Posts in the 'Contributors' Category

Ten for the Weekend: Sales and Deals Ripe for the Picking

All right, it’s Friday afternoon! Time for a little maxin’, relaxin’ and weekend shoppin’! This week, I’ve got a huge bridesmaid dress sale, sequin dresses, yoga gear and more! Happy shopping, darlings!

Ten for the Weekend: Sales and Deals Ripe for the Picking

1. Snuggle in for the cooler months. Sleepyheads Mall is knocking 30% off all fleece robes with code ROBE30 until 9/28.

2. If you’re a big plan-ahead type of person, then go ahead and stock up on cards, calendars and photo books from MixBook at up to 40% off when you use code FALL14.

3. Hey yogis! Save 20% off all prAna clothing during’s clearance sale when you use code PRANA20 at checkout. 

4. Get your personalized wedding party gifts from Zazzle and knock 10% off your order with YOURFALLDEAL.

5. Whether you’re in need of bridesmaid dresses or rockin’ party frocks, get thee to Dessy where you can get 15% off and FREE shipping on entire site until 10/1 with code DG915.

6. Winter brides and grooms! Head on over to Wedding Paper Divas and save 30% on your Save the Date order with code WPD30DATESEP.

7. We could all use more sequins in our lives, amirite? Head on over to and take $5 OFF $50 on sequin party dress orders with code LITBBling.

8. Fall always puts me in nesting mode, with a constant yearn for new furniture an decor. Design Within Reach is having a once-a-year Knoll sale of 15% off + FREE shipping until 9/30.

9. Want to get those Instagram snaps of your delish lunch just right? Take a food photography class … or any of a wide range of other course during Craftsy’s fall sale, where you can get the how-to for up to 50% off through 9/22.

10. American Eagle and Aerie are having their big Friends & Family sales this weekend. Get 25% off at Aerie using code 69E798N1 and 25% off at American Eagle using code 69E798N1.



Five for Friday: ThirdLove has Hot Underthings For Your Wedding Night and Beyond

There’s a new bra game in town, you guys, and I’m pretty in love with them. I own one of the 24/7 T-shirt bras by ThirdLove, and it’s easily become my favorite bra. The company focuses entirely on fit and comfort, and gooood lawwwwd do they nail it. My 36C ladies definitely have the double-bubble issue, and by the end of the day, I’m usually pretty freaking exhausted of having the girls caged and restricted. I’ve worked for lingerie shops in the past, and am incredibly picky when it comes to my boulder holders. And I believe a good bra is totally worth investing in (ThirdLove’s bras top out at $64), because you’re going to be sporting the thing All. Damn. Day. They have a huge range of sizes — including half-cup sizes. And pretty colors! So, for this week’s Five for Friday, here are five gorgeous pieces from ThirdLove that are perfect to fan the flame on your wedding night … and many nights beyond!

Ivory Lace Balconet Bra from ThirdLove Ivory Lace Balconet, $64

ThirdLove lace thong


Lace Thong, $21 $14 Black Mesh Demi Bra by ThirdLove
Black Mesh Demi, $59

Lace Boyshort by ThirdLove

Lace Boyshort, $21

ThirdLove Deep Pink Mesh Plunge Bra

Deep Pink Mesh Plunge, $49

Which of ThirdLove’s pieces is your favorite?


Ask Heather: How Do I Even Start Planning a Wedding?

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Image courtesy of Larry Donoso

Dear Heather,

Is, “where the heck do we even start?” a sufficient question?


Dear Jessica,

Absolutely! I suggest starting with the trifecta of guest list, venue, and budget, as all of them directly impact the other in non-negotiable ways. The absolute first thing I recommend doing is making an all-inclusive, “if we get to invite absolutely everyone we want,” all-out guest list. Have your parents contribute, if they desire. This is basically your dream guest list, and your actual list will likely end up being smaller.

Once you have your dream guest list, pare it down as much as you can, to those you truly would love to have in attendance. You might end up having to cut it down further, but at least this gives you a ballpark. After all, there’s no sense even looking at venues that have a maximum of 75 guests if your realistic guest list is 150. The opposite is also true — if you and your partner want a very small wedding, don’t bother with venues that have ballrooms for 300 people.

Now that you have your list, talk to everyone who might be contributing financially to figure out a budget. There are all sorts of pieces of advice out there when it comes to choosing a budget, but I suggest simply calculating what you can afford to spend and doing your absolute best to work within those constraints.

At last, you’re at the point where you get to consider venues. Depending on how many people you want to invite and how much you have to spend, you might need to be flexible in regards to dates. In general, Fridays and Sundays are less expensive than Saturdays, and off-season rates are obviously cheaper than more popular times. When it comes to off-season, though, that’s definitely a local preference. For instance, July in a northern state might be lovely, but in a southern state, it could be a sweltering hell.

And now, my lovely readers — where did you start with your planning process? Did you take the “trifecta approach”? Let us know in the comments below!

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Jenny Packham’s “Strelitzia” Inspired Dress For Under $1,500

Hey BABs! As promised, I am doing Part Deux of a fabulous Jenny Packham request. Last week we were helping someone get over “Tease” and this week it’s “Strelitzia.” This dress is also from Jenny’s 2013 Fall Bridal Collection. If you view the entire collection, you’ll see it is very much influenced by the 1930′s but with a subtle, modern twist. It’s just so glamorous! In case you missed last weeks request, here’s what one of our readers had to say:

“Could you help me get over these two Jenny Packham dresses? Budget 2000 or less, but prefer to be 1500 or less. They are both unique and I haven’t seen anything else like them. Your help would be amazing!”

I definitely tried to keep it on the cheap this time around. None of these dresses are over $600! *Pats self on back*  I’mma keep this short and sweet so … scroll down for sparkles. Enjoy!


Can't Afford It

Original Jenny Packham’s “Strelitzia” $$$$

Get Over It

6PM164 Adrianna Papell Vines Beading On Blouse Gown (Style: 8356738) $164 at

Dillards238 Betsy & Adam Beaded Lace Gown (Style: 04325147) $238 at Dillards

Isabella274 Adrianna Papell Beaded Backless Mesh Gown (Style: 091881180) On Sale For $274 at Lord & Taylor

EDressMe330 Chevron Blouson Evening Dress by JS Collections (Style: 864421) $330 at

Bloomingdales370 Adrianna Papell Sleeveless Beaded Blouson Gown (Style: 1121437) $370 at Bloomingdales

Nordstrom396 Adrianna Papell Cap Sleeve Beaded Gown With Open Back Beaded Godet (Style: 1103403) $396 at Bloomingdales

Nordstrom420 Aidan Mattox Illusion Yoke Sequin Mesh Gown (Style: 596739) $420 at Nordstrom

SaksFifthAvenue450 Aidan Mattox Sequin Tulle Sleeveless Gown (Style: 0437012811049) $450 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Coast500 Ophelia Maxi Dress With Sheer Overlay (Style: 1327341) $550 at Coast

I wanted to give you as many options as I could. There are a lot of other amazing dresses from the websites I used so check ‘em out! I hope I was able to help you get over those beautiful gowns. Please let the babes here at BAB know if we can help you out in any other way. We have plenty of gurus here to cover almost every aspect of your big day! Until next week, BABs …

Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

DIY or DIE: Terrarium Centerpieces with PopShop

Have you guys heard of PopShop? Well, it’s a really cool little design fair where you can browse around for arts and crafts and other goods, as well as get your mitts dirty with a little DIY craftiness of your own. This weekend, PopShop Houston is hosting a Handmade Weddings event, where you can get down with some rad crafts with a wedding-y slant, find other fun doodads for your big day and maybe even find your wedding gown! In honor of their awesomely DIY-centric event Sept. 20-21, in Houston, PopShop shared this rad little terrarium how-to with us. If you’re in the Houston area this weekend, be sure to stop by PopShop Houston and get your craft on with the lovely ladies there! And keep an eye out for PopShop events in your ‘hood!

Looking for a hip and minimal way to bring the outdoors to your wedding table? Try terrariums. They could even be a fun gift for your guest to take home. They are easy to make, easy to care for and quite affordable. You can use colored sand rocks and seashells in a million different colors and match any terrarium to the style and color palette of your special day. A terrarium with multiple plants, like in the video, will cost about $20 to make.

How to Make Terrariums from Pop Shop America on Vimeo.


1. A Shallow Bowl

2. Rocks for Drainage

3. Cactus Soil or Regular Potting Soil

4. Several cacti and succulents

5. Colored sand, crystals, or seashells for decoration to fit the color and style of your wedding

6. A sunny window

Start with a shallow bowl. A shallow bowl allows the plants to absorb water easily. Add a layer of rocks on the bottom. This will help the soil to dry completely in between waterings. Gently pack and firmly place the succulents in the soil. You can add all kinds of decorations like colored sand, crystals, seashells or miniature toy like objects such as birds or deer. Place your terrarium near a sunny window and water once or twice a month. Let your plants dry out in between waterings. Succulents will start to look sunken in when they’re dehydrated. Look for visible signs to know when to water. Feed every three to six months.

About Pop Shop America:

DIY means something to us. We think that everything in life should be meaningful and made with care. At Pop Shop America, you’ll find a curated series of events and online boutique that showcase handmade & vintage fashion, art, and indie products. Our goal is to create a super fun setting in which artists can earn a living and shoppers can find products that they’ll love for a lifetime.

Winning Wednesday: DIY Your Bridal Bouquet with Bloominous

Let’s talk wedding flowers.
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They can be super pricey, but they’re so pretty and damn, they smell good. But paying a florist — or floral designer — can often cost considerably more than a pretty penny. And DIYing can be one huge asspain. Which is why I’m super in love with our partner, Bloominous.

As a less-than-stellar DIY-er, and a broke-ass, Bloominous is the kind of company that is like, literally, made for me. So, they’re probz a good fit for you, too.

Here’s the thing: Because Bloominous cuts out the middle man (floral designers) by sending you pre-prepped stems — cut-to-order, de-thorned and trimmed — along with all the goodies and bits ‘n’ bobs to fancify the bouquet yourself, you’ll end up shaving a pretty huge chunk off your original floral budget.

With step-by-step photo instructions so easy that even I could master ‘em, bouquet and centerpiece DIY becomes a lot less daunting — and time consuming, since the kits show up right to your doorstep and you don’t have to go out to a craft shop to try to find the right doo-dads for assembly. And since the have kits for centerpieces, boutonnieres, bridal and bridesmaids bouquets and hell, even a flower crown, your flower needs are pretty much covered.

So, got that? You save time, money and you know … headache. Sign me up, yo!


Oh, wait, the best part? Well, that’s for you. Specifically one of you. The one of you who will win your own bridal bouquet kit — stems, ribbon, pins, ribbon and whatever else is needed — of your choosing from one of Bloominous’ 6 collections.

As per usual, for each task below that you complete, you’ll earn one entry. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning. Open to US residents only (sorry, darling!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case you don’t win, (or even if you do!) if you join Club Bloominous  andyou’ll save 10% off all future orders!

On Marriage: 25 Moments That Make Being in Love So Incredible

A lot of times during these On Marriage posts, we delve into deep, sometimes emotionally exhausting subjects. Ones that pull out all the feels. So, occasionally, I like to find the odd lighthearted listicle to get back to the shinier side of things. This post, written by Lexi Herrick and found on Huffington Post, does just that. Because sometimes, it is about the little things.

Rachel and Joel



Every day, I read articles trying to dissect and diagnose love and relationships. I can’t help but think that maybe love really isn’t definable at all. Maybe being in love with someone is just a string of moments that feels different than the rest of life. These moments give us pure happiness and awaken our souls. They make us feel alive. Here are 25 of those moments.

1. When you do something very normal or silly that you always do and receive a look of such genuine admiration that it melts you. It’s the “of course you brought donuts for your co-worker’s birthday,” or “of course you forgot to put the toothpaste cap on again” look that reminds you that you are loved for who you really are.

2. When you take a short moment to watch the person you love walk away, get into a car, or pick something up, and you stop to admire the way their body moves. It’s that moment when you realize you’re basically checking them out from a distance. You then feel a tinge of excitement when you remember that this is the person you’re in love with.

3. When you’ve had literally the worst day on the planet. You come home feeling defeated and alone only to be reminded with a forehead kiss or comfort pizza already ordered that you’re never alone even on your worst days.

4. When you’re having a disagreement and then all of a sudden you end up laughing in spite of yourselves.

5. When you’re at a dinner or celebration of some kind with each other’s families and it just feels like home. When family love crosses divides and you find that you have a new member of your family and are a new member of another. Loving moments just seem to multiply.

6. When you spend a few Friday nights staying in with trivia games, Netflix and pizza. You feel an insane comfort knowing that with one person, you can create any amount of fun that you may have needed so much more for in the past.

7. When you accomplish something amazing or even just have a marvelously funny story brewing in your mind and your heart swells up with excitement to tell them.

8. When life hands you adversity. Whether these struggles be within your relationship or family, or only in your own life, some of the most rewarding moments of love come when you feel like the world is caving in. Because you know that there will always be someone to protect you. You know in your heart that they will never leave you abandoned and afraid.

9. When you are completely exposed to someone, and yet you feel nothing but safety and love. This can mean anything, from moments of intimacy to being emotionally exposed and vulnerable. You know you are showing all that you are and are loved for it.

10. When little things like catching their scent from a t-shirt make your chest tighten and warm.

11. When you are faced with life decisions and you have a partner and best friend to support and guide you.

12. When you get really wrapped up in meaningful conversation and you note how incredible their ideas are. Being able to learn from the person you love can create some amazing moments.

13. When you’re on the same wavelength and your thoughts seem to flow seamlessly into their mind.

14. When you’re totally not on the same wavelength and end up laughing.

 To continue reading 25 Moments that Make Being In Love So Incredible, click here.

Real Wedding: Ashley and Curtis’ Unique Farm Wedding

Ashley and Curtis’ sweet Minnesota wedding was put together with a lot of time, energy, effort and love. While the bride and groom did not set a budget (!!), they managed to pull off a great party and amazing wedding under around $18,000. While rain threatened to put a damper on their big day, the skies cleared up, the roads dried up and the party got started!

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Name: Curtis and Ashley Cauley

Occupation: City Planner

Wedding Location: Carver, Minnesota

Wedding date: June 21, 2014

Budget: Curtis and I decided early on that we would not set a hard-fast budget. Rather, we would diligently research every decision to be sure that we were getting the most value for every dollar we spent. For us, this didn’t mean that we were picking the cheapest vendor. Rather, we considered how the price compared to other options and whether we would be satisfied with what we got for the price we paid. Most of the time, this meant we didn’t go with the cheapest option. {After some needling, Ashley threw out $15K- $18K as their final tally – Eds.}

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How would you describe your wedding:  This will likely be the easiest question for me to answer. Our wedding was simply OURS. Growing up and getting married in a smaller town leaves you without a lot of options to make the wedding as unique as you are as a couple. Around here, more often than not people have their receptions at a golf course and serve chicken dinners. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we wanted something different.

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After several disappointments with reception halls, a family friend offered us their farm. This was an opportunity for us to make the wedding unique and basically gave us a blank slate to work with. This opportunity allowed us to pick the vendors we wanted instead of a list of four or five vendors “allowed” to cater to each venue.

Our wedding theme was inspired by an invitation at a wedding fair and Curtis’ family farm. Our classy peacock and rustic wheat theme was perfect for us!

There so many things that we did to make our wedding OURS:

  • Commemorating those who have passed before us. My mother passed away six years ago after a yearlong courageous battle against breast cancer. Then tragically we lost Curtis’ dad two years ago unexpectedly. We decided that we would pick something to commemorate our parents. For my mom, I included two pictures of my mother on her wedding day. One of which was my grandparents walking her down the aisle. This was extra special because they walked me down the aisle. Before Curtis’ dad passed away, he passed down a pocket watch that had been passed down in the family for four generations. It only made sense that he would carry the watch in memory of him.

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  • Unity tree. Rather than doing a unity sand or candle ceremony, we branched out and had a unity tree celebration. During the ceremony we followed our wedding party in watering the tree that is now planted in the yard. The tree was also a beautiful décor piece in the church.
  • Ceremony song choices. Thankfully our pastor was open to letting us select our own ceremony music. We weren’t looking for anything “crazy” but wanted music that was special to us. Truthfully I think in the beginning I overlooked how challenging finding our ceremony music would be until I started trying to find music. Curtis and I decided a long time ago that I would walk down the aisle to Look at You Girl  by Chris LeDoux.

We ended up finding a string rendition of Stand by Me that we were both absolutely in love with. After hearing it there was not a doubt this was the song for our wedding party to walk into the church to. The issue was we couldn’t download the song since it was a preview for a string quartet that plays at weddings. We couldn’t find anything that beautiful and we tried to reach out to them. After a few attempts, I got a response saying they weren’t even sure if they had a copy of it and other copies were located across the county. However, after some chatting and some research on their end they emailed us a copy at no cost.

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The rest of the music just fell into place. My cousin sang a Miley Cyrus song. Yes, Miley Cyrus. (When I look at You.)

  • Invitations and programs. Over the course of several days, Curtis and I spent probably 12 hours looking through pages and pages of wedding invitations online. We couldn’t find something that we were in love with, and we weren’t willing to spend $4 an invitation. After coming up empty-handed, I decided I would spend a few hours designing our own to see what I could come up with. If we didn’t like it, it was only two more hours wasted on invitations.

I used designed a tri-fold invitation which included several of our engagement photos. They turned out beautiful. Then the only challenge was where to print them at a reasonable price. I called around and found that our local newspaper could print them. They printed them for 50 cents each including an envelope.

To save even more money, rather than doing RSVP cards which never get sent back, we set up a Wedding Wire account. Through the account people could RSVP electronically. The website was completely customizable and allowed us to include additional wedding information such as maps, hotel information, song requests and time lines.


I also decided to take on our wedding programs. I fashioned them like a magazine and included more engagement photos. The programs included so much more information than a typical program. We were able to include our menu, a reception to-do list, paper airplanes, our story, a heart-felt thank you and information on our wedding party.

  • Paper airplanes. I hated the idea of doing bubbles or sparklers for when we walked out of the church. I almost skipped the idea entirely but then last minute decided it would be fun to do paper airplanes. It was perfect since we are waiting to take our honeymoon to Europe. So the airplane included the following poem:

The last two years have been busy and have kept us on the run.

Therefore, we’ll wait two years to have some honeymoon fun.

That’s right folks, we are waiting until our second anniversary

to enjoy Europe’s territory

Use this paper to fold a plane and set it aside,

Then let ‘er fly when the newlyweds walk outside.

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  • Cake and pie To say that I love cake would be a complete understatement. In fact, I could easily have eaten our entire three-tier wedding cake myself. Curtis, on the other hand, is not a fan. He loves pie, especially fruit pies. When it came to figuring out what we wanted, we decided to do both. People from our church volunteered to make homemade pies, which was perfect. In fact, I believe more slices of pie went than cake.
  • Pups. We have a mini and a toy Australian shepherd. They are our babies and we spoil them rotten. It would have been completely wrong for them to not be at the reception to celebrate with us. They wore matching bowties and enjoyed the reception right alongside our guests.
  • First dance. Curtis and I did not want to do the traditional stay-and-sway for our first dance but were not looking to break out to Baby Got Back. We settled on taking some dance lessons and showcased our new moves to (I had) The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing. No, we did not do or practice the infamous lift.

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  • Shoe Game. I shamelessly stole this idea from Pinterest. To avoid knowing what the questions were I printed off several renditions and sent them directly to our DJ. This game was absolutely hilarious and gave our guests a look into our relationship with a ton of laughs. Facing back-to-back, each of us had one of our own shoes and one of the other’s shoes. When asked a question, we answered by raising the shoe of the one who was more likely to do or exhibit that behavior. Some of the questions were serious like “who is the first to say sorry” and “who is the most stubborn” but ranged all the way to “who wears the pants in the relationship” and “who runs the TV remote.” The guests said the best part of the game was watching our faces as we answered.
  • Reception. Having our reception outdoors, we had so much space to do whatever we wanted. We included a hayride for our guests from their cars (which were parked a nearby farm). Dinner was under tents. We wanted our guests to have something to do even if they didn’t like to dance. So, we had yard games (including lifesize Jenga); a campfire and s’mores; picnic tables outside; and a photo wall with endless props. We found that our guests stayed way longer than at other weddings. It think it was largely in part because there were things to do for those who didn’t want to shake their groove things. The last song played at 1:15 in the morning and we still had over 50 people at the farm –30 of which were dancing.


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What was your favorite part of your wedding? Is it cliché if I say everything? Because I mean it, the day was absolutely perfect. The wedding was personal and so full of love. Our wedding is still being talked about as being the Wedding of the Year. I think it was all the small details that made the biggest impact.

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What did you splurge on? What did you save on? I can’t really answer these questions, since we just researched and were happy with all our financial decisions.

Was there anything you would have done differently? Had you asked me a month ago I would have said started my pictures earlier. But since then we got our pictures back and there are way more than I thought there was going to be. So nothing.

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What was your biggest challenge in planning?The biggest challenge was knowing when and where to start. I felt pretty lost during the whole process. Many women have their mother to help and guide them or at the very least to turn to advice or a good cry. We had no idea how much a wedding could or should cost. I got over this by religiously using my wedding planner. I buy one for each and every one of my friends who gets engaged.

What lessons did you learn from planning or having the wedding itself?

  • Have a “get stuff done” day. A friend held a couple days where she invited us over, gave us some wine and had us work on wedding projects. She highly recommended I try it out to get stuff done. I had one day where 15 people came over to help. We polished off a lot of wine but they got projects done so fast I was literally pulling more out to do. In one afternoon they managed to get more done than I had in the last year of crafting.
  • Learn to say noWeddings equate to everyone wants to sell you their services. It’s actually exhausting to listen to people try to sell you their stuff. I’m such a softie that I have the hardest time saying no to people. Finally I had to learn what it means to say no, I’m not interested.

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  • Something will go wrong. Everyone tells you that something will go wrong but the day of everyone seems to forget that. I had been telling myself for months that I was going to stop worrying about wedding stuff at 9 a.m. on my wedding day. Best thing I could have done. I let go of my schedule, let go of my tedious type A planning and lived in the moment. I have no idea if anything truly went wrong. I was too busy enjoying the day. 
  • Dare to be different. Our wedding was unlike any of the ones held around us and it was perfect. The day was unique and filled with love. Don’t just use something because it’s the only option. Find your option.


What were your top 5 favorite things?

Top 5 least favorite? This question is really hard to answer, since I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything went perfectly, so much so that I’d be afraid to do it over again in fear it wouldn’t go so well the second time.

So, I’ll fill this section with a major challenge. Two days before our wedding we got 10 ½ inches of rain in 24 hours. Almost every road was either washed out or flooded, houses were flooding and there was literally water everywhere. Rumor has it that our town of 5,000 made the world news. Thursday was supposed to be our set-up day leaving Friday for the relaxing day to finish up details and get our nails done. Obviously the rain made us change our plans.

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Thankfully, everyone was accommodating and we were able to change our Friday appointments to Thursday when it was pouring. Looking out the window as the day passed made the reality of how much water we were getting set in.

Our church and reception site were only ½ mile apart on a gravel road. Before we went to bed on Thursday, the road between the church and the reception site washed out. I put a message on Facebook asking friends who had some free time to come help us make up for lost time.

By Friday morning, the county was fixing the small township road (someone must have put in a good word) and 20 people were in the yard with one tent already assembled and a kitchen crew was slicing pies. It was enough to make me cry, it was so overwhelming as we were so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives.

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I only had one moment where I broke down and cried for 20 seconds. I am a Type-A planner who had a floor plan for all the tables, candy bar, cake table, DJ stand and food to fit under the tent. Well with all the rain we couldn’t use my plan anymore. I had to walk away for a minute before I realized how silly I it was. This was my wedding, and there was no way I was going to let something so silly get in the way of so much hard work, excitement and planning. In what I was planning to take a day and a half took about seven hours because so many people came to help. People say it takes a village to raise a baby, but I think it also takes a village to pull off a wedding.

This may leave you wondering how things turned out. Our wedding was the only wedding in a string of seven where it didn’t rain. Most of the yard dried out and most of the roads were at least partially opened in time for the wedding,hich was fantastic since we had so many travelers. We had representatives from 12 states joining us. Other than a few well-placed sheets of plywood no one would have known we had just had so much rain.

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What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “The details don’t matter.” I think that everyone talks about in the grand scheme of things, no one will know that it was supposed to be there or it was missing. It’s probably true but when the details are there, people talk. Dare I say it … we had Port-A-Potties for restrooms at our wedding. We placed a pop-up tent in front of the bathrooms, hung lanterns, stocked baskets with tons of grooming items, hung mirrors and rented hand-washing stations. I am not kidding … people talked about how awesome our bathrooms were.

We spent a lot of time draping the ceiling with lights and tulle. While it wouldn’t have mattered, it looked spectacular at night. I also hung large pieces of fabric at the shed entrance with a “best day ever” sign. People dubbed the wedding the “Best Day Ever” and would not stop talking about how awesome the shed looked.  

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The best? The best advice I got was to use the WedPics app. It’s an app that allows your guests to upload all of the photos they took in one space. Then people can look, download and print the photos right from the app. We ended up getting over 400 photos through the app and helped us be patient while we waiting for our professional photos. It was so fun to go look through the photos the next day and see all the smiling faces of our friends. Also, some of our friends took some photos that our photographer missed.

Any other bits of wisdom? This is so long I think I covered just about everything. Ha.

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West Union Lutheran Church, Carver, MN | Wedding Dress: The Wedding Shoppe, St. Paul, MN | Tuxes: Tuxes by Theresa, Belle Plaine, MN | Venue: Family friend’s farm | Rental company: G&K Rental, New Prague, MN | DJ: Showtime Entertainment, River Falls, WI | Florist: Corey Ann Allen Designs, New Prague, MN | Photographer: Katie Maier Photography, Belle Plaine, MN | Videographer: Kaj Kjellesvig, Friend, Hopkins, MN | Cake: The Cake House, Glencoe, MN | Caterer: Dangerfields, Shakopee, MN | Hair and make-up: The Hair Saloon, Belle Plaine, MN

Real Bride Peach: Bridal Makeup – Get Good Face.


I’m sitting here as I type, enjoying the delightfully foreign sensation of dramatically long lashes and a super-duper-moisturized face. You guys, I wish I had a Gatsby-caliber party to attend tonight, because I LOOK HOT.

What just happened? My wedding makeup trial session!

Being a runner/CrossFit freak, you wouldn’t think that I have a girly side but let me tell you, I can throw down at some Sephora with the best of the divas.  However, when you get past the basic Naked 2 palette and some fabulous Buxom lip gloss, I’m worthless. Contouring, blending, falsh lashes… yeah, they and I are not on speaking terms. So when it came time to try out my wedding face, I made the personal choice to not go it alone. I needed to call in some help.

Lucky gal that I am, I befriended Andrea of Andrea Carter Artistry last year and we’ve been talking about doing a trial sitting ever since.  To brag on my girl a little, Andrea has seriously impressive bridal and editorial makeup artistry credentials (think Style Me Pretty, Huffington Post, 100 Layer Cake, The Wedding Chicks) and was also featured on Pottery Barn’s blog for her DIY champagne bottles! Talk about some BAB badassery!

Today was the day where our busy schedules aligned and I couldn’t be happier with the results!! We spent a few hours doing all the magical pampering you’d expect, along with trying several different looks to make sure I absolutely got the look I wanted. As she lovingly fussed over my face, I managed to pick her brain a little bit. For you my friends, I wanted to share some words of wisdom from Andrea, along with some things I learned, too.

1. Have a vision. But make it realistic.

I almost ruined Andrea’s work, crying laughing about her description brides who ask for “a natural and smoky eye”. That, in and of itself, is like asking for a dry shower. It’s an oxymoron. A smoky eye will not, never has been and will never be natural looking. And hi, if you wake up looking artistically smudged to perfection, then I want to be you. Ladies. Natural or smoky. Pick one. Andrea really appreciated my communication so that she could see the whole vision – I showed her pictures of the venue, pictures of the dress, told her the vibe and let her see my accessories. I knew what I wanted (and didn’t want) for my face and was able to convey it to her. As she said, “you have to know how to speak the language” of the artist. And surprisingly enough, the language isn’t too difficult. Just remember, too… If it’s hard to verbalize, there are always gazillions of images online to choose from. Just remember that you should still look like YOU. But a wowza version of it.

2. Be vocal!

Not only do you need to know what you want, you need to be able to speak up if something isn’t quite right. I wasn’t too shy to ask about wonky eyebrow hairs or a wayward clump in my lashes. We tried two very different eye looks and she had zero issue with spending the time to adjust my look to make me happy. And when the lip color was just good, but didn’t have the “AH-HAAA YES!” I was after, we kept trying until we found it. By the time she left, I wanted to do nothing but sit and stare at myself in the mirror because, DAMN.  That is a really great feeling, both for her and for me. I’m so glad Andrea was patient, open to my feedback and kind enough to guide me through the process smoothly.

3. Budget for it.

I  would be a crappy Broke-Ass Bride if I didn’t mention the reality – makeup, the trials and sessions do cost. So I will say loudly, that it is a matter of personal preference as to whether you want to engage an outside resource. But with careful planning, you can easily budget for the expert help. In the Atlanta area, they range anywhere from $50 to $100 per trial session, with top artists around the $150 to $200 range for the day of. Me personally, it would be a hot mess disaster if I tried to do my own wedding day makeup no matter how many Pinterest boards/links I scoured. I’d probably be so nervous the morning of that I’d stick a false eyelash into my eyeball and wind up in tears, pissed off or both. Or completely sweat it all off on the dance floor. My belief is that some things are worth the investment for the quality of the work. And any makeup artist worth their salt will come with full ammunition to make you the most beautiful version of yourself possible, for the entire day. So if there is room in the budget, why not sit back and let a professional help you?

4. Words of wisdom

From Andrea herself – “You want your makeup artist to feel like one of two things: either your very good friend who puts you at ease OR a no-nonsense professional who you trust implicitly to do the job. But if you run into anyone who doesn’t listen to you, who refuses to try something differently at your request, or in any way makes you feel uncomfortable? Walk the other way, with a quickness.” Lucky for me, Andrea simply flew into the first category. The session was easy, fun and we reached a collective “hell yes!” on my look. BOOM. Then we made plans to have coffee soon, because she’s just that awesome.

From me – Be relaxed and be open to trying new things, even if they put you out of your comfort zone. Remember that bridal makeup does need to be a bit more amped than your everyday look to photograph well. Don’t worry too much if you have a little out of body experience when you see the final outcome. Because with your clear vision and with an experienced makeup artist in your arsenal, you’ll look stunning both in person and in photos.

Till next time,