Since fall is my favorite season, it’s no surprise that decorating for fall is something I look forward to. I always end up going overboard with pumpkins, but this year I had a good excuse to buy too many and to buy them early. I wanted to set up an outdoor fall table for a spread in the home & garden section of the magazine.
I stressed over what all to include on the table, but I ended up keeping it really simple. I started with a few larger pumpkins, then I filled in with some smaller pumpkins and gourds. I added just a few candles, some magnolia leaves, pine cones, pecans, and some small bud vases. And that was it. I had a lot of possible props in mind, but I really liked the simple set-up. The pumpkins were the only things that I had to buy; everything else was from the yard or items that I already had.
Below are more of the details and some tips for decorating your fall table.
-Place pumpkins at varying heights; urns, pedestals, candle sticks, or small boxes work well.
I had planned to really set the table, but I was photographing each stage, and I really liked the table with just the fall-scape. I also ended up liking how the dishes looked stacked, so it worked out perfectly.
-Avoid the awkward “where to sit” conversations by using place cards. Tie tags to pumpkins or gourds or simply use a large leaf.
-Don’t be afraid to mix and match your silverware or even your dishes; this is an easy way to have enough without using disposable pieces.
-Incorporate natural elements like nuts, leaves, and pine cones. What you find in your yard or at the park is seasonal and free.
-Buy the small pumpkins in bulk to save money. At the fruit/produce stand, the small pumpkins are about $.89 each, but you can buy a huge bag (mine had about 50 pumpkins) for $20. The larger pumpkins are usually cheaper at the grocery store, and sometimes they even have the gray and Cinderella pumpkins.
-Use orange pumpkins for a pop of color or white and gray pumpkins for a neutral look. You can also combine them, as shown.
-Small vases are easy to arrange but still make a big impact. They also don’t interfere with conversation across the table. I used purple fountain grass, wax myrtle berries, and a few mum blooms–all from the yard.
At the end of my several-day session, after looking at the photos on my computer, I realized that everything looked too green. The pecan leaves were already starting to fall, but they just didn’t show up enough in the pictures. So I took a bucket to our front yard and started collecting golden and brown leaves from our magnolia tree. I wish I had done that at the beginning. Oh, well.
Photography notes and behind the scenes:
-About ten minutes after I set the table, the clouds came. And they stayed for several days. I ended up covering the table with a tarp when it started to rain. I did try to take some pictures without the sun, but they just didn’t look very good–very flat. It was so worth waiting for the light to get the images I wanted.
Below are some outtakes…
Blah… I don’t like sharing them, but I wanted you to see the difference that the light and right angles make.
-I used a little ladder or stood on one of the chairs to get the right angle for some of the shots.
-You saw some of the “helper” shots in my earlier post, but I had to share one more from one of our early mornings. Also, Harper and Heather help me move and set up the table, so I owe them!
By the way, we have a “Decorating with Pumpkins” spread slated for next fall’s issue, so if you do something you like this year, take some pictures and email me a few! (Set your camera to the largest/finest quality setting since it’s for print.)
Happy fall dining!