Planning a fall wedding has tons of advantages—a beautiful natural backdrop, off-season vendor pricing, and less risk of sweating through ten layers of tulle. Even if your dream venue offers a discount after the summer wedding rush, keeping your budget under control (hello, approaching holidays!) is still a concern for most autumn brides.
Check out these five tips for planning a beautiful, frugal, fall wedding!
1. Go Au Naturale With Fall Foliage
Unlike your marriage, costly floral arrangements won’t last very long. Splurge on your bridal bouquet (or, if you’re crafty, make your own!) but choose seasonal foliage to save serious cash. Leaves as greenery can look just as stunning as an expensive arrangement, especially if they’ve turned brilliant red and gold. Jack-o-lanterns may be too Halloweeny (unless you’re having a Halloween-themed wedding!), but uncarved pumpkins make unexpectedly charming centerpieces.
Extra Frugal Tip: Repurpose your bouquets as decorations after the ceremony. You’ll need to get your maid of honor to wrangle them (you’ll be busy!), but have vases ready on your cake or head table to turn bridesmaids’ bouquets into beautiful table arrangements.
2.Forget the Cake—It's Pie Season!
Nontraditional wedding desserts are more popular than ever—cupcake towers, cookie buffets, and even sundae stations are rapidly overtaking the traditional wedding cake. Since the fall season is the perfect time for pie, why not serve it at your wedding?
Unlike cake, which is a standard at birthday parties, retirement send-offs, and graduations, pies are generally served only around the holidays (unless you have an awesome grandmother who makes them for you all the time and, if so, please invite us over), so they’re more of a rare treat. Consider replacing the four-tiered frosted wedding cake with a pie buffet—with so many pie options, everyone will be able to find something they like!
Extra Frugal Tip: Host a pie-baking marathon the weekend before your wedding, and get friends and family to help you assemble your delicious desserts. Buying ingredients in bulk will help save cash, and you might even be able to recruit Grandma.
3. Take Advantage of Gently-Used Wedding Gear
The summer wedding rush is over, meaning Craigslist is packed full of summer brides trying to unload their used decorations, dresses, and tableware. Scour local buy-and-sell groups to see what kind of deals you can score. Lots of brides have figured out that buying things like tablecloths and wine glasses is cheaper than renting if you can sell it later, which means bigger savings for you. If you can match up with a bride with similar tastes, you may be able to score centerpieces and other decor for a fraction of the price—and, if they’re DIY, will be a huge time savings for you.
Extra Frugal Tip: If you can find a bride whose wedding is the weekend before yours, offering tear-down help in exchange for wedding items could save you hundreds or more. For example, she may be willing to cut you a crazy deal on items like tablecloths or wine glasses if you pick them up right after the wedding—you may have to wash them, but you’ll save serious cash.
4. Spend on Photos, Save on Video
Recording the memories and emotions of your wedding day is a huge priority. If you’ve already spent your photography budget on a great wedding photographer to capture those fleeting moments, you may have given up on the idea of videography to round out your digital memories of your big day. Here’s the good news: while relying on guest photos alone to fill your photo album isn’t the greatest idea, you can DIY your wedding video and preserve your wedding day story—often for free!
Consider getting a friend with a good artistic eye to record video of your ceremony and some of your reception highlights, and then deliver the digital footage on an external hard drive after the wedding. Services like WeVideo allow you to edit video online for free, and with a bunch of awesome features like non-cheesy transitions, stylized text, and voiceover narration, you can make your wedding video look professional in no time at all. They have easy drag-and-drop editing, so it’s simple to cut out Uncle Doug’s long-winded (and not entirely sober) speech about how awkward you were as a kid!
Extra Frugal Tip: Try out the WeVideo Flex package—it’s cheaper than a recurring subscription, and won’t expire until you use it.
5. Ask for Help Instead of Gifts
We all wish we could afford a wedding planner to take care of every detail (and manage demanding relatives) leading up to the wedding, but at upwards of $2,000 for a day-of coordinator, it may not fit in your frugal budget. If you’re not afraid to ask, you’ll be surprised at the number of friends and family members willing to lend a helping hand in lieu of a gift.
If you’re doing a backyard wedding or renting a super-minimal venue, you’ll need help setting up and tearing down. Recruit your younger cousin whose student status means he can’t afford a lavish gift. Let him know you’d be super appreciative if he could help move heavy tables or sound gear, and you’d consider it the best wedding gift of all. You may be worried that it sounds greedy, but guests tend to stress over gifts more than you might think and giving them a free (and hugely appreciated) alternative will make everyone happier.
Extra Frugal Tip: Seek out friends with special talents, like your crafty former roommate or piano-virtuoso coworker, to help with decorations or provide reception music. Just be careful when using “friendors”—if you put too much pressure on someone to help out they may back out or feel resentful. Only ask them for what you know they can handle, and be gracious if they can’t commit.
Remember, your wedding day is about you and your future spouse! Don’t be afraid to replace old traditions with things that are extra-meaningful to the two of you, especially if it helps slim down your wedding budget. Having an autumn wedding is a great way to save cash and create a beautiful, memorable event that you and your guests will cherish forever.
Today's tips are brought to you by Lauren Colman of WeVideo. She is a video creator, social media nerd, mom to a French bulldog named Squish, and power napper.
Visit WeVideo.com to learn more about how you can create your own outstanding wedding video.