Posts in the 'Contributors' Category

Ten for the Weekend: Holiday Sales and Deals to Wrap 2014

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Happy Saturday, BABs! Sorry this is late, but trust a sister: It’s worth it. There are some great wedding-friendly deals and some stunning sales from some of our favorites. This is the last Ten for the Weekend for 2014 as we’ll be taking a break starting Wednesday (don’t worry, we’ll be revisiting our top posts from the year over the holiday break), but we’ll be back with tons of broke-ass goodness in 2015!

1. Anthropologie is knocking 20% off select gifts through the weekend.

Anthropologie Quartz Fringe Drops

These earrings would be amazing for a cool wedding, and they’re $35.20 on sale.

2. In need of a last-minute gift? Zazzle is taking 15% off all orders + 50% off express shipping with code SHIP4HOLIDAY through 12/22.

3. Taking a break over the holidays? Get your craft on with Craftsy’s Best of 2014 Course Sale where all classes are $19.99 or less.

4. Ice yo-self the right way with 20% off all orders + free shipping at DiamondStuds4Less with code DS4LLOVE.

5. Banana Republic always has great stuff around the holidays, and now they’re having a 40% off sale until 12/22.

Banana Republic Chiffon Halter Dress

Get married in this under-$100 frock!

6. Head on over to BAB homie ModCloth and take full advantage of their 50% off Markdown Sale!

7. Fun knee-high socks are a winter staple, and The SoxBox is taking 10% off all orders until 12/22 with code GIFT.

8. Blurb books are a great way to display wedding or engagement photos and you can take 20% off all orders until 12/31  with code DECEMBER-2.

9. Early spring brides might want to start thinking about wedding invitations, and Wedding Paper Divas is knocking 20% off suite components with the purchase of 20 invitations and 20 response cards until 12/23.

Wedding Paper Divas Tropical Romance Wedding Invitations Bamboo

I found your destination wedding invitation.

10. Guess is taking 30% off full price styles until 12/28 and they have a holy butt-ton of sparklez on their site.

Happy shopping, BABs!

Five for Friday: Get Through the Holidays with Serious Sparklez

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Hey BABs! I hope y’all are surviving the holiday crush with your sanity intact and glasses of bubbly to help. While I would say any time is a good time for sparklez, I seem to see more shimmering happiness during this time of year, which drives me wild with the — oh! shiny! So, of course, for this last Five for Friday until the 2015, I found my five favorite ways to pump up your shine factor this holiday season, all for under $100. Get your sparklez on, broke-asses!
Kate Spade Glitter Earrings

Kate Spade Boxed Glitter Stud Earrings, $38
Lulu's Talk of the Town Black Sequin Dress
Lulu’s Talk of the Town Black Sequin Dress, on sale for $29
NastyGal Stars Above Metallic Headband
NastyGal Stars Above Metallic Headband, $35
Badgley Mischka Chrysler at Night Dress
Badgley Mischka Chrysler at Night Dress, $30-$40 rental
ModCloth Play the Party Clutch
ModCloth Play the Party Clutch, $44.99

How do you plan to shine your way through the holidays, BABs?

Wedding Time: The Big To-Do, Part II

EPLove

 

Photo: EPLove

Last week I said that while you’re planning your wedding — like, the actual planning and choosing and deciding — you shouldn’t focus on when you’re making those decisions or feel pressured to stay on track and not fall behind, whatever that means. You have a list of checkboxes, take them on by one until they’re X’ed out. Timing is not the biggest factor.

Well, not yet.

Your wedding day on the other hand …

It’s all the contracts. How many hours you have your photographer for. How long hair and makeup has to take. When you can set up your ceremony and reception. When you have to shut the doors behind you. There are so many things that have to fit into so many time frames, within time frames. Manage it by managing your expectations:

Swifter, higher, faster? It’s a Wedding dress, not a cape.

Nothing is going to take less time to do. You will not be capable of doing more in that time than you would normally be able to. So, if hair and makeup takes three hours, make sure you have the three hours, even if it means starting earlier. If your photographer needs an hour for first look and wedding party pictures, give it to her.

Create it in order to save it

The easiest way to stay on schedule is to buffer it — Hair and makeup starts at 9, make sure everyone shows up early and ready to go. Take an hour after hair and makeup, or after the last “event” that morning, for everyone to get their stuff before you jump into the limo. If you have two hours to set up your reception, be there before the doors open, prepared and ready to use all of that time. Tell your wedding party to meet at point B 20 minutes before your ceremony. Announce last call 15 minutes before the bar is gong to close. Twirl away the last dance an hour before you have to have everything out of the venue. Lots of people =- and  there are always a lot of people involved, one way or another — need lots of time.

Making up for lost time

It happens. There are so many moving parts to the day, and so many distractions (most of them fun) that sometimes you fall behind. 8:45pm, photography ends at 9pm, and you haven’t done toasts – yet. Or the cake hasn’t been cut or your bouquet tossed.  Or the music has to stop and you haven’t danced with your Dad – yet.

Jump on it, and get it done, quickest to longest. Cake cutting takes five minutes. And you never have to dance to the entire song. Tell anyone who’s toasting to keep it short and tell them why. And ask your vendors for help and suggestions, okay?
That’s what we’re there for.

Do you have any questions about saving time on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! A Matthew Christopher Inspired Gown For Under $500

Hai Der, BABs! Does everyone have their holiday shopping done? I don’t, but I shop better under pressure anyway. And speaking of shopping, I really want to help Jen find something she loves because her big day is only 7 months away! She is really smitten by “Sofia” by Matthew Christopher.  It is full of lovely lace and intricate details. So who is this designer? Matthew was raised in Iowa on a pig farm and started sewing with his grandmother at a young age, winning blue ribbons in the local 4-H. When he was in high school he went to a bridal shop with a friend and met Lou Miller who would become his mentor. He knew right away he wanted to do bridal. He went to the Art Institute in Chicago, got an internship at Vera Wang and finally wound up at Galina Bridal where he met Martha Barbour, a patternmaker and designer who had 30 years experience working with names like Christos and Jim Hjelm. He and Ms. Barbour have created a beautiful collection together. BAB Jen really wants something with beautiful, unique lace detail. Here’s what she had to say:

“HEY BABs! I am in love with the Matthew Christopher Sofia dress but it is about 5 times my budget. I love the textures, stripes, polka dots, and bold LACE! I would love to keep the dress under 500. I love dresses with interesting lace like the Rivini Dari, and Pronovias Umana. I have been hunting pre-owned dress sites, but haven’t found anything even close to my budget. I’ve seen you do such a great job with others Please HELP! I’m 7 months out from my wedding!”

Can't Afford It Original Matthew Christopher’s “Sofia” $$$$ 

Get Over It

LightInTheBox150 Lace Trumpet Gown With Sweetheart Neckline (Style: 01128411) $150 at LightInTheBox

LightInTheBox200 Tulle & Lace Trumpet Gown With Spaghetti Straps (Style: 00604683) $200 at LightInTheBox

BHLDN240 Strapless Gown With Eyelash Lace Details (Style: 31907009) $240 at BHLDN

JJHouse247 Organza Mermaid Gown With V-Neck (Style: 002031865) $247 at JJsHouse

RainingBlossoms260 Strapless Mermaid Gown With Sweep Train (Style: RB-0075) $260 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

RainingBlossoms300 Mermaid Wedding Dress With Lavish Appliques (Style: WD-3120) $300 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

JJsHouse313 Satin & Organza Dress With Lace Beading (Style: 002000249) $313 at JJsHouse

RainingBlossoms320 Strapless Lace Gown With Chapel Train (Style: WD-1691) $320 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

BHLDN480 Beautiful Lace Gown Made From original Edwardian Lace (Style: 30850945) $480 at BHLDN

BAB480 Strapless Gown With Scalloped Tiers Of Swirled Soutache Embroidery (Style: 30613871) $480 at BHLDN

Hope I was able to help, Jen! Lace on a budget can be tricky but there are a lot of great gowns under there. Have you looked at Etsy? There are a ton of great shops there with lace options under $500. Well, my lovelies, I will see you in a couple of weeks in a brand new year. I hope to come back to new requests. Just leave them in the comment section or on our Facebook page. Happy Holidays! Eat, Drink & Be Merry (Holidays). Xoxo.

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.

Get Inspired: Host a Lovely Brunch to Ask Your Bridal Brigade

Ally, one of my favorite local DFW photographers and one half of the extraordinary team at The Purple Pebble — you may remember them from brides in glasses fame — recently got engaged (yayyyy!!!) and threw a lovely luncheon to ask her ladies to stand by her side on her wedding day. Of course, throwing a luncheon in and of itself can be a little spendy, and when you add special flare to it because it’s not just any luncheon, the costs can add up quickly. While she still shelled out a pretty penny for the party, Ally managed to be pretty resourceful with a lot of the details and definitely put the BAB credo to work: Creativity is our currency!

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Budget Bridesmaid Brunch

The girls I chose as bridesmaids are what I call my “lifers.” Those friends who you can be your true self with, who have proven that no matter what, they’ll be there for you. In my case, these girls are family, high school friends, college friends and girls I met in adulthood. Each one of these girls has been there for me and each one of their friendships means the world to me. When I thought about asking people to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, I knew I wanted to ask in a special way. What a better way than a nice, little brunch celebration? When I asked each girl if she was available for a Sunday brunch on a certain date, they all said yes! Five of the girls in the wedding live where I do. 

Bridal Luncheon Personalized Cards

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As I got to planning, I thought of what kind of costs would be associated with this. After looking over everything I wanted to do, and the fact that I had 9 bridesmaids and 2 house party members, I knew I needed to save where I could. First step, host the brunch at my apartment.
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For the tablescape:
My mother grew up in the Midwest and has inherited lovely china from her grandmother and mother. I asked to borrow a set. White china with a gold rim was what I went with since my wedding accent color is gold. I also was able to borrow gold silverware. Crystal is timeless and elegant and I thought it would be a nice mix with the china. I was able to borrow crystal water glasses as well as a beautiful round, crystal vase that I put white hydrangeas in. I already had the clear glass tea light holders.
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I enlisted the help of Facebook friends for a table runner and had a work colleague let me borrow a gorgeous rose colored sequin runner. I also used Facebook to find another unique piece for the table: I wanted antlers, however, most of the places around town that sell antlers sold them for $25+ a piece. I didn’t want to pay that much for a single antler that I was going to spray paint. I had luck when my fiancé’s mother replied to my post saying that she had a set of antlers in her garage that I could have. Absolutely perfect! I spray painted them gold.
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For food and drink: 
I wanted to keep the food low cost and light. I purchased fruit and donut holes to make kabobs, went to a local shop to get kolaches and baked Pilsbury cinnamon roles.

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For the mimosa bar, I purchased orange juice with a coupon at a local grocery store chain. As the day of the brunch grew closer, I had multiple girls contact me asking if they could bring anything for brunch. Three girls each brought a bottle of champagne so that was covered!
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Accents:
I purchased adorable black and white striped paper straws from the $1 section at Target. And I was able to find 2 boxes of Libby champagne glasses on sale at Walmart. Two days before the brunch, my mother received a large, beautiful floral arrangement for her birthday. I was able to borrow that for extra decoration. I had a super cute card from my future sister-in-law that said, “You’re Engaged!” and I decided to use that as a cute little accent piece!
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Favors: 
Here is where I wanted to really personalize things for my girls! A wedding planner friend of mine created personalized cards for them. They cost $7 a piece. I went into Michael’s craft store for something a month before I put on the brunch and saw that there were colorful block letters in one of the bins in the $1 section. I was able to find a letter for each girl and each letter cost me $1.50.
Bridesmaid Luncheon Personal Letters
And my favorite part for my crew … a custom cookie! I had a local bakery make me diamond engagement ring cookies for $3.75 apiece. I had to buy a minimum of a dozen so I spent $45 on a dozen cookies. It was 100% worth it … the cookies were decorated with silver metallic paint and large sugar crystals were used as the diamond! They were also very good! For the favors, I spent $12.25 for each lady.
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Photography
Being a photographer, I was able to photograph all this goodness at no cost!
All in all, I spent $200 on food, favors and accents such as flowers, straws and champagne glasses. Everything else, I was able to borrow. And it certainly helped that my girls brought champagne! For those who do not live in the same city as me, I shipped them a card, letter and cookie from the Post Office so each package was anywhere from $5-$7 to ship.
The girls were all so surprised at the brunch when I asked them all to be bridesmaids! They had no idea it was coming.
I was able to pull off a great, affordable brunch with lovely ladies!

How did you ask your crew to stand by your side, BABs?

Real Bride Jubilance: How to Compromise On Your Honeymoon and Still Win

Real Bride Jubilance How to Compromise on Your Honeymoon and Still Win

The honeymoon has been The One thing my fiancé and I have both been looking forward to, and the most stressful thing to figure out, #AtTheSameDamnTime. I may get excited over finding cute designs for our invitations, but he doesn’t give a damn. What he does give a damn about is our honeymoon, and making sure it is epic.  Throughout wedding planning we’ve been very decisive, and that’s made planning easier. All that decisiveness went out the window when it came to our honeymoon though. How is that possible when we knew what we wanted to do??? Three words: Too. Many. Options.

Our original list of requirements for our honeymoon:

  1. Must be somewhere in the Caribbean – can be a resort or a cruise
  2. Must be somewhere we haven’t been before
  3. Have fun excursions like snorkeling, ziplining, etc
  4. Total cost must be $5k or less
  5. We had to go right after the wedding

That leaves a TON of options and I swear we’ve looked at every single one.

We looked at multiple cruises. We looked at all-inclusive resorts like Sandals, Secrets and Riu. We looked at renting a vacation home. We looked at smaller resorts or bed & breakfasts. So many options. Every time it seemed like we found an option we liked, we would then throw it out. Cost eliminated a lot of places – as much as I’d love to stay at a 5-star resort, we can’t afford a $10k honeymoon. Cruises were eliminated due to cost and logistics. Resorts looked promising, but they were pricey because we’re getting married in March – prime Spring Break season. I tried stalking sites like Travelzoo, Groupon and Livingsocial for deals, but either our time period wasn’t valid for the deal, or the resort didn’t look great. We even tried looking at different destinations like Hawaii and Key West, but we weren’t crazy about our options.

We whittled our list of possible resorts down and then started reading TripAdvisor reviews. Big mistake! TripAdvisor is great, but it’s like Yelp – some folks are never satisfied and give -star reviews for trivial things. I mean, it should be taken with a grain of salt … but it’s hard because you wonder if you’ll be the one person who has a bad experience. Nothing seemed like The One Perfect Honeymoon.

This whole honeymoon thing just pissed me off, because it felt like we were making it harder than it needed to be. What’s so hard about a honeymoon? You just pick a place and book it and go. I was ready to just draw a damn name out of a hat. There was no way we’d figure out the perfect trip in our price range right after our wedding, and there was no way that I was going to work the Monday after our wedding.

And then! My genius fiance said “why don’t we take a short trip after the wedding and the longer trip later?” Did I mention he’s a genius? That is perfect! Why the hell didn’t I think of that???

And that’s how we ended up booking two honeymoons. #NailedIt

Part 1 is a mini-moon to New Orleans! I’m super excited because I’ve never been and I’ve always heard the city was romantic.  We’ll spend a few days at a B&B before we head back to our real life.

Part 2 is our longer honeymoon, which we’ll spend at Sandals Halcyon Beach in St Lucia in May!  We compared prices and reviews for all the Sandals properties, but settled on this one after talking to a friend who has visited the property. After looking at a ton of all-inclusive properties, Sandals had the best reviews and the options we wanted for the best price.

Now that we’ve finally booked, we’re super excited about our honeymoon adventures. I cannot wait to get to New Orleans, and to lay on the beach in St Lucia.

How did you decide on your honeymoon, BABs? Tell us in the comments!

My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly Cry, Part I

This is a post Peach and I talked about, kind of at length. We talked about whether it would be better over on her blog because it’s intensely personal, but I really wanted her to write it, because I know the feeling. I felt the same way about a great many of my photos when I first got them back and guys, it’s devastating. For a multitude of reasons: You’ve spent a lot of money, presumably, on your photos. You’ve spent a buttload of time and or energy — most likely and — planning maybe not every little detail, but a helluva lot of them. You’ve been under pressure, you’ve been asked questions, it’s been tough … and sometimes it feels like “Just as long as everything looks great in the photos. The photos will make much of this stress and worry and fear go away, because it will be a visual representation of everything I’ve been trying to accomplish.”

Our wedding photographer published our pictures to a private website a few weeks ago. Immediately, I had sweatypits and I waited anxiously until Mr. Peach could view them with me. And as we scrolled through the hundreds of images, my most overwhelming feeling wasn’t “Oh wow, I look so pretty!”. Instead, the horrific thoughts running through my cranium were “Oh man, I have back fat hanging over my dress!”“Ugh, I hate my nose in those profile shots” and “I should have spray-tanned to cover up those tan lines”.

50Peach.com Wedding 1

 Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

My Wedding photos Made me Ugly Cry

Photo credit: Lee Patterson Photography

My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly Cry

Photo Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

I have to tell you that this kind of destructive self-bashing … it’s not my usual style. I’m normally a pretty badass, confident, life-list chasing kinda gal. But with my wedding pictures, it’s almost as if I expected our amazing photographer to magically POOF me into someone I am not.

Someone with a perfectly dainty nose.

Someone who doesn’t exercise outdoors to stay fit.

Someone who didn’t get those sunburn blotches on her back during a pre-wedding escape weekend.

Those are ME. That’s who I am. And I’m pissed at myself for letting those demonic voices sour the happiest day of my life in the slightest.

I’m not saying there weren’t a great number of photos in which I feel I looked very pretty. Striking, even. But I was left eating my feelings that night over certain shots that haunted me.

What if everyone secretly thought, “What in the world made her think she could pull off that dress?”

What if I was ruthlessly judged by the extra skin that crept over the strapless top of my dress if I leaned this way or that? What if I’d made more of an effort to eat better and run more before the wedding? Would it have made a difference in the way I feel right now? If that weren’t enough destructive self-sabotage, my brain continued on with: Should I have not even bothered with a strapless dress? I am getting up there in age, you know. I’m not exactly young and the crow’s feet and laugh lines show it pretty fucking well. Maybe I overshot my wedding fantasy.

It was that last horrible sentiment that started the ugly-cry.

Guys, don’t worry, Peach turns her shit around. We’ll be sharing Part II soon, but if you’re too damn impatient, head over to 50Peach.com to read the whole shebang.

 

 

2014 Gift Guide: For the Love of Design

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

There’s nothing quite like a well-designed product — either aesthetically or for usefulness … but it’s really great it it’s both. Whether it’s sleek and simple, fun and quirky or just one of those “D’oh! Of course! It makes total sense!” (See: this cutting board, which I didn’t include because I’ve obsessed enough over it.) And of course, once I got to looking, it was like a rabbit hole of awesome. So, I present the latest installment of The Broke-Ass Bride’s 2014 Gift Guides, chock-a-block full of radly (I have a friend who is going to HATE me for that) designed goods. There’s quite literally something for everyone on this list, and it’s all under $75.

The Broke-Ass Bride's 2014 Gift Guide For the Love of Design

Top Row, from left: It’s decor and greenery! Boskke Sky Planter, $19.99 || If they get revved up by good design, let them doodle their own, no matter where or when. Moleskine Gift Box Travel Set, $47 || A magnetized bottle opener is a beer-drinker’s best bottle-cap collecting friend, and this one is gorgeous. Areaware Magnetized Bottle Opener, $14.00

Second Row, from left: It’s old-school, yet modernly irreverent and your best homie will surely appreciate every ounce of it … especially if you make the cross-stitch your own damn self. B*tch Please Cross-Stitch Kit, $20 || These little carafes with wood toppers are so cute but so sleek and would be perfect for whatever schamazing sauces you put on your foodstuffs. Zest-Dressed Cruet Set, $29.99 || I love this water filter set to the end of the Earth — it’s pretty, dishwasher-safe and BPA-free. Soma Sustainable Water Filter, $60
Third Row, from left: It’s an old-school gramophone, updated to look awesome for the audiophile in your life. Premium DIY Gramophone Kit, $55.99 || Sure, you could probs use a tennis ball or your wonderful significant other, but this thing is like MADE for your feet to help soothe stress and banish pain. Foot Rubz, $5.99 || You or a person (kid or not) you know can totally create alter egos out of little peg people, and you know it’s going to be rad. DIY Peg Doll Craft Kit, $28

Fourth Row, from left: Let your whiskey get a slight chill and a little water without tasting like the dregs of melted-ice booze. Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge, $14.95 || As a cat owner, wall-mounted vases are a mother effin’ brilliant idea. Trees Company Vase Set, $19.99 || A triple-sided jewelry stand that also evokes trees just looks schamazing, amirite? Driving You Wilderness Jewelry Stand, $24.99

Bottom Row, from left: GUYS. THIS. Because seriously, how fucking cute? Pawcet, $24.99 || Forget cootie catchers, teensy-tinesy folds or paper airplanes. Origami Sticky Notes, $4.35 for a pack of 100 || Um, how about a fish tank that also happens to grow plants and essentially sustain itself? The fish poo feeds the plants, the plants clean the water … and you just have to remember to feed the fish. Aquafarm: Aquaponics Fish Garden, $59.99

Real Bride Emma: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers …

Real Bride Emma You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Michael and I decided at the outset of our wedding plans that we wouldn’t include anything in the wedding that wasn’t:

  • There for the guest’s comfort or delight
  • Totally awesome and “us”
  • Necessary for us to actually legally get married

It struck me pretty early on that flowers, or specifically professionally arranged flowers, did not fit into any of those categories. In fact, in my opinion the whole thing is a freakin’ money-spinning SHAM. Seriously. Flowers? They DIE. And no one ever remembers them after a wedding. Ever. And yet they cost hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

So we have done the most broke-ass thing possible and said no to them.

Amazingly, I have had several people make weird, screwed-up faces when I tell them this. The conversations usually go something like..

confused-face

This face. I get this. A LOT.

Person: How are the wedding plans going?

Me: Fine, all under control

Person: Got your band/DJ, caterer and florist all sorted then?

Me: Yes, although we aren’t having a florist. I really don’t see the point.

Person: *scrunchy face of disbelief* No flowers?

Me: *defiant smile* Nope.

Person: Won’t that be weird?

Me: Nope.

Both: *awkward silence*

So there we have it. If there’s one thing I think all BABs should do, it is to challenge the stuff that people think you must have. Most of the crap around weddings is there just to make businesses lots of money. Take the bits you want, and hang the rest!

I’ll update in a later post what I’ll be using to freshen up the place instead of expensive dying flowers.

For now …

Am dram bride out!