Posts in the 'Broke-Ass Brilliance' Category
#RuinAWeddingIn5Words is pretty much the greatest hashtag since #duh.
Guys, the Game of Thrones author made my life with this.
Tidewater and Tulle has been killing it with the DIYs lately, and these little Queen of Hearts favors are no exception.
Are you an introvert? Budget Savvy Bride has some great tips on weddings for wallflowers.
If supermarket flowers are kinda your only option due to your budget, then Kiss My Tulle is going to show you how to do them all purdy-like for your wedding bouquet.
Thinking of a tropical honeymoon? Elizabeth Anne Designs is offering up the chance to win a honeymoon in Martinique. I’ve been, it’s stunning.
One of the first rules of wedding planning is figuring out how many people you’re going to invite. United With Love has some guidelines to get you started on building your guest list.
You had me at sparkling: I will be making this violet ombre cocktail from Classic Bride.
I’m dying over this entire country wedding on Love My Dress, but it’s the dress that cost about $30 that seals the deal. Or, really, ALL of the fashunz.
Photography Copyright (c) 2015, Assassynation via I Love My Dress
Finally, did you see that we’re looking for a few good peeps? We need help with our Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! column and we’d love to have a few of you darlings share your wedding planning adventures!
It’s wedding planning season, and the team at The Broke-Ass Bride has been inundated with Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! requests, and it’s high time we brought on a second fashion-savvy contributor with an eye for detail and spend-thriftiness to help our girl Elaine divvy out the broke-ass friendly versions of fabulous designer gowns.
Does that sound like something you’d be super good at doing? Awesome! Here are the things we need from you:
- Be willing to commit to posting 2x a month. This is every other week, darling, and the deadline is real.
- Have a Pinterest board showing your budget-savvy, fashion-focused prowess
- Know how to string a few words together
- Be super stoked about helping brides find a good broke-ass friendly dress of their dreams, and a general love of weddings
- Understand that we’re a baby biz, and for right now we can only compensate in high-fives, possible freebies, discounts and the potential for moving into a paid position, as well as stellar recommendations and a chance to enhance your writing/blogging skillz
Sound like something you’d dig? Email Christen at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short cover letter introducing yourself and link to your relevant Pinterest board showing your ability to help a bride who #CantAffordItGetOverIt! Accepting applications until 2/15.
Have you figured out what you’re doing for your registry? More and more couples are going the cash registry route for their wedding wishlist – whether they’re saving up for a house down payment, are whittling away at starting their marriage debt-free or are looking to go on an adventure of a lifetime with their honeymoon.
And, y’all, there are a TON of cash registry options out there. But Tendr blows ‘em all out of the water, just on looks alone.
Tendr provides the most aesthetically pleasing interface that actually feels like a gift-giving/receiving experience, rather than just the shuffling of cash over the Internetz. Tendr is set up to be elegant and streamlined, but still incredibly personalized and wildly in touch with modern technology.
You as the couple registering, get to set up your own unique page welcoming your guests and giving your friends and family the lowdown on how you plan on using their gifts and all the monies are slid right into your personal bank account for safe-keeping. Simple, right? You have no idea.
Your guests give you a monetary gift in three easy steps:
1. Personalize a card from Tendr’s collection.
2. Fill-a with skrilla.
3. Hit send!
Oh, and you can hit ‘em right back with an instant, free thank-you card to let your guests know you got their gift and are super grateful. The rates to use are comparable to other cash sites (5% paid from the couple’s gifts, not on top of the gift paid by the guest), but the personalized cards and pretty interface are really what makes Tendr stand out from the rest of the pack.
My friend Shannon is planning a super-budget wedding in the fairly expensive market of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and she’s been sharing her little nuggets of broke-ass wisdom with me, but it wasn’t until she told me about this amazing DIY for mercury glass centerpieces that I decided it was high time for her to share it with y’all, too. Guys, I love this so much. Mercury glass can definitely be a pricey addition to your wedding budget, but Shannon nailed this DIY in totally Broke-Ass fashion. Have at it, lady!
My long-time love affair with vintage vessels began as a kid in my grandmother’s house. Aged, but elegant mercury glass peeked from behind lamps and picture frames, leaving me with a sense of nostalgia for an era I never experienced. It was so wistful, so romantic, that started planning my wedding to a man who gives me that warm and wistful feeling, I knew I wanted to decorate with it.
Then price tags shot me straight back into reality. Searching for “mercury glass compote” yielded beautiful pieces — that cost $30, $50, even $75. “Ok,” I thought, “I can have two flower arrangements.”
Being the personification of “champagne taste on a beer budget”, I’ve learned to compromise, but since I’ve been insisting “I’ll do it myself!” since the days of pigtails and Pampers, I decided to do a little (OK, a lot of) scouring of the Interwebz before throwing the towel in on my vision. Dozens of DIY tutorials promised faux mercury glass was easy to create with the right supplies, and — no lie — it’s not that hard at all! My goal was to keep the cost of vases under $10. All supplies included, these came out to less than $4 for 15 compote-style bowls. Broke-Ass score!
Your one non-negotiable, have-to-have-it, don’t-cut-corners supply is the paint. If it isn’t Krylon’s Looking Glass spray paint, you’re going to be disappointed. Because I wanted a gold finish to my pieces, I went with Krylon’s Foil Metallic spray paint to back the silver. One can of each provided more than enough paint for 15 finished compotes.
I picked up my glass pieces (candlesticks and bowls) for a buck a pop at Dollar Tree, but you can use any clear glass for this technique. You’ll need an adhesive that is specifically made for glass-on-glass, a spray bottle with a “mist” setting filled with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water, some rubbing alcohol and a handful of paper towels. Make sure to cover your surface to protect it from rogue spray paint and wear gloves to keep it off of your fingers.
Remove any price tags or stickers and rub the candlestick with rubbing alcohol to get rid of any lingering stickiness. Give it a generous mist with the water/vinegar mix so you see runny droplets.
Spray the gold Foil Metallic paint in short, quick bursts, leaving some of the glass exposed. This uneven application gives you an antiqued look when the process is complete, so don’t worry if the paint pools in places and doesn’t cover others. If you just want a silver finish, skip this step entirely.
The foil paint dries quickly, so immediately blot the surface with a paper towel. The paint will crack and shift leaving exposed patches where your water/vinegar left droplets.
Spray the candlestick again with the vinegar/water solution and using the same short, quick bursts, apply a thin layer of the Looking Glass paint.
This paint is much thinner and runnier, so rather than blotting immediately, give it about 5 seconds to set, then gently blot. Through some major trial and error, I found the best technique was to fold the paper towel, hold it at one end and just sort of smack the glass with the other. This absorbs those drops of water, but doesn’t smear the paint or take too much off. If you’re looking for a more silvery and reflective finish, mist, paint and blot again.
The bowl portion needs to be painted from the inside, so you’re going to start with the Looking Glass paint.
Use the same technique of misting, spraying and gently blotting on the inside of the bowl. I used two coats of Looking Glass on mine before adding the gold. The color will look transparent, but once the gold is added, the finish turns much more opaque. For a silvery mercury glass finish, eliminate the gold paint and add coats- alternating between misting with the spray bottle and applying the paint until you achieve your desired finish.
Mist your bowl one last time with the water/vinegar mixture and lightly spray the Foil Metallic paint, blotting away the bubbles. Again, an uneven application leaves you with a more antiqued look, so imperfections are actually, well, perfect. From the outside of the bowl you’ll see silver, gold and clear spots. Admire your work; you’ve done a bang-up job!
Run a generous ring of glue around the top of your candlestick. You want enough to form a good seal with the bowl, but not so much it squishes out. Let that glue sit for about two minutes, then attach the candlestick to the bowl. Leave it upside down to set for 20 to 30 minutes, or according to your adhesive’s instructions.
Give the candlestick a little tug to see if it’s sticking to the glass. If it stays, flip the entire piece over and let it sit for a day to make sure the glue has really cured and you’re left with one solid piece of DIY delightfulness!
If you plan on using a floral arrangement that needs water, line your compote with a disposable picnic bowl to keep water from ruining your paint. This way you can also transport the vases to your venue wrapped safely in a box with the flowers waiting in your liner bowl.
Now you and your guests can enjoy your budget-conscious decor that’s both on-trend and timeless. And it’s one of those items that’s perfect to use in your house after your wedding!
I don’t want this post to be about regrets. Our wedding day was beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. However, I feel I should be completely blunt with you fabulous BABs about budgets and how they can easily veer way off course. Because I know I’m not the only bride whose budget took a path into “oh shit” territory, nor should there be any shame attached to it. Instead, there needs to be better communication and knowledge transfer through honesty. So prepare yourself. I’m about to get real up in here.
Our original budget: $15,000
My parents were able to contribute $10,000 to our wedding day. How great are they??? So when our venue price estimate* totaled right at $10K, the groom and I figured, “No biggie! The biggest expense is covered, including food, beverage, ceremony/reception space, linens, the whole nine yards! We’ll grab a reasonable dress, a fancy suit, officiant, rings, DJ … we can do that for about another $5K, easy!” And we danced off merrily into the deluded wedding sunset.
OH, HOW WRONG WE WERE.
Did you notice that (*) up there? It stands for Beware the Caveats. Because while I give our venue credit for being forthcoming that the flowers, decor and cake would be additional charges, I could also string them up by their toenails for not giving us specifics on how much those charges would actually be. Once the day came to choose these items, my parents, the groom and I sat there silently with mouths agape at the prices. When we ruthlessly slashed all the extras and went with mostly the basics across the board, it left us feeling like we were being cheap! End result? Our final venue payment was still almost $3K more than the original quote. Luckily all of us felt good about the “basic” decor and floral choices we made together. My parents insisted that they could cover the extra $3K. We were grateful, but still felt
kicked in the nuts defeated by the Great American Wedding Factory.
Looking back, there were plenty of warning signs about our venue that we should’ve acknowledged. In a nutshell, it was their lack of flexibility on just about everything. (Your guests cannot throw anything or wave sparklers during your exit. You cannot exceed the 6 hour window onsite, or you will incur additional charges. If you want your wedding to be the only event that day, you will pay extra. No, you cannot taste the food ahead of time unless you go to a bridal convention where our caterer will be, this one day in five months, after you sign with us, of course. No, you cannot bring in your own votives for your table decor, you have to use ours at our price. And so on.)
Instead of listening to our instincts, we locked ourselves in with them and paid the price. Dearly. So where are we now?
Parent Budget ($10K) + $3000.00 = $13,000K
The Snowball Effect
The venue was the biggest offender, by far. But we quickly discovered we’d under-budgeted for our pieces of the pie, too. We decided together that my husband would get a very nice suit because of it’s long-term use and practicality. Don’t regret that one bit. But what we didn’t expect were the prices on the rest: photography (ouch), DJs in Atlanta are $$$$$, the officiant, our rings and my dress, well … there went a LOT more money. Our own budget was officially toast. And we weren’t even done yet. Shit, double shit.
Parent Budget + 3000 + Our Budget (5K) + 4200 = 22,200
The Rest of the Story
Here’s where it gets even hairier. Add on videography. Oh, and you still don’t have shoes — for either of you. You don’t have jewelry or any hair or makeup people booked. And let’s not forget paper products and the guest book you made on Shutterfly. But the real kicker — the one I completely and utterly did NOT budget for: bridal party and parent gifts. With 13 in the party + 4 parents, we came in just under $1000 dollars. Dear Budget, excuse me while I prepare my favorite fatality move.
Parent Budget + $3000 + Our Budget + $2500 + $3300 = $25,500
And there you have it. That’s how a $15K budget became a $25K budget … all in a matter of months.
But I can’t leave you feeling this crappy.
A few disclaimers: Our engagement was 13 months long, therefore our payments were spread out far enough that we didn’t have to dip into extra savings. The payments my parents made to the venue were spread out as well. But we know that if we had had a six month engagement, we’d have been in serious trouble. So remember that the shorter your engagement, the more you’ll need to have cash at the ready. Another tip — ask around for ballpark figures, not from venues, but from people you know who were married in your town/location. Our original budget wouldn’t have been so laughably bad if we’d priced out DJs, officiants, photographers, etc., in Atlanta before we pulled a number out of thin air.
I hope some of you can learn from our experiences and follow these nuggets of wisdom: read the fine print, plan for the unexpected, ask more questions than you think are necessary and do not, DO NOT, pay one cent more for anything than you think you should.
Lastly, look out for my full Real Wedding post coming up soon here at BAB, which describes some ways that we did manage to save serious cash in other parts of our wedding day and other useful things I learned along the way.
Till next time,
I love Luna Bazaar products, not just for a wedding, but for my home too. Last year, Luna sent me a few things to test out, and I’m totally hooked. Those disco ball string lights? Still totally in my house. So, they did it again. Luna Bazaar gave me a chance to pick my five favorite things from their site, as long as it was no more than $25 worth of products. And I had a heyday … though I was only able to pick 4 products for the allotted amount, I totally splurged and bought myself a little something extra.
This little guy hangs out on my pegboard where I store my pots and pans and totally pops against the pale yellow, but I think this would be a great, colorful option for the wintery centerpiece DIY.
I like straws. I like gold. I like drinking bubbly out of gold straws because it makes me feel fancy, OK? Besides, how cute were the black iterations in Ally’s bridesmaid brunch?
This adorable little chalkboard is so cute! We use it in our house to write stupid stuff to one another, but for a wedding it would be great to denote a treat table or drinks or just hang sweet love notes around — written by your guests!
I have every intention of filling mine with glitter. There is absolutely nothing else I would use it for in my own house, and I think that everyone should do this for their wedding, too. Or just use this vase as shown, with a pretty stem. A GLITTER STEM.
My kitten loves nothing more in the whole wide world than to steal my rings, earrings and hair ties, so I got this to keep her sticky little paws out of my stuff. However, this is also a great alternative to a ring pillow — have your flower girl or ring bearer carry this pretty piece down the aisle, and you won’t have to worry about the ribbon coming loose or other potential disasters.
Credit: Elizabeth Bates Photography
It can be a cruel world out there for brides on a budget. So much of the pretty can be out of reach, and it gets exhausting trying to keep up with the Joneses. Bridal Burnout can take place way early on, because there is a butt-ton of brain juice going into your wedding. That’s why, here at The Broke-Ass Bride, we stress the importance of priorities and focusing your energy in the areas that matter most to you, rather than tossing your hard-earned cash at something you don’t necessarily care a great deal about. The Wedding Industrial Complex has a way of pre-shaming brides into having the biggest, the best and the prettiest, and the this and the that and just the absolute MOSTEST BESTEST.
And also why I want to bring attention to this really shitty thing that happened around the web this week. Our girl Jessica at The Budget Savvy Bride posted a great wedding tip in her series of budget wedding tips — which includes advice on cutting the guest list, bringing in your own booze or even doing non-floral florals. The particular tip in question? No. 18: DJ your own wedding. You know, like set up the iPod to rock the soundtrack to your reception. Not unheard of, right? Well, Jessica did it for her own wedding. We’ve had many Real Weddings featured that have done the same. I mean, I did it. Hell it’s something we’ve been suggesting on BAB since 2010, y’all.
But once Budget Savvy Bride’s tip hit Facebook? A massive shitstorm of vitriolic vile flooded the comments … from “professional” DJs. One even went so far as to use “#killyaself”. UM. Really? Budget Fairy Tale compiled some of the other putrid spew that came forth from this.
If having a big ol’ dance party isn’t your thing, and you’re just not that into the music, DIYing your wedding music is a really great way to provide ambiance — and even just make sure you get the version of a song you want, because not everyone has a copy of Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” laying around — without shelling out the big bucks that it takes to have a professional, whether it’s a DJ, band or a fucking opera singer, at your wedding. But hey, man, if you can afford it and it’s a priority for you, DO IT. But there should be absolutely no shaming involved.
Weddings are super, super personal. And they should be. They should represent you as a couple, and they should be something you’re comfortable with. Because, really, what good does it do you to host a party that you don’t want to attend? No good at all. Really.
But here’s the thing for us bitches on a budget: We put priority on different things. Tiffany and Justin totally cared about booze, so they got married at a brewery. Kate gave zero fucks about real flowers, but wanted literature — hence, her book flowers. Courtney and Carli got married in the morning in the loft of a barn. Bianca bought her dress for $10 and it’s still one of my all-time favorites while her groom spend $200 on his duds. Each wedding is different and special, because each couple is different and special. Weddings are personal.
No couple, ever, should be made to feel bad about the decisions they make for their wedding, as long as it’s right for them and their circumstances. Family may be involved, for some, and not for others. Budgets may be huge for some, and not for others. And sure, some weddings might not be super amazing for all the guests, but it’s not really about the guests. It’s about celebrating love.
And if a vendor, or anyone really, gets pushy and especially if they dare venture into being condescending or start shaming you? You might not want to work with them. Know who you’re hiring. It’s important, because it’s your money.
As Liz once said:
“A lot of time brides feel pushed to do this or that, but really, there aren’t any “haves” in Wedding World, just “wants.” If you don’t want to spend the money, and you don’t see the value of it, don’t do it. That goes for all of your future wedding choices, too.”
So, let’s stop being assholes about the decisions people make for their own weddings and appreciate the differences and similarities we all have. Let’s not compare ourselves to the next person, nor expect them to measure up to us.
Hey BAB’s! It’s that time again, where I, your CAI/GOI guru, help you find a wedding dress you can love as much as the one with the hefty price tag. This week Gloria wrote in trying to help her sister out. She is a busty girl with a petite frame and she has her eye on something strapless. More specifically, a strapless Jim Hjelm gown. He is known for his unique and delicate embroidery. This gown is oh-so lovely. The tulle cascading in the back has beautiful lace, floral embroidery. Did I mention how romantic it is? The back is truly unique. I look at dresses allllll the time and I haven’t seen many out there with this design. I really lerve this one. *Sigh* But enough about me, this gal is gettin’ hitched in June! Also, since the wedding is going to be country, rustic and the bride will be wearing her boots (which I love, by the way!) I tried to find gowns that would look kick-ass with some cowgirl boots! I am blessed in the chest region, too, so I know the importance of finding the right fit for your body type. Strapless is actually a great style for the girls. I focused on a sweetheart neckline because something that is dipped is better than something going straight across your bust line. We don’t want the girls looking like a shelf on our wedding day if you know what I mean. Also, as Christen added in the comments, adding a strap isn’t a costly alteration. It’s all about what you feel your best in. You want to feel beautiful but still be comfortable. You’ll definitely need a good, strapless bra although some women do just fine with the built-in cup. Here’s what Gloria wrote in:
“My sister is getting married in June 2015 and has found the dress. The problem is she is quite endowed in the chest department and the dress is strapless. What would you suggest for a cheaper alternative that would look great on her petite (large chest) frame? The dress she has found is Jim Hjelm style 8002. The dress is gorgeous but the price and the fact that it’s strapless is a concern.
Strapless A-Line Wedding Gown With Layered Skirt (Style: 0113878) $410 at For Her and For Him
A-Line Gown With Scalloped Tiers Swirled Soutache (Style: 30613871) $480 at BHLDN
Floral Lace Gown With Sweetheart Neckline (Style: 32065971) $600 at BHLDN
(This sash is currently sold out but they have plenty of others that would look amaze.)
Romantic Gown With Princess Body (Style: 80326) $640 at Simply Bridal
Mermaid Lace Wedding Dress With V-Neck (Style: TCCMD1006) $690 at Tulle & Chantilly
Lace Spaghetti Strap Gown (Style: 358266) $795 at Ann Taylor
Strapless Tulle & Organza Ball Gown (Style: 4973) $799 at BestBridalPrices.com
Tulle Gown With Lace Appliques (Style: 50315) $850 at BestBridalPrices.com
Tulle Ball Gown With Shimmery Bodice & Lace Motifs (Style: Agatha 13074) $853 at BestBridalPrices.com
Tulle Ball Gown With Crystal Beading (Style: 5302) $899 at BestBridalPrices.com
Tulle Ball Gown With Alencon Lace (Style: 3178) $950 at BestBridalPrices.com
So, Gloria, do you think your sister will like some of these alternatives? BestBridalPrices has some REALLY amazing dresses and a HUGE selection. I use them a lot because I know they’re a good company with fantastic ratings/reviews and quality dresses. They have some great prices, too, and a lot of these gowns come with a free veil & shoes! Doesn’t get much better than free! Has she been to David’s Bridal? They have really been bringing the pretty lately and you can always find something within your budget there. I hope she is able to find something soon because June is right around the corner. We’re here if you have any other questions! Until next week, BABs …
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.
And, just like us, our pictures are goofy, ranging from mildly silly …
… to completely ridiculous.
We chose to use a fun picture for our Paperless Post save the date, also. Why not have a little fun with them? A shot like this is much more us and much more interesting than a serious posed one anyway, don’t you think? Plus, it’s been said that your wedding stationery helps set the overall feel and expectations of your wedding day, and we think it’s necessary to include a picture that’s totally representative of who we are.
I think save the dates are a great way to be a little more casual. Only your very close relatives are really thinking about what they need to wear to your wedding, so there’s no need to worry about conveying the formality level of your wedding this far out if you don’t want to. Mix it up!