Affiliate Disclaimer NewHoly cow, you guys, it’s already Thanksgiving! The holidays are upon us. But before I run off to be thankful, let’s see if I can help out our dear reader, Hannah, who is on the hunt for a gown for her December wedding. She writes:

Please! I need your help in the worst way!! I have fallen head-over-heels for the “Londyn” dress by Hayley Paige but it is almost 5x my allocated attire budget! I am trying to stay under $700 for the gown of my dreams. My wedding will be in December and therefore is holiday themed but I want it to be air-y, light, modern and sleek- but still glam and romantic! All for $5000! I would forever be grateful if you could help! Thank you!”

A holiday-themed wedding for $5000; I love it! The “Londyn” gown is definitely airy, modern, and romantic. It features a strapless neckline, natural waist and full tulle skirt with horsehair flounces, which give the skirt shape and lightness. It is a pretty dress, and the flowing skirt does remind me a bit of freshly fallen snow, perfect for a December fête!

For “Londyn” lookalikes, I’ve selected gowns that feature a tulle, organza, or taffeta skirt with similar flounce-y shape. Some are ballgowns, like the Hayley Paige dress, while some are a bit less voluminous, or have other statement-making skirt silhouettes. Let’s check them out!

Can't Afford ItHayley Paige LondynHayley Paige “Londyn” Gown, $2,500-3,000

Get Over ItVenus bridal tulle handkerchief skirt AT6596Venus Angel & Tradition Wedding Dresses (Style: AT6596), $538 at BestBridalPrices

After Six Wedding Dress 1044 tulle tiered skirtAfter Six Wedding Dress (Style: 1044), $450 at The Dessy Group

Organza and Lace Wedding Dress with Draped Skirt at Davids BridalOrganza and Lace Wedding Dress with Draped Skirt (Style: NTL9479), $399.99 at David’s Bridal

Cascada Gown from BHLDN“Cascada” Gown By Catherine Deane (Style: 35153295), $600 at BHLDN

taffeta and organza wedding dresses by camille la vieTaffeta and Organza Wedding Dress by Lana Bisset from Camille La Vie (Style: 7254W), $550 at eDressMe

Eden Gold Label Wedding Dresses - Style 5111Eden Gold Label Wedding Dresses (Style: 5111), $484 at BestBridalPrices

Badgley Mischka Collection Iridescent Strapless Ruffle GownBadgley Mischka Collection Iridescent Strapless Ruffle Gown (Style: BADGA30009), $695 at Shopbop

Tulle Ballgown by beaubouquetTulle Wedding Dress by BeauBouquet, $698 via Etsy

Strapless organza ballgown with ruffles at Davids BridalStrapless Organza Ball Gown with Ruffle Detail (Sample Gown) (Style: AI10011984), $448.48 at David’s Bridal

Badgley Mischka Tulle GownBadgley Mischka Tulle Gown (Style: 8405397), $344.99 at 6PM.com

Bonny Love Wedding Dresses - Style 6307Bonny Love Wedding Dresses (Style: 6307), $673 at BestBridalPrices

After Six Wedding Dress 1038After Six Wedding Dress (Style: 1038), $395 at The Dessy Group

Strapless Organza Wedding Dress with Ruffles at Davids BridalStrapless Organza Wedding Dress with Ruffles (Style: MK3667), $549.99 at David’s Bridal

Terani Couture Beaded Top & Organza Two-Piece BallgownTerani Couture Beaded Top & Organza Two-Piece Ballgown (Style: 1030005), $415 at Nordstrom

Pallas Athena Wedding Dresses - Style PA9208Pallas Athena Wedding Dresses (Style: PA9208), $586 at BestBridalPrices

Alena gown at Ruche“Alena” Gown By Sue Wong (Style: R4-2), $299.50 at Ruche

Sweetheart Organza Gown with Pick Up Skirt at Davids BridalSweetheart Organza Gown with Pick Up Skirt (Sample Gown) (Style: AI16040255), $298.98 at David’s Bridal

Tulle Ballgown Horsehair Ballgown by BridalBlissbyJ on EtsyTulle Horsehair Ballgown by BridalBlissByJ (comes in white), $199.95 via Etsy

Gah! That last dress is like Londyn’s little sister. And you cannot beat that price! Also, the David’s Bridal organza gown just above that, while not exactly like the “Londyn,” screams snow drifts to me. I could totally see that one at a December wedding. What do you think, Hannah? Do you see a gown you love as much (or more than!) the Hayley Paige number? Let us know in the comments. As a side note, keep an eye out for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday sales this time of year. It’s the perfect time to wedding shop on a Broke-Ass budget!

Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

  • 11/25

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewDIY or DIE: Easy Ink-Stained Wine Glasses

    Last time, I shared some of the DIY Details of my elegant, jewel-toned wedding, so now I’m back to give you the low down on how you can make some of those projects work for you. One of the easiest (promise!) and most fun projects I tackled was turning plain, inexpensive wine glasses into gorgeous, favor-worthy works of art with alcohol ink.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Multiple colored finished glasses

    Actually, I used this simple technique on a lot of cheap glass to add pops of color all around the venue. Whether it’s a vase, plate or candle holder, any solid non-porous surface (glass, plastic, ceramic or metal) will do. (Did you see the Instagram Hyperlapse video from when I was very first doing this for my votive holders?)

    All you need to get yourself going is some ink in your color scheme, a stamping tool with felt squares, and a glass of your choosing. Michael’s sells these inks in pre-matched sets of three, or you can buy individual colors from the manufacturer’s website. Three seems to be the magic number when trying to achieve a blended, multi-dimensional look. Too few and the colors blend together where you don’t see distinct colors. Too many and you start seeing colors you never wanted in there. The more variation in the shades you use, the more dimension in the finished product. For demonstration purposes, I’m using the “Farmer’s Market” package with Cranberry, Eggplant and Lettuce ink.

    Optional step one: find a workspace your cat won’t claim as a bathhouse.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Supplies

    First, press a felt square onto your applicator tool.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applicator and felt

    I like to leave a small edge hanging. It helps getting into tricky areas like where the stem meets the base.

    Apply ink to the felt.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color one

    I like to start with the lightest color first, as it’s the one most likely to be overpowered by other colors. In this case, I squirted the green “Lettuce” shade in a haphazard design. There’s really no wrong way to do it, but swirls, rather than straight lines, tend to give you the best mixing of colors. Just a drop will soak into a large area. You want your felt to be well-saturated, but not dripping with ink.

    Add your second color.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color two

    Fill in any gaps with the third.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color three

    When working with stemmed glasses, the hardest part is where the stem meets the globe and the base. I like to start with those, using that overlapping edge to get into the joints. Simply press the felt to the glass and give it a rolling motion along the curve.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applying ink

    You’ll immediately be able to see the color distribution. If you’re looking for more of one color, go ahead and add a few more drops and try again. The color already on the glass will blend once it comes into contact with wet ink.

    From there, keep using the rolling motion to cover the portion of the glass you want colored. Every time you press the felt, the colors will blend a little more on the pad. If you see distinct patches of darker colors you don’t want (the Indigo shade is the worst about this), keep pressing to blend or try adding more of one of the more subtle colors to the felt.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applying more ink

    I like the ink to taper off toward the mouth of the glass. To get the faded effect, tap (don’t roll this time!) the applicator lightly all the way around the glass at the edge of the existing ink. It will leave a clear demarcation at first, but we’ll fix that in just a minute.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Fading ink

    To blend the pattern, keep tapping the applicator into the existing ink. Introducing new, wet ink will further blend what’s already there. Keep tapping until you’re satisfied with the coverage.

    Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Finishing touches

    The ink dries almost instantly and is water resistant, but will rub off with a little scrubbing. Using a food-safe sealant will keep those pretty colors in place!

    Some tips and tricks to keep in mind before you start:

    Complementary colors will blend into brown if over-mixed (like the red and green above). If you want to avoid earthy tones, stay away from combinations of purples and yellows, greens and reds, and blues and oranges and stick with red-purple-blue, like this combination of Currant (a deep purple-red), Eggplant and Indigo or other analogous colors.

    Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Eggplant, Indigo and Currant

    Be stingy with blue. This glass used Indigo, Slate and Eggplant, but the blue overpowered the gray and purple.

    Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Indigo, Egglplant and Slate

    There’s no need to change your felt between pieces if you’re not changing colors. Just like on the glass, adding more ink reactivates what’s already there.

    The more ink you have on your applicator, the more smooth the blending will be, but the more defined each stamp will look. This glass was painted in Cranberry, Currant and Eggplant and you can see the large, rectangular applications of ink.

    Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Cranberry, Currant and Eggplant

    Likewise, the drier you let the felt get, the more spotty the application becomes. If you’re looking for a more “bubbly” texture, let the felt sit for about two minutes after you’ve dampened it with ink. This glass has well-defined dots of Indigo, Eggplant and Cranberry.

    Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Indigo, Eggplant, Cranberry

    If you’re nervous, practice on plastic! Grab a sleeve of disposable plastic tumblers and have at it! You’ll quickly learn what colors work best and what techniques give you the look you’re going for.

    Don’t try to make them all look the same. It’s virtually impossible in the first place, and the true one of a kind nature of these hand painted beauties makes them special!

    Above all, have fun. Whether you’re planning to use these pieces in your wedding decor or maybe just looking for an awesome DIY holiday gift, let your creativity guide you as you create something unique and gorgeous!

  • 11/24


    Hey guys! I am writing this to you today as a married lady! Yay! Here's proof that we really did tie the knot in front of God and everything! Married life thus far is pretty awesome. Matt and I just got back from our “mini-moon” at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass. If you ever have a reason to be in that area, it’s pretty great…

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    Wouldn't wedding planning just be a breeze if you could create a wishlist, share it on one platform and get matched with pros and rentals that fit into your ideal budget? Even better if you earned points toward dollars off said rentals and purchases? Well, you know that if I brought it up, it's because it's a REAL THING YOU CAN DO. No, for serious.…

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    Etsy Alligator Food Design Let's Elope Print

    Wedding planning and preparation can be stressful. It has it's ups and downs, twists and turns. There's drama with friends, family and vendors. Decisions upon decisions. Money. Money. More money. It can be a lot for a person or a couple to handle. Throughout my planning process, I've certainly experienced some stress!  There's been changes with my venue, my coordinator and disagreements with good friends. As I'm…

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  • 11/20

    The Broke-Ass Bride's 2015 Gift Guide For the Libation Lover

    Hey Broke-Asses! It's that time of year again, where instead of Five for Friday, we'll be compiling some seriously rad gift guides for y'all. From the fun to the funny, the quirky to the practical and all of the budget ideas in between, I've scoured the Interwebz to find those perfect gifts for someone -- or everyone! -- on your list. We all have that one…

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    Etsy TheWildlands Chicago Art Print

    Chicago Skyline Print from Etsy seller TheWildlands Ahhhhh, the Windy City. It's definitely one of the most romantic cities on the continent. All the aphrodesiac-inducing shopping, the sparkling lights, the snuggle-worthy breezes — it's no wonder couples choose this location for their honeymoon. Plus, there's tons to do, from museums and gallery shows to view, live performances, to cuddly strolls through the town. No matter…

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    Julie Vino Emma Gown

    BABs, I hope you're sitting down, because today's Can't Afford It? gown is CrazySexyCool. Actually, scratch that -- I'm upgrading it to ClassySexyCool. It's one of those rare gowns that balances a sultry silhouette (almost mermaid fit-and-flare) with high class details (Chantilly lace and pearls) and modern flair (separate bodice and skirt fabrics). The off-shoulder sleeves and deep-V sweetheart neckline polish off a truly unique design. Think I…

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  • 11/19

    crepe rose 2

    I'm a lover of flowers, but there's one thing I don't love -- the price tag associated with floral arrangements. When I started venturing into the world of wedding planning, one of the first things that jumped out at me was the exorbitant cost associated with buying flowers for a wedding -- centerpieces, bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony decor ... you get…

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