Broke-Ass Author: Shannon McConathy

2/17

Finding the love of your life and taking that next big step towards forever is a blissful time of your life, but what happens when someone you love has life experiences that are giving them a broken heart?

caring for friends

Whether it’s the ending of a relationship, loss of a loved one, money, job or health troubles, certain struggles can zap the celebration spirit right out of a person, even if they love you dearly and share your joy. It’s ok to feel disappointment and to go on with your excitement, but taking the time to specially care for your loved one in their time of need can make the situation better for everyone involved.

Remember their pain is not your fault.

You didn’t cause the pain your friend is feeling, and even though it can feel unfair to go one with your happiness while someone you love is hurting, it’s really not. They almost certainly don’t feel it is, either. Being sensitive to their needs can help dissolve any potential bitterness and may even give you a needed break from all of the weddingland craziness.

Let them set the pace.

Everyone reacts to tragedy differently, so don’t be shy about asking how involved they want to be and make sure they know they can change their minds. Assuming someone doesn’t want to be involved in fun trips like outfit shopping (or, in my case, anything followed by the word “tasting“) can hurt more than it helps. Extend the invitation, but be gracious if the answer is no.

Set aside time just for them.

This is just a good practice in general, but loved ones going through a rough patch or all-out heartbreak really deserve the extra attention. Help out by taking care of a need — whether a daunting chore or a fun night out — and focus your energy on them, rather than wedding plans.

Show up for the big things.

The mean curveballs life can throw often come with life-altering events that are an excellent opportunity to show your support: medical treatments, funerals, an unexpected move … stopping your day to be there may sound like a given, but it goes a long way to someone in need of that support.

Honor their requests for discretion.

When you’re going through a time of personal trouble, one of the hardest things can be to keep positive while well-meaning outsiders ask questions. If your brother is going through a divorce or your best friend lost her job, they may not want to share the details with the people they meet through parties and get-togethers that sometimes accompany an engagement. Unless they ask you to pass on their regrets to others, keep the bad news within their circle and allow them to put on a happy face if that’s what works best for them.

Be mindful of money troubles and help where you can.

This is especially true for people in the wedding party. It’s no secret that being a part of the wedding can rack up some serious dollar signs, so whether their expendable cash is simply lacking or their money troubles are rooted in outside trouble, look for ways to keep costs down. Besides, choosing budget friendly options for wedding attire and party destinations never hurts!

Be prepared to let them off the hook.

It’s never easy to back out of a commitment, so if it gets to that point, understand they’re likely as disappointed as you are. Give them time to heal and look for other fun ways to bond and celebrate the special relationship you have. Being flexible lets them know how important they are to you and spending time together is a good reminder for you that even though times might be difficult for them, they still care about you and your happiness.

Have you run into a sticky situation while planning your wedding? Need some advice on how to handle it? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 2/3

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    Decorating your wedding is a big job on its own, but reader Kacey came to us looking for some Broke-Ass advice on how to make 60 rustic camp cabins feel a little more like home for her wedding guests. She writes:

    Dear BAB,

    I want to say we’re soul sisters but don’t want to come off too strong. Budgeting is my life and crafting is my happy place. I am getting married next fall and even for a crafter at heart, I’m running into a little dilemma.

    My fiancé rented a beautiful camp for our wedding weekend. The camp comes at a hefty price but it includes cabins, camp essentials and food for the weekend. The camp suggested we charge 1/2 the price of what a hotel would charge for the whole weekend — $120 per person. This would include all their food, drinks and stay Friday-Sunday. We would cover the rest of the costs. My family tells us they think that is a really good deal, but forever being on a budget, I just want to make sure our guests are getting their money’s worth. With that being said …

    Sleeping arrangements are the big issue. Not only do we need to decorate our function hall, we need to figure out a way to decorate 60 CABINS.

    [I] Feel like we need to do something. I think some people might pass out walking into a bare bones cabin in the woods with no electricity. Decorating 60 cabins on a budget is a whole other ballgame than just decorating a function hall. How do I make these cute little cabins not a nature nightmare for our guests ?

    Thanks so much, the over thinker bride.
    Kacey

    16492383_683085615848_1622496110_o

    Hi Kacey,

    We’re totally down with the “soul sister” title; commitment is kind of our thing! It sounds like you’ve got a daunting task ahead of you, so the first step is to set a budget. As you well know, multiplying even small numbers by 60 quickly gets into the hundreds of dollars, so make sure you’re realistic with a number that makes you comfortable.

    Once you’ve established a spending amount, focus on ideas that make a cold cabin feel like home. Things like light sources or personal messages add comfort and familiarity to an otherwise rustic. Search online for free printable templates or print your personal photos and pop them in dollar store frames. Stock up on inexpensive LED tealights or string lights so the space doesn’t feel so dark once the sun goes down. When it comes to candles, think about inexpensive display options like paper lanterns or candle plates that allow you to place multiple sizes or styles in one place. Keeping things simple and looking for those dollar-or-less items makes it perfectly reasonable to work within a budget of just a few dollars per cabin.

    If you want to add a splash of color for pennies per cabin, look for paper DIYs. Tissue paper garland, origami or crepe paper flowers and colorful rosettes give a festive pop to the wooden walls. The handmade elements not only provide that punch, but give your guest cabins a loving touch.

    Hit up thrift stores for vessels and vases, and don’t be afraid to use items for things outside of their original purpose. Vintage glassware sets can be picked up for a fraction of the cost of retail vases and still look super cute holding a few paper posies. While you’re there, check out stuff like old curtains, table cloths or duvet covers. Spending a few dollars gives you yards of fabric to repurpose into throws, fabric bunting or other decorative touches to make your guests feel at home.

    Remember that you don’t have to have a set plan. Wandering aisles and websites for great deals can provide you with inspiration for ideas you didn’t realize you had! Keep in mind the amount per cabin you’d like to spend, be realistic about the time you want to spend crafting, and know it’s more than fine to want to go that extra step for the people who are there to celebrate with you.

    Have you had any big decor issues that have reared their ugly heads? What’s your plan of attack?

  • 1/20

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    12/9

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    11/11

    calligraphy envelope and Epson LabelWorks printed ribbon

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  • 10/28

    dinosaur centerpieces

    Weddings -- planning them, paying for them, putting them on -- are kind of an ordeal. Even the simplest of soirees can have a lot of moving parts and when those parts get to rolling, the unsolicited advice starts coming in. Seriously: death, taxes, unsolicited wedding advice. Plenty of people out there have already explained that it's important not to take these opinions (or thinly veiled…

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    9/20

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    It's kind of a no-brainer when it comes to saving money -- full open bars are a huge money sink. Not only are they expensive, but if you're DIYing the B-A-R, you have the impossible task of reading people's mind to figure out just how much gin, tequila and bourbon you need to have ready to serve up. In general, the fewer choices you have,…

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    8/23

    agate geode DIY display

    If you're anything like me, you've been mad crushing on all the gorgeous agate and geode details popping up in wedding and home decor lately. With a little investigation, you probably found that lots of these pieces aim to break your budget super-fast, so that's why I'm hear to share the fruit of my trial-and-error labors. A word of warning: this project calls for Mod…

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  • 7/26

    DSC_0984

    Ah, the craft store ... for the DIY couple, it can start to feel like a second home. There are paints and paper, ribbons and trim and if you really start looking, you may start to realize that a lot of this stuff is really expensive. When it comes down to it, craft stores and the supplies therein are usually marketed towards women. If you're…

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