Fall weddings are more popular than ever as couples swap summer nuptials for cozier autumn festivities. Fall foliage, clearer travel schedules, cooler temps — what’s not to love? But as the season picks up steam in the wedding world, costs are likely rising as well. According to the Knot, 45% of couples spend more than they planned to on their wedding.
If you have your heart set on a fall celebration, here are some expert tips for bringing down your bottom line — without sacrificing.
1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FALL BLOOMS, FOLIAGE AND DÉCOR
You don't have to do much to create a breathtaking ceremony space in the fall, according to florist Joan Wyndrum of Blooms by the Box. "Fall foliage is beautiful, so if your ceremony is outdoors, you can get away with having a simple arch and letting the scenery speak for itself," she says. If you’re worried about unpredictable weather, consider a venue with a rainproof patio or a large picture window in case you have to move indoors. That way, you can still take advantage of the changing leaves as a backdrop to your vows.
Wyndrum suggests in-season flowers like chrysanthemums and garden roses. Make them go a long way by separating them across a lot of small vases, like milk bottles or vintage glasses, to create a relaxed, rustic look.
Finally, inexpensive fall accents, like pumpkins and gourds, can fill up space and save on floral costs, she adds.
2. CHOOSE A WELL-STOCKED VENUE
Selecting a space where you have to bring in everything, from tables to bathrooms to catering, can get really pricey, really fast. (Looking at you, barn weddings.) Reception rentals can add up, especially if your guest list is long.
With wedding décor, less is more.
When shopping venues, pay close attention to what’s included in the price; a space that will take care of the smaller details can be well worth the money — not to mention the time savings. "Select a venue that includes rentals that you already love such as farm tables, Chivari chairs, chargers and even draping," says venue expert Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. "That will leave more room in the budget for hiring your other vendors."
3. PICK ONE SHOWSTOPPER TABLETOP DETAIL
If you do want to rent tabletop items, select one piece of the tablescape to really pop — then go basic with the rest, suggests Heather Rouffe of Atlas Event Rental.
"Go bold with the color of your linen by selecting a navy, burgundy or jewel tone, allowing you to go simple with your accent items," she says. "Or choose another focal item — colored goblets, flatware or chargers — that will pull the room together while staying on budget."
Choosing one special item not only keeps costs down, but it also keeps your tables from looking too busy. With wedding décor, less is more.
4. STOCK YOUR OWN BAR
Bringing in your own alcohol can really save you big time, especially if you're wanting to serve only beer and wine or a signature cocktail instead of offering a full open bar. "Not only do couples get the opportunity to decide for themselves, but they can choose all their own brands and keep any leftovers on the bar," Tarrant says. Spiked apple cider or hot chocolate are fall-themed crowd-pleasers — and they both happen to be budget-friendly.
5. SERVE A COZY MEAL, FAMILY-STYLE
Fall is a great time to take advantage of seasonal produce and dish out comfort food. "Start by asking your caterer what their favorite seasonal dishes are and be willing to think outside of the menu box," Tarrant says. "Tell them that you are looking to save by focusing on more seasonal." Fall side dishes like mac and cheese, sweet potato pie and green bean casserole can be both festive and cost-effective.
Serving your meal family-style, rather than setting up a buffet line or doing a sit-down service, can bring your guests together and help you keep costs down even more. Instead of renting all the trappings for a buffet line (tables, linens, chafing dishes, extra plates, decor and so on) or hiring more servers to personally bring each plate of food to each guest, you'll just need a few extra-large platters per table to pass around.