Though last week ended with heavy rain and tropical weather, we are finally experiencing our first taste of autumn weather in Raleigh, NC. This is the best season for weddings and outdoor celebrations. Having catered weddings and celebrations in the Triangle for over twenty years, we have compiled a list of three easy steps for planning outdoor, autumn event.
1) Let Nature Help You Decorate
If you have not chosen a date for your wedding or outdoor gathering, peak fall colors in central North Carolina occur between the last weekend in October, and the first or second week of November. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, colors are most vibrant in the highest elevations as early as the middle of October.
Weather conditions during the spring and summer months have a significant impact on the length and splendor of leaf season. Though we have had an unusually rainy season thus far, the slight drought conditions in Raleigh during June, July, and August may be just what we need for the perfect autumn color display.
Autumn offers an array of natural decoration options. Utilize your creativity, while following these guiding principles:
- Decorate with pumpkins, gourds, marigolds, dahlias, mums, etc.
- In additional to traditional reds, browns, and oranges, utilize other fall colors including: deep green, cranberry, and lavender.
- For vibrant fall colors, utilize the colors of maple, oak, and cedar trees.
- Hay bales are cost effective, decorative, and useful for additional seating.
2) Prepare for All Kinds of Weather
Weather is always unpredictable in Raleigh, NC. The autumn months feature a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Tropical weather is as possible as early-season snowfall. Assuming you planned your event well in advance, it is impossible to know for sure whether the weather will be pleasant. We suggest preparing for everything:
- Create a Backup Plan: Outdoor weddings and event can be stunningly beautiful; however, if you do not have a Plan B location, you are playing with fire (or water more likely).
- Rent Outdoor Fans: Watch the weather forecast. If you see it is going to be warm (75 degrees or higher), arrange to have large outdoor fans and a lot of cold water available for your guests.
- Blankets and Heaters: If you find that it will likely be cold at some point during your event, you can utilize the weather as an opportunity to decorate with appropriately colored blankets and glowing, campfire-style heaters.
- Seating and Shade: If your guests will be seated in the sun, make sure your chairs remain shaded and cool until the event. Though the setting sun might seem like a perfect backdrop for your wedding ceremony, your guests will be miserable if the sun is in their eyes.
- Plan Your Meals Accordingly: If your guests will be eating during the cool of the evening, a warm meal will go a long way toward raising their spirits.
3) Hardy Meals
The later your event occurs, the more likely the temperature will be chilly by the evening hours. Fall is an excellent opportunity to treat your guests to hearty meals.
- Consider a Thanksgiving-style banquet for your rehearsal dinner or reception.
- Stews, chili, and soups are appropriate and cost-effective options.
- Sweet desserts, coffee bars, apple cider, and s’more stations are perfect for the season.
- You guests will thank you for serving pies and cobblers (pumpkin, apple, peach, etc).
Fall is one of our favorite times to cater weddings and events. We have only scratched the surface of all the fun autumn ideas. Let us know if you would like more ideas for how to make your autumn celebration memorable for you and your guests.