Falling for Fall Weddings

What’s not to love? Fall is one of the most romantic times of the year and our Indian summers mean that this is peak wedding season here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Days are reliably sunny and clear, and nights are crisp enough to invite cozying up under a blanket.

The season evokes so many images of rustic decor, hearty, seasonal food, rich jewel tones, and metallic hues, it’s hard to go wrong. So, how do you embrace the uniqueness of fall while keeping things fresh and modern? Answer: Be yourself! Here are three vibes we love; which most captures your heart?!

For lovers of Minimalism

The Santa Cruz Mountains have the dramatic backdrop of coastal Redwood groves and majestic views of the Monterey Bay, so why not just let nature do it’s thing? Late afternoon sunlight adds its own flattering filter, casting a spotlight through the treetops. Often, an ethereal fog creeps up the mountain around sunset, which brings a firefly-glow to simple string lights. Fall is the season where you can let nature be the star, well, after the bride, of course!

  • Keep table settings simple. A plain white folded napkin tied with natural twine, decorated with a couple of sprigs of lavender is all you need.

Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

  • Home grown herbs like rosemary (for remembrance) or foliage from native trees such as eucalyptus can also hold their own against a white napkin for a simple table setting.
  • If you love the minimal look, lighting is your friend. All you need is a string of lights in a beautiful location, and you are done!

  • No fuss backdrop. Let the sun be your filter.


Minimalist Style

The Minimalist believes that less is more. They may prefer an indoor ceremony with clean architectural lines, but if you are a nature-loving minimalist, fall is your time of the year! A simple backdrop of giant trees with a clean palette of white and earthy hues will keep things fresh. Burlap is the fall go-to as a simple covering for seating such as logs, bales, or wooden benches. To balance out the rustic vibe, opt for the clean and sophisticated lines of a minimalist silk dress.


For the Boho Fabulous

When you think of fall, do rich jewel tones, luxe fabrics of fur and velvet, the aroma of damp earth, and a cornucopia of berries come to mind? If you’re a lover of the dramatic, this is your season! Why not go all out and have fun with it?

The Bay Area is known for its Bohemian vibe and we love the combination of rustic and luxe. Embrace your free spirit, break the rules, and celebrate the fact that Fall’s perfectly imperfect décor rocks! Thrift store finds provide the best mismatched vases, candle votives, or place holders. While you’re doing some forest bathing, see if you can gather some seed heads or pine cones for your décor.

Choose a venue where you can stage areas with inviting seating and hang out options. Soft rugs,  faux fur, or sheepskin can be thrown with over sized floor cushions. Lanterns, ball jars filled with firefly string lights, or candles add a romantic touch.

  • Gold doesn’t have to mean expensive! We love these antler place card holders by West of Chelsea on Etsy.

  • Rich hues of red, burgundy, and forest green, seed pods, dried flower heads, pine cones… oh my!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Bold is Beautiful

Autumn is a time when nature puts on it’s own dramatic show, so why not use that as your theme? There really is no limit to the color palette and range of decor for those who aren’t shy of color and texture. Upgrade traditional rustic fall decor, like milk pails and chalk signs, with metallic bowls and goblets, and gold font. We love wedding dresses with extra detail like bustles or sparkles for a dramatic entrance, and why not take advantage of the cool fall evening with a faux fur wrap or shrug in a rich jewel color?


California Dreaming

Whether you are a native Californian, or a transplant, here are some ways in which you can bring a modern twist to your Fall wedding. Santa Cruz is all about chilling out. And we just love our brides who are here to have fun with their friends and family and enjoy the outdoors!

  • People over things. Our Cali-style weddings are more like a family reunion than a formal ceremony. People are happy to be here (who wouldn’t!) and you are more likely to find a guest staring up in awe at one of our trees than the floral arrangements. Local brides like to keep things chill and their decor often reflects that. Good friends, good food, good music, and a few cheerful flowers and you’re good to go!
  • Inner and outer beauty. California brides like to plan fun things for their tribe, the wedding weekend should feel like a relaxed get-together. Everyone needs a vacation, and it is especially important to have quality time together if your friends are traveling from out of town. So, what better way to start your wedding day than with yoga and meditation? Here in Santa Cruz, brides and their besties can relax & center together with yoga & reiki followed by a pampering session and healthy snacks and drinks at Estrella Collective. Start your new life the way you intend to continue!

    Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

  • Stay healthy! Santa Cruz has been at the forefront of the organic food movement since it began, so why not focus on offering healthy meals at your wedding? Hearty soups, fresh salad greens, and local apple & berry pies can all be prepared with organic ingredients.

Photo from Gizdich Ranch, Watsonville, CA

  • A fall wedding retreat wouldn’t be complete without a campfire! With so many people choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet, don’t forget the vegan marshmallows for s’mores!

Whether you choose an ocean view or a Redwood glen for your ceremony, we have everything you need for your perfect stress-free wedding day! Find out more about our all-inclusive Estate Wedding Packages here.

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