If you’re starting to plan a wedding, you may be thinking that a natural backdrop of red, orange and gold make fall weddings the perfect combination of romantic and seasonal celebration.
However, for the average couple, the total bill might not look so perfect. More on that later.
Let’s look at the good news first.
Discounts for a Fall Wedding
Coming in at the tail end of wedding season, fall weddings offer opportunities for savings on the average nuptial price tag, which now tops $32,000, according to The Knot’s annual Real Weddings Survey.
From venues to photographers to hair and makeup artists, wedding vendors charge their highest prices when their services are most in demand.
With June and December being the most popular months for weddings, fall couples can capitalize on savings by negotiating off-season pricing. The further into fall, the more significant the savings.
But seasonal savings aren’t the only potential discounts to take advantage of – choosing an off-peak day of the week and time of day for nuptial celebrations can reduce costs ever further. For example, a Sunday morning brunch will run far less than a sit-down dinner Saturday evening.
Where fall weddings have the potential to get more expensive is décor.
If you have your heart set on a certain flower arrangement for example, the season may require your blooms be shipped in from other regions, which can dramatically increase costs. But sticking with in season arrangements and sourcing locally can keep fall wedding costs well below the average $2,300 décor spend reported in The Knot survey.
In fact, the natural beauty of the season, make low cost municipal parks and other public, outdoor spaces a great option for fall nuptials – providing another potential $2,000 plus in savings on average ceremony site spending, the survey found.
But fall couples may want to invest in an additional layer of wedding attire, to keep warm in case of a crisp autumn chill.
Where fall couples can really cash in is by taking advantage of end of season discounts on final wedding details – think lighting, centerpieces and other personal touches. Sites like Tradesy and Wedding-Recycle offer marketplaces for nearly new wedding décor (and clothing) at steep discounts.
The end of summer timing also offers couples marrying in the fall the opportunity to take advantage of great deals on travel for their post-nuptial honeymoons.
Total Cost of a Fall Wedding
But the final wedding budget will depend more on size than on season. With every invitee receiving an invitation, a meal and an unlimited stream of champagne (at a minimum), the more guests you have, the more money you’ll have to spend. As you write out your invites, keep in mind that the average cost per wedding guest now tops $200. In the spirit of fall, keep it cozy!
While these seasonal savings strategies may help you reduce your fall wedding expenses well below the average $32,641 price tag, your total celebration costs could still be substantial.
With the median household income around $54,000, even a significant reduction in the average wedding price could mean spending more than 50% of your annual income on the big day.
How to Finance Your Fall Wedding
Though the tradition of parents paying for a large portion of wedding costs lives on, today’s couples are increasingly taking on more of the expenses.
According to The Knot survey, on average, parents contribute up to 56% of the overall wedding budget, and the couple contribute 43% of the total cost.
To fund the remaining bill, couples may need to rely on more than their current savings. Especially when they consider the costs of their other marital startup goals – honeymooning, buying a home, children, etc.
For those couples, getting the financing to support their new joint venture can also offer saving opportunities.
For example, instead of relying on high interest debt to fund expenses that fall beyond their existing savings, couples can use more cost effective personal loans, with favorable interest rates and the opportunity to extend payments for such major milestones over a longer period of time. Personal loans also offer couples an opportunity to maintain some of their cash cushion in savings while still funding the costs of their new life together.
With the fall season still several months away, the good news is there’s still plenty of time to shop around for the best savings on everything from flowers to financing.