Bold colors. Crisp air. Cozy sweaters and everything apples & pumpkins. It’s easy to see why fall is the favorite season for more than one in three Americans. From renaissance festivals to wine tours and haunted houses, it’s a great time of year to host an event, too.
There are lots of different options when it comes to finding the right venue for your fall event. How do you pick the right one? Here are five factors you should consider. And don’t miss our 10 fresh ideas for fall event venues at the end of this post.
Fall weather can be unpredictable, especially when you’re reserving space weeks or months in advance. And it varies wildly depending on which part of the country you’re located. While northern and eastern states may get hit with a cold snap, southern or western states may be experiencing a heat wave.
If you’re concerned about the temperature or precipitation, an indoor space might better suit your event. At least make sure your venue has a backup plan to manage any weather-related curveballs, like a tent or other shelter in case of rain or space heaters or fans to help with temperature fluctuations.
Hosting a family friendly event? You might want space for littles to run around and play. A snug speakeasy obviously wouldn’t fit. On the other hand, if you’re expecting an adults-only crowd, a cocktail party in the middle of a petting zoo would probably fall flat.
Consider the mobility of your guests, too: lots of stairs can be a challenge for small kids and seniors, for example. Ask your venue about the options for guests with limited mobility, and don’t forget about spaces like the restrooms, too.
Time of Day
A pumpkin patch can be a beautiful setting for a fall event, but you’ll miss the best parts of the scenery if your party takes place after sundown.
The same can go for indoor venues, too. While your ballroom might be well lit at any time of the day, if you can’t see the fall colors outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, what’s the point in paying extra for a prime viewing location? You might be better off with a rooftop bar overlooking the twinkling city lights.
If the vibe of your event is more upscale, as scenic as that apple orchard might be, your guests might not want their high heels getting caught in the mud. On the other hand, if you're going for a more casual sweaters-and-jeans tone, something outdoors could be great.
Your dress code doesn’t need to dictate where you host your event, but you should consider the overall vibe you want to create and choose a venue that will lend itself to that theme. Then, make sure to craft your messaging and brand (including visual elements like graphics and photos) to communicate how fancy or casual your event will be.
Serving warm cider and boozy apple slushies? What better place to do it than an apple orchard? Your venue can inspire the menu for your event as well, and vice versa. If you’re hosting your event on a farm, classic fall foods like fresh sweet corn or pumpkin soup might be on the menu.
This is another area where you should weigh the pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor events. Late summer and early fall cookouts are often plagued by wasps, hornets, and other flying critters. A buffet where food sits out for extended periods of time might end up being a feast for the flies rather than your guests. On the other hand, if you have smaller made-to-order food stations, or an indoor dining area, you can avoid those pesky insects.
10 Ideas for Fall Event Venues
Need a little inspiration for your fall event? Check out these ideas that will compliment your seasonal theme.
1. Apple Orchard or Cider Mill
What says fall more than apple picking? An orchard or cider mill can inspire your entire menu and make for a unique setting.
Cornfields and blue skies can make a beautiful backdrop for photos. Let the fall harvest do the decorating for you by holding your event on a local farm.
3. Pumpkin Patch
Whether it’s dinner alfresco, a family u-pick outing, or a lively music festival, nothing feels like fall quite like being surrounded by the iconic orange gourds. A pumpkin patch is perfect for an early October event, when the squash are ripe for picking.
Maybe a full-blown farm comes with too many…um…natural aromas for your event style. Consider a barn that has been renovated to include amenities like
indoor restrooms and more protection from the elements.
5. A Park
A local park can be an affordable option for your venue, and you can take advantage of the last few weeks where the weather is actually nice enough to host an outdoor event. Many parks also have pavilions you can rent to provide guests with shelter (as well as electrical outlets and other amenities), and playgrounds where the kids can blow off steam.
In the northern hemisphere, grape harvesting takes place from August through October, so fall can be a lovely time to visit your favorite vineyard or winery. In some places, you can even arrange a wine making activity for your guests - so they have a souvenir to take home and enjoy later.
7. Farmer’s Market
Think farmer’s markets are only for summer? Not at all. In fact, your local market might have more space available during the fall (and at better prices) when the market isn’t filled with vendors selling fresh produce.
8. Golf Course
As temperatures drop, so do the prices on summer venues. You might find a good deal renting a venue like a banquet room at a golf club. Plus, these spaces often come with beautiful views of the greens, bookended by woody areas where the fall colors will be on full display.
9. Rooftop Bar
Whether it’s a lounge with indoor and outdoor spaces, or a fully indoor facility, a rooftop bar can offer guests sweeping views of your city while staying warm and cozy (or cool and comfortable, depending on your fall weather).
10. A Boat
Whether it’s a ferryboat or a luxury yacht, a cruise around the harbor or a trip down your local riverfront can offer guests a stunning view of the fall colors or the dazzling city light. A fall sunset cruise is the perfect way to soak up the last few rays of summer before the colder weather sets in.
A successful fall event starts with choosing the right venue. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, casual or formal, your space sets the tone for the entire event.
But your venue is just the first step. There’s still more planning to do! Make sure the rest of your event preparations go smoothly by downloading our free event planning checklist.