Posts in the 'Contributors' Category

Amp Up Your Megawatt Grin with Smile Brilliant

I admit it: I’m a huge coffee and red wine fan. I mean, c’mon, how could I not be? But my teeth, on the other hand, aren’t so keen on the enamel-staining vices. They carry a very special tint all their own, one that I’m always happy to see disappear. And I would have especially loved to have pretty bright-white teeth in my wedding pics, rather than these dingy old Chiclets.

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 7.46.57 AM

Smile Brilliant approached me about trying out their tooth-whitening kit, and I mean, duh. Of course I’d be willing to try it.

 

They sent me a beautifully-packaged kit, complete with the tools to make my own impressions (which I sent back to Smile Brilliant’s lab so they could in turn fancify some me-specific trays), desensitizing gel and whitening gel. When my own Christen-ized trays came back (about a week or so later), I was able to get down to business — first with the desensitizing gel, then the whitening gel. Guys, make sure you follow the instructions, and similar to following a recipe, read them all the way through before you do any damn thing.

Retailing around $90, Smile Brilliant definitely provides a professional-feeling experience, and I enjoy that the whitening trays are tailored to each specific user. The company purports that the reason for this is so the trays will fit to your teeth, creating a more comfortable experience for the wearing time. I can dig it.

The entire process used for Smile Brilliant‘s teeth-whitening system can be found here. In short, it saves time and money by not having to go through the whole rigamarole with your dentist.

But Christen, you say, what about your teeth? How’d they come out? Guys, here’s the thing: My teeth suck. I had braces for eons as a kidlet, and a really shoddy job taking them off has pretty much kicked me into the Your Teeth Are Too Sensitive For Life camp. Of course, every once in a while I get a wild hair and convince myself that my chompers have magically healed themselves and I, too, can tote a megawatt smile! But nope. My teeth would barely accommodate the trays for a half-hour, so my run with the whitening process was short. But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear about your experience with them, however, if you take ‘em for a rock ‘n’ roll. Then I can be super jelly while I down another cup of java, knowing that your teeth are prettier than mine (the upside: I can down all the java and wine I want without worrying about staining my teeth … because that job is done and over).

 

 

Real Bride Tiffany: DIY-ish Invitations

I have been completely hesitant about this post because: #1 I could talk about paper for days and #2 I OVERSPENT and am mildly shameful.

IMG_6108

It was DIY hell but totally worth it.

When I first started browsing invitations, I hated everything. Well, not hated. But I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was also, as per usual, mildly horrified at the cost. I knew what had to happen. I would have to do these bad boys by myself. With some help. Well, a lot of help. Here is what you need to DIY your wedding invitations if you are insanely picky like me.

A graphic designer

Everyone knows someone that is a graphic designer, right? RIGHT. Well, hopefully you do. If not, browse Wtsy for an unreasonable amount of time until you find a designer’s style you like and pray that they will do custom for you! I was fortunate enough to use my MOH’s best friend and her impressive design skills. I am not even joking when I say that she designed exactly what we wanted. A modern, clean, brewery themed wedding suite. I still can’t get over it.

invites

Envelopes

Did you know that square envelopes cost significantly more to mail? NOW YOU DO. They looked so good though. 

Did you know that your printer will eat your expensive envelopes if they are too thick? NOW YOU DO. Ugh, this though. This hurt me. I “splurged” on getting pre-lined envelopes from Cards & Pockets and our printer ate most of our “extras.” Thank goodness for those extras!

I downloaded the fonts our designer used to make a super sweet envelope template in MS Word because it is 2014 and handwriting should be outlawed. If you think guests appreciate the time you took handwriting their names, then I shall tell my guests how I individually hand-fed each envelop through the printer all whilst holding my breath that it wouldn’t jam. All of this sans alcohol, because calories and wedding dress and stuff.

A  reliable and affordable print vendor

We used Cat Print for the Save the Dates and invitation pieces. I will also be using them for our programs. Their pricing is fantastic for the quality of paper they offer. I chose 130# stock because I like to give people paper cuts. And also because it looked and felt expensive. Want round corners? They can do that too. Want free paper samples? HECK YES I DO. That might have been my favorite part of this entire process and left Justin completely perplexed about the intricacies of paper textures.

A small posse to assemble all the pieces

We only had 67 invitations to mail out. And I decided that they needed that monogram AND twine. After assembling 10, I was done. Justin was a HUGE help as was my little sister (even though he can’t lick envelopes and she doesn’t know how to tie things … ). It took a little over one week to get everything done once I had the final printed pieces in hand.

helpers

You can bribe helpers with beer and also things to play with.

The final cost? Let’s break it down, shall we? This includes our save-the-dates as well.

Design: $160. for 8 hours of design
Printing: $157. 4 pieces, 80 of each with bleeds, rounded corners and on 130# stock.
Envelopes: $127. square, lined and RSVP.
Postage: $132. Those damn square envelopes.
Misc. supplies (twine, eyelets, replacement eyelet tool for the one I broke … ): $35

Total: $611 for 80 pieces. Or $7.60 each.

Is that more than I wanted to spend? Yes. But they are incredible and completely us, so totally worth it!

Ten for the Weekend: Just Kidding, It’s Really Twenty Deals this Week!

Welp, here it is. The end of summer (ish). The last long weekend to celebrate sun, fun and perfect day-drinking weather. School’s back in sesh, or it will be very soon, and the insanity of wedding season is winding down. I, personally, fully intend on enjoying this weekend to its fullest extent, and therefore will be taking the whole weekend off. The Broke-Ass Bride will resume our normal posting schedule bright ‘n’ early Tuesday morning. But, I wouldn’t just leave you hanging like that, yo! So I’mma double down on our weekly sales and deals roundup and give you 20 kickin’ discount links to help you ease into fall. Because I love you, #duh.

20 for the weekend

1. Ladies, I love a pretty frock as much as the next gal. I love it even more when I can score a good deal on one. Take 30% off your order of $150 or more at Kiyonna when you use code RELAX30 through 9/3.

2. Cooler weather is a great reason to stock up on cozy loungewear and sweet unmentionables. Save 15% off purchases over $100 over at Journelle when you use code LABORDAY14 until 9/1.

3. Did you save your vaca days for fall, when all the kids are back in school? Or maybe the Magic Kingdom just begs to be visited during your honeymoon. Either way, Expedia will save you 20% off hotels during your Disneyland Resort getaway until 9/30.

4. Remember that super cute polka dot sweater from this morning’s Five for Friday? Welp, head on over to ShopRuche, where you can knock 30% off with LABORDAY30.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 1.50.57 PM

For instance, this dress with tiny elephants on it, is originally $62.99 but comes out to a grand total of $50.04 when all’s said and done (I only know this because I promptly bought it as soon as I saw it).

5. I love having outdoor dinner parties during the fall, and Chinese lanterns are pretty perfect for such an event. Save 5% off Autumn Colors & Décor this Labor Day Weekend at Luna Bazaar with code AUTUMN5 until 9/2.! 

6. Get your craft on and score 20% off your whole purchase from Michaels

7. Set up your dapper dude with new duds, and knock an extra 30% off sale items from Bonobos when you use code SALEAWAY30.

8. Shape up and give the ladies some love with 10% off sitewide at shapewear specialist Hourglass Angel when you use code LABORD10.

9. Fun, peppy shop C. Wonder wants you to get prepped for fall! Save 30% on full price items + free shipping on items over $100 through 9/1.

10. Have some pals who hosted great get-togethers this summer? Thank them with a rockin’ sweet or savory gift basket (or crate stocked with all the fixin’s for bloody marys)! Save up to 40% during the Harry & David Labor Day sale until 9/3.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 2.20.00 PM

Guys, feel free to send me this savory snack crate, mmkay? Thx.

11. Fend off the cold weather a little longer and escape to a Sandals resort … but take advantage of their huge labor day sale first

12. Duh, of course I’mma include Ann Taylor in all this. Knock an extra 50% off select full price and sale styles through 9/2.

13. Anthropologie’s even getting in on the action, skimming a cool 20% off select new sale styles.

14. Time to trade in your summer brights for fall neutrals? Paula’s Choice is taking 30% off select fall makeup plus free shipping with code AMLABORDAY30 until 9/1.

15. Pretty stationery is always in style. PaperStyle is giving you, darling Broke-Asses, a killer 20% off Laura Ashley Stationery when you use code PSBAB until 9/6. There’s the extra love we love.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 2.35.12 PM

These invitations are adorable and I love them.

16. Do you all know Beyond the Rack? Well, you should, because you can get up to 80% off retail prices AND they’re also throwing out some extra BAB love: Join today and get a $10 credit toward shopping when you use invitation code BROKEBRIDE10.

17. We love Target. Especially when they have sales, like this one: Save up to 25% off select home and outdoor products through 9/1!

18. You already know my love for American Eagle’s skinny jeans, but their intimates line, Aerie, holds a special place in my, er, underwear drawer as well. Try ‘em out for yourself with 25% off + free shipping through 9/1 when you use code 952367P1

19. New season, new bag? Sure! Take an extra 30%-50% off contemporary handbags at Bluefly featuring IIIBeCa by oy Gryson, Rebecca Minkoff and Furla.

20. Add a retro twist to your new fall wardrobe. Head on over to Unique Vintage and take 20% off sitewide when you use code LABOR20 until 9/3.

Five for Friday: Fall Finds for Your Fashion Game

I’m totally a warm-weather addict, but even I’ll be OK with the end of 100-degree days and a return to the normalcy that lives around 75 degrees. As long as I can still sport flip-flops and can avoid big jackets, I’ll be stoked. I do love fall for a few reasons: the air’s crisper — and maybe it’s because I’m a big advocate of learning — it feels more studious ; colors change, and everything becomes more gold-tinged; and well, my birthday is in October … so there’s that. I always liked being able to revamp my wardrobe every fall, and it’s a habit that I still partake in, though now it’s more window-shopping than actual buying. So with this weekend marking the unofficial end of summer, here are my five favorite finds, all under $100, to breathe a little life into your wardrobe this fall.

ShopRuche.com | Sugar Fix Polka Dot Sweater

Sugar Fix Polka Dot Sweater, $39.50 from ShopRuche 
(it’s a popular item and low on stock, so check out the Dotty Dot Polka Dot Sweater)
Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.27.52 AM Bloom Skirt, $88 from Shabby Apple


Camp Director Tote in Day Camp, $59.99 ModCloth

American Eagle Skinny Jeans

Skinny Jeans in Classic Rinse, $29.99 from American Eagle
Guys, I swear by these jeans. All 5-foot-2 of me adores the short lengths, and they always fit true-to-size.


Morning Amour Flat in Clementine, $34.99 from ModCloth

What do you love about fall, BABs?

BAB Throwback: To See Or Not To See … That Is The Question

Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.

BAB Throwback to see or not to see that is the question

From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.

It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.

Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.

Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography

Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of  you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.

Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?

And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.

So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! BHLDN’s “Kayleigh” Inspired Gown For Under $500

Hello, BAB’s! How y’all doin’? This week we’re helping KAYlin get over BHLDN’s KAYleigh (I had to).  When I first saw the dress I was like, “Grecian Goddess.” I know it’s been a while with all the amazing requests coming in, so I hope you’re out there, girl. Kayleigh wrote in saying:

 “Help me BABs, you’re my only hope!
I fell in love with the Bhldn “Kayleigh” dress, but it’s both way out of my budget (below $500) and discontinued! I’ve been scouring the internet for a comparable dress, but I can’t find anything. I’m in love with the simplicity and softness of the dress. Long time fan!
Thanks for all you do!”

 I won’t keep you waiting …

Can't Afford It

Original “Kaleigh Gown” Catherine Deane for BHLDN (Style: 2653000) $1,200

Get Over It

LightInTheBox Mermaid Sweetheart Halter Lace Wedding Dress (Style: 00604657) $142 at LightInTheBox.com

DailyLook Line & Dot Lace Halter Dress (Style: 112672) $171 at Daily Look

RainingBlossoms2 Chiffon Halter Neckline Sheath Wedding Dress With Beaded Waistband (Style: WD-3269) $190 at GoodCheapWeddingDress.com

CastlePromAndBridal Beautiful Satin Gown With Sheer Lace Overlay by Alfred Angelo (Style: 7281L) $219 at The Castle

BestBridalPrices4 Strapless Floor Length With Soft Net Over Lace (Style: 8614L) $239 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDN2 Romantic Dress With Soft, Light Tulle by Jenny Yoo (Style: 31062417) $260 at BHLDN

Crystal Lattice Sash $180 sold separately.

BestBridalPrices2 Lace Halter Dress With Scalloped Edge Detailing (Style: 2043) $270 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPrices3 Elegant Gown With V-Neckline & Sash At The Waist by Impressions (Style: 11655) $298 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDN Full Ball Gown Skirt With Layers Of Tulle by Tadashi Shoji (Style: 30369367) $300 at BHDLN

RainingBlossoms Lace Sweetheart Strapless Sheath Wedding Dress With Bow Back Waistband (Style: SI-0066) $320 at Raining Blossoms

JCREW Beautiful Gown With High Cutaway Neckline & A Bias Cut Skirt (Style: 69879) at J. Crew

Instead of focusing on the halter neckline (which is silk charmeuse, btw!) I tried to focus more on the soft, lace detail. I almost didn’t notice it when I first looked at this dress, but the Kayleigh dress is beautiful simplicity. Keep in mind, too, that finding a strapless sheath might be the way to go, and then have your seamstress or tailor add the halter strap — since straps are super easy to add to wedding dresses.

I hope I was able to give you some good ideas. Be sure to check out the websites that are featured ’cause you’ll probably find even more options. 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.

BAB Throwback: DIY or Die – A Step-by-Step How-To Guide To Making Colorful Paper Rosettes

This wonderful tutorial first appeared on the blog in 2012, but with the ubiquity of gorgeous, interesting backdrop ideas in weddingland lately, I figured it was a great time to take a little jump back and revisit this awesome paper rosette how-to.

I don’t know about you Broke-Asses, but spring has finally sprung (fingers crossed!) in my neck of the woods. And due to such, I thought it would be a great time to break out a bright, festive tutorial. The ladies over at A Good Affair popped this bad boy in my mailbox and I just knew you’d love it. The paper rosettes are easy, fun, CHEAP and look awesome for any wedding. 

How-To by A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production

Photos: Luminaire Images

Supplies:
2- 12”x12” sheets of paper
Glue stick or Elmer’s
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors

Step 1: Take your 12”x12” sheets of paper, and cut in half.


Step 2: Fold the 6”x12” papers accordion style with ½” folds.


Step 3: After you finish folding all the pieces, glue the end of one piece to the end of a second piece so that they overlap.


Step 4: After gluing all your pieces together to form one long accordion paper strip, take the two ends and join those together in the same fashion. This creates a completed ring of folded paper.


Step 5: Making sure the glue has dried and all pieces are secure, stand your ring upwards, and gently press the top edge outwards, with the bottom edge remaining on your work surface. This will form your paper rosette!


Step 6: If you are using two-sided paper, decide which side will be the front or back. The back side should be facing up. This is where you will hot glue to secure your rosette.

Step 7: To secure your paper rosette, take your hot glue gun (it sets faster) and put a dollop of glue right in the center. Make sure to hold down the rosette as the glue sets. If you are planning to have your rosettes double-sided i.e. both sides will be seen, be sure to hot glue right in the center very neatly.

Step 8: (Optional) Dress up your paper rosette with a simple circle cutout, or a coordinating embellishment! You can get creative!


Step 9: (Optional) To give your paper rosette a rounded edge, after you’ve folded your papers but before gluing, take your scissors and round off one side of your folded paper.


End Product: A beautiful 12” Paper Rosette!

Notes: Different paper sizes and fold sizes will give you a variety of rosette sizes and looks!

Pretty neat, eh? You down for some DIY awesomeness? I mean, it looks so simple even a DIY dunce like myself could prolly get it done.

Submitted via Two Bright Lights.

 

 

Winning Wednesday: Get Frisky in the Kitchen with Flirty Aprons!

We’re big into food here at The Broke-Ass Bride. If you follow Dana’s other blog, LaRueBlog, then you’ve seen the slew of Korean food she’s been cooking up. And myself? Well, I cook every night — but some nights that “cooking” is just mac & cheese. Most nights, however, I try to get a little creative and a lot delicious. And that usually involves a mess. Because, let’s be real.

And there are few things that inspire Hulk-like rage in this girl than grease stains on a favorite T-shirt or spaghetti splatter on … well … anything. While I’ve totally mastered the art of getting such stains out of clothes, it’s so much easier for me to not have to deal with it in the first place. Which is why I’m stoked to have a mini-arsenal of aprons.

Winning Wednesday Get Frisky in the Kitchen with an Apron from Flirty Aprons

Plus, they’re cute as hell. I have the aqua damask style and the yellow chevron style from Flirty Aprons, and they’re actually the cutest. I get a funny little boost every time I slip one on for some heavy-duty grub-makin‘, and I know that handsome guy I love thinks they’re pretty adorbz. And there’s definitely something a little alluring about channeling June Cleaver for a day.

But you should probz just see for yourself, and enter to win your Flirty Apron of choice! From polka dots to chevron to cupcakes to country floral, there are a huge range of styles and patterns to choose from. All the aprons have long ties to form into a fancy bow if you so desire, and the oh-so-necessary pockets to hold your phone/recipe card/whatever.

As per usual, each task in the widget below equals one entry. The more tasks completed = more entries earned = better chances of winning. And don’t forget to tell us which style you like best in the comments! Good luck, darlings!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh, and darlings, don’t fret if you don’t win … or better yet, go ahead an get one for your girls! Use BAB50 to score 50% off at checkout! Good until 9/3.

Real Bride Kate: How Our Wedding “Theme” Chose Us

First and foremost, let me emphasize that I am not one of those traditional people who believe a wedding must have a theme. I know, me, untraditional? Shocking. Therefore, Daniel and I did not approach our wedding planning with the goal of creating a theme. Instead, we chose items based on our likes and dislikes, and a wedding theme naturally emerged as our planning progressed. I want to share the questions we asked ourselves with you, not only so you can understand how our “theme” evolved, but so you can use it when shaping your own wedding theme or simply sorting out the finer details.

Invitation

This is our invitation, which features our first wedding “must,” the color red. Picture taken by our friend, Teresa.
  1. What is a must?

Think about the one style/theme detail that is non-negotiable and begin there. When it came to “choosing” a color for our wedding, it was a no-brainer. I adore the color red. As in – It. Is. My. Spirit. Color. I love red so much that I will be wearing a red wedding dress. It only made sense that red become the main color of our wedding. When Daniel began the search for our wedding invitations, he searched for ones with red accents and found the gem above from Wedding Paper Divas. It gave us our secondary and tertiary colors, black and white, which we also happen to love. Easy and natural.

20140826_182748

These are two of our “vintage-y” centerpieces. Each table will have a different centerpiece that can be used as a lantern for our outdoor reception.
  1. What is your style?

I don’t mean your wedding style. Think about the two of you as a couple and your material belongings. Are your wardrobes full of chic dresses and sharp suits? Is your house decorated in ultra-modern stainless steel fixtures and geometric patterns? Do you love muscle cars and collect rock memorabilia? Whatever your style is in your life – let your wedding reflect that. Don’t worry about what is trendy; worry about what is you as a couple. For me and Daniel, our style is vintage with a modern twist, which is reflected in almost every detail of our wedding, simply because we let our natural style lead our choices.

Book Mark Favor

This is the sample book mark favor from FaithfulCrafter on Etsy. Ours will have a custom reading from our wedding ceremony.
  1. What are your passions?

Think about hobbies, passions and places you two share. Figure out a way to work these into your wedding aesthetics. Daniel and I both love reading and academia, so without our even noticing it, books began creeping in as a theme. First, Daniel suggested doing a reading from Homer’s The Odyssey in homage to the “long-distance” side of our relationship. Second, we bought bookmark wedding favors (with red accents and a vintage flair, of course). Then, I decided to have bouquets made from book pages (luckily, my bridesmaids are all writers and bookworms, too!). Now, I’m running with the theme and even trying to work vintage books into the centerpieces. Books reflect our passions, emphasize black and white as part of the color scheme and just plain make us excited to decorate. What’s better than that?!

Book Page Bouquet These are the sample book page bouquets from PumpkinsandButtercups on Etsy. My bridesmaids and I are having each bouquet custom made out of our favorite novel!
  1. Most importantly, what do you want?

When it’s all said and done, you don’t need a theme or special colors or even decorations if you don’t want them. Sit down with your partner and brainstorm your dream wedding. Then, figure out how you make it happen within your budget and your personal style. I can tell you from experience: once you open yourselves up to happiness, it will find you!

In the end, I guess you could say that my and Daniel’s wedding theme is “literary vintage” with a color scheme of “red, black and white.” But, really, we don’t need those labels. It’s just us.

What about you, BABs? How did you determine your “theme”?