conducive to the occasion and color scheme. I believe that this was a better move, as my sisters were all in their thirties or older and more than willing to feel distinctive rather than wear a bridesmaid dress. I also learned that most parents are happy to put their children front and center.
6. I Wore My Mother’s Wedding Dress and Invested In A Magnificent Veil
Though I had to have my mother’s vintage wedding dress altered, it worked beautifully (although it was a little depressing when I discovered that when my mother got married, her ribcage was smaller than mine, but her chest was bigger)! I wanted an ivory dress; when my mother wore it, it was white, but it had mellowed evenly over the almost 50 years to the exact shade I wanted. I found a wonderful seamstress to make the alterations, and saved on the cost of a wedding dress. I invested in a cathedral veil, which was the right choice for me. Because I was an older bride, I wanted something to soften my face, but that was elegant and decorative (the young brides have their youth). I also bought a shorter veil that my husband could lift following the wedding pronouncement. This layered the veils, and I was able to wear a less cumbersome but feminine veil at lunch. I also loved my decorative sash and headband to finish my look.
Something especially nice was that there were photographs of my mother on her wedding day and a photo of me in the same wedding dress side by side.
7. I Didn’t Stress When Things Didn’t Go Exactly As Planned
As with any important event, things do not always go as planned. I had originally asked the florist for a cascading bouquet, but had instead received a regular one. Though the florist didn’t do exactly as I asked, my flowers were stunning, and it was okay that he used some of his own creativity. For instance, the florist added more yellow than I had envisioned, and it simply worked.
The thing which went the most "wrong" in my mind was that my photographer showed up to my wedding in jeans. I swallowed hard and pressed forward; the last thing a bride needs is for there to be tension between her and her photographer (I am already self-conscious enough about having my photo taken). My sister,“Carol” and my cousin, "Kate" commented about how calm I was. I prayed to calm my nerves, and I concentrated on what was important: marrying the man I loved. It led to a relaxed though elegant atmosphere.
8. My Sister Created My Invitations But Worked Closely With Me
My sister, “Lauren” approached me and said that she would really like to prepare my invitations as a wedding gift to me. She had a talent for this. The great thing was that she didn’t get bent out of shape if I suggested she change something; she simply did as I asked. Between “Lauren,” my husband, “Deke” and me, we were able to produce some lovely invitations. In fact, my sister-in-law, who has been to many elegant events, asked who did our invitations. It was a pleasure to say that “Lauren” was the ultimate creator. Of course, it saved us money doing it ourselves. Also, my husband and I made the place cards; we had each tied with a ribbon and included a graphic of the guests' entree choice; they were both functional and beautiful.
9. My Husband Was Involved in Planning the Wedding
Not all guys care about the details of the wedding; however, “Deke” did. Together, we chose the florist, the venue, the food, and the cake. If your man is an aesthete, including him will make him feel great.
10. My Engagement Photos Were Taken in the Mountains in the Autumn
In the state and culture in which I live, “engagement photos” are often taken. We reside adjacent to a majestic mountain range so taking photos using that locale was a natural choice. Though the fall colors were not at their peak, there was still an added dimension and warmth.
11. My Husband Hired Flautists, and I Walked Down the Aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon
The warm tones and dark wood of the restaurant was complemented with flute music, which lightened the mood a little; it was perfect for children to walk down the aisle, and enhanced their impish and sweet ways (my niece, “Indie,” instead of throwing petals on the aisle, threw them at the guests). Pachelbel’s Canon was evocative to me not only of happiness, but also of eternity with its repetitive, musical phrasing. The flautists also played during lunch, which made the conversation even more amiable.
Things I Would Have Done Differently
No wedding is perfect; here are some things I would have done differently:
Provided a Special, Warm Autumnal Drink for the Guests
Though I believe that coffee was provided with dessert, I wish I would have provided a special, autumnal drink—say a pumpkin-flavored coffee, or a warm cider—something to evoke the autumn even more.
Had a Bigger Wedding Cake
Because I felt no need to freeze a tier of our wedding cake, we purchased only a two-tiered, almond-flavored cake. It was fantastic, and people wanted more. I was lucky that other desserts were provided..
Written Down Instructions for the Florist
As I mentioned, my husband and I had asked for a cascading bouquet, and I instead received a regular bouquet. Though I believe that you should let the florist exercise some creativity of his own, I think in my case it would have been a good idea to type out my wishes.
Only Had Bridal and Engagement Photos Taken In Morning or Evening Light
Since I was 47 years old when I got married, good lighting meant everything in photos! I had bridal photos taken midday, and my engagement photos taken only a bit later in the day (in my community, “bridal photos” are also common outside of the photos taken at the wedding). Morning and evening light are most flattering, and every bride, no matter her age, wants to look her best.
**I must acknowledge here the help from my parents, "Mama S" and "The Count," whose support is duly noted.
I hope this has proven helpful for someone. I would love to hear your thoughts on autumn weddings--even if you disagree with some of my choices.