Posts in the 'Contributors' Category
These Gilt Agate wedding invitations look like the inside of a geode!
Oh, hello wedding dress under $100! ModCloth First Orchard of Business Dress, $95.99
Memorial Day Weekend is kind of the unofficial ushering in of summer. Barbecues, parades, graduation … the warm months have arrived! And if you’re anything like me, that means getting thee to a body of water as frequently as possible to beat the heat (or hangover … I swear it’s the best cure). Obviously, then, that means upping your swimsuit game — especially if you’re going on a beachy honeymoon. Here are five hot suits under $100:
Esther Williams 1950s Style Peach Hibiscus Sheath Swimsuit, $82 at Unique Vintage
Reversible Striped Peekaboo Bikini Bottoms, $12.90 at Forever21
Which is your favorite, BABs? Do you have any great plans this weekend? Tell us in the comments below!
“I am head over heels in love with a Matthew Christopher gown (Sofia) that retails for well over 3 grand. The fit, the detailing, the sharp details on the lining. ALL OF IT! Definitely doesn’t fit into my budget of 10-15 hundred.”
This gown is gorgeous! The “Sofia” is a trumpet-style gown with lots of beautiful details, including a lace overlay and silk chiffon banding. The gown is fitted in all the right places for a flattering silhouette. The banding pattern is particularly unique, so many of my suggestions for you today focus on the lace overlay and the silhouette, but I did sneak in a couple gowns that feature banding or geometric lines as well. Let’s see what we’ve found for $1000-$1500!
Impression Bridal, Style: 10269, $1,000-$1,499 at Impression Bridal Stores (check website for locations)
There you have it; my selections for a Matthew Christopher “Sofia” look-alike under $1500. If you would like even more suggestions, The Broke-Ass Bride featured this gown in a previous CAI/GOI post here. Additionally, fellow BAB blogger Lisa wrote a CAI/GOI post recently on the Watters “Nyra” gown, which shares similar characteristics to “Sofia” above. I hope we found something you love, dear reader. Keep those requests coming! Happy shopping!
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.
Credit:Andrew Callaci (Portland) and Nicole Varnell (Spokane)
Planning a wedding is an amazing adventure. You have this incredible period of time where you get to celebrate daily the fact that you have found the love of your life. You’ll spend that time finding creative ways to express yourself as a couple and put together a celebration that encompasses all of the great and ordinary things that make you and your beloved, well, you.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always get the memo that you’re supposed to be blissful. Sometimes reality comes crashing down and sometimes tragedy hits. When these things happen, you come to grips with the fact that someone you love, someone who was an integral part of your life and someone you never dreamed of having a wedding without, won’t be there.
Within days of accepting my fiance’s proposal, it became evident that my father was in a lot of trouble over a check he mailed to a business investor. He was being investigated for money laundering and mail fraud and none of us really understood how or why. Thinking it was all a misunderstanding that could be resolved, Dad was cooperative and transparent. His honesty earned him five years in a federal prison hundreds of miles away. Since September, I’ve only been able to communicate with him via email, and it’s very expensive. I filled out the necessary paperwork months ago to be approved to visit him, but still haven’t been approved.
This situation has had a tremendous effect on my family. Their home was lost. We’re still unsure of how a seemingly simple error warranted five years of prison time. Explaining it all is awkward, scary and painful. Then of course, there are the uncomfortable feelings that go along with knowing my father won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. I won’t get to see his blushing face smile at me awkwardly when he sees me fully dressed in my gown. I will miss out on the adorable scenes of a father-daughter dance. It takes a lot of the joy out of “joyous occasion” when I dwell on it, and being happy feels selfish.
I had to accept the fact that my situation isn’t altogether unique. We all have our shit, and we all deserve to be happy.
There are a multitude of reasons someone you love could be obviously, even painfully missing and it can lead to a lot of uncomfortable questions.
“Who’s going to walk you down the aisle”
“How are you going to honor them?”
“How can you just keep planning with them gone?”
Don’t be afraid to tell people it’s personal and that you’re not ready to talk about it. You don’t ever have to be ready. This is between you and your betrothed. Any insinuation that you shouldn’t be happy is shitty and unfair and should be treated as such. I had a little bit of warning that my father wouldn’t be present at my wedding, so I rushed the wedding dress purchase just a bit. That was the one thing he could contribute and wanted desperately to do it, so when I found a dress I loved, I made sure he was there to see me try it on and make the purchase. He still tells me how grateful he is to have been made a part of it. Losing someone doesn’t always come with a warning, but it if does, consider giving them a chance to feel included. Bring pictures or magazines or questions to ask. You’d be surprised how a glimpse into something beautiful and happy can relieve someone who is suffering.
A good thing to remember is that people who love you want you to be happy. It’s horribly sad to think about, but how often do people say in their last days, “I want you be be happy and go on living your life”? Most of the time, right? I have the benefit and detriment of communicating with my dad, even just by email and he tells me every time that I deserve to be happy. I choose to believe him because I know he’s right.
At times, people will take an even more callous approach: “Just get over it. You’ve only got x months left.” How rude. Mourning has no time limit. Fear and anxiety and sadness have no time limit. When someone you love is missing, every step can be a reminder and I’m not here to tell you what and what not to dwell on. When things get hard, find someone to talk to. Someone you trust, who understands your struggle can bring you back to center. Sometimes they will have ideas on how to cope or how to address things. Listen. They care and want to help you.
Above all, don’t be ashamed. Shame is, in my opinion, the most damaging state to be in. It’s not my fault that my dad wrote a check out of the wrong business account and I refuse to see him as a bad person. It’s not wrong of you to move on with planning even though your loved one is sick or has died. You’ll have enough emotion of your own, so when painful situations arise, never, ever, ever let anyone dictate how you should and shouldn’t feel.
Have you suffered a loss during your wedding planning? How did you cope? Give brides your kindest advice in the comments below.
Social media, y’all. It’s a part of the world. I know there are still a few holdouts — hell, my friend who works for a popular blog featuring proposals is still a non-Facebooker. I was on Facebook as early as 2004 … so there’s that.
But here’s the thing: Social media ends up kind of being a dumping ground for all of our thoughts, ideas and opinions — for better or worse. And when it comes to planning your wedding and using social media? Well, that shit can get complicated. From nosey Nellys to judgey Judies to snarky Susies, the second you put yourself out there on the Interwebz, you’re opening yourself up to a potential tidal wave of grief. Because: Assumptions. Do you have 400+ Facebook friends, but really only 50 that you’d consider inviting to your wedding? Well, all 400 of them are going to see any wedding update you post, and even though you haven’t seen Ophelia, your college roommate’s best friend’s cousin, since that one frat party, she might chime in with her two cents on all things planning-related. So how do you keep this from happening?
Post wisely, darling.
Stay on the DL
A friend told me she has a Facebook friend who posts updates from her wedding countdown app twice a day. TWICE. A. DAY. Y’all, don’t be that friend. While we’re all very, very excited that you’re excited, and love is a wonderful thing, there is almost nothing that will unexcite your guests / friends / the world more than this constant bombardment. And twice a day?!? Oh, honey. This exuberant behavior will easily earn eye rolls, but it could also have your guests saying “OMG. FINALLY. Now we can stop hearing about this thing.” when your wedding day approaches. There is such a thing as oversaturation, and this is it.
Instead, create a private Facebook group. Invite those you intend to invite to your wedding. Post your updates there, and use this space to collect addresses, share ideas or what have you. Sure, you can post occasional updates on your regular newsfeed, but if you’re the kind of person who just can’t not post, then private groups are your friend.
You can also create a custom friends list so only select people can see your posts on your timeline … but this needs to be changed with every post if you have different audiences in mind.
Chelsea LeVere, of Tidewater & Tulle, used private Facebook groups during her planning:
As a bride who had 5 bridesmaids (with only one of them local), creating a private Facebook group was super important for communication and allowed my bridesmaids to connect with each other/become friends before the wedding day. They’re still friends even today!
Pinterest is another platform where you have the option of keeping things a little under the radar — especially if you have that friend who is constantly nosing into your plans, and you just don’t care to share. Pinterest provides the option to create a secret board (or five), which you can also invite people to pin to, but without others being able to snoop.
A little goes a long way
Sometimes social media is the easiest way to get all your friends in one place — because, let’s face it, we all have that one friend who just won’t respond to texts. But tread lightly, y’all. Over-tagging your bridesmaids on every Instagram photo / pin / Facebook post that inspires you will likely have them running for the hills. Unless they’re as gung-ho as you are, be selective about what you show them, and how much interaction you ask of them.
Real Bride Shannon suggests using a private Facebook message group to collaborate with your bridal brigade:
“Facebook Messenger groups are a great way to collaborate with your bridal party on ideas and schedules, but before you hit send, ask yourself, ‘Would I include all of these people in a face-to-face conversation?’ Save it for the times you need or truly want EVERYONE’S input. If a two-way conversation between you and your MOH starts blowing up the rest of your party’s notifications, they’re likely to check out and miss something big. Most importantly, never use it to call someone out. Some things are just better left one-on-one.”
While it can be super tempting to connect all of your social media accounts so that anything posted on Pinterest or Insta also gets posted on Twitter and Facebook, proceed with caution, y’all, because here’s where that super fine line between gathering inspiration and bombarding your friends gets blurry.
Or in the words of Cris Stone from Kiss My Tulle:
Don’t connect your Pinterest pins to your other SM accounts. No one wants to be notified every 5 seconds when you pin a new idea.
Think about it: You’re lounging around on a Sunday morning, post-brunch and with a mimosa in hand when you go on a Pinterest spree (it happens, I understand). Next thing you know, you’ve pinned 15 dresses, 20 bouquet ideas and a holy buttload of decor inspiration. You head on over to your Facebook and see that every. single. one. of those pins have also been shared on your timeline. Which means that’s all your friends have been seeing you post. Now think about when you’ve seen it from someone else — say, a pregnant friend who is planning her nursery or that cousin who has gotten really into gluten-free, paleo cooking. Slightly irritating, no?
OK. So. Disconnect those accounts. Cross-post with intention. Feel free to have a melee on Pinterest, but leave it there.
Be excited about your wedding. Talk to your people. But keep in mind that the more you share, the less things will be a surprise come your actual wedding day … and the surprise is a lot of the fun. You get to wow people, but if they know what to expect, it’ll be hard to do that. No one wants to steal your thunder, I promise, but by sharing every little thang, you’re stealing your own thunder.
How are you staying sane with social media in the lead-up to your wedding day? Tell us in the comments below!
If you’ve been following along you know the big love of my life (apart from El Fiancé) is performing. Being in musical theatre productions is just so much fun, and is something I have done ever since I was a little girl.
And now, for the first time ever, I have had to consider whether or not I “do the am dram” just before our wedding.
El Fi is already signed up for a performance two weeks before we get married, safe in the knowledge that if anyone is going to be freaking out in the run up to the big day it won’t be him.
And I too have the opportunity to be in a show just before we get married. Normally I wouldn’t even flinch and would sign myself up for as much theatre as possible. But so many people have told me that I should be concentrating on nothing but the wedding in the run up to the big I Do.
I call baloney.
1) Most of my social life revolves around am dram. Whilst we would still see plenty of people outside of a rehearsal room anyway, to miss a show is to miss out on months of bonding activity, known as “panicking for weeks before it all comes together in the final stretch.”
2) Doing it the broke-ass way is as much about mindset as it is about budget. For me, it’s easier to see this wedding in the context of the rest of my life if it isn’t the only thing IN my life. Obsessing (and therefore panic overspending) is quite likely for me unless I have other stuff to worry about instead.
3) How the heck can I be the Am Dram Bride without doing any darn am dram?!
I guess the point of this post is to say: People will expect (usually) the bride to devote her whole world to planning the wedding. And if you’re the kind of BAB who is really enjoying the process and totally adores all things wedding then great, go for it. But if, like me, centrepieces and canapés just don’t turn you on, for goodness sake keep doing the stuff that does. Because it’s just one day, and there’s no point turning up to it completely exhausted because you had the worst few months of your life leading up to it.
Till next time!
Am Dram Bride – out.
*does defiant jazz hands*
When BAB Cynthia hit us up on Facebook, she had a solid idea of what she wanted. As we set out to give her some inspiration, a disappointing fact became obvious: even though more and more brides are opting for some color on their wedding day, designers don’t have nearly as many offerings for the plus size ladies out there, especially not at budget-friendly prices.
As time ticks down toward Cynthia’s October nuptials, she’s still on the hunt for a blush, A-line dress with lace and sleeves that doesn’t look too “off the rack,” all for about $500. Unfortunately, an in-stock dress is the safest bet when you’re down to the wire, but never fear, Cynthia! We scoured our favorite sources and came up with a few ideas for you to consider when finding your frock.
Forget the categories!
Slap sleeves on a dress with some color and a lot of manufacturers want to call it a “Mother of the Event” dress. We’re not buying it because we’ve found some dresses all available in plus sizes that are anything but matronly!
This fully-lined, all-over lace dress is displayed in a deep red on the store page, but head over to the Watters website to customize your lace and lining colors. This one is shown with blush lace over a cameo lining. There is a premium for sizes over 18, but you get a $50 shoe credit with the purchase, so it evens out!
With the gorgeous details on the sleeves and the hint of a train, no one has to know you nabbed this from the special occasion section. It’s shown in a pinky-beige color called foundation, but it’s also available in rose. This one also comes with the $50 shoe hook-up!
Like the first gown, this one comes completely customizable with several options for the lace and chiffon. This, too, comes with that $50 shoe credit AND sits comfortably under budget.
Skip the bridal salon!
You’ve probably heard that adding “wedding” or “bridal” before anything makes the price double. It’s not always an exaggeration. Department stores are full of beautiful special occasion dresses that could leave enough room in your budget for some serious customizing (more on that later)!
We took a little liberty with the sleeve length with this one, but it’s sooooo pretty! Plus, at nearly $200 below budget, you can accessorize with a pretty wrap if you’re hoping to keep your arms covered.
A bolero is a great way to keep your arms covered while maintaining the option to ditch it if you get too warm. This fancy lace gown is permanently reduced to a budget-friendly price.
While the sleeves aren’t lace, the sparkly embellishment and ruched bodice make this a figure-flattering option that still looks more than appropriate for a wedding.
This gown leaves you with so many options. At just a fraction of your budget, you can opt to wear it as is, but since we’re aiming for a custom look, you can 86 the bolero and opt for some of the pretty additions we’ve found!
Layer it on!
Since Cynthia is looking for something that isn’t too formal, but still looks wedding-y, lace toppers, boleros and capes are a great way to dress up a simple gown with something decidedly “bridal.”
Since most of your lace accessories are going to come in traditional white or ivory, consider tying your whole ensemble together with a sash that combines shades of ivory and pink for a truly one-of-a-kind look.
Pink Bridal Sash with 3D Floral Cluster, $49.99 at David’s Bridal
The long and short of it!
One way to ensure a truly unique look on your big day is to consider different lengths. Cocktail and party dresses can be worn on their own or transformed with a tulle or chiffon skirt for a gown you haven’t seen anywhere else before.
A simple lace dress is completely transformed when you add a long skirt, plus it leaves you with the option to leave it behind after the ceremony and dance all night in lightweight comfort!
Your budget doesn’t have to be a set-back when finding a unique design that perfectly compliments your style. Don’t be afraid to experiment and look in unlikely places. As Broke-Ass Brides, creativity is our currency — and sometimes the best solution is where you’ve never thought to look.
Are you having trouble finding the dress of your dreams? Holler at us and maybe we can help!
Photo credit: A Sight of Love
My wedding is getting closer and closer, and I’m getting kind of anxious and even a little sad about one important detail. All the vendors are in place, I’m right on budget, the RSVPS are trickling in, and I couldn’t be more excited to finally call my fiancé my husband. But there’s one dude that will be missing from my wedding day: my awesome rescue dog, Pickles.
We ruled out a number of venues at the start of our search because they weren’t dog-friendly. He’s such an important part our both of our lives that we couldn’t imagine our big day without him! When we booked our actual venue and heard that he was welcome anywhere on the campus (as long as he didn’t pee on the carpets, obviously), we were elated. I bookmarked a bunch of photos from wedding blogs featuring couples and their dogs, and pinned a couple of stylish dog outfits – tuxedos, flower collars, bow ties, etc. But then I started thinking about the day’s logistics, and a scene popped into my mind:
It is a half hour before the ceremony, and I’m standing in a garden in my gorgeous ivory wedding gown, my handsome groom in his new suit. Our beloved dog breaks free of his leash and frolics toward us, a giant grin on his face. He launches himself at us as hard as he can (as he is wont to do when excited). Two paw-shaped smears of dirt trail down the front of my dress. My veil catches on his claw and he panics. My fiancé grabs at him and in the melee ends up with a muddy paw print on his tie and white shirt, his corsage torn off and trampled. Confused that we’re upset, my dog sweetly kisses my face, licking off a swath of carefully applied makeup.
Obviously this is worst-case scenario, but even WORSE case would be if he were panicked by all the people at the reception, and wandered off because everyone is having too good of a time to pay attention to our little 20-pound scruff. Unfortunately he doesn’t do well in a crate, so that’s not going to be an option, either. Even if we had him there just for photos and/or the ceremony, it would still be an hour’s drive round-trip from the venue to my apartment, and back again. I wouldn’t want to ask someone to miss a part of the wedding to chauffeur my dog around, especially in Los Angeles on a Saturday afternoon.
So, he’ll be going to his dog-sitter on the morning of the wedding, after spending one more night with his dad as a bachelor. My wedding will be sadly sans-Pickles, but I know it’s for the best. There will be so many things to (potentially) worry about on that day that I can’t be worried about where he is – it’s worth the extra cost to know that he’s safe. Yes, we’ll miss each other, but he’ll also be happily frolicking at the dog park with his buddies, not bored because mom has been sitting still for two hours getting her hair and makeup done. But as much as I know this is the right decision, I still feel a tinge of sadness that he won’t be there, and wonder if we could have made it work somehow. Not to mention all the friends and family who have asked what role he’ll be playing in our wedding!
I’m curious if anyone else has had pets at their wedding, and how it turned out?
Names: Jareesa & William
Occupation: Supply chain project manager & statistician
Wedding location: McNamara Alumni Center, Minneapolis, MN
Wedding Date: March 14, 2015
How would you describe your wedding: Our wedding was pretty traditional but we incorporated elements of our nerd personalities to make it our own. I also had my youngest brother do a reading of my favorite poem.
What was your favorite part of your wedding? Getting married of course! Celebrating with our friends and family is a close second.
What did you splurge on? Our venue and catering — our venue uses an exclusive caterer that is pretty pricey, but our food and cake were delicious! People are still raving about it.
What did you save on? Our stationery. I ordered our Save The Dates and invitations from MagnetStreet, a BAB partner. Our day-of materials (table numbers, escort cards, programs, menus) were designed and printed in my company’s print shop. They only charged us $70 to design and print all those items!
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have listened to my fiancé more and just trusted my gut. I started second-guessing myself thanks to too much Pinterest and Instagram, and I worried my wedding wouldn’t measure up. In the end, it was perfect, but I wasted time being worried about the wrong things.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Definitely managing my anxiety! The closer we got to the wedding, the more my worry got out of control. I worried about everything — the weather, that people wouldn’t come, that it wouldn’t be pretty. You name it, i worried about it. In the end, it wasn’t even necessary because everything was beautiful.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Figure out what’s really important, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
1. Marrying the most amazing guy ever
2. Celebrating with my friends and family
3. The amazingly delicious food! I’m still dreaming about that wedding cake
4. Getting a chance to socialize with all our guests individually, having that time made our wedding feel so intimate and personal
5. Seeing our guests react positively to our nerdy touches. Everyone really loved it and said our wedding felt authentic to our personalities.
Top 5 least favorite?
1. I was pretty stressed right up until I reached the suite to get my makeup done. At one point I turned off my phone because I needed a break from the calls.
2. By 11:30pm I wanted to keep partying but I was just so tired! Some of our guests had an impromptu after-party but all I wanted to do was get in bed.
3. I can’t think of anything else!
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
I got a lot of unsolicited advice about everything — where to get married, the size of our wedding, what we should serve, etc. It especially came from people who didn’t know us!
The best? Several people told me to try to “be in the moment” and enjoy every moment of the day. I had that in the back of my mind and I really tried to be present for every moment. I’m glad I did, because now I think back to our marriage and I remember so many touching moments.
Any other bits of wisdom?
- Premartial counseling is totally worth it. We wound up finding a relationship therapist, and even though we communicate well already, she helped us learn things about each other and ourselves.
- HIRE A COORDINATOR! We hired an amazing coordinator who made our desire to be guests at our own wedding come true. We could relax and socialize with our guests without worrying if things were going according to schedule, and that helped us enjoy the day immensely.
- Don’t do things just because you think you “should” — figure out how to have the wedding that is authentic to the type of people you are. For us, that meant having a nerdy wedding, and for me, wearing my glasses. I couldn’t imagine NOT wearing my glasses because I wear them everyday, and I’m so glad I did.
Budget breakdown?* (These are all very approximate)
Officiant: Shon Crowley – $0 (friend who gifted his services)
Photographer: Studio 220 Photography – $2,000
Venue: McNamara Alumni Center, University Hall package – $1,800 ($1500 standard fee + $300 room flip fee)
Catering: D’Amico Catering – $7,000 (included limited bar, cocktail hour appetizers, plated dinner and wedding cake)
Day of coordinator: Ask For The Moon Events – $550
Grooms Outfit: Men’s Wearhouse – $100 (free tux rental, purchased shoes & tie)
Wedding Gown: Luxe Bridal Couture – $400 (alterations only, gown purchased by mother as a gift)
Flowers/Decor: Festivities – $1650 (includes all flowers, ceremony & reception decor)
DJ: Instant Request – $595 (reception only)
Hair: LocStarz Natural Hair Salon – $60
Make-up: Creative Beaute Agency – $80
Save the dates: MagnetStreet – $170
Invitations: MagnetStreet – $340
Favors: mini-pies from Cossetta’s in St Paul, MN – $170