Decorating Tips for a Night-Time Fall Wedding

What’s more fun than decorating your fall home? Decorating your fall wedding. Ok, that’s only a half truth. Decorating for someone else’s fall wedding. While many of us are planning just how to transition our homes for the season, others are knee deep in last minute wedding prep. for those of you in the latter group, this post is for you 😉 Nine months before my husband and I were married, I had all the grand ideas. I had the vision. I think most brides do. But when it was “go-time”, the venue details and the actual execution of all the elaborate ideas were the least of my worries. Thank God I had some awesome vendors and Mama Nan to lead the troops; I certainly wasn’t out there on the front line hanging chandeliers – my main concern was my watering left eye that was making my makeup run 😉 .

The first piece of general advice I would give to a bride is to make sure you have a team in place to take care of everything. As emotional as I already was (seriously- those who were there can attest to the fact that I brought the king of ugly cries down the aisle), if I would have had to be involved in the setup, I don’t know that Dave would have married me haha. I like to be in control but relinquishing some of my inner micro-manager for the wedding was necessity. Whether you recruit a planner, day-of coordinator, or a responsible friend and a team full of awesome vendors, you will be so much more sane by not trying to manage those details.

I loved my wedding. Loved it. Looking back, would I change some things? Yes. But, the areas I prioritized from the beginning, I would absolutely keep the same. As fall (and my fourth anniversary) approaches I started thinking back to that special day and thought I would share some favorite details from my own wedding, with a few key decorating tips for a night-time fall wedding.

1. Choose a Unique Setting that will Shine, Even After the Sun Goes Down


I established three things before I was even engaged- I wanted to get married (1) at night, (2) in the fall, and (3) at The Ruins at Kellum Valley Farm in the north Georgia mountains. It’s a work of art all on its own without even trying. You can read about the history of the ruins HERE. I didn’t know anyone personally who had been married here but it had so many unique, beautiful features, I knew it would be hard to mess up 😉 Picturing this place at night made me think of Ross and Emily’s London wedding (any Friends fans?), and that was all I needed.


While my reception was in the ruins, the wedding ceremony was actually across the property at dusk, at the far end of a field. Down this drive…


To that spot where the white chairs are lined.


*Story time: I actually had a stretch hummer take me and my bridesmaids from the bridal suite, across the field to the top of the aisle. Each groomsman opened the door to escort his respective bridesmaid he was to walk with. It was totally a Bachelor move and I’m not sure if I feel super embarrassed or super proud… hmm… I’ll go with the latter 😉

2. Choose a Photographer Who ROCKS in the Dark

Even more than photos with my new husband, this single image that our photographer, Ed Hetherington, captured of our reception site in the ruins was the most popular photo from our wedding day. He travels and does a lot of wildlife photography but still takes on a few weddings; seriously, he is amazing. I found Ed after searching for someone whose outdoor night shots would blow me away… and, they did.


Oh, and he’s pretty fantastic in daylight, too 😉



And for good measure, I thought I’d throw in one of our engagement photos Ed captured at sunset, again, in the north Georgia mountains.


3. Create the Fantasy with Flowers

One decision I am still most pleased with is that I didn’t force myself into defining a color scheme. Big surprise but this neutral-loving gal prefers her wedding like she prefers her home 😉 Neutrals, metallics… I’ve seen a lot of gorgeous, colorful weddings but just as I believe is the case in home decor, a neutral wedding doesn’t have to be boring. Another surprising detail? I wanted to splurge on the flowers. (Who, me? Never!) Lots of big, white blooms everywhere. Peonies and magnolias were out of season but I went with my old faithfuls- hydrangeas, lilies, and roses and was thrilled with the outcome.


My bridesmaids bouquets were a little smaller than mine but were still ginormous… and I loved them! There is no rule that says you have to hand your girls just a few stems.


Our baker created this cascading dream onto a moss covered table. As gorgeous as it is, it tasted even better. I still order cakes and goodies from Cynthia’s Cakes and Cookies on special occasions; for y’all in metro-Atlanta, she never disappoints! Get the vanilla or chocolate pound cake and tell her I sent you 😉


Flowers were…




4. Create the Fairy Tale with Candles

Here’s how to determine how many candles you need. Think of how many you think you need… then multiply that number by 100. Seriously. The more candles, the more romantic the setting; this is not the place you want to skimp for a night-time wedding. If you had to choose between a few flowers and a few candles, or, a LOT of candles with no flowers, scrap the flowers and go for the flames. Get online and search pillars, tealights, and tapers in bulk.

Shortly after we said our vows, I was glad to have had the alter and aisle lit.


I loved the ceremony spot, but…


the candle lit reception vision was the driving force behind my entire dream.


I actually didn’t plan the luminaries; I am so thankful that the wonderful folks at Kellum Valley had the foresight because it added the perfect ambiance. We did have our florist create weighted wreaths with candles for the pool in front of the ruins.



The changing leaves showed up more clearly in the candle light than in the daylight.



Glass hurricanes serve double duty by both keeping Smokey the Bear happy and creating pretty, illuminating reflections.



5. Create Large-Scale Centerpieces

When I first described the centerpiece size I had in mind, my mom thought I was nuts. After having zero luck finding lanterns big enough to make the statement I envisioned, I found some almost four foot tall lanterns at Z Gallerie (which I still use in my home).  Half of my centerpieces were these large floral/branch arrangements with hanging tealights in cylinder vases with submerged blooms, while the other half were my long sought after lanterns, filled with candles, greenery, and those signature white blooms.


I regret not having more photos of the lanterns but you can catch a glimpse of one in the below picture, just to the right of the Kurt Thomas Band. *If you have iTunes, I’m Country and Presence of Love are still my all time favs*


I would be amiss not to share my friend’s latest video; check it out here:

Wishing all you fall brides, mamas of the bride, bridesmaids, and one-day brides the best of luck this season. Have fun with your planning and take it all in; it will go by too quickly. If all else fails and you forget everything, make sure the groom is “right” and your day will be a success. Of all the planning and preparing, mine was by far my best decision 😉


*All photography by Ed Hetherington Photography


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  1. 9.14.16
    Sharon said:

    Two words. BLOWN AWAY!! ?✨

    • 9.14.16

      Shar! You are the best! You could pull off something like this for Evie in a day, I just know it! haha

  2. 9.14.16
    Kaitlin said:

    You were such a gorgeous bride!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 9.14.16
    Hiliary said:

    Beautiful! I am getting married next month and I can’t wait!!!

  4. 9.14.16
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    First, what a lovely capture of the most perfect wedding, ever! This is such a gracious homage to the people who helped. I so remember texting you a pic of a two foot lantern that was not nearly tall enough. Yes, I thought you were nuts with your alternate suggestion. Love those lanterns and all the rest!

    • 9.15.16

      Nan, you kept me sane. Thank you for doing it all- holy cow!

  5. 9.15.16
    Tamara said:

    Kelley, I can’t even. Seriously I am completely blown away by this!! What magic! I’ m so jealous we didn’t know each other when I got married because I would have had you plan the entire thing! What incredible memories!!! I could go on and on and on and on haha. Crazy!!!!

    • 9.16.16

      Tam, thank you so much! OMG I wish we knew each other when we were getting married!

  6. 9.16.16
    Randi said:

    Kelley this is so stunning! I want to get married all over again!!! You are the master party planner! Xo

  7. 9.16.16
    Danean said:


  8. 9.16.16
    Bree said:

    Kelley!! I am completely blown away by this and seeing you in your wedding dress literally brought me to tears!! And now I too want to get married all over again and have you to plan my wedding…you’re amazing!!! :)) Thanks for sharing this with us Xoxo

    • 9.16.16

      Bree, YOU were a gorgeous bride! Our group would have so much fun planning and decorating a wedding- can you even imagine?!

  9. 9.16.16
    Mysha said:

    Kelley what a gorgeous bride you are! And that cake!!!

    • 9.16.16

      Mysha, thank you so much! PS- that thing was delish 😉

  10. 9.16.16
    Shauna said:

    Kelley, this is my favorite post ever!!! Good grief you were a GORGEOUS bride and Dave is such a lucky man to have you! What an absolute breathtaking wedding setting…totally something I’d want to do! Happy approaching anniversary to you and Dave! Love ya girl! ??

    • 9.16.16

      Shauna!!! Thank you so so much- I wish we could go back and go to each other’s weddings. Love you so xoxo

  11. 9.16.16
    Haneen said:

    Oh my goodness! Kellllleeeeyyyy! This is amazing! Dream wedding right here! And you looked beautiful! Xo

  12. 9.17.16
    Jennifer said:

    What a beautiful wedding! My heart skipped a beat when I saw your engagement picture! So sweet! xoxo

    • 9.18.16

      Jen, thank you so much! That is one of my favs too 😉

  13. 9.17.16
    Rebecca said:

    Your wedding is still one of my absolute favorites to this day! I enjoyed being able to see your vision unfold through all of the stages, from just planning to executing. It was a magical night, and I’d still get in your limo as you left and cry my eyes out to this day! Love you Kelley!

    • 9.18.16

      Becca, I love you so much! I hope you had a good, productive weekend settling in! xoxo

  14. 4.4.20

    Wow Thanks for sharing the ideas.It was amazing and u looked beautiful.What a wedding….lovely

    • 4.6.20

      Thank you so much! Our wedding was so much fun to plan. It was such a special day! xoxo

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