Posts in the 'Contributors' Category
Hey broke-asses! Happy Friday! This week, I put out the call on Facebook to see what kinds of wedding-y things y’all were having a hard time finding. Randi put out the plea for yellow statement necklaces that won’t murder her wallet and also fell in the more pastel-y, muted range of yellows. After looking high and low across the Interwebz, I think I found some pretty sweet baubles to help a sista out.
Randi, did I find anything that fits your needs?
How about the rest of Team Broke-Ass? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see me find? Tell us in the comments!
Photo courtesy of Weddingbee
I’m a broke ass bride. My fiance and I are paying for our whole wedding, and my really optimistic budget is $8,000. My MIL keeps telling me not to worry about money, that she is going to help, but I’ve asked her directly what she can contribute and she doesn’t know… So I am planning the wedding as if that money does not exist. Did I mention, to make it all tougher, we are based in NYC?
The wedding is the evening of 10/25. So far we have a (probable) venue and a (probable) caterer. We’re transforming a raw gallery space and having a BBQ buffet. Because we are getting married close to Halloween, we are planning a red and black, dark romance, wrought iron and roses feel.
My question is, with my limited budget, how do I set a casual, fun feel for the wedding without looking cheap or tacky? What should I specifically avoid? I can’t afford a stylist or planner, so I’m looking for your good taste and lessons learned.
Ansley (and Derrick)
Dear Ansley (and Derrick),
Before I tackle your stylistic questions, I want to make sure that you’re on track with your budget. As a general guideline, approximately half of the total wedding budget tends to go toward venue and catering. Based on your probable vendors, hopefully this is realistic. If not, you need to reexamine some priorities. Also, I think it’s wise to not count on your MIL’s possible contributions until she gives you a hard and fast number. Worst case scenario – she chips in and you have extra funds. Whoohoo!
As far as your letter … the word “tacky” makes me sad. No matter what you do, odds are someone at your wedding or someone who hears about your wedding will find something about it that’s tacky. All weddings are at least a little tacky. Let’s all please promise to let go of tacky. All it does is tear us down. And now, a pause while I climb off my soapbox.
Okay. Now onto your questions! Quite honestly, I’m not really sure that “a red and black, dark romance, wrought iron and roses feel” meshes with “a casual, fun feel”. The former seems quite formal, while the latter obviously is not. So, I’m going to do my best, but I suggest that you give more consideration to how you want your wedding to look and feel, as there is a bit of a disconnect right now.
For your wedding, I suggest focusing on a few things: (1) Rather than doing formal floral centerpieces, I love the look of candles and scattered petals. This will likely be less costly, and everyone looks fabulous in candlelight. The catch here – make sure your venue allows candles, as some do not. (2) Give a thought to using some DIY uplighting. Lighting can have a really dramatic effect on an event, and it gives you a lot of bang for your buck. This will be especially helpful if your rental company only has white linens, which leads us nicely into (3) Don’t be afraid of using linens with a bit of color to them. Some rental places will charge extra for non-white tablecloths and napkins, but this is not universally true. Having some colorful linens will help with the dark romance theme without damaging your budget. (4) Do your best to buy used decor from another couple and sell the stuff you use when you’re done with it. There are a lot of sites that allow you to list and browse merchandise (the classified section on Weddingbee is the one that springs to mind most readily, but there are definitely more out there), so go to town seeing what you can find. (5) Definitely look for wedding inspiration online–I’ve seen gorgeous gothic weddings that pull off reds and blacks beautifully.
As for what to avoid … You’ll likely want to smack me for my lack of specificity, but avoid anything that doesn’t make you happy. People will judge you no matter what you choose, but if you and your fiance like something, that’s all that really matters.
Do you have any other suggestions as to what decor Ansley (and Derrick) could use? Or did you have something “tacky” at your wedding? Tell me all about it in the comments below!
Man, you guys, my email inbox just EXPLODED with these killer deals that are waaayyyy too good to pass up.
Tiny Prints is having a gargantuan 40% off sale on thank-you cards today only (sale ends at 8 a.m. tomorrow). There’s a bajillion cute styles, but this dotted “Streaming Shapes” style caught my eye hard.
And over at Ann’s Bridal Bargains, they’re Semi-Annual Sale means you get to knock a sizable 20% off your order. So, if you’re looking for invitations to send out to 100 households at $1 each, you’re looking at pretty much getting 20 invites fo FREE-99! Just use code VOWWOW at checkout (This deal slips into never-never land on 3/11).
Minted is having a 15% off sale on everything baby + kids related. Use code BKSPRING15 at check out (ends 3/17).
WeddingPaperie.com is shaving 20% off your order with the use of checkout code WPMAR20 (good through 4/6).
So get on over and take advantage of these great deals!
Spring is just about on the horizon, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Although I have no room to complain about the relatively mild winter I’ve experienced compared to some of you, I’m always glad when the days start to get longer, and the weather takes a turn from the gross. Lately, the days have been downright balmy, and my thoughts have turned to gardening, because I am a hobbit at heart and it’s hard to be grumpy around growing things. So I figured, why not share my love of playing in the dirt and show you how to turn your bouquet blossoms into a living keepsake?
First things first: If you think you might want to plant your bouquet flowers, you’ll need to ask your florist to keep some leaves on your stems, because no leaves means your blooms don’t stand a chance. You’ll also want to be careful about keeping your bouquet in water any time you’re not using it, and you’ll want to start this process as soon as you can after the wedding to give your new plants the best opportunity to thrive.
Once the big day is over, you’ll only need a few items: the flowers you’d like to plant, one potato per flower, and some rooting hormone. You’re really only limited by your planting area. It really doesn’t matter which brand you buy, whether it’s gel or powder, but if you’re looking for a suggestion, you could go with CloneX, because the name makes you feel like a mad scientist wantonly wielding power. Cackling optional!
You’ll want to make a hole in each of your taters, precious, to accommodate your stem. I recommend working out some post-wedding aggression by stabbing them with a ballpoint pen, which are right around the correct size.
Once all of your holes are made, take each stem you want to plant, cut it below a node, dip it in water and then in your rooting hormone.
Tap off the excess back into the container, and then stick your stem into the hole you made in the potato. The additional moisture and nutrients from the potato will help your flower to set new roots, as well as providing support for it to stand upright.
Once each of your stems is in its respective tater, it’s time to plant those bad boys! You can plant them in individual pots or directly in the yard, just make sure you’re putting them in a spot appropriate to their type–most roses will need at least six hours of sun per day to thrive. I planted this one in a pot that I used as a centerpiece at my wedding–so you can have multiple items pulling double-duty, beautifying both your wedding and your home! It’s too small to accommodate a rosebush for long, so eventually I’ll be transplanting it to a larger pot or the yard. Be careful not to overwater; better to err on the side of underwatering as the potato will provide moisture, and you don’t want the stem to rot. Just water until the soil is damp, not soaking wet. Your flower should set roots in the potato in two to four weeks. If you tug gently on the stem where it meets the potato and it resists, it’s set roots!
This method will only work on flowers with a root system, it won’t work on anything that grows from a bulb (tulips, dahlias, calla lillies, etc). Depending on a number of factors: the weather, the time of year you plant, the plant’s suitability to your zone, and how quickly you get it in the ground after your wedding, your flowers may not survive despite your best efforts. But if they do, you’ll have your wedding blooms growing in your garden on every anniversary!
I am pleased to announce that Daniel and I have FINALLY made some real progress in our wedding planning. Of course, we are hesitant to set anything in stone until his visa is approved, but even the “legal” side of our wedding planning is ahead of schedule! As of January 29th, my visa petition was approved by the U.S. government. After two weeks of processing, it has been sent to the U.S. Embassy in Sydney, Australia. What does all this mean? Well, once the paperwork arrives in Australia, Daniel can FINALLY (noticing a pattern, yet?) apply for his K-1 fiancé visa. In short, as long as nothing goes catastrophically wrong, the visa process should be finished by the end of May, and Daniel can move to the U.S. anytime he is ready (up until six months after his approval date).
Moving on, yes, we FINALLY (there it is again!) have made a plan. And this time, I am ensuring that we stick to the plan by sharing it with The Broke-Ass Bride world, because that totally makes it official and prevents immigration mishaps, right?
We have gone back and forth about how to handle getting married with the added costs and time restraints of immigration, and we’ve decided to stick with Plan B. (Plan A was trying to pay for and put together a 50-75 person wedding with only five months’ notice and after a slew of visa/moving expenses: doable, not fun.) Plan B: When Daniel moves to the U.S., we will have a quick, very cheap wedding to bind us legally and allow us to finalize the immigration process. Then, next spring, we will have a commitment ceremony with any extended family and friends that are available.
So, what’s new? We have a venue for the commitment ceremony!
Daniel took it upon himself to email the bed and breakfasts and wineries in my area to see if any of them host weddings and what kinds of packages are available. The very first place to email him back was Casa Somerset, an Italian-inspired estate with four guest rooms and a small grape orchard. Of course, being an extrovert, Daniel immediately gave my contact information to the owner and the two of them convinced me to visit the estate, despite my reservations about touring venues before the visa is approved.
I am so glad I went (and dragged my mom along for moral support). Casa Somerset is the third venue we’ve looked at, and it is, without a doubt, the perfect venue for us. Being Italian-inspired, it fits perfectly with Daniel’s family heritage and my love of Italy. The grounds are gorgeous – there is a sparkling pond, huge patio for entertaining, and an iron gazebo, which fit my very specific desire to get married in a gazebo like my parents did. The house itself is three stories, with four themed guest rooms, a full service kitchen, a “man cave,” and a wrap-around balcony on the second level. The owners, Mike and Christine, were incredibly gracious and laid back. They answered every question my mom and I asked and made my wedding seem like the simplest and most important thing in the world. To top it all off, their two adorable cats and their cuddly St. Bernard, Bella, made Casa Somerset feel like home.
Beyond its aesthetic charm, Casa Somerset has a lot of practical features we needed. With our international loved ones, the guest rooms were a must, and the owners even have a second property across the pond that can be rented for additional guests. Moreover, Mike is a chef, and his specialty is Italian (noticing a second theme?), but he can customize the menu and make special accommodations for a certain father of a certain bride who is a super picky eater…
All that being said, I am just so relieved to have chosen a venue. (Mostly because now I can obsessively visualize the layout and begin planning the decorations…) My mom loved Casa Somerset so much that she wanted to put in the deposit immediately, but I insisted we wait until I spoke to Daniel about it. Obviously, he loves it, too (even without seeing it in person), and we will be claiming our spot shortly. Keep your fingers crossed that May 30, 2015 is still open, everyone!
Oh, my, was that a date?
Let’s just hope I haven’t totally jinxed all of our plans.
Until next time,
*This post is brought to you by our friends at Madison Reed*
You guys, I have a confession: I’m a bottle girl.
No no, not that kind (I hate waitressing as is. Add a nightclub to it and yeah … NOPE).
I’m talking the kind that you use when you color your hair. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a natural blonde, but here’s the thing: I want to be blonder. I want ALL THE BLONDE. But I’m frugal (duh), and it’s like pulling teeth for me to spend money on a trim (which happens like once a year). So, I want salon-quality, super easy and uber affordable. And I don’t want to have to mess with it too much. Easy request, right?
Actually: Yes, yes it is. Because: Madison Reed. This online subscription-delivery company takes alla dem hair-coloring worries (going to the store, trying to find the exact same shade previously purchased, figuring out if the instructions are actually speaking English, etc.) and gives ‘em the big ol’ middle finger.
Sure, Madison Reed‘s website offers pics of their various shades, but even more than that, they have consultants available to help.
But since I knew that I just wanted ALL THE BLONDE, I picked Roma. And then I was off!
The packaging is super pretty and it’s not just “color developer, tube with color, conditioner, gloves and crappy instructions that get ruined if they get wet at all.” Nope. There’s lotsa goodies, including:
- 2 pairs of gloves (one for coloring, one for the rinsing out process)
- a shower cap (so you can actually DO STUFF while the color develops, rather than walk around like a giraffe with a neck brace on)
- wipes to get the goop off your face
- cream to keep the goop from getting on your face
- a really rockin’ set of shampoo and conditioner (I love this stuff)
All this is in addition to the regular color and developer shizz. And the instructions? They’re printed on the packaging, so they’ll hold up even if there’s a color-splosion in the bathroom.
The process is pretty standard: Prep, mix, apply, saturate, wait, rinse, swoon.
Of the many things I really liked about this system was that there was a very obvious lack of strong chemical smell and the color lasts.
Since Madison Reed is a subscription-delivery service, you can set it to arrive at your doorstep however often you choose. And since you’re skipping a trip to the salon, it saves you beaucoup bucks.
If you’re thinking of giving your follicles a little color boost before your big day, try this shizz out. For serious.
The second I got engaged, I got down to business. I started watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” (All 1,000 seasons. Atlanta too. Also, there’s spin-off called “Randy to the Rescue.” Research is hard.) My pin pinning on Pinterest increased by 600% and I created a secret board to share with only my bridesmaids and an even more super-secret board for my eyes only. I created an account on The Knot, I researched venues, flowers, cakes, shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses, photographers, DJ’s, etc! The list goes on. All things wedding related bring me joy and I spend hours fantasizing how amazing mine will be. It seems extreme, but it’s only natural, right? Wedding planning is so fun!
Photo by Smileham
Until you realize that, since it is all you think about, it is ALL you have to talk about. I went out with one of my bridesmaids and her new boyfriend the other night. She was just back in to town from an interview in Austin, Texas and her new dude was just back from 3 months on a ranch in (only coincidentally) Texas, so I was really excited to hang with them both and catch up with my girl. This was the first time I would really get to hang out with her boyfriend. She really likes him, and if he’s gonna be around for a while, I want to like him and for him to like me, too! I invited them to a new, cool, swanky joint that opened up right behind my apartment. It’s one of those foodie-type burger joints with signature cocktails. I was sure to impress both my bridesmaid and the boyfriend with my taste and awesome personality! As they arrived, we greeted each other with hugs and grabbed a spot at the bar. Pleasantries were exchanged but as soon as my bridesmaid asked, “So, what’s new?” I immediately replied with, “Well, I think I’m going to do a long-sleeved wedding gown because I think it’s so different and…” and continued with, “and I think we’re going to do signature cocktails named after our cats and…” and continued with, “and each centerpiece will have a succulent because it goes with the desert theme and…” I went on and on. I looked and noticed the boyfriend’s eyes completely glazed over after several minutes of this and I began to have an out-of-body experience. It was like I could watch myself as I droned on about vows and shoes, and I could hear how awful and boring I sounded. There was a time and a place for this and it was NOT while you’re trying to get to know someone. So, I tried to stop. I tried. ‘Change the subject, Andrea’ I thought. ‘Think of something else! Let’s see, current events?? You haven’t read the news in weeks! New music? What was the name of that band? Politics?!?! DAMMIT!’ I could not think of a single thing to talk about that was not wedding related.
At home with Travis, I realized that I was probably doing the same exact thing. Weddings can really suck you in and take you out of real life! NOW I understand why couples have to cut the wedding talk down to once-a-week. But, with my wedding over a year out, I need to cut my own wedding thoughts down to once-a-week. Otherwise, I might be unbearable to be around! Now, I do think that those who are your good friends will be understanding of this and most will want to talk wedding with you. But I would also like to remain a good friend. Also, I used to be a really interesting person….
So I pledge:
* For every book or article I read about weddings, I will read a real life book or article.
* For every show I watch about weddings, I will watch a real life show.
* And finally, for every blog I write about weddings, I will write a real life blog. (To make this applicable to you, the reader, change “blog” to whatever it is that you create or think about that makes you feel good.)
I can’t believe I still have over a year until this wedding and I’m already wrangling in the crazy?? I feel a Bridezilla brewing inside of me and I’m scared.
Here’s to hoping the pledge works,
I have a number of friends who are somewhat cynical about weddings: they point to the divorce statistics and scoff that people spent so much money only to be single again a few years later. But the divorce statistic alone doesn’t tell the entire story. The idea of what a marriage entails has evolved as a cultural notion, and with it, so have our individual expectations of it. Among the marriages that endure, those who are happiest in their marriages now are actually happier than at any point in history. Conversely, those who are unhappy in their marriages are more unhappy than ever before. But still, isn’t sublime happiness worth taking the chance and making the effort? You don’t gain anything by refusing to try.
ARE marriages today better or worse than they used to be?
This vexing question is usually answered in one of two ways. According to the marital decline camp, marriage has weakened: Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general. But according to the marital resilience camp, though marriage has experienced disruptive changes like higher divorce rates, such developments are a sign that the institution has evolved to better respect individual autonomy, particularly for women. The true harm, by these lights, would have been for marriage to remain as confining as it was half a century ago.
As a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, I would like to offer a third view. Over the past year I immersed myself in the scholarly literature on marriage: not just the psychological studies but also work from sociologists, economists and historians. Perhaps the most striking thing I learned is that the answer to whether today’s marriages are better or worse is “both”: The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.
Consider, for example, that while the divorce rate has settled since the early 1980s at around 45 percent, even those marriages that have remained intact have generally become less satisfying. At the same time, consider the findings of a recent analysis, led by the University of Missouri researcher Christine M. Proulx, of 14 longitudinal studies between 1979 and 2002 that concerned marital quality and personal well-being. In addition to showing that marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people), the analysis revealed that this effect has become much stronger over time. The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased.
How and why did this divergence occur? In answering this question, I worked with the psychologists Chin Ming Hui, Kathleen L. Carswell and Grace M. Larson to develop a new theory of marriage, which we will publish later this year in a pair of articles in the journal Psychological Inquiry. Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.
Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.
Intrigued? Read the rest at The New York Times.
As a blogger and overall blog enthusiast, upon our engagement I made sure to add every single wedding related blog I could find to my reader. Every. Single. One. I had more than 100 posts to gaze at each day, and while it was fun at first it quickly because tiresome and then just flat out annoying. And the thing that annoyed me the most? The overused wedding theme adjectives. You’ve heard them, you have!
Rustic Handmade Traditional.
Vintage DIY OMG PLEASE STOP.
The theeeeeeemes. The adjectives. That is the second question that people ask. When is your wedding and what is the theme? At one point during my extreme frustration with the theme-machine, I created my very own: Whimsical Sharknado.
No, that isn’t really our theme.
I understand that an overall style is important for planning decor. It just gets taken too far and with many of the weddings and couples featured in the posts, it becomes very clear that the theme doesn’t resonate through their entire life. Do you typically wear cowboy boots every day? THEN WHY ARE YOU WEARING ONE WITH YOUR EXPENSIVE AND GORGEOUS WEDDING DRESS? And because of these themes, weddings look less and less personal because brides begin to think that their decor needs to fit a certain expectation. We are getting married in a barn? Then we HAVE to have burlap and mason jars. And OMG don’t even get me started on mason jars. YOU GUYS THERE ARE OTHER JARS TO USE, I PROMISE.
So what is our non-theme theme? I call it “sh*t we like.” While it is mildly brewery influenced, the decorations will just be what makes us happy. We didn’t pick set colors. I just saw some flowers I liked at Trader Joe’s and said, “THAT COLOR!” We don’t have a singular adjective to describe our wedding. Well, besides awesome. It will just be us and things that make us smile (okay, mostly me because I don’t think that garlands make Justin quite as giddy as they make me).
Whoa, hello rant post! But really, I find this to be one of the biggest conundrums with the wedding industry. Don’t let yourself get stuck in one theme…just do what makes you happiest, even if it can’t be described in one word.