Summer holds on for as long as it can and then suddenly one day when you wake it is noticeably darker, a low mist hangs over the fields in the early morning, the dew is heavier on the grass and the air is cool, with a sharp and earthy tang.

It is not only the weather that changes with turning of the season, the colour palette is different; alongside cream, white and pink come the gorgeous rich hues of autumn; deep red, regal purple, burnt orange and rich yellow.  The options for florists also shift at this time of year.  As well as flowers, such as hydrangeas, dahlias, and chrysanthemums, there is a rich harvest to pick from when it comes to decorating a venue for a special occasion.  Pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes become available, hop vines are ready and the rose hips are ripe.  There are also wider options when it comes to foliage.  As well as the usual green of ivy, salal, and pittosporum and the subtle grey-green of eucalyptus, there are also beautiful bunches of wine red cotinus to be had, rusty beech leaves and, if you are very fortunate, golden branches of oak. 

If you are a traditionalist, you could choose the familiar orange pumpkins, munchkins (their baby cousins), flowers and foliage in a complementary palette for a harvest theme.  Rose cheeked apples, corn and garlands of hops, along with flowers and pumpkins can be artfully arranged at the entrance of your venue and by the altar rail.  Your table decorations could echo this idea, even going so far as to use hollowed out pumpkins as vases for your floral arrangements. 

If the customary palette of autumn is not to your taste, there are other exciting options. 

Heathers are widely available at this time of year, in a range of colours from white, through violet and pink, to deep magenta.  Team these in antique pots along with violas, pansies and succulents, interspersed with a selection of white, grey and green pumpkins, either as table centres or as runners up the centre of trestle tables, for a stunning display.  As well as being a more contemporary take on the autumn theme, this approach is more sustainable than lots of arrangements in floral foam. You could even ask your guests to help themselves to a pot or two at the end of the evening’s celebrations, as a keepsake. 

This time of year, as the evenings begin to close in, is made for twinkling candlelight.  Not the chunky, cream church candles of deep winter, though these are gorgeous; but rather lots of tealights and tapers in cut glass holders.  Perhaps, as we are in the season of all souls and all hallows, add a slightly gothic slant to your styling.  Not to go as far as black lace and bejewelled silver goblets, although these would be perfect for a Halloween themed party, but maybe some pieces of vintage style coloured glass amongst your tableware, in pink, mauve, blue, or green.  As the sun goes down your venue will come alight with little pops of jewelled colour, as the candlelight is filtered through the glass. 

Whatever your taste, autumn is a season full of potential inspiration.  Nature is showing us the glorious beauty of letting go, birds are flying south in preparation for winter, animals are setting up stores and the afternoon sun dances across the grass and loses itself in the shadows.  Embrace the wonder and capture a little of the magic.