With its riot of deep, bright colors, autumn is nature’s parting gift before the chill of the winter months. Weddings, dinner parties, and other special events feel especially festive and cozy this time of year, set against a backdrop of mustard, pumpkin, and fire hues. And they're the perfect opportunity to bring friends and family together to enjoy the season surrounded by the warmth and vividness of a perfect fall day.

Jessica Smith, owner of Michigan-based Jessica Smith Weddings, shared with us her ideas and trends of how to make any fall party memorable and on-point for this season. While her ideas are perfect for a major event like a wedding, they can be scaled back to bring the warmth of the season to any party or gathering. 

Decorate With Containers

A simple and versatile way to surround guests with seasonal hues is to turn out smartly presented container gardens. Placed at doorways or aisles, a mini sampling of all autumn has to offer will provide a lasting and warm greeting. A simple pot in a nature-inspired material like the tapered Madison planter in a weathered terra cotta or stone finish delivers an earthy touch, while the Phoenix vase planter comes in a variety of sizes and colors to complement any venue. Filled with crimson mums paired with boxwood, ornamental cabbages or rustic grasses, these planters create an enchanting atmosphere for guests.

Add Charm with Layers and Textures

Fall brings its own charms to embellish weddings and tables alike. Tiny pumpkins centered on a gold etched plate or baby gourds, in their delightfully imperfect shapes, encircling a pot of bright pansies like the “Matrix Yellow Blotch,” are autumn’s calling card. Dress planters for the party, choosing flora of varying heights, colors and textures to create a layered fall ensemble.

The Symmetry short planter comes in a variety of interesting shapes to accentuate a modern or contemporary theme, and is offered in a variety of bright colors as well as a stately bronze that's the perfect backdrop for a spectacular offering of autumn’s flowers and foliage. Try the orange and yellows of the “Bonanza Harmony” marigold paired with kale or green ivy to spill over the sides for a whimsically unkempt flourish. 

Offer Guests A Living Gift

“This season, my favorite trend has been the potted succulents given to guests as favors in hopes that they plant them,” explains Smith. “Succulents are hot in the wedding industry this season. Brides are using them as centerpieces, and also favors for their guests.” These hardy, container-friendly plants are the perfect addition to your fall entertaining décor. They are easy to care for, add muted color and little else rivals their variety and texture when it comes to garnishing a planter. The Oso polar aluminum bowl is the perfect nest for a crop of succulents and the metal finishes further a more modern aesthetic.

Celebrate with Fall Foliage

This time of year, reds, yellows and oranges come to the head of the class to adorn gardens, patios, and living spaces. But while russet or bronze are always fitting, you can't go wrong with green no matter the season: this color’s popularity has staying power.

Smith says, “The colors that I am mostly seeing with plants and flowers for weddings this season are champagne and greens; lots and lots of green garland down the center of tables, and Eucalyptus garland strung around arbors at ceremony sites.” But there is definitely still a place for the romance offered by more traditional autumn colors: "In the fall the bride is usually surrounded by white, yellow and maroon planted mums decorating the ceremony aisle. She carries a bouquet of bright golden sunflowers, with the midday autumn sun peeking through the changing fall trees as she walks down the aisle to marry the love of her life,” muses Smith. Autumn's built-in beauty makes it easy to replicate the romance of that moment for any event, from an intimate dinner to a baby shower. 

Any celebration this time of year is enchanting and memorable thanks to nature’s glorious harvest colors. Be sure to plan a celebration that makes the most of this fleeting season.