We have the loveliest fall wedding today! Taylor and Ross pulled off this gorgeous wedding for about $4000! When they started planning their wedding, they planned to have a tradition ceremony and reception at a local barn wedding venue. However, once they tallied their costs, they opted to go a different route that involved creativity and thinking-outside-the-box . And the results are beautiful AND budget-savvy! Enjoy this Indiana wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Taylor + Ross
October 15th, 2016
Franklin IN | Hopewell Presbyterian Church
What was your budget?
Dress: $500 for the dress, $280 for alterations
Catering: $400 including plates/forks/cups/cutlery. We provided cheese and crackers, grapes and veggie trays.
Cake: We made pies from scratch for our guests, so I’m guessing we spent about $125 on fresh blueberries, apples, flour and sugar.
Calligraphy: none (other than my incredibly talented mother!)
Flowers: $50 for the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets (Trader Joes) and $100 for flowers for decoration
Decor: We really collected most of our décor from friends and family. Our living room was completely covered up until the week of the wedding! I can’t put a number with the décor as almost none of it was purchased. We did buy a few things that I have in our budget spreadsheet and that amounted to about $150.
Groom’s attire: Sophia’s Bridal offered a free suit for the groom if 4 or more groomsmen rented suits through their shop, so Ross’s suit was free! (I’m not sure that this is still their policy)
Music: $600 for Autumn’s Dawn to play during the ceremony and the majority of the reception.
Rentals: We rented some high-top tables for the reception for $52. Most of the tables and chairs were provided to us by the church, which was very gracious!
We purchased Artcraft Theater tickets (a Franklin, IN favorite treat) for all of our volunteers. They were $5 per ticket and we had quite a few people helping!
We paid our pastor $200 for their services (which included a gift for their premarital counseling services)
We also purchased coffee from a local coffee shop for $65 and bought some syrups and cream for that station at the reception.
Finally, our photographer was a family friend and she gifted a generous portion of her normal fee.
How many guests did you have?
We invited 269, but there were some that didn’t show up on the actual day and some that RSVP’d late, so I’m not 100% sure on the final headcount, and since we didn’t have a meal, we didn’t have a good way of tracking!
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We really wanted our ceremony to be the main event and the thing everyone remembered about our wedding. In the end, it was everything we dreamed of! We had three influential people from our lives pray for us at various points during the ceremony, which was special to us.
Instead of a unity candle, sand ceremony or knot-tying ceremony, we planted a tree together. Ross comes from a farming background and agriculture played a large role in our relationship leading up to the wedding. We planted the tree at the family farm Ross grew up on so that was really special.
I’m a Jane Austen enthusiast and somewhat of a hopeless romantic, so for my bridal procession I had our live musicians play a song from the movie “Emma”. It was an unconventional choice but so perfect for us.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
Hmm.. EVERYTHING! Really, we pieced together so many things for our wedding décor. My mom, aunts and I handmade the groom and groomsmen boutonnieres, which allowed me to add some personal touches that Ross really liked. We were blessed by the help of a dear, dear friend, Suzanne, who literally spent weeks with my mom while I was at work testing out table decorations, going through timelines and countless other tasks. She was such a vital part of this process and made it possible for my mom to take some time to enjoy moments rather than worry about executing the day. Suzanne passed away in the spring of 2017 but she will always be a treasured memory from our wedding day.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
I purchased my wedding dress off the rack. My original plan was to spend $500 total on my wedding dress, including alterations. I went to Sophia’s thinking I wouldn’t find anything in my price range, but I found my dress during one of their annual sales, and though it was a little over budget, it was perfect. If I had ordered a dress it would have been more expensive.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Think outside the box. We started our wedding planning process by putting a payment down for a barn wedding and reception with a full dinner. As we started adding up the expenses we realized it was going to be way outside what we wanted to spend on our wedding day. We started driving around looking at historic churches and thinking about other ways to have the special day we wanted. We had our reception in the parking lot of the church, which sounds odd, but it was actually really nice and ended up being exactly what we wanted! We saved SO much money by just thinking outside of the norm.
I would also suggest hiring a wedding planner or designating a very trusted friend to play the role of a “day of coordinator”. It takes so much stress out of the day to know that someone is watching the clock and keeping everything on track. My mom is a wedding planner by trade, so we were able to get by without hiring someone, but she had a few very trusted people take the actual execution of the day off her plate at certain points so she could soak up the memories.
What was your biggest splurge?
Definitely our musicians! We didn’t want to spend the money to have live music during the reception, but Autumn’s Dawn plays bluegrass which is a genre Ross and I love, so it was well worth it and added a really great aspect to our reception. It was also really great to have live musicians during the ceremony as they were flexible with small timing changes during the actual service.
What was your favorite detail?
I loved that our ceremony was in an incredibly historic and beautiful church sanctuary. It added history to our new life together by simply being in that historic place. Our pastor was INCREDIBLE and his wedding ceremony was the best I have witnessed to date. His words meant so much to us. I also loved the area that we had the pie that we cut together. The décor around that area was just how I hoped it would look and we had a beautiful hand-lettered sign that said “I love you a whole heapin heck of a bunch”, which is something we say to each other often.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
There were so many memorable moments! But, standing outside the church doors with my dad before we walked down the aisle really stands out to me. There was so much anticipation and excitement! Ross also said “I do” at the very beginning of the service lonngggg before our pastor got to the point where that is typically stated, and we got quite a few chuckles from our guests! I can’t even begin to talk about our vows, which were handwritten but based on the outline of the simple old fashioned vows, because I would run out of space!
Photography: Day La Paz Photography • Venue: Hopewell Presbyterian Church (they don’t advertise for or solicit weddings and they only accept a few per year as they are a small country church) • Flowers: Trader Joes • Wedding Planner: Catherine Whittier Wedding and Event Coordination • Stationery: Vistaprint for the wedding invitations and a local print shop for a very simple program we designed on our own. • Linens: Linen Tablecloth • Ceremony Musicians and Band: Autumn’s Dawn • Makeup Artist + Hair Stylist: Janel Stumpp (a friend that is a cosmetologist) • Bridesmaids Dresses: Macy’s (we found them on their online sale page!) • Bridal Shop + Groomsmen Attire: Sophia’s Bridal, Prom and Tux • Shoes: Modcloth
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.