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Reflections on my Budget-Savvy Wedding

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abby murrish

 It was a day that sung to us.  May 25.  We’ll remember it forever.

Like I’ve said before, being budget-savvy when it came to our wedding was a means to an end for Mike and me.  It was a tool that helped us focus our wedding on what is important to us: our faith, our marriage covenant, and our community.  Being budget-savvy doesn’t mean you sacrifice what really matters; it only enhances that focus as these pictures will show.


We started the day at my MOH’s home where the bridesmaids, moms and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and got ready.  A family friend who’s in cosmetology school came down to their home along with two of her friends to do our hair.  Also, while we were getting ready, the florist dropped off our bouquets!


Mike and his men were at the chapel, putting on their suits and getting ready for photos!


Slipping into my dress with my mom, mother-in-law, bridesmaids and my MOH’s mom and sister.  I also did a “first-look” with my dad, which was wonderful!


Mike’s mom put on his boutonniere, offering a sweet opportunity to pause as a family.


The first-look!


Our wedding party are a special bunch!  We had a Maid-of-Honor (my childhood friend), a Best Man (Mike’s college roommate), a Brother of Honor (my brother) and a Best Sister (Mike’s sister).  It was intimate and special, and we had a blast together.


People that made the wedding possible: our families, our pastor and his wife, childhood and college friends, our photographer, and our wedding coordinator and family friend, Catherine.  I am SO sad I didn’t get a photo with Catherine.  She did an impeccable job of putting our plan into action.


Chapel details!  All the flowers came from Blooms by the Box, and my aunt made the wreath.


Now onto the ceremony!


Our friends read from the Bible, everyone sang and we exchanged vows.


And just like that, we were married!


It was time to celebrate with food and friends!  Apart from getting married, our guests were the best part of the day 🙂


Mike’s favorite toys growing up were Legos, so they made an appearance at the reception.

indiana wedding

There were backflips (by a college friend, not us 🙂 ), lots of dancing (including an impromptu sibling dance to “Cups”),  a train to “Fine by Me” and roommates and family hoisting us in the air.  A college buddy did a brilliant job emceeing, and a family friend did music from an iPod.


Eventually, we said our goodbyes and left through a cheering tunnel formed by our friends.


And that, dear readers, was our wedding.


Mike + Abby

May 25, 2014

Franklin, Indiana  |  Franklin College

What was your wedding budget?

Our original budget as $10,000, but upped it to $12,000 about mid-way through.  We spent approximately $11,400.  However, we received a discount on the venue (chapel and reception hall) because my dad is an employee.  Our wedding coordinator gifted us her services (we still thanked her with a  monetary gift).  I received $250 from Blooms by the Box in exchange for a product review.  If you take all of that into account, the wedding cost would have been just more than $13,000.


Gifts for family and friends helping with the wedding are not accounted for in the above.  I bought those throughout the year and I estimate we spent $600.  I didn’t feel compelled to include those in the above budget because those were for specific people, and did not contribute to the wedding as a whole.  This was also an area where we intentionally decided not to be budget-savvy, so we made adjustments in our personal monthly budgets (versus using set-aside wedding money) to pay for the gifts.

How many guests did you have?


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of the wedding was our ceremony.  Mike and I carefully planned what portions of the Bible to read, what hymns to sing, what music to play and how we wanted everything to progress.  We used traditional vows and lit a unity candle, an image of what our faith teaches us about marriage.  Our pastor from our years at Purdue University tied it all together beautifully.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

 I ignored the notion that our wedding day had to be “perfect.”  When you put that expectation on yourself, you believe you have to have it all.  Perfect hair, a three-course meal, a stunning cake, air-brushed make-up, the most expensive photographer, a dress that will take everyone’s breath away, etc…  But the fact is, your wedding is just like life—you don’t need to have it all.  You need to have all that matters.

In the same vein, figure out what matters to you, and where and how you’re willing to compromise if needed.  For example, I really wanted real flowers, and lots of them if possible.  I also had a dream bouquet.  Having a florist do all of our flowers wouldn’t have worked.  But, having a florist do the bouquets and a few corsages and boutonnieres for family and attendants did work.  We ordered the rest of the corsages and boutonnieres from Sam’s Club, and decorated with wholesale flowers from Blooms by the Box.  From our flowers to our invitations to our venue, I forgot the “perfect,” sought out what mattered to Mike and me, then compromised happily when needed.  And Mike and I agree we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

 Cultivate thankfulness and don’t compare.  Teddy Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy.  And nothing could be more true!  Too often, I found myself focusing on what I couldn’t have and the size of my budget, especially when perusing Pinterest or talking with friends.  I would be sad and frustrated.  Ann Voskamp offers good life advice that speaks to this issue: “…life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.”  When I started to consider all of the wedding details I could be thankful for and stopped thinking about my budget, joy over our wedding grew and grew.  And by the time the wedding day came, it was nothing but delight!

What was your biggest splurge?

It wasn’t the biggest line item on the list, but I am SO glad we flew our pastor and his wife up from Texas for the wedding.  They walked with Mike and me through the formative season of college, and the words he spoke to us during our ceremony will be with us the rest of our lives.

What was your favorite detail?

My favorite feature was our centerpieces because of the love and teamwork that made them happen.  Mike and I thrifted frames and vases from Goodwill and my mom spray-painted the frames gold.  Mike’s mom sewed the gray table squares.  A friend and I bundled books from my and my family’s book collections.  Other friends, my mom and I made the paper roses.  My aunt, MOH, mom and I arranged Blooms by the Box flowers.  My MOH’s sister saved the day and hand wrote the table numbers.  The crowning glory of the centerpieces was the stunning quotes on marriage and love that a dear childhood friend lettered by hand as a wedding gift.  Then, friends took the lead and perfectly styled the tables the day before the wedding.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Kissing at the end of the ceremony, then turning to face our family and friends who were clapping, cheering and smiling.  We felt so loved, and so blessed to have our community share in our joy!


Photographer: Raindancer Studios | Venue and catering: Franklin College | Flowers: J.P. Parker, Blooms by the Box & Sam’s Club | Make-up: Allison Davis-Mary Kay | Dress: David’s Bridal | Suits: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: Etsy| Favors: DJ’s Test Kitchen |Sound Tech: Family friend | Videographer: Parent’s friend | Wedding Coordinator: Family friend | Invitations: Local printing and this BSB template (I simply had the invites printed and used cream envelopes. Our website and directions to RSVP via email were provided on the response card)

abby murrish

wrote about her wedding at The Budget-Savvy Bride in 2013 and 2014. She loves sharing info and advice with brides about how to create beautiful weddings that they love. Abby lives in the Midwest with her husband and dog.