bride and groom under the trees at a fall wedding

35 Fall Wedding Ideas on a Budget We Absolutely Love

Sep 26, 2022
By Wedding Spot

No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it: planning a wedding is expensive. Venue rental, dress prices, and other wedding expenses are on the rise, leaving engaged couples on the hunt for creative wedding ideas that they can afford to see through. While wedding expenses are increasing year-round, getting hitched in the fall could help stretch your dollars further. If you need help planning fancy fall wedding ideas on a budget, you’ve come to the right place.

A tight wedding budget doesn’t have to end with a bland wedding celebration. In this post, we review fantastic, festive, and frugal tips designed to help hands-on couples come up with fall wedding ideas on a budget. Below, we explore dreamy outdoor wedding ideas, venue tips, design options, DIY fall décor, and so much more. No matter your budget, style, or wedding size, there are tips for every thrifty couple on this list!

Learn how to pull off your favorite fall wedding ideas on a budget

Whether you’re looking for thematic decoration ideas or chic fall wedding ideas on a budget, you’ll find seasonal tips, tricks, and penny-pinching planning ideas in the list below:

Thrifty theme ideas for a fall wedding

1. Harvest theme 

Embrace all things fall by throwing a harvest-themed wedding. Incorporate hay bales, autumn leaves, maize bundles, gourds, pumpkins, and wheat stalks into your wedding design to bring together organic and elevated fall wedding ideas on a budget.

2. Rustic wedding

Incorporate all of the best elements of the autumn season into your wedding design by throwing a rustic-themed fall wedding. Find cider, mason jars, string lights, tin décor, and artificial flowers all at your local dollar store. With a little extra prep time and an enthusiastic DIY spirit, engaged couples can plan a low-budget rustic wedding that looks like a million bucks.

3. Retro-inspired

The brown, orange, and yellow tones of fall make a ravishing backdrop for a vintage fall wedding. Set up a guest welcome display in the back of a vintage truck, or say farewell to your guests as you drive away in a classic car. Employ shades of burnt orange and dusty rose as a nod to the retro style of the 60. Mix dinner plates of assorted colors or match a shorter knee-length dress with a long, draping veil if you’re feeling really adventurous.

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4. Into the Woods

Take your wedding into the woods to immerse your guests in all of the sounds, colors, and splendor the season has to offer. Get married amongst the California redwoods or in a meadow in your local woodlands. Choose a scheme that effortlessly blends with the stunning colors found in nature. Select neutral organic fabrics and add forest-inspired wedding décor to create an enchanting wedding design.

5. Whimsical Bohemian

Blend vintage, rustic, and nature-inspired wedding designs by throwing a Bohemian-themed fall wedding. Eclectic, earthy decorations, like geodes and greenery installations, add boho vibes to fall wedding ideas on a budget. Wear a flower crown, use organic elements in your backdrop, and let jewel tones influence your intimate boho-inspired wedding.

6. Halloween-themed

Are you looking for an affordable theme idea for your end-of-October wedding? If you’re a huge fan of the spooky season, bring the best of both worlds together by hosting a Halloween-themed fall wedding! Don full costumes or host a moody masquerade ball where friends and family dress to impress. Serve spooky snacks, bob for apples, and create a hip Halloween playlist that will keep guests dancing all night.

Budget-friendly fall wedding venue ideas

7. Local courthouse

Save money on a venue by having a courthouse wedding in the fall, followed by a fabulous reception at a separate low-cost venue. Courthouse nuptial fees vary slightly from state to state and county to county, but couples can expect to spend between $25 and $100 on average. Invite your closest friends, family, and a photographer who is familiar with the venue to join you at the courthouse, but save the majority of your money for after. Invest in a memorable celebration after the ceremony.

8. Public parks

Embrace the ethereal beauty of the season by hosting an enchanting fall wedding in a public, state, or national park. With low-cost booking fees and some of the most beautiful backdrops in the country, the parks system offers a variety of public wedding venues to choose from. There’s a lot of information that couples need to know about public park weddings, however, and details will vary based on your local rules and regulations.

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Reach out to the Parks and Recreation department overseeing areas that you’re interested in to confirm the local rules, regulations, permit requirements, and rental fees. Check out state and national park websites for details about their special event policies and procedures.

9. Public gardens

Operating much like public parks, most public gardens are open to special event bookings through the presiding Parks and Recreation office. Explore the horticulture programs at local colleges and universities, as many departments cultivate immaculate gardens that are available for special event bookings.

10. Hotel banquet rooms

Many hotels have low-cost banquet space that they rent out for meetings and events. Rental rates vary from hotel to hotel, based on the caliber of the venue and the services included in event rental, but hotels often offer event space for a few hundred dollars or less. Hotels may include complimentary services, such as on-site guest parking or coffee service, in event rental costs, so reach out to local accommodations in your area to see what’s available. If you have out-of-town guests traveling in, inquire about booking hotel room blocks as well.

11. Community centers

From fitness lessons and art classes to resident meetings and birthday parties, community centers and public recreation centers commonly host a variety of event types. Offering low-cost rental fees and setup options, most public activity centers also operate as affordable event venues. Contact nearby community centers and recreation facilities to inquire about rental rates, deposit requirements, and wedding restrictions.

12. Backyard

Couples that have the space can avoid venue rental costs entirely by hosting their wedding at home. With a few supplies, a little creativity, and a list of budget-friendly backyard wedding ideas, hands-on couples can create a nuptial paradise just outside their back door. If you’re working in a tight space, don’t worry. Decorative lighting, clever seating arrangements, and airy décor can help smaller yards appear and feel larger.

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Inexpensive fall wedding decorations

13. Paper flowers

Save money on wedding flowers by hosting a paper flower folding party with friends and family. Select stunning colored paper that folds easily and matches your color scheme from any big box retailer or craft shop nearby. Keep it simple by choosing easily foldable flower patterns, such as marigolds, mums, daisies, or cosmos flowers. With the folded fruits of your labor, construct lush hanging flower balls, robust decorative arrangements, or incorporate paper flowers into the wedding arch design.

14. Wooden crates

Versatile and inexpensive, wooden crates are incredibly useful items when it comes to executing fall wedding ideas on a budget. Use wooden crates to create a wedding guest welcome display, hold guest gifts, or as the base for an affordable wedding centerpiece.

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15. Gold details

Add a level of prestige to wedding decorations by incorporating metallic gold accents. While silver accents also complement fall color pallets, we recommend choosing gold as the season already offers an array of bright colors. Add gold accents on dining tables, centerpieces, and other reception decorations to give ordinary items a glamorous sparkle without a glamorous price tag.

16. Upcycled ladders

Upcycle old (but sturdy) ladders into rustic, custom fall wedding décor. Look for low-cost ladders at your local hardware store, thrift shop, flea market, nearby yard sales, or garage sales. Dress up plain old ladders to create alluring photography, food, and décor displays.

Ceremony ideas for a low-cost fall wedding

17. Foraged wedding arch

Design an elegant, impressive wedding arch for little-to-no cost by gathering the elements from your own backyard. Starting with a basic, affordable wooden arch (or a large piece of flexible wood bent into an arch), create a natural backdrop for the aisle’s end with fresh wildflowers, bright fall foliage, grasses, vines, twigs, feathers, and other fresh-from-the-forest finds. A few bouquets of sunflowers, a handful of dried sticks, and draped linen can go a long way toward helping you execute trendy fall wedding ideas on a budget.

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18. Hot chocolate

If you’re hosting an outdoor fall wedding, you may be facing chilly temperatures on the big day. Greet guests with a warm cup of hot chocolate on arrival. Mix up a large batch of hot cocoa for very little money to provide guests with a sweet, silky pick-me-up.

19. Apple aisle markets

Fresh apples are delicious, nutritious, and they add a vibrant pop of color to any wedding aisle. Mark the reception aisle with matching wooden baskets or mix and match instead. Use floral foam to fill the majority of the basket and cover the foam with a neutral-colored cloth. By filling the majority of the baskets with foam, crafty couples can create the illusion of overflowing fruit baskets while paying a fraction of the cost of filling the entire basket.

20. Wildflower bouquet

If you’re getting married in an area or at a venue surrounded by wildflowers, save money by picking the bridal bouquet. Pick a handful of different flowers, grasses, and pieces of large foliage 3-4 hours before the event so the bouquet lasts. Look for bright, whimsical flowers that complement one another, such as coneflowers, coreopsis, and thistle. Include daisy-like yarrow blooms or shade-loving anemones to accent the arrangement.

21. Hay bale seating

Save on event rental fees by using hay bales for guest seating at the ceremony. Cover the bales with soft throws that match your wedding scheme. Light blankets will prevent loose hay from poking guests or sticking to their clothes.

Reasonably priced fall wedding reception ideas

22. Miniature pumpkin place cards

Visit your local farmer’s market or supermarket to purchase miniature pumpkins in bulk. Add guest names to the pumpkins with a permanent marker or paint pens, place skewers inside each pumpkin to hold paper name cards, or tie twine to the tiny pumpkin stems to hold name tags.

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23. Sangria bar

A stunning drink station for fall weddings, sangria bars accommodate all of the fresh fruits and flavors of fall at a price that couples wedding planning on a budget will love. Stock the station with ripe apples, pears, plums, pinot grigio, fresh apple cider, club soda, bourbon, and cinnamon sticks. Fill oversized pitchers with sangria to create a festive seasonal drink display and make guest refills a breeze.

24. Dried flower centerpieces

Create your own lovely fall wedding centerpieces with dried flowers and inexpensive glass vases from your local thrift shop. Mix hearty dried flower bunches, filled with lavender or baby’s breath, with long dried grasses and leaves to create levels and dimensions in your arrangement. Pampas grass, wheat, and ferns all hold their shapes well when dried.

25. Drawstring herb pouches

Dainty herb satchels make fantastic low-cost wedding favors for guests, and the easy-to-craft gifts work with many different wedding styles. Tweak the design to complement a farm, harvest, or natural-themed fall wedding. Are you having a rustic-themed wedding in the fall? Fill burlap satchels with dried lavender and tie with twine. Are you going for an elegant wine-themed wedding instead? Choose pouches of low-cost faux velvet and deep red ribbons.

26. Fall foliage newlywed send-off

Instead of throwing confetti, flowers, or blowing bubbles as the newlyweds depart, throw fallen leaves. Easy to find, free, and 100% biodegradable, a fall foliage send-off ends the evening with an autumnal ambiance.

Fashion tips for a frugal fall wedding

27. Buck tradition

Save a ton of money on wedding expenses by forgoing a traditional wedding gown. Instead of classic white, opt for an autumnal tone. Gold and blush both look beautiful in the fall, as do bolder colors like burgundy, plum, and mustard. Embrace moody prints, jewel tones, and inexpensive fabrics like polyester. Avoid lace, silk, and other high-priced elements.

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28. Flower crown

Incorporate a little woodland whimsy into your bridal or bridal party accessories with fall-inspired flower crowns. Use fresh blooms or make crowns ahead of time using silk flowers and a bit of hot glue. Shop for fabulous flower crowns online in advance, and purchase bulk faux-flower crowns for a bargain. If you want to create a cohesive wedding party look, provide groomsmen with matching boutonnieres.

29. Textured accessories

Autumn is the ideal time to add textured wedding accents in the name of fashion. Velvet shoes, hair accessories, and lush shoulder wraps make stunning low-cost accent pieces for both the newlyweds and their guests.

Affordable fall wedding food ideas

30. Personal pumpkin pies

One of our favorite fall-inspired wedding foods, pumpkin pie is a seasonal staple. Make miniature pumpkin pies ahead of time using affordable store-bought pie crusts and a few key baking ingredients. Store them in the fridge to preserve freshness, and garnish personal pumpkin pies with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice before serving.

31. Seasonal grazing table

Set up a seasonal grazing table for guests to avoid high catering costs and the hassle of ordering multiple appetizers. Visit a local wholesale store, such as Costco or BJ’s, to pick up bulk grazing table ingredients at a discount. Shop for cured meats, artisan cheeses, gourmet crackers, nuts, fruits, jam, dip, and freshly baked bread. Pile the grazing table high with scrumptious snacks, complete with gourds, pumpkins, or a cornucopia for a full, decorative fall spread.

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32. Caramel apples

Hands-on couples can make their own gourmet caramel apples for approximately $1.50 a piece, according to Kitchen Cents. By purchasing a few cheap ingredients in bulk, like corn syrup, butter, chocolate chips, and dark brown sugar, you can make your own designer-style gourmet caramel apples at a low cost. Couples can make caramel apples several days in advance and store them in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.

33. Spiced cider

When in season, apple cider is available at affordable rates all over the country. Often sold in vintage jugs and glass jars, apple cider makes a wonderful fall wedding drink and decorative piece. Depending on the weather in your neck of the woods, cider is delicious when served both hot and cold. Put cider in a punch bowl with cinnamon sticks, apple slices, and cinnamon schnapps for a budget-friendly spicy spiked cider.

34. Soup shooters

Serve adorable soup shooters to surprise guests with a low-cost snack in high style. Garnish tomato soup shooters with miniature grilled cheese bites or doll out scrumptious potato leek soup to celebrate fresh fall flavors.

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35. Cake pop display

The average wedding cake costs between $300-$700, and for engaged couples on a tight budget, an expense like that can break the bank. Save hundreds of dollars on your fall wedding cake by only purchasing the top tier. Create a cake pop display topped with a small round cake just for the couple. Instead of a traditional cake topper, use cake pops or cake pieces to tie the display together. Treat guests to tasty cake bites that are easy to eat on the move.

You're ready to execute fashionable fall wedding ideas on a budget!

Up next, we explore even more ideas for intimate and affordable modern weddings. From elopements and miniature fairy-tale wedding packages to small-scale wedding venues and dining ideas, we review 33 micro wedding ideas for engaged couples with close circles of friends and family.

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Wedding Spot

Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.