Posts in the 'Contributors' Category

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Sparkly, Illusion Neckline Marchesa Dress

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Hey there, Broke-Ass Babes! Sadly, no ladies wrote in this week about their wedding dress budget woes. So, this week, I decided to pick one of my favorite dresses from the Marchesa Fall 2014 collection (Style: B10812) and WOWZA, she’s a beaut! A trend that has become very popular in the last few years is the illusion neckline, and if you love to spend hours gazing at gowns like me, you’re sure to see this in every jaw-droppingly beautiful collection of dresses. The neckline in this Marchesa dress is especially dazzling since it’s decked out in pearls and crystals, and the hand-pleated chiffon makes this dress look effortless, yet ethereal like something a Greek goddess would get married in. Are you ready to see it? Here goes, in all of its supreme, flowy, glittering awesomeness:

CAN’T AFFORD IT

Marchesa

Marchesa $$$$ ($3001-$5000)

GET OVER IT

H&M

Sleeveless dress in airy, woven fabric with beading and rhinestone embroidery at top (Style: 66-3399) $99 at H+M.

LightintheBox

A-line Princess Scoop Sweep/Brush Train Charmeuse Wedding Dress (Style: 604656) $119 at LightInTheBox.com

UniqueVintage
White Chiffon & Stone Cap Sleeve Gown (Style: 40778) $224 at Unique Vintage

ForHer&Him
Cap Sleeve A Line Wedding Gown with Decorative Buttons (Style: 0113925) $419.99 at For Her and For Him

Etsy
Romantic  Chiffon Wedding Dress Wedding Gown $438 at Whiterose on Etsy

KathyIrelandBBP
Satin sheath with hand-beaded illusion neckline and cap sleeves (Style: KI1307) $822 at BestBridalPrices.com
MAGGIE SOTTERO DESIGNSwww.maggiesottero.com
An illusion tulle neckline ornamented with beaded embroidered lace drapes the bodice, culminating in a gathered skirt that flows from an empire waist. (Style: 4MC890) $988 at BestBridalPrices.com
BHLDN
This floor-skimming silhouette balances the sleekness of flowing silk with intricately beaded shoulders and bias-cut styling. Harlow gown, $1,000 at BHLDN
MAGGIE SOTTERO DESIGNSwww.maggiesottero.com
Accordion pleated Paris Chiffon combines with embellished illusion tulle to create this Grecian inspired dress (Style: 4MK790) $1,049 at BestBridalPrices.com.

Another option you can consider is adding a beautiful, bridal capelet to your dress. They have some amaze options from the websites above (Like THIS stunner at BHLDN ) and will give your look even more versatility. Enjoy your weekend, BAB’s! Until we meet again…

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! 

Five for Friday: Gorgeous Invitations from Marchesa + Wedding Paper Divas

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Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! I recently got a hot tip that beautiful, illustrious fashion house Marchesa launched a collaboration with our ever-adored partners Wedding Paper Divas to make some seriously stunning invitations. Here are my five favorite offerings from this killer partnership:

sumptuous_swirls-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-white

 

Sumptuous Swirls, $184 for 100.

night_blooms-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-black

 

Night Blooms, $184 for 100.

breathtaking_blossoms-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-plumberry-purple

 

Breathtaking Blossoms, $184 for 100.

lithe_lace-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-black Lithe Lace, $184 for 100.

beaded_flair-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-cashmere_pink-pink Beaded Flair, $184 for 100.

Aren’t these invitations swoonworthy? Which is your favorite?

 

 

Real Bride Kate: How to Marry a Foreigner

DISCLAIMERS:

  1. My and Daniel’s K-1 visa has just been approved. The visa has been issued and is in his passport. Therefore, I can tell you that the process described below DID work for us.
  2. However, even though we have successfully completed the K-1 visa process, we are not experts. We are not immigration lawyers and do not work for any immigration services. I am only offering advice, and if you want professional, 100% certain advice – go to a lawyer or government official.
  3. This information is only applicable to a U.S. citizen whose foreign fiancé(e) is immigrating to the United States.

So, you have fallen in love with a foreigner. No? Just me? Well, if you have, let me offer some rudimentary advice on how and why to go through with the K-1 visa.

Visa JB Graffiti

What is the K-1 fiancé(e) visa?

In layman’s terms, K visas are “family” visas that allow for family members to join their relatives in the United States. The K-1 visa allows non-U.S. citizens (like my Australian Daniel) to join their U.S. citizen fiancé(s) (like me!) in the United States. The immigrant DOES NOT become a citizen with this visa.

Can my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Technically speaking, there are only three requirements for getting a K-1 visa.

  1. You must be truly engaged to the immigrant (duh).
  2. The two of you must have met in person within the last two years (of the petition filing date).
  3. You must make above the poverty line for your household size. Or, if you are a part-time worker and do not make enough annually (like me, as a college student), you must have a co-sponsor, and the two of you together must make above the poverty line for your household size. This is to ensure that the immigrant will not become a ward of the state until s/he finds employment.

Should my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Making the choice to immigrate to a foreign country to be with the person you love is exciting and romantic – it is also stressful and risky.

  1. First, ask yourself all the traditional “ready for marriage?” questions. Are you certain about this person? Do you truly love him/her? All that jazz.
  2. Next, are you (as an individual) ready to have your entire relationship literally examined and picked apart, not only by the government, but by your family and friends?
  3. Is one of you really and truly willing to leave your home country (and family and friends and everything you’ve ever known) for the other person WITHOUT EVER GUILTING THEM ABOUT IT OR USING IT AGAINST THEM LATER?
  4. Can you afford it? The entire visa process (counting postage and final plane ticket) costs roughly $3,000. This cost is spread out over several months, but it is still something to consider.

Is there any way to save money?

Obviously, as Broke-Ass Brides, we’re always looking to save. Unfortunately, because most of the fees are government-mandated, there are not many opportunities to save money. Here are the few (read: only) ways Daniel and I have found to save money during this process:

  1. Don’t hire a lawyer to help you. This one is a risk. On one hand, an immigration lawyer comes with a guarantee that your I-129F petition will be accepted. On the other hand, they cost at least $1,000 and honestly, you still have to provide all the same information and do most of the grunt work. We decided to skip the lawyer, and it worked out fine, but it was a risk.
  2. Do it right the first time. Seriously, quadruple check all directions before you begin your forms. Quadruple check the forms before you mail them. If you mess up, you may have to start over from square one, and then you’ve lost your entire investment.
  3. Sign up for frequent flyer points. Daniel and I have been extremely lucky in that we have had several visits together. From the second visit, Daniel has been accumulating frequent flyer points for our airline of choice. Plus, his family and friends have contributed to those points as well. Because of this, his final plane ticket will be (close to) free. This will save us about $1,200 to $1,500.
  4. Exploit the conversion rate. Right now, the U.S. dollar is stronger than the A.U. dollar. Therefore, my money goes farther than Daniel’s does, and visa expenses are “cheaper” for me. Some people may struggle with putting up cash for their significant other, but the way we see it, this is a joint venture, and in the end, what’s mine is his and his is mine anyway.

So how do you even get a K-1 visa?

There are quite a few steps and a TON of supporting documentation, but here are the bare bones:

  1. Get engaged (again, duh).
  2. The U.S. citizen completes an I-129F petition (and sends in a ton of paperwork). This says, “Hey, Government, my fiancé(e) and I love each other. He/She’s pretty cool. Will you let him/her apply for a visa to be with me?”
  3. Once the I-129F is accepted, the foreign fiancé(e) applies for the actual K-1 visa. This says, “Hey, I’m the fiancé(e). Can I come over?”
  4. Once the K-1 visa is approved, the immigrant has six months to move to the U.S.
  5. Once the immigrant arrives, the couple has 90 days to become legally married.
  6. Once married (yeah, it’s NOT over), the immigrant applies for an “Adjustment of Status,” which makes him/her a permanent resident of the U.S. and gives him/her a “temporary green card.”
  7. After two years, the immigrant receives a permanent green card.

Again, the immigrant is NOT a citizen at the end of this process. S/he is only a permanent resident, which means s/he can remain in the United States permanently, but will not have all the rights of a citizen. Citizenship is a whole different barrel of monkeys.

How long does this take?

It depends. The I-129F petition can take anywhere from one month to one year to get approved. Ours took 1.5 months. After the petition is approved, it typically takes another three to six months to get an interview with the U.S. embassy/consulate in the foreign country. Daniel’s interview was only about 1.5 months after our approval date. At that interview, the immigrant will receive an approval or denial.

Where can I get more information?

  1. Always check out the official website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services first.
  2. The Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Dept. of State) also has a helpful guide.
  3. Another great resource is Visa Journey, which explains the entire K-1 visa process with handy dandy step-by-step guides and timelines.

Visa Love

I know it’s overwhelming. I know it seems ridiculous and crazy. But, trust me: if you really love someone and cannot live without him/her, it’s worth it! If nothing else, now you know why this international bride-to-be has way too much on her plate to pick out flowers just yet!

And to you other international couples, best of luck!

There’s No Sinking Feeling with Solemates

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You guys, I’m admittedly the worst high-heel wearer on the planet. I live for my flip-flops (no, seriously. If there isn’t snow in my direct walking path, flip-flops are on my feet. And I’m from Wyoming, so that ‘s some serious dedication). I’m 5’2″, so you’d think the opportunity to be just a little bit taller every once in a while would get me going, but really, the only time I’m faced with the prospect of rockin’ a killer pair of stilettos is for a wedding or some other schmancy event. And those are usually in the spring or summer and outside. Since I’m laughingly far from a dainty ballerina who can flit about on her toes, heels + grass = inevitable sinking, which takes me back to my starting height, but adds a splash of comedic relief as I try to unstuck myself.

SM logo_no HH_web

For years, I’d been seeing the Solemates High Heeler around the Internets — but I think my initial introduction was in a wedding magazine, when I was planning my first wedding. And my curiosity has been piqued ever since. Last November, in Florida for my fella’s cousin’s wedding, I was finally in a situation where I could try them out for myself … and nudge right into the good graces of his family by getting a pair for the bride’s mother — who was wearing a pair of killer heels that would have javelined themselves right into the soggy lawn. That’s what I like to call a double-win, if I do say so myself.

I got them, immediately put the Solemates on my go-to black strappy heels and dashed — er, rather, hobbled like a baby giraffe learning to walk, because I’m that graceful — outside to see if they really, truly, actually worked. And they did. Duh.

This is me. For realz. Can’t you tell by the unicorn outfit?

So, what are they and what do they do? Solemates High Heelers are little plastic things that stand about an inch tall, slip onto the bottom of your heel and expand the base size of your heel, keeping you from sinking like a stone or falling through the cracks in the boardwalk. They come in clear, black, silver or gold, and since grass is typically taller than an inch, you can’t see them in your wedding photos. Not that people are closely examining what’s going on with your stiletto anyway, though I guarantee that there will be chicks who note that you and your needle-thin spikes seem to be floating above the grass and will ask you what your secret is. They come in different sizes — narrow, classic and wide — to accommodate different heel fatnesses (making up terminology here, folks) and you can pop them on and off different heels to reuse for each wedding and each different pair of shoes. Bonus for you city slickers: Wear them with your heels on cobblestone to protect your precious kicks and save yourself some skrilla by making your trips to the shoe doctor less frequent.

IMG_2500

If you’re planning on wearing your fanciest shoes for your wedding, or as a bridesmaid, you should probz get some of these. And if you’re the bride, go ahead and get the Wedding Rescue Kit, one for yourself and one for each of your girls. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run. With a huge swath of goodies inside (earplugs, tampons and antacid, just to name a few) any wedding disaster can quickly be averted and the partying can continue.

 

Real Bride Jess: Registries … aka Buy Us Presents

Wedding registries are hard. Everyone’s telling you “don’t forget anything!” “register for more than you need!” “don’t forget China!” “you can always return it!”

Why can’t I just register for the things I want? Neither Michael nor I drink coffee so we really don’t need a coffee maker. My parents have used their wedding China maybe one time, so I probably don’t need wedding China, can’t I just get regular cute dishware? I do see the use of those “things most brides forget to register for” lists, I like to look at those lists! But I don’t think I’m a bad bride for ignoring the item Espresso Machine or Fondue Pot.

What I love about this day and age is you can basically do all of your registering online. The one thing I did want to do in person was register for sheets. I wanted to feel them & make sure that I wasn’t going to receive some thin sheet sized cardboard, but rather cloud-like perfection.

Now I thought this was going to be easy: go in, say you have a registry & would like to add to it, they give you a scan gun, boom. False. You have to sit down, they have to give you paperwork, they discuss your registry & why you don’t have certain things. I felt like I was being interrogated by undercover cops. And THEN (this part was actually the most scarring) someone has to go with you and scan what you want! You’re not even trusted to handle a scanner. The reason for this, I’m sure, is to make suggestions as to what else you should register for and drive up the amount of money guests will hopefully spend. I did succeed in only shopping for bed-related things, but she did win and get me to register not just for sheets but also for fancy pillows,a comforter and a quilt.

Will I be glad to possibly have these items: yes. After I recover from my bitchy resentment will I be glad I went to the store to feel the sheets: yes.

Ok, whining over.

I do have a confession: I am a registery-o-holic. I have four registries. I just like options! I registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Target and Anthropologie. You want to know something else? If four registries is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

 

On Marriage: I’m Not Waiting Until Marriage

This article popped up on The Huffington Post, and as I tend to do with all things wedding- or marriage-related on a site I frequent, I opened it and read it. And my heart fluttered a bit. There does often seem to be this abounding sense of pessimism surrounding weddings and marriages, especially in this era of the divorce rate setting up camp at around 50%. So sometimes, it’s really, really nice to read a piece about someone who is truly happy and truly wants to be married for the sake of love and partnership. Neal Samudre explains his stance on why he didn’t wait:

BALANCING ACT Via Kyle Steed Design on Flickr

I’m getting ready to marry my best friend, and because I love her, I must say: I didn’t wait for marriage. And hopefully, she’ll be happy I didn’t.

Let me tell you the story of why I bring this up now, just a couple months before my wedding:

I proposed to my fiancé in December, when I didn’t have a job, didn’t have money, and didn’t have anything to my name but nickels and dimes. Some said it was romantic, but most people said it was foolish.

When the reality of marriage started sinking in, I wrote an article describing my sentiments on why I chose to get engaged at an early age. I honestly said that I got engaged at a young age because I was in love, and love for me is greater than timing, how much money I have, and other jaded opinions on marriage in our culture.

What I didn’t expect, however, were the millions of people who would tune into this belief. The article went viral in a short time, with millions of views around the globe and thousands of shares.

Hundreds of people were reaching out to me and blessing my marriage. But also, on the other side of that, people were condemning it.

People said I wasn’t ready.

They said I was too young.

They said I was idiotic for getting engaged without a job, and that I should start preparing for a divorce soon.

One person even found pictures of me, scribbled racist jargon all over it, and emailed it to me saying that I should go kill myself because I’m a minority with dumb thoughts on love.

This disturbed me of course, but one response bothered me even more. Multiple people said this when they commented on my future:

Just wait until marriage.

They said this as if I’m going to cross the line into marriage and instantly be dissatisfied.

Why is our culture so cynical on love these days?

People willingly choose to believe increasing divorce rates as a fact for their own lives. They let negative comments and views on love seep into their opinions on marriage, ultimately leading towards cynicism.

Marriage is a contract, they say. Marriage is the end to fun times. Marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be.

People listen to that and carry it with them to the altar.

It’s no wonder more and more marriages are failing today. People are oddly choosing to believe a pessimistic view on marriage.

Some have even told me that love has nothing to do with marriage.

To read more on why Samudre couldn’t hold off any longer, why he wouldn’t wait, head on over to HuffPo.

Real Bride Andrea: Venues, Venues, VENUES!

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my original Joshua Tree location was a bust. The wind, small size, and remoteness have officially become deal-breakers. It would’ve been so hip and cool! Look at the train cars again!

Train cars

There’s a ping-pong table in the pink one!

After a few weeks of whining and pouting at the thought of having to look for another venue, some advice from The Broke-Ass Bride team, and lots of wine, I think I’ve found 3 real contenders that have me even more excited than the last one! I’ve sent out inquiries and everything!

  1. Pioneertown, CA- Pappy & Harriets and an Old Western movie set

Pioneertown, CA, is just outside of Joshua Tree and is basically comprised of a restaurant called Pappy & Harriets, a motel, and an abandoned Western movie set.

Pioneertown

Pros: We could get married on an old Western movie set! AND then we’d get to have our reception at a deserty-westerny-folksy type restaurant/bar/concert venue. This is great because (we hope) to have a really fantastic blues/folk band play as well as amazing DJ. This place would be all set up for that! Food, bar, tables, etc would all be included and provided and I wouldn’t have to worry about all that!

pappy and harriets

Cons: I never thought I’d like to have my reception at a restaurant because I’d feel like it might not be very personal. It also could be really expensive! (I don’t know how expensive yet. But it could be just as much as if I had to bring in everything myself….)  I couldn’t have a lot of say in designing the menu, use my cute bartender friends’ bartending company, decorate with all my Pinterest crafts, etc. Also, the ceremony and reception would be at two different place. I would love to cut down on how much my guests would have to travel once they’ve arrived.

pappy and harriets bar

The bar! Coooooool.

2. The Boulder House “Boulders outside. Boulder Inside.”

A large and beautiful adobe home just outside of Joshua Tree that is surrounded by boulders and the desert landscape!

boulder house

 

Pros: This place is beautiful, serene, secluded and has the desert landscape in Joshua Tree we so desire! And bonus, its an adobe house and really, really neat inside! It is large so if the elements were against us, we could move inside. It sleeps 14 so we could invite our bridal party over the night before (or after!)

boulder room That’s a room carved into a boulder, everybody.

Cons: We’d have to bring in everything! I don’t know that I necessarily mind this because I can be choosey about the little things, like dishes and signature cocktails. It does seem secluded, but there could be rules about noise levels that prevent us from having our awesome band and DJ. We might have to bring in equipment for them to play as well.

3. 15 Room Private Hot Spring Retreat

hot springs

The entire Desert Hot Springs retreat is rentable relatively inexpensively and sleeps several as it is spa retreat. Its 2 pools, 1 outdoor and 1 indoor, are fed by the desert hot springs! Fun fact: When it is not rented on Airbnb, it is a nudist resort. (Tee hee, “penis.”) So there’s that.

Pros: The hot springs pools! It has 15 rooms so family and wedding party could stay with us if they wanted. It would cut down on their travel expenses, for sure! The “tantric” suite could double as our wedding night suite quite nicely (wink-wink). There is lots and lots of space to prepare for the day and for the guests to meander throughout and ample parking. It is a really unique space for a wedding, so I’d have those bragging rights.

That pool gets up over 100 degrees because it's fed by a natural hot spring!

 That pool gets up over 100 degrees because it’s fed by a natural hot spring!

Cons: It is a clothing optional resort by day and I’m pretty sure I saw a sex swing in one of the photos. Not that my wedding has to be clothing optional as a result, but it could make some of my more religious guests uncomfortable. (The sex swing would come down…) This is another place I’d have to bring in everything and it’s hard to tell from photos if there would be enough space to set up a ceremony. Maybe I could make an aisle over the pool? That seems ambitious. But I’m nothing if I’m not ambitious.

I’m pretty happy with these venues to choose from. I’d love any thoughts BAB readers might have. Perhaps there are pros and cons I’ve missed?

I’m a happy wedding planner again,

 

Shop The Broke-Ass Bride’s Favorites at Unique Vintage!

affiliate disclosure

Hey BABs! You know we’re always trying to find the coolest, sweetest partners to work with to bring you rockin’ frocks at a price that won’t kill your budget. And with our ever-lovin’ love for cool, retro styling, Unique Vintage is one of those partners that holds a special spot in our hearts.

And now, you can shop our very favorite looks from Unique Vintage‘s site, because they apparently love us as much as we love them. We went through and picked pieces that truly made us swoon, with price tags that didn’t knock us unconscious. With a range of items from shoes to cardigans to wedding gowns, we tried our best to find something for everyone. Head on over and check it out!

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 12.20.06 PM  

Which of these BAB faves do you love?

Real Bride Tiffany: The Photography Saga

The one and only thing that Justin asked to have the most input on (after the venue, naturally) was our wedding photographer. I came from the state of mind that I could edit my own damn photos, all 9,000 of them. And that my friend only paid $300 for hers so we could TOTALLY get something for $1500 or less that would just be absolutely mind-blowing.

What I imagine the bulk of our wedding photos to look like. (For the record, I know these people. I'm actually in there...)

What I imagine the bulk of our wedding photos to look like. (For the record, I know these people. I’m actually in there…)

But once I began browsing, $1500 or less was not even a close possibility. So what did I do? Have a minor mental breakdown and collapse face first into the couch crying, “WE CAN’T AFFORD ANYTHING.” For once I am not exaggerating. You guys, I had NO idea what we were dealing with when it came to photography prices. All I knew was that in 2007 my sister paid close to $3000 and that was expensive for the time. Now? That is average. Hence, the breakdown. Yes, there are photographers that are cheaper. But this was Justin’s one thing and it was going to be a “splurge.”

So, we did what any other normal, obsessive compulsive couple would do: WE MADE A SPREADSHEET. We decided on a price range that we were both comfortable with, and then went to town. I contacted no less than 50 photographers. Again, I wish I was actually exaggerating. San Diego seems to have approximately 2 million wedding photography options.

A SMALL sampling of said spreadsheet.

A SMALL sampling of said spreadsheet.

After falling in and out of love with the first most expensive choice, we found our one true photographer love — Next to Me Studios. You guys, I am not even kidding when I say that we completely stuck gold with this team.

via Next to Me Studios blog

Not only do we get unlimited time, but they also have a totally rad photo booth setup. And I know, just know that they are going to be the *next big thing* in wedding photography in San Diego and we are so incredibly lucky to have snagged them before we would’ve had to take out a loan to pay for their services. Look, just look!

Perfection, like for real. (via Next to Me Studios blog)

Last one, I swear. But can you even handle this? (via Next to Me Studios blog)

I am so overjoyed that we found such an amazing team and stayed within our budget. Research, spreadsheets, and patience are the key to survival. And also accepting the fact that wedding photography is absolutely a huge chunk of your budget (albeit totally worth it). Although I had some pains initially, once you discover your one true wedding photography love you will actually feel like a complete tool for crying hysterically on your couch about it.