Broke-Ass Author: Holly Miles

2/20

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Ah, invitations. So simple in theory, so complex in reality. They look like innocent paper beacons of joy, but they come with a lot of, well, baggage. This is my how the invitation process of my wedding has gone down so far:

The Save-the-Dates (aka. The pre-invitation): I get this. The vast majority of our family and friends are coming from out of town and will need to book vacation time off very far in advance. Our wedding is being held on a long weekend, so advance purchase of flights and hotel rooms will save them a lot of cash. Our venue was booked over a year in advance, so once we knew the general gist of when and where, why not let everyone know with as much notice as possible?

The one issue I noticed is that by the time the STD was sent, pretty much everyone already knew. Why? Because we were excited, so we told them! It seemed a little redundant. However, still a nice gesture in theory. Keeping that in mind, however, I got the impression that for a simple “heads up” about something most people knew about, I wasn’t about to spend a lot of money or kill a lot of trees, so we elected to send them electronically. We made a personalized e-card on Paperless Post, and it cost approximately $30 total. As a bonus, the card also prompted people for their mailing addresses, which made my life a lot easier with not having to email everyone and ask for their address. 10/10, would do again.

Invitations: As for the invitations, we’re about halfway through the process. We’ve explored a lot of different options. We decided to design ours online and have them printed and mailed to us. I pinned all the pretty invites I liked on Wedding Paper Divas and Minted. Then, I asked my partner to pick his favorites. Then, I had samples mailed to us (which cost about $1 each) for IRL inspection. As a bonus, the sample package came with a coupon, in the event we did order from the company. Score!

The choices were lovely, and we’ve also narrowed it down. But man, oh man, did they come with a lot of other stuff to think about: Matching reply cards. Matching postage-paid reply envelopes. An enclosed photo print of the couple. A second page with detailed information about how to get there. Envelope liners. Customized postage stamps, addressing, return addressing. Ribbons. Confetti. Glitter. I was a little disappointed, however, that they stopped short of selecting a flock of live birds to deliver each envelope directly into each guest, then serenading softly as the guest muses over menu choices.

We’re minimalists, mind you, and very untraditional, so we don’t need most of that stuff. For one, I’ve heard using paper reply cards can be a bit of a nightmare — they get lost, people don’t write their names on them so the couple doesn’t realize who the RSVP is for, people try to RSVP for people who aren’t actually invited, having to keep track of all of them, etc. etc. Thankfully, the wonders of technology offer the lovely opportunity of the wedding website where people can RSVP digitally and the RSVPs get organized into a simple list for the couple to view. So, I’ve decided that when my invitations finally get sent, this is what they will consist of:

  • An addressed, stamped envelope
  • A customized invitation, with a link at the bottom to a wedding website which will contain all further pertinent information.

How are you handling the excess of paper invitations? Share in the comments!

  • 2/6

    stickitI want to talk about body image. The pressure to look “perfect” in your dress on your big day. Bridal boot camps! Shredding for the wedding! Your 28-day pre-wedding detox diet! Finally drop those last 5/10/20 pounds for your big day! Blah blah blah.

    I’m going to get real with you for a sec. I have more than my fair share of body image issues. I struggled with disordered eating as a teen because I hated the way my body looked compared to the images I saw in magazines and on TV. Over the years I wasted time, money and endless mental energy on my pursuit of the socially acceptable thin body. By my mid-20s, I recognized it as the oppressive crap it really was and I began to reject it. Therapy helped. Yoga helped. Getting really angry at the system helped. Then, I began body-building several years ago as a means of re-evaluating my relationship with exercise, as I still really enjoyed the positive impact on my sleep and mental health. I began focusing on getting stronger, not skinnier, and I began to look at eating as a way of nourishing my body rather than constantly trying to trick it into burning fat for fuel. This was my recovery – for many others it can look different.

    However, when I got engaged, things changed.  I couldn’t help the nagging feeling that my dress would sit nicer on my hips and upper arms if I lost some fat there. I started upping the cardio and cutting the carbs. I started staring critically at myself in the mirror again. I got irritable and started snapping at my partner, sort of taking away from the romance of it all.  Then, I had a conversation that not only alerted me to what was happening to me (that I was beginning to relapse), but also, how much of a money-suck I was about to buy into.

    I’d been attending a bootcamp class for about a year. I really enjoyed the fast pace, it got my heart pounding, released anxiety and got me thisclose to being able to do an unassisted pull up. Then, one night, I accidentally drop the f-word while I was chatting with the instructor – “fiancé”. I’m pretty sure the moment he realized I was getting married, I transformed from a person into one of those brown sacks with a giant dollar sign on it that cartoon robbers steal from banks. He started pushing personal training on me, dropping comments about “getting ready for the big day.” In the moment, I briefly considered it – he was a really good guy, and I liked the idea. Then the comments got more personal – how much weight do you want to lose? First off, I felt massively stereotyped. Hey man, I thought, you assume that because I’m female and getting married I automatically hate my body and want to lose weight? Further, your plan is to exploit that in order to make bank? He insisted the only way I was going to see “drastic changes” in my body was to come at least twice a week, with the price tag of approximately $480 a month. Sorry, dude, I didn’t (and never said that I did) want to make any drastic changes to my body. I walked out feeling uncomfortable as hell, and by the time I got home, I was pissed.

    Ladies, the pressure to look perfect on your big day is real, prevalent and damn expensive. Being female in the first place is expensive, mind you; being a bride increases it 20-fold. Aside from the makeup, hair, dress, jewelry, shoes, you’ve got to have to have “the body” too.  Not to mention the boot camp-style classes that will allegedly give you the perfect body also result in super calloused hands and feet, plus shin bruises from box-jumps and dead-lifts gone awry. Add the cost of manicures, pedicures, and spray-on body concealer. Remember, you want to look fit, but you don’t want to in any way advertise you actually worked hard to get there!

    Needless to say, it’s a losing game. If you are trying to plan this “perfect event,” managing a million expectations and budgeting while at the same time are spending hours in the gym and being hangry, well, that sounds like a terrible recipe for disaster. I’m not doing it. I will keep exercising because I love how it makes me feel, but I might be going someplace else.

    Don’t buy into the BS, ladies. Be whoever you want to be on your wedding day.

  • 1/23

    Hi BABs, I’ve noticed that there are a few common questions people ask you when you tell them that you are engaged. They consist of “ohmygosh! Let me see the ring!” “How did he propose?” "Do you have your dress yet?” “When’s the big day?” and finally, “where are you going to go for your honeymoon?” As much as I love talking about myself, and…

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    1/9

    13768276_1718255775095750_1633439738_n(1)

    As I mentioned in my first post, I've planned to make my own wedding cake. I realize this is not an easy undertaking, and have been warned by multiple friends that this could add additional stress to my wedding day. DIYing is awesome, but making a cake is something you have to do basically the day before and can end in multiple disasters. However, I…

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    12/19

    diy real wedding

    Credit: Juniper Photography I’m sure many people have ideas about how they want their weddings to be even before they start planning them. Maybe they know for sure they want to get married on the beach, or they’ve always known they would wear a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. I had ideas like that too -- my matrimonial must-haves, if you will.…

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  • 12/5

    beer

    Well, BABs, we thought we had it all figured out. We found a venue that was cheap, and beautiful, and agreed to allow us to supply our own alcohol without adding corkage. We were pretty happy. The venue had just contracted a local Italian restaurant to provide catering. We contacted the manager to set up a time to meet, and she was lovely. We told…

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    11/21

    Shaina Sheaff Photography

    Credit: Shaina Sheaff Hello lovelies, I’ll be honest, I haven’t been thinking about wedding stuff much this week. I’ve been very hard at work and probably wont be slowing down until about April. I’m okay with that, though -- almost all of the major vendors have been nailed down. We have a venue, caterer, DJ and photographer, and I’ve got my dress. The only two things…

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    11/9

    03_Christen-Leigh-Getting-Ready-139

    Credit: Persimmon Images Hello BABs! This week I would like to talk about my experience dress shopping. I like to think that I experienced my first investigation into the world of wedding dress shopping kind of like the five stages of grief: Denial: “I’m sure that I can find a pretty wedding dress that will make me feel like a beautiful princess for not that…

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  • 10/25

    IMG_8169

    I want to talk a little about our broke-ass approach to our engagement. Ever since I saw the movie "Blood Diamond" in 2006, I decided that I wanted an engagement ring with an ethically sourced stone. Mind you, i was 19 and single at the time, so my thought process pretty much stopped there. Flash forward nine years, Evan and I had been living together for…

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