Wedding season is typically from late May to early September, but did you know that fall is actually the best time to get married? Fall weddings are becoming more and more popular for a number of reasons. The weather is cooler, so you don’t have to worry about your guests being too hot. The leaves are changing color, providing a beautiful backdrop for pictures. Added bonus: Fall weddings can be cheaper than weddings during peak wedding season. If you’re looking to save some money on your big day, read on for our top tips on how to plan a fall wedding on a budget.

1. Set a budget and stick to it.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to set a budget before you start planning your wedding. Once you have a number in mind, it will be easier to make decisions about where to allocate your resources. When it comes to weddings, there are usually three main categories that take up the biggest chunk of the budget: the venue, the food, and the attire.

2. Get creative with your venue.

Venues can be one of the most expensive parts of planning a wedding. If you’re looking for ways to cut down on costs, consider getting married at a time or place that isn’t in high demand. For example, getting married on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday will usually cost less. Another option is to have your ceremony at one location and your reception at another; this way you’re not paying for AirBNB rental or hotel fees for your guests.

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3. Don’t go overboard with the decor.

Fall is such a beautiful time of year, so take advantage of all the free decor that nature has to offer! Instead of spending money on an abundance of flowers, use autumn leaves as centerpieces or decorate with pumpkins or gourds. You can even incorporate fall colors into your wedding cake! Just because you’re getting married in October doesn’t mean you need to go all out with Halloween decorations; sometimes less is more. (Although we sure do love a fabulous Halloween wedding!)

4. Shop around for deals on food and drinks

Food and drinks can also be expensive, so try to find ways to cut down on costs here as well. One way to do this is by opting for buffet or family style instead of plated meals; this typically costs less per person since you’re not paying for full-service catering. You can also talk to local bakeries about cakes, pies or cupcakes instead of an extravagant multi-tieredcake; this could save you some serious dough! When it comes to drinks, see if your venue has any restrictions on outside alcohol; if they don’t, you could purchase beer and wine in bulk from a local store instead of having it supplied by the venue which tends to be pricier.

Planning a fall wedding doesn’t have to break the bank! With careful planning and forethought, you can have the wedding of your dreams without going into debt. Just remember to set a budget, get creative with your venue, don’t go overboard with the decor, and shop around for deals on food and drinks!

Photo by Caryn Oxford Photography via Harvest-themed DIY multicultural Southern fall gay wedding published on Equally Wed, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine