Posts in the 'Broke-Ass Brilliance' Category

Winning Wednesday: Strut Your Stuff with a Tote from Digital Printsess

One of the things I notice about wedding planning is the amazing accrual of stuff – from planners to printouts to swatches, you have stuff that you’re toting around to various meetings, fittings and brunch with the ladies. It would certainly be nice to have a place designated just for wedding stuff, because everything should have a place, right?

Etsy seller Digital Printsess makes sturdy, tough (go on, put it in the wash) and super cute tote bags that can get the job done. And she designed one for a little show you might have heard of … “The Bachelorette.” Digital Printsess‘ bags appeared in Ashley Herbert and JP Rosenbaum’s wedding special.



Aside from making these super awesome and customizable totes — I can totally see carrying this one while honeymooning on the beach — Digital Printsess also creates beautiful save the dates and invitations. Oh, and she’s totally Broke-Ass friendly: the totes start at $20 (bridesmaid gift, anyone?) and her save the dates and invites start at $15 for the digital file.

digital printsess.jpg

And now to the good stuff: You can score a Digital Printsess tote of your own which can be customized with your own info!

As per usual, completing each task below earns you one entry — you must click on the green box saying “I completed.” Open to US residents only (sorry darling!) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BAB Throwback: What Not To Wear – Wedding Guest Fashion

As a wedding guest, the dress code has a tendency to be tricky. You want to read between the lines and give it your best go without having to consult a fellow nuptial-goer for fashion advice, but sometimes it can just be plain confusing. BAB tackled this issue way back in 2011 and while there seems to be a bit less rigidity these days (can guest wear white if the bride is wearing pink? Martha says yes.), many of the old tropes still apply. So here’s a refresher from the Broke-Ass archives!

I’m switching gears a bit this week to discuss something that comes up over and over on wedding forums and blogs — what to wear as a wedding guest.

Wedding Guest Fashion: What Not to Wear Source

Nowadays, finding something to wear as a wedding guest is almost as stressful as finding your own wedding dress! There are so many etiquette rules, so many stipulations and so many vague dress codes (“festive casual?” “dressy resort?”) that it seems that guests can never figure out which fashions are appropriate for someone else’s wedding.

There are no hard and fast rules, but I’ve been to a lot of weddings and I’ve gotten a feel for these things. So, here is my advice for what a women should and should not wear as a wedding guest.

DON’T wear white or ivory. It wouldn’t bother me personally, but it’s frowned upon in general, and some brides get so upset that they actually ask women wearing white to leave the wedding. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s better to avoid the situation altogether. There are a ton of other colors out there — choose one of them!

DO dress for the venue. If the wedding is on a lawn or on the beach, those strappy jeweled stilettos might not be the best idea. You might want to consider flats, kitten heels or wedges instead. Or if the wedding is in a fancy hotel ballroom, you might not want to wear a casual sundress with flip flops.

DON’T wear the same exact color as the bridal party, at least not intentionally.

DO dress comfortably. I think that anyone who subscribes to the “fashion before function” philosophy is glutton for punishment! You’re going to be wearing this outfit for several hours — why would you want to suffer in a dress that’s too tight or shoes that pinch? Nowadays, it’s easy to find clothes and shoes that are stylish and comfy!

DON’T wear anything that’s too flashy and/or revealing. This is a wedding, not a nightclub. The bride’s great-aunt has no desire to see your butt cleavage. Trust me.

DO keep in mind that some houses of worship have dress codes. For example, one is not supposed have bare shoulders in a Jewish synagogue. If you’re unsure about ceremony dress codes, feel free to ask the bride, groom or their families. And you could always bring a wrap or pashmina with you just in case.

DON’T dress for the wrong time of day. A slinky LBD would be inappropriate for daytime, and a pastel floral sundress wouldn’t quite work for evening.

DO remember that if you have to ask “Is this appropriate?” it probably isn’t. But also remember that even if you make a screaming fashion faux pas as a guest, it’s not the end of the world. All eyes will be on the bride, not you!

What rules do you follow when dressing for a wedding?

-Dana F.

DIY or DIE: Tissue Paper Tassel Garland

I’m a big lover of garlands and bunting for weddings, as they add a festive vibe without crashing your cash stash. And this year, especially, I’ve seen tassel garlands take over — a couple years ago it was polka dot and/or striped bunting, and then there was burlap and flowers. But this year is all about the tassel. And lucky us! In advance of our giveaway of Maggie Lord’s “The Rustic Wedding Handbook,” (stay tuned, loves!) we partnered with the lady herself to snag this super easy and cheap DIY from her website, Rustic Wedding Chic. These garlands can be fully customizable — from the length to the tassel color to the paint color … hell, you could even use colorful string! Customize and prettify until your heart’s content!

DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garland.jpg

What You’ll Need :  Gold Spray Paint  /  Scissors / White Artist Tape  /  String  /  Tissue Paper

DIY or DIE: Tissue Paper Tassel Garland by Rustic Wedding Chic on The Broke-Ass Bride


1. Unfold the sections of tissue paper. Leaving the stack intact, cut down the middle. (You’ll want about 10 sheets per stack!)

2. Fold up one of your cut segments along the original creases and carefully cut straight strips, leaving about one inch of paper uncut on one end. 

3. Unfold the cut stack of tissue.  It is OK if the strips aren’t perfectly even.

4. Starting at one end, roll the stack at the top. You make want to use a pencil or pen to roll the tissue around to give it a proper round shape.

5. Once you have your stack rolled, use a small piece of white art tape to hold the tissue in place. Keep in mind the tape will be visible so try to make it all of the way around in a nice-looking straight band.

6. Once you have all of your tassels made, use the string or ribbon to tie them together. You will want to knot the string on the same side of each tassel so that they will hang correctly. Tie just beneath the tape for a secure hold.

7. Next, using extra tissue, lightly wrap the tassels and tape the tissue closed, leaving the string and the end of the tassel exposed.

8. Spraying lightly with the spray paint, dust the string and the tops of the tassels with paint to give it a sheen. Once the paint has dried, flip the garland over and dust the other side.

9. Once the garland is dry, remove the tissue sleeves from the tassels and hang them!

Finished tassel.jpg

This is also a DIY that could translate easily into home decor … so you’re doubling down on the awesome AND saving money. BOOM.

Stay tuned in August for a giveaway of “The Rustic Wedding Handbook,” by Maggie Lord, which is a gorgeous book full of amazingly beautiful DIYs like this!

Real Bride Emma: Singing a Song of Savings about Wedding Music

OK, as promised I shall tell you all about the music I have lined up.

So far we have only gotten as far as booking the evening stuff, but I am already very excited about that. Music is a big thing for both me and Mike, and we wanted to make sure the evening reception was a proper party.

I have been incredibly fortunate enough to sing professionally with a few bands in Bristol, but one lot stood out to me. They’re ridiculously talented, lovely lovely people, and I knew that they’d be perfect for our wedding band. They are: Speakerbox.


via Speakerbox

But a band wasn’t enough. We needed something to take us all the way to midnight — so enter another fab friend of ours, Wesley Henderson-Figg and his awesome company U-Turn.

So far we’ve just booked his DJ services, but I’m pretty sure if we continue to make savings like we have done, then we could be tempted by the chocolate fountain or the popcorn cart!


via Wesley Henderson-Figg

So there you have it. The evening reception music is sorted, and I couldn’t be happier.

We still have to think about music in the service, but that’ll take some time as we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to performing friends. I don’t even know where to begin …

Till next time all,

Amdram Bride – Out.

*boogies away from computer*

On Marriage: Sacrifice is Not a Dirty Word

1sac·ri·fice noun \ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs, also -fəs or -ˌfīz\

: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

So often when a person talks of making a sacrifice for another, it can have a negative connotation. But as M. Gary Neuman explains in this article, which originally appeared on Huffington Post, it doesn’t have to be negative or cringe-inducing. And it’s often not about the sacrifice itself, it’s about the actions that come after that shape the way we feel about it.

Couples by Attila Acs

Atilla Acs via Flickr Creative Commons

Sacrifice is the dirty word of marriage. Recently, a client who was frustrated with the sexuality in his marriage posed this question to me, “Gary, do you ever sacrifice?”

The question itself was revealing. No one likes the word or concept of sacrifice. It means that I’m not getting what I want. Yet in truth, it means exactly the opposite. In order to get what you want, you must sacrifice.

Do you want to be in love with your spouse, grow old together hand in hand with grandchildren giggling around you? Or do you want sex with multiple partners throughout your life? Your choice, each decision a sacrifice. So do you sacrifice the sex or the deep emotional bond with your spouse?

Sacrifice is the backbone of our souls. It indicates self-regulation for a higher purpose. Today, more than ever, we get to choose that higher purpose but once we do, our sacrifices are the pre-requisite to our success. You choose not to steal in order to live in an orderly society as well as to maintain your moral code. You choose to sacrifice sleep to nurture your children in order to create loving bonds with them and give to them. What we do without is just as important as what we have; we simply could never have that “it” without sacrifice.

What we strive for is to have the sacrifice not feel too much like “a sacrifice.” It is supposed to be greatly compensated by the benefits we receive from making “the sacrifice.” This aspect is where it gets tricky for so many. My client was sacrificing sexual variety yet it felt like a huge sacrifice because he believed he was suffering in his marital relationship. When we give up something, we expect big returns. When we don’t get it, we get mad. Sacrifice isn’t the problem, what you do next, the moment after you choose to sacrifice, is what counts.

Giving up on connecting to other women will only set the stage for a man to be connected to his wife; it won’t create the connection itself. Pulling yourself out of bed when your kid needs something in and of itself doesn’t mean you’ll have the bond you dreamed of. Not stealing from your neighbor doesn’t insure your home will never be invaded. If you want sacrifice to count, ask yourself the following, “What am I doing in a proactive way to attain my goals?”

My client has to learn to be kind and loving to his wife, as does she, if he’s to enjoy the fruit of his sacrifice. He’ll need to focus on loving sexuality and variety with his wife through healthy communication and commitment to ideas that work for both of them. That parent who’s up in the middle of the night has to approach the child with kindness, sometimes firmness, but love nonetheless, if that child is to desire a greater loving bond with that parent. The homeowner who doesn’t steal will need to purchase a house alarm or create a neighborhood watch in order to stay safe.

Times have changed perhaps. We live in a “work smarter, not harder” generation where we are trying to literally have it all.

Head here to continue reading “Sacrifice is Not a Dirty Word” on Huffington Post.

Real Bride Tiffany: Giving Props to Pets During the Wedding

Of the 9,000 wedding trends I have discovered in the past year, animals at weddings is one of my favorites. And one that I am most jealous of. Like this one for example …

hedgehog ring bears via wedbook

Via Wedbook

Excuse me though, A HEDGEHOG RINGBEARER? I have all the jealousy in the world.

You see, our beloved cat — JMEOWW — is truly a part of our family. She has grown up with Justin and basically considers him her “boyfriend” although I like to pretend she doesn’t really mean that. They do a lot together.

cats and weddings

Catching bugs and gaming are two of their favorite things to do together!

I have said time and time again that my daily life would not be as entertaining without her. Even though she tries to wound me on a regular basis. So the fact that she will be unable to attend our wedding truly pains my heart. Why won’t she attend? Previous engagement, allegedly. (Some people’s pets. I swear.)

Just kidding, she is an absolute terror and hates people and actually having a cat at a public wedding venue would be absolutely insane. But as our one and only illegitimate child, we want to make sure that our love for her shines through on our wedding day because if we left her out she would never forgive us. Ideas that have not panned out include Skyping her into the ceremony while she is wearing a wedding dress.

Ideas that are slightly more reasonable and will probably happen are:

  • Cardboard JMEOWW cutouts at the photobooth.

photobooth cat

Image via Michael de Pippo
  • Cake topper inclusion.
  • Guest book inclusion (more to come on our guest book!)
  • A proper “slow blink” during the ceremony (I’m only half joking about this. If I forget to do this I will be so pissed).

And really, anything beyond the third bullet point would just get weirder so I will leave it at that.

How are you showing your love for your pets on your wedding day?

Ten for the Weekend: Disco Balls, Groupon Getaways and Crafty Goodness!

Hey, BABs! So sorry this is late, but there were a couple deals I wanted to hold off for, because they were too good to miss! I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me and hopefully your wallet will thank me! This Ten for the Weekend round up has so much goodness, from a Groupon getaway to a Craftsy flash sale to the always amazing Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Shop ’til your heart’s content, darling!

1. Disco balls and weddings: I’ve said it before, but it’s a thing. And now you can get $10 off orders over $30 from Spencer’s Gifts using code DOLLAROFF until 7/20!

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 12.23.30 PM

2. Still trying to find the perfect shapewear to give the girls a lift? Until July 20 take $10 off at Hourglass Angel with code HG10.

3. Guys. It’s time for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Need I say more?

4. On the hunt for wedding goodies? The Knot Shop is knocking 25% off all orders until 7/20 when you use code ENJOY25.

5. Hipsters and lovers of kitschy apartment goods, rejoice! Urban Outfitters is having a huge summer sale with markdowns on items in every department and free shipping on orders over $50. Sale ends 7/20.

6. Darling, let’s run away together. But hurry! Ending at midnight tonight, Groupon is offering an extra 10% off one Summer Getaways Deal when you use code SUMMER10 at checkout. GET IT!

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 12.19.28 PM

Doesn’t this just look divine?

7. As if Forever 21 wasn’t already wallet-friendly enough, they’re having a summer sale! Take an extra 50% off all sale items until 7/20.

8. Black Friday in July? We’ll take it! Target is offering 20% off furniture and decor. Sale ends today!

9. KAPOW! It’s time to get your craft on! Craftsy’s having a 50% off flash sale. Ends tomorrow!


10. Last but certainly not least, it’s time to get your toes wet with ModCloth’s swim sale! Save 30% off their bestselling swimwear!

Five for Friday: Add Some Pop to Your Registry

One of my favorite ideas for a wedding sendoff has always been bubbles — they’re fun, they get people (and dogs!) excited and they add serious pop (heh) to a wedding tradition. In that vein, I thought it would be fun to find other ways to make life more poppy, and these five items won’t burst your registry bubble!

EP Phone Home Phone Stand – $19.99
 from ModCloth
For playing all your favorite pop tunes, no matter which room of the house you’re in.

Schott Zwiesel Coupe Cocktail Glasses, Set of 6

Schott Zwiesel Coupe Cocktail Glasses, Set of 6 – $77.95  from Williams-Sonoma

I’ve been in love with Champagne coupes lately, which, of course, are perfect right after you pop the cork on a bottle.

SodaStream Source Soda Maker, Black Plastic

Soda Stream Source – $89.95 from Williams-Sonoma

Add a little pop to your beverage, great for cocktails or just to play up regular ol’ water.

Coca Cola Coke Couple on Beach Retro Vintage Tin Sign – $11.11 from Amazon

Pop art for your walls? All punny bases covered. BOOM.

Quilt for the Day Duvet Cover in Full/Queen – $89.99
 from ModCloth
And, of course, a big ol’ pop of color to add a little fun to your bedroom.

Ask Heather: Receiving Line and Food Delivery Timing

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 1.45.00 PM

Image courtesy of Simone

Dear Heather,

How much time should I plan for the receiving line immediately after the ceremony if there are about 80 guests? I really don’t know how to ballpark this. Thanks!


Dear Stacy,

A general rule of receiving lines is about 20 seconds per guest, so yours should take less than a half-hour. However, there are definitely alternatives to doing a receiving line, especially with such a small wedding. If you and your spouse are attending the cocktail hour, you’ll be able to talk to a lot of the guests during that time. Plus, during the reception, right after you finish eating your food (because you WILL eat during your wedding [Ed. note: See No. 3]), you can make the rounds and visit each table. Unless you’re having a super-short wedding, this should give you plenty of time to chat with all of your guests.

Dear Heather,

When should the food be delivered for an outdoor wedding?


Dear Tiffany,

In part, this depends on whether you’re doing a buffet setup or a sit-down meal, how much space you have on-site for food that needs to be kept cold or hot, how many guests you’ll be expecting and how much preparation needs to go into getting the food ready to serve. If you’re using a caterer, I’d definitely talk to them about how much time things will take. Since you’re asking the question, though, I’m going to assume that a lot of the food effort is DIY and you don’t have the option of asking a caterer.

If you’re doing any of the cooking on-site, I’d suggest having everything ready to go one to two days before the wedding, so you have time for any last minute errands to pick up something that was forgotten. Obviously, this will also require that you have the space to store everything overnight, as well as store items as they are prepared the day before and day of your wedding.

For food that’s coming in already made for a sit-down meal, you’ll need a kitchen big enough to accommodate all of the food, as well as a refrigerator to keep the cold stuff cold until the last minute. You’ll also need enough time to plate all of the food. This is probably the hardest option to do, caterer-free, for an outdoor wedding. If you’re going this route and are having a wedding of around 100-150 guests with salad, main dish and dessert, I’d suggest having things delivered about 4 hours before the wedding, to leave enough time to plate multiple courses and figure out which dish is going to what table; meaning that if 4 people from table 3 want chicken, you actually end up with that many chicken dishes at that table. If you’re having a huge wedding, you might need to adjust these times.

Last — the buffet, which I think is the preferred thing to do for an outdoor wedding, especially if you’re doing a lot of DIY catering. One of my favorite weddings I coordinated actually had their food cooked by Chipotle. I had to pick up the food, and the couple had hired two servers to set everything up (Sternos, food, napkins, etc). For that particular event, because picking up all of the food for a 110-person wedding would have been too much for one carload, I went in the morning to pick up all of the refrigerated items and stacked them into the one on-site fridge. The servers left just before the ceremony started to pick up all of the heated items and set it all up during the cocktail hour. If you aren’t hiring servers, I recommend nominating someone (an usher, perhaps) to pick everything up an hour or two before the ceremony, or asking the restaurant making the food to deliver it then. That should give you enough time to get it all set up, but still have the Sternos keeping things warm by the time the guests get to the food. Obviously, leave the refrigerated stuff in the fridge for as long as possible, and have someone in the wedding party put it out during the cocktail hour.

Did you do a receiving line? How long did it take? And, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, when is your food scheduled to arrive? Let me know in the comments below!