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Three can't-miss ideas for fall wedding planning

(ARA) - When you think of prime wedding months do May and June spring to mind? You might be surprised to learn that October and November are also popular months for nuptials. When you realize autumn brings not only cooler weather, but less busy caterers or wedding venues, the season's appeal is easy to understand. 

Whether you're finalizing plans for a wedding this fall or planning ahead for autumn 2012, you'll be looking for ideas to add seasonal spice to your big day. From fall wedding decoration ideas to seasonally appropriate menu suggestions, here are some trends to consider for your fall wedding: 

Alfresco and all natural 

"Many brides cash in on fall's ample sunshine and cooler temperatures by holding their weddings outside," says Ray Miller of My Wedding Reception "An outdoor wedding celebrates the season and plays to another popular trend - eco-awareness." 

In many areas of the country, autumn brings less heat and rain. Plus, saying your "I do's" outside, surrounded by fall's vibrant hues, makes Mother Nature your co-decorator. 

If you're considering having your wedding outside, don't overlook unusual venues. Municipal parks, national parks, botanical gardens, fruit orchards and even zoos can all be fun and interesting places for a wedding. 

Seasonal decor and accessories 

The colors and spirit of fall can also inspire your accessories and decor. Rustic materials and touches like raffia, twigs and straw can add seasonal flair to decorations. Leaf motifs and autumnal hues can be used to adorn everything from cake cutting sets and table linens to table centerpieces and slipcovers. 

You can even tie your theme to fall holidays like Halloween or Thanksgiving. Leaf-shaped votive holders, personal-size pumpkins and other Halloween wedding favor ideas can add seasonally appropriate fun to your celebration. 

Remarkable menus 

A fall wedding also opens up opportunities to create memorable menus that play on the flavors of the season. Just as spring and summer wedding menus benefit from the season's fresh produce, you can incorporate the fruits of the fall harvest into your autumn nuptials. 

Fall vegetables like pumpkin, butternut squash, beets, carrots and rutabagas can be served slow-roasted for a side dish that capitalizes on the season's most colorful and nutritious offerings. Greens such as spinach, endive and celery root come into season in autumn and can be incorporated into soups and salads for a pop of flavor and vitamins. 

Main course choices also open up in fall, when great game comes in season. Replacing boring beef with venison or mundane chicken with pheasant not only puts a seasonal stamp on a menu, but creates a culinary experience wedding guests will remember.

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