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There’s a certain intimacy to a fall wedding. Following the frenzy of summer nuptials, an autumn “I do” seems to carry a much-needed atmosphere of calm and comfort. But that isn’t to say that fall weddings are a snooze. In fact, because that time of year is known for its natural drama, it’s the perfect season to use those coveted bursts of color to set a memorable scene.

“Fall is an amazing time to experiment with the color and texture of flowers,” Michaela Hogarty, the designer behind Days of May Florals, says. “In terms of a fall wedding, my best advice is to keep an open mind.” Thanks to the saturated hues of autumn’s floral bounty, Hogarty notes that there is a spectrum of moody shades that can enliven any wedding palette. Erin Benzakein, the founder of Floret, agrees and adds that the season’s foliage should also be embraced. “Even though the focus is on flowers for a bouquet, don’t overlook the interesting colors of foliage in fall wedding designs either,” she says.

So skip out on peonies, which are de facto spring and summer blooms, and embrace the beauty of fall flowers and foliage. If you’re getting hitched this autumn, these are the five fall wedding flowers that Benzakein and Hogarty recommend, based on their seasonally appropriate makeup. The designers also outline five sourcing and design tips to keep in mind as the date approaches, so that these all-too-important details get the care they deserve. Read on to see how fall blooms can give your wedding the type of drama everyone will be happy to experience.

Fall Wedding Flowers to Consider

Photo by Chris Benzakein for Floret

Dahlias. “Hands down, dahlias are my favorite flowers for late-summer and autumn weddings,” Benzakein says. “They come in a dazzling array of colors and forms, which add instant interest to a bouquet. While it’s impossible for me to pick a single favorite, a few popular varieties for weddings include Café Au Lait, Castle Drive, and Appleblossom.”

Balloon vines. “These long vines have tiny white blossoms and unique green, balloon-like pods that resemble miniature paper lanterns,” Benzakein says. “What makes them even more magical for weddings is that inside each balloon are tiny black seeds imprinted with perfect white hearts.”

Hydrangeas. “You’re probably thinking that you’re not a hydrangea person, but I promise you these are something else for weddings,” Hogarty says. “For starters, their colors go from white and cream to mauve. And second, they’re not a tight ball of a flower—they feel very airy and their petals look like little butterflies. You can use them as a focal flower or as a base for any arrangement.”

Chocolate cosmos. “Although they can be pretty pricey given their size, their dark burgundy coloring can really amplify the dramatic quality of a fall wedding,” Hogarty notes. “It also doesn’t hurt that their stems and petals are so delicate and simple that you can pretty much sprinkle them into anything.”

Red-leaf hibiscus. “This is deep burgundy foliage that resembles Japanese maple leaves,” Benzakein says. “They make a stunning addition to autumn bouquets.”

Tips to Remember

Photo by Chris Benzakein for Floret

Buy your flowers locally. “The most beautiful bouquets are ones that incorporate locally grown flowers that are harvested in season,” Benzakein says.

Prioritize palette over flower. “My couples are almost always more concerned about achieving a certain aesthetic rather than holding on to an exact flower,” Hogarty notes. “And I think that’s a great mind-set to have.”

Consider a range of fall foliage. “Aside from the bright reds and golds of fall leaves, there are also the aged, muted tones of rust, gold, and brown that can instantly make any palette feel more representative of the season,” Hogarty says.

Trust your floral designer. “A floral designer understands the overall look you’re going for and will find a proper substitute when necessary when a certain flower isn’t looking its best,” Hogarty continues.

Be careful about dahlias at outdoor weddings. “Dahlias are my go-to flowers for fall weddings, but they can also wilt very quickly,” Hogarty says. “Even if they’re tubed in water, if they’re outside in the sun for a ceremony, it may be a risky move.”

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