Broke-Ass Category: Broke-Ass Brilliance


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Hey BABs! You ready for a double-header? Reader Maggie asked if we had any ideas for budget-friendly versions of either the Mikaella’s 1961 dress or the Maggie Sottero’s Brecia gown. Both are lace fit and flare gowns with stunning keyhole, low back detailing and sweep / chapel trains. :DROOL: Maggie, the answer is YES! I’ve got ideas! That way-low open back detail is a toughie to find, but I think I’ve found a few contenders: 

Can't Afford It

Maggie Sottero and Midgley Brecia 5SC630 front

Maggie Sottero and Midgley Brecia 5SC630 back

Maggie Sottero Brecia, $2,000+

Mikaella by Paloma Blanca Style 1961

Mikaella by Paloma Blanca Style 1961 back

Mikaella by Paloma Blanca, Style 1961, $1,500-$2,000

Get Over It

BHLDN Marivana Lace Gown by Tadashi Shoji

Marivana Lace Gown by Tadashi Shoji - Back

Marivana Lace Gown by Tadashi Shoji, $650 at BHLDN

Ivory Lace and Satin Trumpet Keyhole Back Wedding Gown with Chapel Train by KingsCourtGowns

Ivory Lace and Satin Trumpet Keyhole Back Wedding Gown with Chapel Train, $630 by Etsy seller KingsCourtGowns

Ivory Lace Custom Wedding Gown with Sleeves and Keyhole Cutout by LTCoutureAtelier

Ivory Lace Custom Wedding Gown with Sleeves and Keyhole Cutout, $600+ by Etsy seller LTCoutureAtelier

ABS Ruffled V-Neck Gown Front

ABS Ruffled V-Neck Gown Back

ABS Ruffled V-Neck Gown, $180 at Saks Off 5th

Lace Open Keyhole Back Wedding Dress by LTCoutureAtelier

Lace Open Keyhole Back Wedding Dress, $799+ by Etsy seller LTCoutureAtelier

ONE by Contrarian, Babs Bibb Maxi Dress

ONE by Contrarian, Babs Bibb Maxi Dress, $425 at Shopbop

(Lots of color options!)

Decode 1.8 Gown - Cutout Embellished - Front

Decode 1.8 Gown – Cutout Embellished, $239 at Bloomingdales

Cristiane Gown by Tadashi Shoji

Cristiane Gown by Tadashi Shoji, $800 at BHLDN

Halston Heritage Halter Back-Cutout Cocktail Gown

Halston Heritage Halter Back-Cutout Cocktail Gown, $297 at Neiman Marcus

Larkin Gown by Tracy Reese

Larkin Gown by Tracy Reese, $850 at BHLDN

Jill Stuart Sleeveless Open-Back Gown

Jill Stuart Sleeveless Open-Back Gown, $415 at Neiman Marcus

What do you think, Maggie? Can any of these cutout gowns help you to get over the Mikaella or the Sottero Brecia? Let us know which gown you choose! We wanna see PIX! 

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. Please be aware, though, that because you guys love this column so much, we can often build up quite the queue and it may be a while before we can get to your dream dress. Rest assured, though, Team Broke-Ass is on the case!

*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.
  • 8/24

    Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!”

    Confession time: We only got to share one day together engaged before Michael had to go back home. That night, I had a nightmare where I was standing on a tiny island alone, surrounded by a sea of wedding ideas, concepts, colors … junk essentially. I could see a tornado of all of this screaming towards me, and I had no place to run. I get swept up in this swirling vortex of nuptial doom and I’m trapped with no way out. Even in my dream I start having a mini panic attack. OMG, what color will the napkins be? Should I use real flowers or silk? Is there really a difference between ivory and ecru? Faster and faster I’m swirling until I wake up in a cold sweat gasping for air. Holy crap, did I just have a nightmare about wedding planning?! UGHHH! I had the same nightmare every day for the rest of the week. By the time the weekend came, I made a mad dash to Connecticut to see Michael. Maybe we could help me master the nuptial vortex.

    Now, I’ll admit I had been quasi wedding planning for about a year or two. Don’t pretend you don’t have that secret Pinterest board where you squirrel away your wedding ideas. We all do it. My fiancé, Michael, on the other hand, has not been secretly planning a wedding since birth. So, while I was sort of expecting this bombardment of people demanding information, he was completely blindsided. It doesn’t help that we are separated by 250 miles and didn’t get a chance to absorb everything in one sitting. I was going to set some things straight if it killed me. Four sleepless nights aren’t pretty.

    Real Bride Danielle...and Mike

    Everyone always teases me that I live my life in a series of lists. Meh, so what, it’s how I organize my thoughts. After we had full bellies and a glass (or three) of bubbly to celebrate, I pulled out a notebook and started making a list. We realized, before we could even begin navigating this insanity known as wedding planning, we at least needed to lay out our priorities. In hindsight, this is perhaps the best thing we could have done together. There are all of these things I’d love to have and have always wanted but this one little list made me stop and think: What are the absolute most important things that I want for my wedding day besides my guy? What did I absolutely have to have in order to be happy? We both set out to write three things we needed in a wedding and then shared the notebook.

    Once I sat down and really thought about it, the only things I HAD TO HAVE were great food, fun (hopefully in the form of a bouncy castle) and a short wedding dress. All Michael wanted was to minimize cost and scale. Bless his penny-pinching skills! Putting these things down on paper lifted a huge burden off my heart. No matter what happened, as long as we had these things and each other, we’d be just fine. It felt like we had waded through the wedding planning tornado and actually found ourselves on the other side. . That night, I slept like a baby. I now know who we are as a couple, and this can keep me anchored as I navigate these stormy seas.

    What about you? Did you feel suddenly overwhelmed once you landed the ring? How did you find yourself again?

  • 8/23

    agate geode DIY display

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

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    Personalized Hand Fans by ModParty

    Personalized Hand Fans - Set of 24, $36 by Etsy seller ModParty If you're anywhere in the U.S. right now, chances are it's crazy hot. I'm talking sweating-while-you-dry-your-freshly-showered-hair kind of hot, coconut-oil-is-a-clear-liquid kind of hot, AC-on-full-blast-is-still-too-hot kind of hot. PSA, guys: HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE! But that brings me to today's Broke-Ass Advice topic: How to keep cool at an outdoor wedding. Whether you're a guest, a bridesmaid or a bride,…

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    Prospere Gown from BHLDN

    Today's CAI/GOI request is for a lovely French gown from designer Delphine Manivet. Reader Colette wrote in on this post asking us for some help. She loves the Prospere gown, a tea-length satin-cotton dress with half sleeves. The Prospere features a deep v-neck and side pockets (aka, flask caddies!), but is otherwise simple and sophisticated. It's classic, yet modern. Colette says: "It's so stunning, but…

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  • 8/17

    TLNFunctionalArt Dollar Sign Marquee

    Dollar Sign Lighted Marquee available from Etsy seller TLNFunctionalArt Russel says I should start and end this post with "Everything." I'm not gonna do that, but I will confess that the title should probably say "Things *I* Am Spending Too Much Money On." Several of our wedding elements that are super important to me happen to be somewhat pricey. I knew that going in, and…

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    Over the course of my engagement, I had a lot of different ideas on who I wanted to be in my wedding but I held off until I had my date and venue at least to ask anyone. Being engaged for four years meant people came in and out of importance in my life and I knew that was the way things went sometimes. I'm…

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    HeyShabbyMe Glam Squad Makeup Bag

    Makeup bag available from Etsy seller HeyShabbyMe As a makeup artist, I've learned a few things about doing hair and makeup for weddings. Here are my best tips: Do a trial first. This seems like a no-brainer, but it's an important step for both you and the artist. It gives you a chance to try different looks, and be sure they understand your vision and…

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  • 8/12

    Mens Whiskey Barrel Wood Wedding Band

    Hey there, dudes! It’s time to talk about rings. We've covered the baubles for the ladies, and now it's time to focus on you. I won’t go into a long diatribe about their significance, the symbolism of eternal love and blah, blah, blah. Instead, I’ve done a bit of shopping and I’m gonna share the loot I’ve found. The list is separated into three categories:…

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