Posts in the 'Broke-Ass Brilliance' Category
1. Calling all geeks! ThinkGeek is taking 30% off all apparel until 3/1 when you use code DRESSUP.
2. Rue La La has some stellar deals right now, complete with winter close-out gear starting at $20 and some Kate Spade NY goodies.
3. BAB favorite Fab.com has an ongoing list of 100 featured deals. You should probably always be checking them.
I heart this print ($27)
4. Calling all craft beer fans! At Craft Beer Club, get $10 off prepaid Gift membership of 3 months or longer and an additional $25 off prepaid 12 month gift membership with bonus gifts included with code iSave10.
5. Get your save the dates at 25% off at Wedding Paper Divas until 3/3 with code SAVE25MAR.
6. Get your groom all gussied up and save 20% off at Bonobos as a new customer until 3/2 with code SPRINGSTYLE.
7. Start thinking summery thoughts and stock up on swimwear. Target’s buy one, get one at 50% off women’s swimwear (online only) ends 2/28.
9. Gloss Jewelry’s February sale ends tomorrow! Get 65% off + free shipping with code LOVE65.
10. Stock up on pretty underthings at True & Co and get 40% off until 3/2 with code TOOMUCH40.
For you brides that got engaged over the holidays and are looking at a wedding this summer, you’ve very likely starting to put your feelers out for invitation styles that you enjoy. As I’ve sat browsing through some of the new styles this season, I keep finding myself drooling over bright, bold and beautiful designs. Eye-catching jewel tones and simple but striking patterns make a statement without being overly dizzying. Here are my five favorites for this week’s Five for Friday:
In Bloom Wedding Invitation, 50 for $140 at Love vs. Design
Minimal Mod Wedding Invitations, $2.34 each at Minted
Circular Geometric Wedding Invitation, $4.50 each or for digital file for at-home printing by RubyMayDesigns at Etsy
Deep Romance Wedding Invitations, $144.50 for 50 at Wedding Paper Divas
Floral Watercolor Invitation, $1.50 each at MagnetStreet
Do you like these bold designs, BABs? Which is your fave?
Hello BABs! It’s that time of the week again where I make someone’s wedding dress dreams come true! This week we’re helping Nickie who had a few dresses in mind and finally narrowed it down to the lovely Sottero & Midgley gown, “Simone.” This gown features gorgeous swarovski crystals, something Maggie Sottero is known for. Nickie, I know you had some other gowns in mind, too. I actually did a post about that BHLDN, “Onyx.” Now let’s help you get over this dress!
Mermaid Gown With Lacy Open Back & Sweetheart Neckline $379 at ThingsInLove on Etsy
Lace Gown With Sheer Chiffon Crossing The Bodice (Style: 30924260) $400 at BHLDN
Hand Beaded Flower Applique Lace Gown $425 at Lace Marry on Etsy
Strapless Sweetheart Beaded Tulle Over Lace Gown (Style: 97012) $438 at BestBridalPrices.com
Mesh Overlay With Silver-Toned Beading (Style: 38466) $550 at Ruche
V-Neck Gown With Cap Sleeves Embellished With Silver Tones (Style: 82112M) $598 at BestBridalPrices.com
Lace Tulle Gown With Chapel Train (Style: 11583) $630 at BestBridalPrices.com
Lace & Tulle Gown With Cap Sleeves (Style: 78844D) $798 at BestBridalPrices.com
Embroidered Gown With Gold Thread & Cap Sleeves (Style: 31167885) $800 at BHLDN
I hope I was able to help you Nickie! I know that last gown is a little splurge-worthy but it’s just so purty I had to include it AND it’s actually a $2,400 Jenny Yoo gown so, it’s quite a bargain. Treat yoself 2015!!! Let us know if we can help you with any other aspect of your wedding planning. Until we meet again, 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.
As brides, we have a lot to stress over. Whether it’s the environmental stress of an industry demanding we spend, spend, spend, the intimidating task of pleasing everyone, or the stuff we completely make up (I’m not alone in that, right?), planning a wedding can wreak havoc on your chill. I knew before I got engaged, hell, before I was even sure that I was ever getting married, my wedding dress would cause a mountain of stress.
To start things off, I never qualified for my “Love Your Body” card. I’m a hateful nitpicker in front of the mirror, saying things to myself that no one would ever think of me and I certainly wouldn’t think of anyone else. As I admitted to you last week, I tend to have this strange, backward way of thinking where the more compliments I get, the more afraid I am of not living up to what I perceive as lofty expectations of me. So, needless to say, I was already in a hole the first time I went shopping, and to make things even more difficult, I didn’t really have a budget.
My mom, on the other hand, was reeeeeeally excited. She had hauled me all over the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex in high school to find the perfect prom dress (two years in a row!), and she was still getting over her disappointment that my sister only tried two dresses on, so she was ready for some hardcore wedding dress shopping.
Our first trip was to an outlet mall with racks and racks of every size dress. We weren’t so much shopping as testing the waters. I never had a vision of what my dress would look like. I just didn’t want to look bad, so we pulled several dresses from the racks and I headed back to the dressing room with minimal fanfare.
These were the best of the bunch and you can see I was none too pleased. I didn’t think either of them were worth half of their $899 price tags, which terrified me for the day I actually got my budget set. Looking back at the pictures now, both dresses seem nice, but I obviously didn’t see it then:
Not exactly a “yes to the dress” expression.
While my overly dramatic look of disgust might suggest that it was an epic waste of time, we actually accomplished the two things we set out to do, both of which were a surprise to me: I learned that a mermaid silhouette complimented my figure best and that true white or a very pale ivory washed out my already-pale skin the least. If you have major questions that likely can’t be answered without trying something on, I highly recommend a trial run at a similar store where you won’t be pummeled with high-pressure sales.
My second trip was still an “I’m just looking” venture, but this time my mother, sister and I went to one of the largest bridal salons in Dallas. At this point, I knew my fiance was willing to spend a lot more on a dress than I originally expected, but I was still pretty iffy on where that budget was coming from. Sensing that I probably wasn’t buying that day, the saleswoman told me to pick out eight dresses and hang them on a hook. It wasn’t exactly customer service, but at least there wasn’t any high pressure.
As feared, the first dress I tried on looked much better on the hanger than it did on me. At a street size 8, I’m right in that sample size area and this one was just a hair too big through the middle while practically bursting at the hip seams. I had been warned, but perhaps didn’t put enough credence into the notion that it’s extremely rare to fit perfectly into a sample size without alterations, but I was already disappointed.
This one fit quite nicely and I really liked the illusion neckline. Although I wasn’t overly excited, this was my mother’s favorite and it took no more than her saying so for me to feel overwhelmed with (perceived) pressure. When I told my mom, “I guess this would be ok if I don’t find something better,” she told me it was time to try something else on. I’m sure what I was sensing was not her irritation, but my assumption that she was upset that I wasn’t equally in love, and I reluctantly headed back to the dressing room. I got in and out of a few dresses without any “wow” moments. I was beginning to think that I was just going to settle for something that “worked” even if it didn’t make me feel beautiful or special or like a “real” bride.
The strapless dress just seemed lackluster and I was inclined to avoid strapless anyway. I adored the lace and beading on the silvery dress on the right, but it was a discontinued sample and was only available to buy off the rack in a size that I knew wouldn’t fit properly without some extreme dieting. I shimmied out of it and pulled out the last dress – the one I had intentionally saved for last.
This Allure Couture dress was the most expensive I pulled that day. Coming it at a staggering $2250, it was more than I was willing to commit to, but not impossible if I cut corners elsewhere. Yes, the sample was a bit too snug, but what left me really disappointed was when mom said unemotionally, “It’s…nice.”
“That does that,” I thought.
Mom was ready for me to choose another eight gowns and I was just ready to get out of there. I wasn’t sure if I was hangry because I was hungry or because stuffing my face just sounded like a good idea, but I used it as an excuse and we headed to grab lunch.
Things were tense between my mother and me for the next couple of weeks. I allowed myself to get crippled by fear. I was afraid of disappointing her. I was intimidated by her pages of handwritten notes of designers and dresses and where they were sold in the area and how much they were. I was scared to death of my then-unestablished budget. Things culminated in a particularly nasty fight that tentatively resolved with, “I love you, but I can’t be your Wedding Barbie.” I explained that while we have the same decadent taste, “decadent” wasn’t in my budget. We ended on the kind of understanding you only get from family. She hasn’t pressured me since (even if I invent reasons to feel pressure).
After making peace with my mom, I went home for a visit. That weekend my dad handed me an envelope with $1,500 in it and explained that if he could do anything, he wanted to buy my dress. I knew it was more than he had to give, but it was also something he desperately wanted to do. Sometimes the sacrifices we make for people we love are far outweighed by our joy in doing something to help. This was one of those times. I hugged him and thanked him and knew I had a budget.
I was still feeling the pull from Mom to go shopping again, and despite our successful reconciliation, I was still feeling overwhelmed. I was also more than miffed that the store that was supposed to be THE store in Dallas was … really disappointing in terms of both selection and staff. I had heard good things about Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, about 15 miles south of my house, and on a whim one day, I made an appointment to go … all by myself.
The purpose was twofold. I didn’t want to drag my mother across the world to be annoyed that dresses we had Pinned and researched weren’t actually there, and I wanted to see how I felt about dresses without her opinion.
Full disclosure: I am in no way being compensated for this statement.
Oh my goodness, if you live within whatever distance you’d be willing to travel of Bridal Boutique Lewisville, you want to go to there. My associate Candice was so warm from the get-go that I knew I was going get through this! She asked me questions to know how to best help me and, boy, did she ever help! She even talked me out of trying on a dress that I adored, but knew was outside of my budget. In what seemed like seconds, we had a load of dresses to take back to the dressing room.
She got me out of my comfort zone, while still embracing my style. One thing she mentioned that will be helpful to anyone shopping is that she was glad I had my hair and makeup done. Even though my hair was just a messy updo, being a little extra made-up will give you more of the over-all bride feeling when you’re checking yourself out. You may want to consider bringing some jewelry, too!
She even took the pictures for me and gave me a little pose coaching so they were ready to show my family. You can see her in the mirror up there. I knew from my last excursion that I favored the modesty of the illusion neckline, so we had plenty of those to try on.
She retook that picture several times, but apparently I was so excited, I blinked every time. It was getting a little silly so, it was time to take it and run. I tried on a few more; not all of them were great, but we even got to visit my old friend, this time without rips and tears!
In the privacy of a Tuesday afternoon, just Candice and me, I found THE one, for $1,250, which was under my (gifted) $1,500 budget. It happened to be the first dress she pulled for me based on what I told her I was looking for. And all that customer service and enthusiasm? It came AFTER I told her I wasn’t going to buy anything until my parents were there! Before I had even made an appointment to bring the folks in, I got a sweet, hand-written letter in the mail from Candice telling me how wonderful it was to work with me!
I was so nervous to tell my mom that I’d actually found my dress without her, but once I showed her pictures, she couldn’t argue. I learned that sometimes, whether other people are making you feel overwhelmed or you’re overwhelmed because you’re stressing out about other people, taking some alone time, even for something you’re putting a lot of emphasis on, is a really empowering, yet calming way to go. I made my appointment to try the dress on again for Mom and Dad and when I did, I caught Dad tearing up. Success!
So which dress made my daddy cry? It’s not here. It’s too obvious! You’ll have to wait another seven months (Y’all. I’m getting married in seven months!), but I’ll tell you all about my shoes next time!
StyleUnveiled has left me totally drooling with their roundup of the top wedding cake trends of 2015.
If there’s someone who loves Adrianna Papell more than we do, it’s Kiss My Tulle. She styled up three different looks for the designer’s gorgeous blouson gown (bonus: It comes in plus sizes!).
Credit: Kiss My Tulle
Head on over to Something Turquoise today to enter to win a reversible “Here She Comes” / “The New Mr. & Mrs.” sign from Etsy artist Pink Slip Inspiration.
Speaking of giveaways: Brenda’s Wedding Blog is giving away an Origami Owl bridal bouquet keepsake locket.
Getting married in Virgina? Here’s a great how-to from Tidewater & Tulle (and OMG. That blue!!!).
Photo: T.Y. Photography
OR, if you’re in South Carolina, Classic Bride has five v. good reasons to get hitched in Charleston.
I’ve been kind of obsessed with hanging florals lately — a small way to make a huge impact. Brooklyn Bride gathered up her Top 10 hanging floral designs.
There’s a real wedding up on Budget Savvy Bride that makes a super industrial warehouse look ridiculously chic, and you should head over there immediately to swoon.
I couldn’t be more ready for spring and the color pop wedding ideas shoot on Ruffled just make the yearning worse. Gimme all the colors!
Credit: Ben Q. Photography
Bridal Musings gathered up some sage words of advice for married couples (and we’re included!).
Credit: We Are The Parsons
Shopping for bridesmaids dresses nearly killed me, you guys.
Well, okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But still, that was some hard work!
I wasn’t too worried about getting the girls something they would wear again (which is a noble goal, but one I feel is difficult to hit even with the best intentions), but I had a particular vision in mind. The obvious choice would have been to select a simple black dress and move on, but I wanted more. I wanted them to have some SPARKLE!
With this vision in mind, I took to the Internet. I Googled … and Googled … and Googled … and pinned … and pinned … and pinned. I started with all of my usual suspects: department stores, ModCloth, David’s Bridal, etc. I found a lot of pretty things (Adrianna Papell is my girl crush, people!), but I had a hard time aligning all of the most important factors. I have three bridesmaids, ranging in age from 25 to 33, ranging in height from 4’11 to 5’6, and with three unique body types in a wide range of sizes. They all wanted to keep the price under $150 before alterations, and I wanted something a little special and sparkly, black or gray, and preferably long.
That is apparently a tall order! Everything I clicked on was either too expensive, not available in the sizes I needed, or not appropriate for a variety of body types. I did consider getting coordinated dresses in different styles so each could choose something that flattered them best, but the response from the girls was that they saw that as too much work! No help there.
Back to the Internet I went. I stalked the Pinterest page of every wedding blog I knew, not particularly for the dresses they pinned, but just for other stores to try. And what makes the process harder is that there are so many shady websites out there that I’ve read horror stories about. It seemed like every dress I clicked on came from a questionable looking site and shipped from China, which was definitely not something I felt comfortable with.
My obsessive googling took me down several different search term paths, until I eventually landed at Frock and Frill. It was there that I found this lovely little number:
I knew immediately that I’d found the one. It isn’t long, like I wanted initially, but it checked so many of the other boxes, and I was swayed by all that pretty detail! We were a little hesitant to order from all the way across the pond – and NO ONE was fond of converting their US size to UK sizes! – but I verified that the site was legit and that the brand is carried at some major stores, so we placed the order.
And now, we wait. Shipping has been fairly fast, but we got held up at customs. Word to the wise: packages over $300 get inspected, and you may owe additional taxes. We’re so excited for them to get here! It’s been a little scary ordering something sight unseen, but I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get them, they’ll be gorgeous, and that they’ll fit reasonably well.
And, if they don’t, well, at least I left enough time to start the Googling process all over again!
A standard invitation suite has a whole helluva lot of components: Outer envelope, inner envelope, the invitation itself, RSVP card, reception card and that random piece of tissue paper that is seemingly v. important … but no one can figure out its true purpose (poor tissue paper). And each one of those components costs money — which is how invitations to your truly amazing, but still broke-ass, party can start costing you an arm, a leg and half your soul.
It’s cool, though. Ann’s Bridal Bargains has the easiest, simplest, prettiest and most cost-effective way to get your invites out and without sending you into debt: Send & Seal Invitations. Because: #duh.
Get rid of all the fluff — sorry, extra tissue paper — and send your guests everything they need in one adorbz little package. It’s an envelope, invitation and RSVP card all in one. You just fold up the invitation and the RSVP postcard — conveniently attached at the bottom — and seal it with the included seals. Slap a stamp on that bad boy, drop it in the mail box and chillax until the RSVPs start arriving — in swarms, likely, because your invites are just that rad.
There’s no need to assemble anything. There’s no super spendy postage to consider because of odd-shaped or uber heavy card stock. And there’s no need to worry about making sure that each suite has all of its pieces. Which, let’s be real, is pretty awesome. Who’s got time for that bullsh, anyway?
Ann’s Bridal Bargains has a buttload of other invitation options, too, y’all. And they’ve got ‘em at broke-ass friendly prices, because they get that great style doesn’t have to come at a frightening price. Since Ann’s Bridal Bargains is special homies with Invitations by Dawn, they have access to the prettiest, most up-to-date designs but are able to offer them at a bigger discount. That’s pretty baller.
And, of course, they have a special offer just for you, Broke-Asses! Head over to Ann’s Bridal Bargains and get 20% off your purchase of $99+ when you use code BROKE20. Good for any damn thing on the site until 3/31.
Photo: Clane Gessel Photography
One of the first questions I kept getting asked after “When’s the big day?” and “Where’s the big day?” was “And how many bridesmaids are you going to have?” I increasingly felt like the number of close female friends I could force to buy a dress was somehow crucial to my marriage’s success; I have only a few close ladyfriends, and I didn’t want anyone to feel left out if they weren’t a bridesmaid. I briefly considered just asking all of them, but a double-digit wedding party just didn’t fit my smallish garden wedding, not to mention the additional budget for bouquets, gifts, etc. And knowing my own tight budget, I definitely didn’t want to stretch anyone else thin on my behalf. I decided pretty definitively that I wasn’t going to have bridesmaids, and therefore avoid myriad potentially awkward situations. (We’ve all seen the movie.)
As things got rolling with wedding planning, though, I realized that a few of my friends were already performing wedding party duties, unasked: researching vendors, sending me recommendations, offering to go shop for supplies, even starting to plan my bachelorette! I had been part of two of their weddings already, as bridesmaid and coordinator, and had been talking mutual bridesmaid duties for years with the third, so I knew that official or not, they were already going to be there for me – why not recognize them?
When I actually asked them to be bridesmaids, I was weirdly nervous. I knew they wouldn’t say no, but kept thinking about how nerve-wracking it must have been for my fiancé to propose, if I was feeling the jitters even for this! Seeing their excitement made all of that disappear though, and I knew I’d made the right choice to honor our friendships in this way. They all even said some version of “I wondered when you were going to get around to it!” followed by “I’ve actually already started dress shopping!” Friends: They know you better than you know yourself …
That left me finding ways to incorporate my other awesome ladyfriends into the day. I had heard the term Bridal Brigade somewhere along the way and decided to just run with that concept; while my most involved friends are designated bridesmaids, another dear friend will do a reading, one will help coordinate, others can help me craft, bake and decorate, but in the end, they’ll all be part of my Bridal Brigade. I’m also going to invite them to come finish getting ready with me at the venue, so they’ll be a part of my pre-ceremony photos, and of course we’re all planning the biggest bachelorette brunch buffet there ever was (no matter what other plans we make, THERE WILL BE BRUNCH).
As good as I feel about this plan though, I’m still feeling pretty guilty about making my bridesmaids buy dresses. Granted, they’ve all expressed their excitement at an excuse to buy a pretty new dress, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about offering flexibility in style and budget, but still having the overall look be cohesive. On top of that, between crazy work schedules and with one on the East Coast, we won’t be able to go shopping together. Since my girls are three totally different heights and styles, we’re definitely doing the “similar color, different dress” route. Beyond that though, I’m kind of at a loss at where to start.
I’d prefer not to go the bridal shop route, since I’d like for them to get dresses that can ostensibly be worn again. Some of the dresses I’m liking at places like Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and even ModCloth are still upwards of $200, and I’d like to keep costs as reasonable as possible. My wedding has a vintage aesthetic, too, which rules out a lot of the trendier (re: cheaper) dress options. Before sending everyone out into their respective cities to scour the sale racks for some sort of blue-ish, knee-length concoction that we hope looks good together, we’re considering ordering from a site like eShakti or Azazie. Both of these sites lets you order a dress customized to your measurements, for basically the price of an off-the-rack dress at a department store. And this way, we know they’re all literally cut from the same cloth, so they’ll be the same color, and the girls can all choose the style that is most flattering to their body type. Sounds awesome, right? But, since none of us have ever tried something like this before, we’re all a little anxious about putting our bridesmaid budgets into the great unknown. eShakti has awesome reviews and the most flexibility in style, but Azazie is a newer site, geared more toward the bridal party, with styles and colors that we especially love.
The Ingrid from Azazie, $109
The Allison from eShakti, $59
I’d love to know if anyone has tried one of these sites before! If so, how was your experience? Are there any similar sites we should check into?
One thing I see over and over again are couples who have issues with a vendor’s performance, and don’t quite know how to proceed. For instance, I just heard about a wedding photographer who has not delivered prints for a wedding that happened two years ago. Can you imagine?
Here are the steps I suggest you take when you have a conflict with your vendor, and you are not yet ready to hire a wedding lawyer. Please note that these are general steps. Every case is different.
1) Gather all of your supporting documents. Hopefully you have a contract with your vendor. This will likely be the most important document. Whether you have a contract or not, gather all of your emails, text messages and voicemails. You really want to organize whatever correspondence you have with your vendor. If you have a relevant voicemail on your phone, note that you may need to have that message officially recorded so that a court may listen to it. At the very least, be sure to transcribe it for now.
2) Review the documents. Try to find the place where the vendor agreed to do whatever s/he did not do, or did negligently. For instance, with the wedding photographer example, you would try to find the place in the documents where the photographer agreed to deliver the photos by date “x.”
3) Draft up a demand letter. Draft a letter, and attach all relevant documentation. Keep the letter professional, and leave your emotions out of it. Even when there is conflict, you will still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be polite, but firm. Be sure you clearly spell out all relevant facts in chronological order. In your concluding paragraph, specify what you want. For instance, using the above example, if you want your photographs, then specifically ask for those. If you want your money back, then ask for that.
4) Include a response time. Give the vendor a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. I personally, generally, like 2 weeks. Make it clear to the vendor that if the conflict is not appropriately handled, then you will proceed with contacting an attorney or filing a lawsuit.
5) Send the letter. Send the letter via fax (yes, fax machines still exist!), or email and send a hard copy. You might also consider sending it via certified mail. You want some kind of verification that your letter was received.
6) Be patient. Wait for a response. Hopefully you will get one, by your deadline. This can be a frustrating time. Also, demand letters are the first step, and not always productive. Try not to think about the wait too much. During the wait, catch up on your blog reading.
7) Follow up. If you don’t get a response by the deadline, follow up. You can follow up by sending a concise letter or email and attaching the initial demand letter. Simply stating something to the effect of
“Dear Vendor: I have not received a response to my letter of December 28. I remain prepared to file a lawsuit. Kindly let me know if you have any response.”
You know your vendor, so apply the follow up principle according to his or her personality and what you think will be the most effective language. Don’t forget to be polite, though!
8) Consider your next steps. If you still don’t receive a response, or the response isn’t what you wanted, considering filing a lawsuit or consulting with an attorney. Contact your local small claims office to determine if the amount of damages fits into the jurisdictional cap, which varies by state. In California, for instance, the cap is $10,000, with some exceptions. Other states have caps of $5,000. The information will likely be set forth on the court website.
If your claim is more than the jurisdictional amount, then it would be advisable to consult with counsel. Although small claims cases are generally informal, and friendly to non-lawyers, non- small claims cases are much more complex.
You should not hesitate to move forward if you feel you’ve been wronged. There are finite time limitations on causes of action. So, don’t delay in proceeding with whatever course of action you
As always, you can consult with an attorney. Your case may be too complex for small claims court. And, if you do go to small claims court, the key to winning is having an organized and succinct argument with supporting evidence. A wedding lawyer can help coach you to success.
Christie Asselin is a sixth year, California licensed, litigation attorney with a background in personal injury and business disputes. In 2012, she began to explore legal issues related to weddings including vendor negotiation, and contract review. She loves all things weddings and has a personal and deep love of Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown. She also adores Oceana roses, and cathedral-length wedding veils. You may visit her website at: yourweddinglawyer.com.