Posts in the 'Heather' Category

Real Wedding: Etan & Megan’s Modern, “Bookish”, Table-Dancing Los Angeles Wedding

Bringing personality to a wedding while still keeping costs low  is a challenge all couples face. Etan and Megan added a great amount of character to their celebration with lots of DIY décor, and a group of people willing to dig in their heels and help this self described “bookish” couple. This Los Angeles duo focused on celebrating what they absolutely loved without going overboard. Good food, cold brews, laughter, good books, and twinkly lights are the key ingredients to this extremely charming L.A. wedding. 

Names: Etan & Megan Rosenbloom

Occupations: Etan works in marketing in the music industry and is a heavy metal music journalist. Megan is a medical librarian who works with rare books.

Wedding location: Lehrer Architects, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Calif.

Wedding date: Oct. 13, 2012

Approximate guest count: 80

How would you describe your wedding? Everything about our wedding was very personal, from the elements of the ceremony to the DIY décor to the barn raising feeling of putting the whole thing together with friends and family. Also, all the things we didn’t do ourselves we sourced super locally, whether it was the clothes, the food, the beer, so it was a very eastside of LA wedding. We had a lot of bookish decor, which makes sense as we’re both pretty bookish people.

What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Megan: After all of our hard work, taking a moment to breathe and watch our friends and family all together getting hyped on the dance floor and being humbled by the fact that they were all here for us.
Etan: The heightened sense of intimacy with Megan under the chuppah.

What did you splurge on? We didn’t really “splurge” on anything, but as might be expected our biggest expense was the food. But Whoa Nelly Catering worked with us to keep costs low and delivered absolutely amazing food. Our foodie and vegan friends were especially delighted with their offerings, which were all sourced from our local farmers’ markets. Many people said it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding.

What did you save on? We managed to save a lot on booze. We are really into craft beer (even my bouquet had fresh hops in it!) so we wanted that to be the star of the show. A friend of ours runs a great beer bar and was able to source three California craft beer kegs for a great price, and then, sweetheart that she is, ended up gifting us one of them. So we had world class beer for our guests for a song. We got our wine from BevMo on their 5 cent sale, so a lot of our bottles were only a nickel! We didn’t want to have a full liquor bar, so next to our agua frescas we had a “spike station” with a bottle each of vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila for people to spike their drinks if they wished. We also borrowed PA equipment from music friends and Etan created some great Spotify playlists for dinner and for dancing.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We probably should have hired a videographer. We had a lot of family & friends who couldn’t make the trip. Our friend who shot the video on my personal camera did a great job stepping up to help, but my gear just wasn’t up to snuff. We also should have reminded people to do certain things like use the photo booth or thumbprint the guestbook to get more participants in those activities.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Mostly just trying to stay sane while working full-time and doing all of these DIY projects at night, and knowing when to let a certain project go if it just wasn’t working out.


What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? From planning the wedding, I learned a lot about time management and balancing all the things I wanted to create and what I could feasibly achieve. At one point, I was thinking that I was working really hard to make certain things that no one was going to notice. I was pleasantly surprised that our guests really did notice all the hard work and love that my friends and I put into all the details of the wedding. Having people come up and mention certain small elements that they enjoyed really made me proud as a crafter and made all the work worth it. I also learned not to be afraid to ask friends for help, and our friends gave us a lot of help in too many ways to list here. At the wedding itself, having everyone there for us, taking part in this very intimate moment, really hammered home just how much we are loved and supported as we forge our new family together.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding?

It’s hard to pick just five!

  1. Our groomsman/ brosmaid Alexis was a giant help with a lot of the crafting and lighting design, and he designed one area that he could decorate however he wanted. He made us this beautiful lamp where he cut pages out of our two favorite books (Ulysses & Finnegans Wake, both by James Joyce) into leaf shapes, laminated them, and attached them to the lamp so the light glows through the words. He also made us a clever table out of dictionary where the ashtray rested on the page for “smoke” words and the cup holder rested on the page for “drink” words. He made this lovely little oasis for us where we relaxed and took a few photos immediately after the ceremony. Now both of these items adorn our home and we love them to death, and every time we look at them we think of him and all he did for us. Alexis was rewarded in a surprising way for all of his hard work…he fell in love with our bridesmaid Maryanne at the wedding and is now moving across the country to be with her!
  2. We were lucky enough to have Etan’s mom’s best friend, Cantor Perryne Anker, as our officiant & pre-marital counselor. She’s been present at the ceremonies for many of Etan’s major life events, and was a great calming guide for both of us through this whole process. She made the ceremony personal, moving, and funny…everything we could have asked for.
  3. Instead of the traditional parent-child dance, Etan and his mother Aviva did a choreographed Israeli folk dance to the song “Erev Ba” and everyone was very impressed by how light on their feet they were! It was a beautiful, touching moment. Aviva was glowing with motherly pride.
  4. Watching our two very different families from separate coasts get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company was a real treat. We might not ever get everyone together in the same spot again, so that was really special for us.
  5. Watching all of our friends and family go absolutely apeshit on the dance floor was a huge highlight. I took a moment to just enjoy the scene and be glad we could bring all of these wonderful people together, if just for an evening. The first song was Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and when Prince starts in with his little sermon, everyone just went wild. Our friends Josh, Grant and Agatha ran over to me during the song, looked at the table near the dance floor and said, “Wanna Breakfast Club this shit?” OF COURSE. So we all got up and danced on the table, and at the end of the song Etan came over and I jumped into his arms from the table and he spun me around and kissed me as the song ended. It was a total movie moment…even better than The Breakfast Club. I’ll never forget it.

Top five least favorite?

  1. The ceremony music false-started so our bridesmaid Lavinia had to swoop in and save the day by restarting it.
  2. We found out a few days before that there were some plumbing issues so we had to scramble and get a port-a-potty for the guests. I kinda had a meltdown about it at first, but they turned out to be really nice as far as port-a-potties go, and no one cared.
  3. The whole shebang ran late so we didn’t get enough dancing time, we should have allotted more wiggle room…I think our friends could have danced for hours more!
  4. We were so busy and things went so fast that I only got one of those delicious beers and we didn’t get any pie until the next day.
  5. The next day it was super hot, we were all exhausted, but we had to go back to the venue to take down all the decorations and clean up. That and returning all of the borrowed stuff and trying to sell the things we don’t need was kind of onerous but wasn’t too awful.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? People told Etan to let me do everything and make all the decisions, that it was my day. That’s not true, it was OUR day, and we learned quickly that making these decisions together was crucial. The last thing Etan wanted was to show up to our wedding and not even recognize what was going on, so he was involved in the whole decision-making process even if he was less involved in the actual crafting parts.

The best? Try to take time to be in the moment…it is so true. When you plan a whole year for one day, it’s insane how fast it’ll go by. Also whether you’re a DIY bride or not, whatever you do, hire a professional event coordinator for the day of the wedding. You will not be able to manage the logistics on your own, and it’s not fair to push it off on a bridesmaid or family member…they want to enjoy your wedding too, not work at it!

Any other bits of wisdom? Have the wedding that speaks to who you are. It wasn’t the fact that we did a lot of things ourselves that made it personal, it was that I’m a DIY person and that reflects who I am. If you’re not a crafty person, don’t try to craft a bunch of stuff for the wedding because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. We carefully picked all of our own music not only to save money on a DJ, but because we’re music people and we had to have every song count. If you don’t like cake, don’t have one! We had pie. We’ve been to a lot of weddings as guests and I would say the only ones that we ever found a bit disappointing were ones where it felt like the couple was making choices because they felt pressure to from some source outside of themselves — whether it be a family member, friends, or the general wedding industrial complex. Your friends and family love you, and they want to celebrate who you are as a couple, so show them who you are in the way you do your wedding, even if that means eloping.

Caterers: Whoa Nelly Catering
Flowers, Crowns & Boutonnieres: The Paper Arum
Photography: Lindsay Giles McWilliams (Denver, Colorado) & Sarah Law Photography: (Southern California, soon to be based in Portland, Oregon)
Musical Performance: Homesick Elephant featuring Kelly Sulick
Valet: Hollywood Hills Valet
Bride’s Dress: Shareen Vintage
Bride’s Hair: Megan Klammer at Heretic Salon
Bride’s Makeup: Heather Cvar at Le Pink & Co. Apothecary
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Matrushka Construction
Flower Girl Dress: Made by friend
Groom’s Suit: Al Weiss
Groomsmen’s Blazers: ASOS
Groomsmen’s Ties: Zara
Engagement Ring: Single Stone
Wedding Bands: Claude Morady
Save the Dates: Photo by Sarah Law Photography; Design by And She Designs
Invitations, seating cards and programs: Designed and handmade by the bride
Ketubah: Gallery Judaica
Ketubah Art: Peter Wonsowski
Thumbprint Guest Book & table numbers: Bear Witness Studio

DIY projects
Decor primarily by the bride Megan Rosenbloom & groomsman Alexis Bourbeau
Custom Lighting by groomsman Alexis Bourbeau (
Mothers’ shawls, groom’s kippah, and bride’s capelet knit by the bride
Challah cover embroidery by the groom’s aunt Alma Schneider, sewn by the bride

If there is one lesson to take from Etan and Megan’s big day it’s to be realistic about your time. Most ladies become DIY divas in an effort to add personal touches to their wedding days. Luckily, friends and family are often eager to help. Be sure to let them. Be honest about your own limitations and allow others to step in and help. A wedding is your day, but those who love you truly want to offer a supporting hand in the festivities. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that – in fact, it will probably help things go more smoothly.

Congrats to Megan and Etan, and special thanks to their wedding photographers, Lindsay and Sarah! 


Real Wedding: Jeremy and Nagehan’s Super Intimate, Laid-Back Wedding in Manhattan on a $5,000 Budget

Saying “I do” should be a celebration shared with those you love. Jeremy and Nagehan decided to invite only a small group of family and friends – 24 people who traveled from different states and even across an ocean – with whom to share their Manhattan journey to become man and wife. With a small guest list and a $5,000 budget, this pair both kept the money in check but were able to make a few fun splurges along the way. Lucky for them, New York offers a wonderfully colorful backdrop for any couple celebrating their first moments as man and wife.

Names: Jeremy Hill & Nagehan Bayindir Hill
Occupations: Jeremy: Ph.D candidate-neuroscience; Nagehan: Professor at Drexel University and Columbia University
Wedding location: County Clerk’s Office of Manhattan
Wedding date: June 8, 2012
Wedding budget: $5,000
Approximate guest count: 24


How would you describe your wedding? Laid back, intimate, and private.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? There were so many moments from our wedding day we loved. One thing that we absolutely enjoyed so much was that we were able to spend time with every single one of our guests.

What did you splurge on? Photography! It was very important for us to work with a photographer whom we trusted and felt comfortable to be around. Her passion and high energy approach to photography definitely enabled us to trust Kimberly’s vision. Although she had amazing ideas, she was very open to hearing our ideas and answering our questions.

What did you save on? We decided against having a large reception. Instead, we had a very intimate dinner at one of our favorite New York City restaurants with our immediate families and close friends.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Absolutely not. We had our dream wedding!

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Helping our families who were flying in from Turkey, Wisconsin and Illinois find comfortable accommodations during a high travel and tourism season in New York City.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? A wedding shouldn’t be a stressful event to plan. The bride and groom must have the ultimate say in who they would like to spend their big day with. In our case, inviting only our immediate families and our best friends proved to be the best idea.


What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • Our ceremony
  • Photo shoot
  • Dinner
  • Very intimate, tear-jerking speeches given by our parents.
  • Spending the whole day with the most important people in our lives.

Top 5 least favorite? Although it was a gorgeous day, getting around the city in the heat was challenging. (We can’t come up with 5 things! Everything was perfect!)


What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? When we received unsolicited advice on who to invite to our wedding.

The best? Plan a day that is true to your personalities.


If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges? Although this wasn’t much of a challenge per se, but realizing that we have to make sacrifices and compromises in helping one another reaching our ultimate potential, goals and self-fulfillment have been some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned so far.

Any other bits of wisdom? Always, always be honest with one another.

Venue and Food: Pisticci NYC
Decor and Flowers: The bride arranged her own flowers that she purchased from a local corner store.



DressAudrey Hepburn Funny Face Ballgown from Light In the Box
Fascinator & Birdcage Veil: Purchased separately from Etsy.
Shoes: Christian Louboutin (Splurge in addition to photography! But oh so worth it.)
Jewelry: Groom’s late grandmothers’ earrings and bracelets.
Hair: Our friend and hairdresser of (then on Broadway) “How to Succeed in Business” and currently “Pippin,” Katie Beatty
Makeup: Bride did her own makeup.

Invitations and Stationary: Because we wanted to keep our wedding private and intimate, we sent our guests their invitations via email.
Photographer: Kimberly Mufferi

Surrounded by loved ones, Jeremy and Nagehan took to the streets of Manhattan to celebrate their love. It wasn’t an over-the-top affair. Instead, it was an intimate celebration of all that’s wonderful in life. Over a year later, it’s still the perfect celebration for them. That’s a great reminder for those planning their own weddings: a wedding simply needs to make you happy. (Congrats to Jeremy and Nageham, and special thanks to NYC wedding photographer Kimberly Mufferi for sharing these fab photos!) 

Congrats, kids!


Real Wedding: Claudi & Luan’s $9,000 Budget-Friendly, Do-It-Yourself South African Wedding

What happens when two besties say “I do” in a sunny South African wedding with lots of DIY touches? Magic! In October, Claudi and Luan took the big plunge with a $9,000 budget for an 80-person wedding farm-style wedding. This wedding inspiration duo took their crafting talents to the limits creating beautiful hanging decorations like hearts and flowers and personalized shoes for the groomsmen. Their hard work resulted in a personal yet super pretty ceremony with noteworthy little touches throughout the day.

Names: Claudi and Luan ten Cate
Occupations: Luan, in flight chef for Etihad Airways; Claudi, housewife

Wedding location: Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Bapsfontein,  Gauteng, South Africa
Wedding date: Oct. 25, 2012
Wedding budget: Approx $9,000
Approximate guest count: 80
How would you describe your wedding? Fun DIY farm-style wedding
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The photo shoot with our amazing photographers, Izelle and Gerhard.
What did you splurge on? The venue and food



What did you save on? EVERYTHING ELSE
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Yes, I would spend more time with the guests.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Incorporating what Luan wanted as he was living in Abu Dhabi during the whole planning process.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? To spend more time on myself and a little less time making everyone else happy.


What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • The decor and flowers
  • The cake/candy buffet table
  • Venue
  • My dress
  • Our photo shoot

Top 5 least favorite?

  • Not having enough time with the guests
  • The day going by so quickly

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
“You need to stay on top of things and manage it carefully!” This advice is the worst because micro managing everything will just annoy those around you and face it, not everyone is as excited about your wedding as you are. In fact weddings tend to bring out the worst in some people…

The best?
Relax and let go. Nobody has the script for the day, they won’t even notice if the flowers are fuchsia pink instead of baby pink. The ambiance and atmosphere is what creates the mood and feeling so be happy and enjoy it.

If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
Even being married for six months has its challenges. Like my husband not understanding the concept and importance of closing the toilet lid. Also, relocating to Abu Dhabi and having to start a life here from scratch is quite a challenge.

Any other bits of wisdom?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! The world will not end if the linens are navy instead of sapphire or if the white roses have a slight green tinge. Remember what the day is for. It is about saying “I do” and if the wrong flowers or linen will prevent you from saying “I do,” then you should reconsider getting married. My philosophy is, if you are not willing to get married in a moldy old court house without the whole white wedding then you should not be getting married. Then you are getting married for the wedding and not the marriage!

Also, try and do as much as you can by yourself. Your wedding is the day you can recreate all those amazing DIY projects you keep pinning on your wedding board on Pinterest! This keeps it personal and saves a lot of money. All it takes is some creativity.

Budget breakdown

Venue and Food: $5,000
Decor and Flowers: $300
My Dress and Accessories: $700
Groom’s Outfit:$300
Bridesmaids dresses: $70 (for all the bridesmaids)
Groomsmen Outfit: $200 (including All Star Shoes)
Hair and Makeup: $450 (for all the girls and my mom)
DJ and Photobooth: $900
Invitations and Stationary: $50
Photographer: $850
Extras: $200


Photographers: Iz Photography by Izelle Labuschagne

Wedding Dress and Bridal Accessories: Ivy Bridal House, Rachel van Loggerenberg

Venue:   Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Anja Bands,

Décor and Flowers: DaisyDoo Décor and Styling, Marie Bührlen,

Wedding Cake and Candy Buffet:   Daisy Doo Designer Cakes, Claudi ten Cate,

Bride and Bridesmaids’ MakeupAngelstar Make up, Jeanne- Marie Eloff

Lighting, Sound and DJ:   TUKS FM, Nolz van der Merwe

PhotoboothPhotobooth Inc., Rob Sulcas

These love birds highlighted their style with a budget-friendly party full of personality. Small projects at home made a big impact by adding a little extra something to some already beautiful settings — great lesson for any bride-to-be! Get creative, have fun and focus on everything you want out of your day. 


Real Wedding: Mike and Alison’s Super Fun, Costumey, Budget-Friendly Seattle Wedding Bash

Weddings are a celebration of love but also of those who will be saying vows. In June 2012, Mike and Alison decided to not only exchange rings but also celebrate all the geeky things they love in an $8,000, 55-person wedding in Seattle. This couple relied on the help of friends and family to stick to a tight budget, add extra special touches and celebrate the uniqueness of, well, them. Their work resulted in a super personal wedding that included personalized 20-sided dice and a pub crawl. Yep, you want to party with them.

Names: Mike and Alison
Occupations: Mike – mild-mannered computer technician; Alison – full-time biology student

Wedding location: Rainier Chapter House, Daughters of the American Revolution in Seattle, Washington
Wedding date: June 10, 2012
Wedding budget: $8,000
Approximate guest count: 55 and ⅜ (Not everyone could make it.)

How would you describe your wedding? All of our favorite things: costumes and board games and time travel and cake and friends and family and also, we got married!

What was your favorite part of your wedding? There was so much! I think the best was that we’d put together such a great team that once we arrived on-site, our worries evaporated and we just had a great time. We assembled a group of friends and vendors who were genuinely excited about helping us and thoroughly geeked out about their part in it.

What did you splurge on? Photography was really important to us. Mike and I both volunteer as event staffers, so we know how a big event can turn into a haze of barely remembered moments. Photos mean we’ll remember.

We couldn’t talk ourselves out of Madres catering, either. They’d been very impressive from the very beginning. Anyone who’s been to a bunch of catered events knows that there are two kinds – catering that’s good and catering that’s good enough. If Madres ran a restaurant, I’d be excited to go there as often as I could. I dream about those shrimp cakes.

What did you save on?

  • Dress. I found my dress on Etsy for under $300! If you take your time and don’t let yourself be discouraged, you really can find the dress you want.
  • Handmade paper bouquets and centerpieces. I think the paper and supplies ran us a little over $100. You could do it for even less, I just really like fancy paper. And at the end of the day, most of the centerpieces and little boutonniere-sized flowers I made were taken home by guests, too!
  • No booze. We had a dry wedding, just tea and lemonade and water and coffee, no alcohol. We added a note to our wedding site and program about a pub crawl after the reception, and several of our guests joined us at a bar down the street from the venue.
  • Venue. The venue itself was inexpensive and easy to work with, and they provided all of the furniture and tableware, and even an iPod dock for our music!
  • Shoes. My shoes came from my existing wardrobe. It’s surprisingly difficult to find lime green shoes and I already had a few pairs.
  • A new approach to dressy dudes. For the men, getting over the tuxedo idea saved us a bunch of cash. Our best man came in costume pulled from his own wardrobe, and Mike bought a nice plain suit for the same amount of money we’d have spent renting a tux.
  • Volunteers rather than gifts. The biggest money-saver was probably asking for volunteers instead of gifts. In an apartment as small as ours, more stuff is almost a calamity. Once we convinced our friends what we really wanted was help, things came together very quickly. In fact, a few friends we’d intended to pay donated their services entirely!

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?
I think I might have arranged in advance to have someone pick me up from my hair appointment. I thought it’d be easy to catch a cab to the venue, and it usually is… when there aren’t a bunch of commencement ceremonies going on all over town.
There were no cabs. Thankfully, Mike was able to come pick me up in his smoke-belching rattletrap of a truck. (I should note that he insisted I describe the truck this way.) We arrived a little bit late and I’d had time to freak out about everything, but in the process I’d also texted everyone I could get a hold of to let them know what was going on, and we didn’t drop a beat.

What was your biggest challenge in planning?
When we first started out, we had no idea what the wedding would cost, so we waited until we had a better idea. And if we’d answered any of those questions in the beginning instead of trying to wing it, we could have saved ourselves a lot of headaches.
If there is a lesson to be learned from our mistakes, it should be to establish the budget at the beginning of planning.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
A wedding is a socially appropriate opportunity to shout your love from the rooftops, to say “this is who I intend to build a life with.” It doesn’t have to be anything else. I learned that we could make it the party we wanted and throw out or ignore or mutate all the parts we weren’t comfortable with, the parts that weren’t us or our families or our friends.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • Our vows.
  • Our good friend and officiant’s excellent ceremony, and our readings.
  • Costume party!
  • Board game reception!

Top 5 least favorite?

  • No cabs. I mean, really? I thought I was going to pop a vein in my head.
  • Close friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding.
  • Crinolines are difficult!

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
The notion that there is a “right way” to design your wedding, and that someone other than you gets to decide what that is. Don’t let others define your needs for you. The only way to do a wedding wrong is to let it turn into something you didn’t want.

The best?
Think about your deal breakers: What are a few things you must have or must avoid for your wedding? Once you know what you’ve got to have, it’s really easy to compromise on the things you’re less interested in.


Any other bits of wisdom?
Be true to yourself and what you need.
A wedding is a big project with a lot of moving parts, and it’s a big event. We’re socialized to think of a wedding as something people just up and do, without need for specialized training or research, but it’s not like there’s a high school class on how to throw a tightly scheduled party for 40-300 people. I’m not kidding when I say people go to college to learn that sort of thing. Don’t try to plan or run this party alone. Ask loved ones to pitch in. Hire experts to help. Do research. Give yourself lots of time. If you do the research and ask for help, you don’t have to lose your mind planning a wedding.
Hire vendors who are genuinely excited about your plans and can’t stop talking about how they can help. They’ll be there for you, and the results will be better than you imagined.
The wedding industry will sell you on tradition any chance they get. Be wary of “tradition,” and realize that if a lot of these traditions are only a few years old, you can definitely create your own new traditions too!


Budget breakdown with vendors
Photography: A little under $3,000 for an engagement session and wedding package with a few extra goodies. Firstlight Photography

Catering: Just over $1,700 through Madres Events.

Venue: About $1,500, including tables, chairs, linens and tableware.  DAR Rainier Chapter House

Email invitations and wedding website: $30 per month through Glo.

Cake: $300, the designer is a friend of ours. Clever Cake Studio

Dress: Roughly $270 for a custom designed dress. Pixie Pocket 

Shoes: Came from my wardrobe, but were between $120 and $200 new. These shoes last forever if you take good care of them, can be repaired by the manufacturer, and look awesome. Fluevog 

Suit: $250. Men’s Wearhouse

Paper and other supplies for the centerpieces: About $100. Paper Source 

Centerpieces: My centerpieces were half of a flower ball. Here is a good set of instructions.

Favors: $135 for 100 gorgeous 20-sided dice. We called them directly about the Precision Gaming dice (they’re really pretty) and they were amused by the idea when we explained they were for a wedding. We got a discount out of it! Gamestation 

Stockings and garter belt: Something like $30. It’s easy to spend a lot more here! Sock Dreams

A super shout out to our bride and groom for showcasing the memorable fun that can be created when you embrace who you are. With their help, other couples can save cash as well as learn how to make a number of the projects at home. What else could a girl want? 

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Gown For Under $1000 Inspired By BHLDN’s “Omelia”

What happens when a bride wants to buck the strapless trend and not spend more than $2,000 on a wonderful gown? You get a bride in need of some shopping help.

Hey all, I could use some help in the CAI/GOI category: BHLDN Omelia. The sheath silhouette, the gorgeous lace detail, the fact that it’s not strapless (I just can’t be bothered to worry about things falling down/out), and it looks flowy/movable!… but the $2+k price tag is a serious downer. I might be up a creek with this one. I’d love to look at places like Etsy but, to be honest, I just can’t bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on something that I can’t return sight-unseen. In a perfect world I’d love to be able to try it on (or have there be a return policy). Help?

Non-strapless, lace with movement – your wish is our command.


Omelia ($2,200 at BHLDN)


High Neck Sheath Wedding Dress with Lace Details and Front Slit ($339.99 at For Her and For Him)


White Sheer Strap Sweetheart Wedding Dress ($918 at Unique Vintage)

Ivory Illusion Bateau Wedding Dress ($538 at Unique Vintage)

White Ruched Chiffon Cap Sleeve Prom Dress ($598 at Unique Vintage)


Cap Sleeve Fit-and-Flare Lace Gown ($950 at David’s Bridal)

Angeline ($639.99 at Ruche)

Etsy could also offer some wonderful options. On the other hand, your point about a return policy is valid. Consider using Etsy’s “Shop Local” feature to find vendors in your area. Meeting the designer in person and trying things on is always preferable to crossing your fingers and hoping it works out. Any BABs out there have suggestions for shopping on  Etsy for such an important dress?

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Badgley Mischka-Inspired, Non-Traditional Wedding Gown For Under $1000

Ever sat on the couch dreaming of delicious food? All of your favorite dishes in one place, making your day extra special; it’s the kind of vision a girl diets to enjoy. This week’s BAB has food on the brain – my kind of gal.


I have been searching non-stop for the past three months to find the right dress. I think my problem is that my entire life, I have never dreamed of the dress I would wear down the aisle. Instead, I dreamed of the food I would serve (how silly is that?). As a result, finding the right dress has been hard, but I think I finally found something that fits my tom-boy, non-traditional, non-white dress taste. The downside is that this dress is probably way too expensive for me. Do you think you can help me out? I have fallen in love with Badgley Mischka’s Cressida Dress. I would love it if you could help me find a similar dress for $2500 or less. Thank you so much!! -Vi 

Well Vi, you may not be traditional, but you are open to showing off your curves, rocking color, and having a dress with a little something extra. That made finding you alternatives really, really fun!


Badgley Mischka’s Cressida Dress


Adrianna Papell Beaded One Shoulder Gown ($298 at Nordstrom)

Theia Heaven on Earth Gown ($150 rental via Rent The Runway)

Aidan Mattox Blouson Beaded Gown ($530 at Dillards)

Long Champagne Sequined Tank Gown ($658 at Unique Vintage)

Blush Red Carpet Ready Strapless Gown ($638 at Unique Vintage)

Badgley Mischka Strapless Lace Gown ($715 at Bloomingdales)

Given that your inspiration has yet-to-hit the sales floor, it might be worth it to call around and get the prices once the dress is in showrooms. You’d be surprised what a $2,500 budget can get you. On the other hand, I’m hoping one of these budget-friendly options will mean you can put more cash toward making your food dreams come true.


{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A “The Great Gasby”-Inspired Wedding Gown For Under $1200

With previews for the new “The Great Gatsby” movie playing everywhere, it’s no surprise that chic ’20s style is catching the eye of modern brides. Sadly, that kind of glitz isn’t always nice to the pocketbook, as this week’s BAB quickly realized.

I’ve been looking for a quasi-20’s feeling dress for a while, and low and behold I’ve fallen in love with this Jenny Packham dress. Unfortunately, it looks to be way outside my price range (found a used one for $4,000!).

I’m looking for something that is $1,200 or less – with interesting beading, or lace, or sparkle, that’s a little bit unconventional. Help!

Often these kinds of dresses can be super difficult to replicate. There is one over budget option, but it was too good not to include. Plus, I’m a big believer in watching for possible sales or online discounts that would drop something fab that’s been just out of your reach to comfortably within your budget.


Eden Gown by Jenny Packham


White Sheer Strap Sweetheart Dress ($918 at Unique Vintage)

Aiguille Gown ($1,200 at BHLDN)

 Delphina Art Deco Mermaid Romantic Gown ($998 at Dahlnyc via Etsy)

Grace 1930s-Inspired Bridal Gown ($1,402.60 at Rowan Joy via Etsy)

Ivory Lace Capped Sleeve Wedding Dress ($1,065.60 at Grace Loves Lace via Etsy)


Silk Lace Satin and Chiffon Romantic Wedding ($940.29 at Katherine L. Kerrison via Etsy)

If you’re looking for even more options, check out our October post about the BHLDN “Lita” gown, it’s a super similar, 1920’s-inspired style.

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Romantic, Le Spose di Gio-Inspired Gown For $1,400 Or Less

This week’s BAB Sofia has some amazing couture taste! The wonderfully unique neckline created by the detailed draping of the sleeves on her Le Spose di Gio dream dress is truly to die for.


I am in love with a wedding dress from Le Spose di Giò. It is the dress CL31 from the Classica Collection. I am not sure about the price but I don’t want to pay more than $1,500. Would you be able to give me any ideas? I really like the neckline and sort of transparent sleeves.

Thank you!


So, Sofia, I’m starting with an apology. I failed to find the retail price for this European designer. It might be worthwhile to check local shops in your area in case it’s more affordable than it appears. Until then, here are some wonderful alternatives for you to covet.


Le Spose di Gio gown


Honeychurch Wedding Gown ($1,200 at English Dept via Etsy)

Savoir Faire Gown ($1,400 at BHLDN)


Off the Shoulder Chiffon Wedding Gown ($295.99 at For Her and For Him)


One Shoulder Metallic Detail Fit-and-Flare Gown ($699.99 at David’s Bridal)


Florence Gown by Reem Acra ($400 rental through Rent the Runway)

Off Shoulder Trumpet Bridal Gown by Rami Kashou ($462.50 at Bebe)

Fit to Flare Wedding Gown with Illusion Neckline ($1,100 at David’s Bridal)

Finding something that matches your inspiration’s super beautiful neckline was super difficult. After looking really closely at lots of necklines – a strange way to spend a Sunday evening – these came up as noteworthy alternatives. Hopefully you’ll find something here that makes your heart swoon!

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Gown Inspired By BHLDN’s “Ortensia” For Under $600

It’s rare that one dress embodies everything a bride wants in her wedding gown. Often we’re split between many options because of small details. Jane, on the other hand, knows exactly what she wants, but it’s twice her budget.

I would be SO grateful if you would use your amazing dress-finding skills to help me out with a sudden and major case of CAI/GOI:

I just fell in love with BHLDN‘s new Ortensia gown  It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for – a flowing, floor length skirt that starts from the natural waist, a beautiful deep V neckline, pretty (but not blingy) details – but it’s double what I can afford ($1500 is my absolute maximum).

Thank you!

Jane, you did the hard part: Describing your perfect dress and including the budget. Now we’ve found some options that are less than half the budget. This way, you can add extra bling – if needed – through pretty shoes, a belt or maybe a pair of statement earrings.


Ortensia Gown ($3,000 at BHLDN)


Evelyn ($544.99 at Ruche)

Aidan Mattox Sheer-Back Ruched Gown ($475 at Neiman Marcus)

Badgley Mischka Antigua Bay Gown ($150 rental through Rent The Runway)

Sequin Bodice Chiffon Gown ($375 at Badgley Mischka)


Goddess V-Neck Wedding Dress ($550 at Ann Taylor)

V Neck Chiffon A Line Wedding Gown ($369.99 at For Her and For Him)

Be sure to check out the back of these options, Jane. Some have fantastic detail that you wouldn’t guess from the front — something I’m assuming you’d like given the inspiration. Finding the perfect dress is a tricky thing to do online – do read the return policies before ordering!