Posts in the 'Broke-Ass Brilliance' Category

Real Bride Laura: Frugal Frames for Table Numbers

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My wedding is 35 days away and I am officially over Pinterest. At this point in the game when I open my Pinterest app I start to experience a major case of FOMO and start to stress. “Aw aren’t those centerpieces so cute?” I say to myself. “I love that wedding favor idea! Should I change my planned hairdo and go with this trendy braided top knot?” No! Stop! It’s too late for me now! And this is why I have taken a sabbatical from Pinterest and gotten back to basics. Through my wedding planning I never figured out what I wanted to do for table numbers and since I have gone a wee over budget I was on the hunt for cheap but creative.

Michaels answered my crafting prayers and provided me with an affordable, easy and cute answer that I had been seeking. I found these sweet unfinished wooden plaques from (ArtMinds Heart Frame) with a heart cutout for a small picture — and best of all they were just a $1! After I went to TrueValue and picked up some chalkboard paint for $5, a couple $.50 cent foam brushes and metallic gold spray paint for $4. Lastly, I ordered a few sets of  wooden numbers that I liked from Amazon for $5.36 a set (Studio Calico 10-Piece Wanderlust Wood Veneer Large Bold Numbers Embellishments).


The unfinished $1 frame! Ignore the wood burned “1” — I had a crazy idea that I was going to wood burn all the numbers on myself. Then I came to my senses and said effffffff that.

The process of putting them together was really quick.
1) Spray paint the wooden numbers with metallic gold and let dry
2) Using the foam paint brushes, paint two coats of blackboard paint on the wooden frames (blackboard paint dries pretty fast so you only need to let the first coat dry for an hour before applying the second)
3) Once the spray paint and blackboard paint has dried, super glue the table numbers to the blank area on the frame
4) Cut out old cute pictures of you and your love and insert into the frame
5) DONE!

IMG_2208 (1)

A sample of the finished product!

I calculated each table number to have cost roughly $2.75. Not bad! My plan is to leave some chalk on the tables in front of the frame for people to doodle or write messages. I’ve already told a couple friends at different tables so people get it. I hope everyone enjoys my fun, function (and frugal) table numbers.



All About that Base: Set Your Foundation with True & Co.

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Guys, let’s talk about your unmentionables.

I’m a firm believer that confidence and comfort in any outfit starts with the base — your lingerie. It’s so vitally important to have a bra and underwear that is comfortable, fits correctly and makes you feel schamazing. Because of this, I tend to be on an eternal hunt for beautiful little underthangs that get the job done while also actually doing their job — hold the girls in and don’t give me a dreaded VPL.

One piece of foundational garment that has forever eluded me is a solid racerback bra to fit my 36C ladies. Seriously, how hard can this be? Welp, hard, apparently. I’ve tried many and varied fits and models from a huge range of companies, to no avail. That is until True & Co. sent me their Delano bra.

True & Co. Delano Racerback Bra

True & Co Delano Bra, $64

This bra does just the trick for all my tank top-wearing needs: no pesky bra straps, no double-bubble (you know what I’m talking about) and no underarm bacon. The front bridge rests firmly between the ladies and flush against my skin (as it should) and it gives some good lift to my saggier-as-I-get-older bewbz. In fact, I’m wearing it as I write this … so there’s that.

True & Co. also sent me a pair of the Hidden Hipster Panty, which has become my staple, especially under tighter-fitting clothing or for shoots where I get to play in pretty dresses.

True & Co Hidden Hipster Panty True & Co. Hidden Hipster Panty, $16

These bad boys are so freaking comfortable, it’s kind of ridiculous. I wish I had a bajillion pairs of them to rotate through on the daily. They don’t ride up and they’re super seamless, which is obv. ideal. I’ve never really been a thong girl (hellooooo, butt floss!) so I’ve always battled with the dreaded VPL and my love for boyshorts and hipsters. These hipsters fit the bill to a T.

In the process of trying to choose a good bra from True & Co. I was aided by their fit guide quiz, which asks solid in-depth questions about my size, shape and normal underthings preference. I highly recommend going to get fit professionally — and not at Victoria’s Secret, because they have somewhat odd sizing (I used to work there. I know firsthand). But if you can’t do that, True & Co.‘s fit guide gives you instructions on how to properly size yourself to find the right fit for you.


Real Bride Amy: Facing the Great Dress Dilemma

The number one question I get asked by women who hear I’m getting married is “have you found your dress?” No. I haven’t. I haven’t even started looking. I have 40 or so screen-shotted and saved, of course, but I haven’t dared to try one on. Honestly, it’s one of the things I am least looking forward to!

On the one hand, my body is not where I’d like it to be, and I’m not happy with the way I look in anything these days. On the other hand, wedding gowns are all beautiful, so how could I possibly find “The One”?  How do I choose?

Allure Bridals 2716f



I don’t like pouffy and I’ve never been comfortable in a strapless neckline, but other than that, I don’t have any strong feelings. Pretty much all of the gowns I am drawn to are a V-neck, A-line style. Simple and straight forward. I’m really hoping they look as nice in real life on me as they do in photos, or else I’m going to have to start from scratch.

I’m going on my first dress shopping excursion to try on a bunch of different styles to see if I can narrow down the choices. Hopefully, I can have a better idea so I can be more productive with future appointments and it will allow me to show around and comparison shop a bit. I’d like to keep the cost under $1,500, so I’ll be planning to check out trunk shows and sample sales, but I need to bite the bullet and start somewhere. I’m apprehensive, but I’m trying to get excited.

I’ll share updates next time, but for now, any shopping tips?

Happy Fourth!

Fourth of July This Independence Day is a little more joyful with the recent SCOTUS ruling on marriage. It truly is a country where we are free to be who we are and love whom we please. While there is still a lot of work to be done in the way of creating a safe, comfortable land for all its inhabitants, baby steps and giant leaps alike help us all be a little more free every single day.

We’re taking a three-day weekend for ourselves (and to work on some back-end site work).

Congratulations to those Broke-Asses getting married this weekend, and for the rest of us please celebrate the Fourth joyously and responsibly!




Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Two Gorgeous Gowns for A Bride on a Budget – Part 2

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Hello BABs! Today’s CAI?/GOI! is the Part 2 to yesterday’s Part 1. Check it out if you missed it – there’s a fantastic reader story!  And if you’re looking for more goddess-inspired gowns, you might like the ones in the Rue de Seine Sadi post.

Today’s Part 2 is a hunt for reader Kary’s home reception gown:

For our home reception, I’d love a gown like the Vilora gown by Alena Gortskaya, Papilio Fashion House. Unfortunately, this gown is no longer produced. I love the flutter sleeves, soft ruffles, and subtle embellishment. I don’t care as much about the top angled layer of the skirt, but do love the movement and ease of the skirt. I would not want either dress to be stiffer, heavier fabric.

Kary’s instructions are clear: soft, fluttery, and subtle embellishment. Are you ready for the second half of my one-two punch? Here it comes!

Can't Afford It


Vilora Gown, Alena Goretskaya for Papilio Fashion House, $$$$

Get Over It

Bonny 6511

Bonny Wedding Dresses, Style 6511, $438 at Best Bridal Prices

AP Macy's

Adrianna Papell Cap-Sleeve Embellished Sunburst Gown, $180 at Macy’s

Pallas Athena

Pallas Athena PA9196, $670 at Best Bridal Prices

MS Payton

Maggie Sottero Payton 4MC034, $1,098 at Best Bridal Prices

AP Cap Sleeve Macy's

Adrianna Papell Cap Sleeve Tiered Gown, $239 at Macy’s

Jenny Yoo Cecilia

Jenny Yoo Cecilia, $275 at Nordstrom

J.Crew Heidi

Heidi Gown, $595 at J.Crew

Aidan Mattox

Aidan Mattox Dolman Sleeve Beaded Godet Gown, $357 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Haute Hippy

Haute Hippie Ruffled Hi-Low Maxi Dress, $238 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Tiered Chiffon Halter

Embellished Tiered Chiffon Halter Gown, $238 at Nordstrom

(Also available in white.)

Rachel Zoe Ruffled Maxi

Rachel Zoe Ruffle Maxi Gown, $595 at Shopbop

1920s' Flutter Sleeve

1920’s Flutter Sleeve Dress, $175 at Etsy seller AxisVintageClothing

ML Chiffon V-Neck

Monique Lhuiller Sleeveless V-Neck Chiffon Gown, $275 at Nordstrom

(Also in Champagne.)

Jenny Yoo Vivienne

Jenny Yoo Vivienne, $280 at Nordstrom

Want more coverage or breezy embellishment for any of the above? Check out the wispy capelets below:

Sheer Capelet Etsy

Sheer Wedding Capelet, $48 by Etsy seller bustle

Trickling Capelet

Trickling Capelet, $140 at BHLDN

Mikaella Cape M211

Mikaella Bridal Cape Style M211, $$$ at Mikaella Bridal

Lisa’s Bonus Pro Tip: While I’m a believer in breaking wedding “rules” that don’t work for you, choosing a gown that suits your venue not only keeps you comfortable, but it can also protect your purse. Gowns categorized as “destination gowns” are often more BAB-friendly and lightweight for beach or outdoor weddings. Know your fabrics, too: chiffon, poly blends, and silk will be lighter weight than taffeta, satin, crepe or dupioni. 

Kary, I hope I was able to help in your epic search for two ethereal gowns – let me know in the comments what you think!

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.

Real Bride Shannon: When Your Give-a-Damn’s on Overload

You know those people who say “My give-a-damn’s busted?” I’m so jealous of those people.

My give-a-damn is never busted. It goes on and on, seemingly forever, spinning until all those imaginary gears are overheated and I’m the one busted, but still fully giving every ounce of “damn” on can give about everyone and everything else.

I’ve been in some stage of wedding planning for about a year, and with just under three months to go, there are a lot of plans that need to be finalized and announced. I’ve been bucked on everything by someone since the beginning, from choosing a Friday night date, to choosing an adults-only affair, to being “too traditional” (and in some cases, not traditional enough), so now I’m suffering from a serious case of predictive anxiety. I’m terrified that the moment I declare something will be a certain way or date or time, or heaven forbid ask anyone to do anything, I’m going be met with irritation because I apparently intentionally picked the worst possible thing/time/day just to piss YOU off.

I’ve realized that I’m taking on a ridiculous amount of guilt and shame, and not just about spending money. I’ve felt guilty about registering for gifts. I’ve felt guilty about choosing a venue that isn’t centrally located for most of my guests. I’ve felt shame for gaining weight after purchasing my wedding dress and because I’m afraid of not being “pretty enough” to make people happy. I’ve been embarrassed that top shelf liquor isn’t in the budget. There’s guilt because we established a guest list and have since made new friends. Seeing a pattern here?

Guys, it’s got to stop.

One thing I’ve become increasingly aware of through this process is that if I’m dealing with something, someone else is, too. Since I’m the one with the public platform, I frequently choose to air my dirty laundry, so to speak, and usually, someone out there ends up feeling a little more human for finding out they’re not alone. If my being honest can help a fellow BAB out, then by golly, I’m going to keep being honest.

The truth is, I’ve lost my joy.

I dumped my planned topic for the week Tuesday when I had a holy-hell meltdown over a bridal shower guest list and started writing this. I confessed to my mother that I was no longer looking forward to the wedding; I was looking forward to that following Sunday when we’ll probably go watch football with our friends and everything will start going back to normal. Now, I really love football, but to be looking forward to week three noon game more than my WEDDING? I’d say that’s a sign that something needs to change. I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer see this as “our” day; I see it as everyone else’s. As the bride, I’ve managed to quit seeing myself as one of the people getting married and thusly celebrated. Instead, I’ve started feeling like my job is to look perfect for everyone so that they aren’t made to feel uncomfortable looking at less than a perfectly aesthetically pleasing figure, all while flawlessly throwing a party that makes everyone happy. That whole part about marrying the love of my life feels like the boring part people have to sit through until the free booze comes out. Priorities, much?

Barbie doll or a real bride? || Real Bride Shannon: When Your Give-a-Damn's on Overload

Now, I typically like to discuss ways I’ve cleared the hurdles of wedding planning, but in this case, I’m not really fit to tell anyone what to do to make it better; I can only share my resolutions and the practical ways I intend will go about putting them into practice. I’ve had an irrational fear of the Bridezilla title since the moment I said yes, and while it’s all well and good to be conscientious and respectful of other people’s feelings, there comes a time when we need to put our needs at the forefront of our plans.

That time is now. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what stage of planning you’re in; you need to claim this period for your own. The idea that standing up for yourself and saying, “This is just the way it needs to be,” labels you as a Bridezilla is sickeningly misogynistic (because even if you’re a Broke-Ass Groom, you’re being attacked with the accusation that you’re “acting like a woman”). Personally, telling me that I can’t make everyone happy sends me into an obsessive whirlwind of soul-sucking attempt to prove them wrong. I am a pathological people pleaser. Like, if I could have a super power, I’d forego flying and invisibility for the ability to make everyone happy. It comes from a good place, but it’s also the source of many neuroses. Rather than focusing on can’t, I have to think about the reasons I shouldn’t have to.

Conflict-free scheduling is a pipe dream when you’re talking about a guest list of more than about four. It’s good of you to scan your calendar for birthdays or other couples’ anniversaries. You may want to consider relatively universal business conflicts like the end of the fiscal year, but if the “conflict” comes out of anything minor, it’s time to shrug it off. Are you catching trouble for inadvertently scheduling your wedding in the middle of baseball playoffs (like I have) or on opening weekend of some hunting season or on a Sunday night when “Game of Thrones” is on? If someone is implying that there is some place they’d rather be than celebrating with you and your beloved, tell them you were just so excited that you missed the potential schedule conflict and you’re really sorry because “We would have loved to have you.” I’m not typically one to advocate passive aggression, but this was my mother’s idea and I rather like it. If you’re basically being told that a baseball game is more important than your wedding, some restrained snark seems reasonable. I happily attended my sister’s wedding during Game Three of the Ranger’s first-ever World Series (and checked updates through my phone). They’ll get over it.

Sportsball. We love it, too.

Sportsball. We love it, too.

Unless your entire guest list lives in the same apartment building, someone is going to feel slighted about the travel time. Are people complaining that they may have to drive an hour to your wedding or a pre-wedding event? That’(*sigh*) too bad. The aforementioned bridal shower meltdown was sparked by the fact that my mother’s gracious, amazing, generous friends have taken on the planning and intend to host the event in one of their homes, which is a fair drive from most of my guests. I’ve already had people voice their distaste over the driving distance to our wedding venue (which is still within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where 90% of our guests live — and EVERYONE drives in DFW), so I saw a disaster in the making. If someone is doing something for you, they get first convenience. Plain and simple. If you planned it yourself, you have reasons for choosing the location and they are valid. Destination wedding or chapel around the corner, get married where you want to.

Taste is not universal, so someone isn’t going to like something. Food, flowers, colors, music — we all like different things. If someone feels the need to complain or speak ill of any of those decisions, they’re being mean and mean people suck. I am officially done — DONE — taking crap for our personal taste and you should be, too.

Religion (or lack thereof) is also not universal, and it sure gets touchy. I would expect most of your guests will already know where you stand on faith and it’s only decent of them to expect that to be reflected in your wedding. Whether it’s a Catholic aunt offended by your Universalist beliefs or an atheist friend who complains about your desire to take communion, when it comes to your wedding, it’s none of their business and if they can’t deal, they can’t come. Doing anything more or less than you want is disingenuous and that IS. NOT. FAIR. To you, or anyone else.

You don’t have to turn the give-a-damn off, but for the next three months, I’m definitely turning mine down. I can honestly say that I have not once made a decision with the expressed intent of hurting, or even inconveniencing anyone. I’m not going to stomp my foot and declare, “No more Miss Nice Bride,” but neither am I going to let myself feel sick because something isn’t perfect for someone else. I haven’t reached full comfort with the idea, but if I’m going to reclaim my joy for a day that should be the happiest I’ve ever had, it’s an idea I need to get used to.

Do you have complaints you’re no longer entertaining? Something you refuse feel guilty about? Let us know in the comments!

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Two Gorgeous Gowns for A Bride on a Budget – Part 1

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We’ve got a special two-parter for you this week, BABs! Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

BAB reader Kary has a dilemma. She’s fallen in love with *two* gowns (and a wonderful man), with a budget of about $2,000. She says:

I am planning a small beach wedding for June, 2016, in Sand Key, Fla., and a large, outdoor reception at home, after our return. It is a 2nd wedding for my fiancé, Paul, and me. I have fallen in love with a dress for each venue, and neither is attainable. The gown I would love for the beach wedding is a couture gown and way out of my budget. It is the Amelie gown by Samuelle Couture. I love that it’s soft and romantic, without being overly sweet. I’m 45 and past my princess days! Lol. I love that it’s different, has a free spirited feel, and will constantly move in the ocean breeze while I’m barefoot in the sand with my long curly hair down, marrying the most loving, kind man I have ever met! It also will provide this older bride a little more coverage than all the strapless gowns that we’ve seen a million times already. My close 2nd choices are the Sophia and Althea gowns, also by Samuelle Couture. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Awww! I love hearing couples’ love stories! Kary, you could be wearing a burlap sack and that would still be a beautiful wedding. Ok, so we want free-spirited, floaty, and romantic-but-not-too-princessy. Got it!

Can't Afford It

Amelie 1

Samuelle Couture Amelie, $$$$

Amelie 2

Samuelle Couture Amelie (back), $$$$

(Pssst! This gown was also featured in another CAI/GOI post.)


Samuelle Couture Sophia, $$$$


Samuelle Couture Althea, $$$$

Get Over It


Sabine by Jenny Yoo, $320 at BHLDN

(I have been *dying* to share this gown! So much Hollywood glamour, but with an air of “I woke up like this”. )

Pleated Chiffon CLV

Pleated Chiffon Wedding Dress by Camille La Vie, $500 at EDressMe

Moonlight Tango T598

Moonlight Tango T598, $526 at Best Bridal Prices

Modest Mignon

Modest White Evening Dress by Mignon, $598 at EDressMe

Alvina Valenta 9808

Alvina Valenta 9808, $595 at Tradesy

MS Taren

Maggie Sottero Taren 4MC022, $1,139 at Best Bridal Prices

Annabelle BHLDN

Annabelle Dress by Jenny Yoo, $260 at BHLDN

(This gown comes with an optional sash, which can be worn over the shoulders as shown, and spaghetti straps.)

Willow Maxi

Willow Maxi by Grace Loves Lace, $1,200 at Free People

1930s Vintage Fabgabs

1930’s Vintage Wedding Gown, $600 by Etsy seller FabGabs

(Ok so I lied. *This* vintage gown makes everything else pale in comparison!)

AP Floral Applique

Floral Applique Chiffon Dress by Adrianna Papell, $200 at EDressMe

Cassandra BHLDN

Cassandra Gown by Nicole Miller, $1,100 at BHLDN

Camille La Vie

Lace and Chiffon V-Neck Gown by Lana Bisset from Camille La Vie, $550 at EDressMe


MS Alicia

Maggie Sottero Alicia 4MS993, $1,198 at Best Bridal Prices

Moonlight Tango T623

Moonlight Tango T623, $548 at Best Bridal Prices


Raquel by Adrianna Papell, $280 at BHLDN

Lisa’s Bonus Pro Tip: If you’re a BAB on a mission to find a separate reception gown, take your total gown budget and divide by two — that will give you an approximate amount to spend on each gown. Then decide if one venue or gown means more to you, and allocate a little more toward that gown, a little less toward the other. With so many gorgeous gowns in the $100-$1,000 range, it can be done even on the strictest budget! 

Kary, I hope you can imagine at least one of these alternatives floating in the ocean breeze! (There’s room in your suitcase for lil’ ole me, right?) Tune in tomorrow for Part 2: The Home Reception Gown!

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.

For Boys Who Like Boys: A Few Tips for a Groom/Groom Wedding

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Photo: Clane Gessel via Bella Signature

We at BAB were sooooooooooo excited about the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage (#LOVEWINS), we decided to do an article especially for the boys (who like boys).

It’s possible you’ve been secretly worried about how a wedding looks without a bride. Well, you can thank The High and Heavenly World of Pinterest, because there are so many options you’ll get the spins. The thing is, you can celebrate your gay wedding the same as a straight wedding — any way you fucking want. Once you’ve figured out the type of wedding you’ll plan (A traditional wedding in a gay-friendly church, a rustic wedding in a barn, a drag queen wedding under a disco ball — the world is your oyster), then you can figure out the outfit situation. I’ve listed a few options I found that could easily be affordable and fit a range of occasions from formal to more casual.

*Quick Note: Just because we mention the guys here doesn’t mean we’re limiting these options to groom/groom weddings. These are also awesome options for ANYBODY —women included — that want to rock a suit or tux.


Photo: Moodeus via A Vote & A Vow

Contrasting Suits: What a great way to keep things formal without doing flashy tuxes. It also allows the grooms to choose their own accessories and leaves things a little open-ended for the wedding party. Plus, every guy looks sexy in gray.


Photo: Kate McElwee Photography

Dare to Pattern: Soooooooooo slick! Doing a solid/pattern combo in a single tone keeps these guys looking really put together and takes formal to an unexpected place. And seriously, if you know BAB, you know we love an element of surprise. One last thing about this idea: Another reason it works is because they kept the accessories mild and matching in color and texture. You could probably get away with adding a little more pizzazz, but be careful.


Photo: A Brit & A Blonde

Matchy-matchy: You guys, when all else fails, just pick a palette and Sadie Hawkins that shit up. This can actually be a good option for a couple reasons. One, if you’re looking to do a quick ceremony, this is the ticket. Since you’ll be looking for the same thing for both, you’ll save time hunting around the mall. Second, sometimes buying items in pairs can save you a few bucks (be on the lookout for Buy One/Get One sales)! You can see they ditched the jacket and went with a bright tie, kinda like this one.

Grooms with Mixed Accessories

Credit: DeAwna McGinley Photography via Chicago Style Weddings

Accessory Play: How dashing are those grooms? I would only dare to mix accessories like this if everything else was neutral, and these two do just that but in a really bold way. Otherwise, you might end up having a carnival wedding, which, though memorable, might not be quite your end goal. But I like the mix here. You could even do some fun socks.


Photo: via Passion for Flowers

Do you love a good ascot as much as I do? Well you should. You can’t really see the whole look from here, but I do like how they did matching suit tones in different patterns, paired with an unexpected neck accessory. Also, I’m in love with those boutonnières.

Where to Find These Looks


Simple Gray Suit

Patterned Suit
CombatantGentSuit How are you coordinating your wedding day looks? Tell us in the comments below!

Real Wedding: A Sweet and Sentimental Family Affair

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Name: Jessica Knowles and Andrew Long

Occupation: Jessica – Sales and Marketing Manager for Housing Company; Andrew – Landscape Designer

Wedding location: Brickyard at Riverside Golf Club, Macon, Georgia

Wedding Date: May 16, 2015

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Budget: Around $15,000. The amounts below add up to around $20,000, however my parents paid about $15K, I paid for photography, hair/makeup and rings. Groom’s family paid for his tux and some of the flowers and some alcohol.

How would you describe your wedding: A truly magical day!

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Bride: Walking down the aisle to Andrew, it was like time stopped and it was just me, Andrew and my dad. For me, one of the most memorable parts was the moments when my dad and I were standing at the head of the aisle waiting for the music to start. Once it started, he asked me when we should go and I just said “I’m ready when you are.” Other memorable parts were saying our vows — I remember vividly the “with this ring, I thee wed.” For guests I guess the memorable parts were probably our groomsmen Austin’s little words he spoke about me and Andrew as a couple and advice for us.

Groom: Us looking at each other doing our vows.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

What did you splurge on?  The biggest expense was the catering and alcohol.

What did you save on? Hands down the invitations — We had wanted to DIY to save money but it ended up getting extremely complicated–last minute we got them on Vistaprint with a 40% coupon for $160!! That’s a invitation and RSVP card and envelopes for both. They were gorgeous!

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

One money saver was finding a private alterations person instead of doing it through David’s Bridal. We only paid $175 for alterations (bustle, sweetheart neckline, hemming multiple layers and taking in around the waist) whereas the David’s Bridal consultant said alterations are generally around $300. A big money saver was not having a lot of flowers. The only ceremony decor we had was two urns of flowers at the end of the aisle.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Also — if you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, sign up and get the 30 day trial free (just make sure you set up a reminder to cancel otherwise your card gets charged).I ordered a TON of stuff off Amazon and got it all within two days — I was so thankful! Some Amazon purchases include Hersheys Kisses, hangers for dresses, tissue paper for hotel bags, gift boxes for bridesmaids shirts and glitter paint for champagne glasses.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography


Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?  I think the only thing we wish we had done differently was serve ourselves dinner. The head table was served a little bit of everything from the buffet but we both wish we had gotten our own plates so we could have had more of what we specifically wanted.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

What was your biggest challenge in planning?  The biggest challenges was the guest list — we should have had a final number allotment for each side and cut it off after that instead of allowing it to fluctuate.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of DIY projects! I’m so glad I didn’t!

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

What was the best piece of wedding advice you received? Enjoy every moment and stick to your guns about things that are really important to you.

Any other bits of wisdom? It was important to me to incorporate as many family heirlooms as possible. I wore my maternal grandmother’s pearl necklace and my parents had earrings made for me that had amethysts that belonged to my paternal grandmother. My bouquet was wrapped in my paternal grandmother’s scarf. My family heritage is English/Scottish and it is tradition for wishes to be read aloud at the reception from family who were unable to make the trip.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

SONY Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Vistaprint coupons all the way — there are often Groupons for Vistaprint and I used them to get bridal shower thank you cards, wedding thank you cards and invitations. Getting a day-of coordinator was the best decision EVER!!! Ours was absolutely amazing. Don’t feel like you have to spend hundreds of dollars. Ask around churches to find someone who is experienced and is willing to just do it on the side.

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Hack: instead of floral centerpieces on tables we had rose petals sprinkled on the tables and it gave such a romantic feel. It was only $45 for all the rose petals and there were tons leftover.

Tip: One of the things I was complimented on the most was the program, I made it myself in Publisher but people loved that it listed a timeline for the evening and the menu so people knew where to be and when. It was really helpful to have a big turnout for the sparkler send-off because everyone knew what time it was at!

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

Budget breakdown?

Total: Approx. $20,000

Venue & Caterer: Approx. $2,000 and $6,500

The Brickyard at Riverside


Cake Art: $500


Photographer: $3,500

Andie Freeman Photography


Hair & Makeup: $300

Amanda Jane Salon


Dress: $700

Galina by David’s Bridal


Groom’s Attire: $150

Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse


Bridesmaid Dresses:

David’s Bridal


Floral: $900

Lawrence Mayer Florist


Music: $1100