Broke-Ass Category: Liz



Photo: Andie Freeman Photography

Dear Liz,

My fiancé and I are in the very beginning of planning our wedding. Naturally, we started with the venue hunt. But now we have a small problem.

I  found a beautiful venue, it barely needs decoration, and it’s sooo unique. However, they  only have one exclusive caterer, and they don’t impress me. With our budget we would only be able to afford a small buffet, and most likely, we won’t be able to serve alcohol.

On the other hand, there’s venue number #2. It’s a cafe that serves a huge buffet of delicious Italian food, with complimentary and unlimited alcohol! And,it’s about the same price as venue #1. The space is also beautiful, even if it isn’t as unique, but we would have to do a lot more work to make it look the way we want.

What do I do?

Venue Blues

Dear Blues,

I figure I don’t have to tell you that you’re going to get more for your money with venue #2. So, if you want confirmation of that, there you go. You like the food, alcohol is included and you can afford it. If those are your biggest concerns — the wedding bar has some powerful guest-expectation mojo — My head says go for #2, and figure out how to make it work and make it pretty. That is, after all, why God invented Pinterest. Pinterest and preferred vendor lists.

But there’s something about venue #1 … and it sounds like that might be where your heart is, which totally overrules my head. If I’m right, we have a saying in Wedding World, “When in doubt, play it out.” Before you make the final call, crunch the numbers and all the options. Is it the food at venue #1 that you don’t like, or that there won’t be enough of it? There’s nothing wrong with a small buffet, as long as you have enough food for everyone. You don’t have to offer five entrees and three side dishes. Most guests will only pick one entree and go through the line once, very few of them will go back for seconds. No one is going to fume because there’s no salmon or truffle mac and cheese, or whatever. You can keep it simple. If it is the quality of the food itself that’s a problem, talk to the caterer about alternative menus and pick one or two that you’re more okay with. Another benefit to a small buffet — if the food isn’t good, at least you’re serving less of it. It never hurts to ask, always ask. The same goes with alcohol. You can set your guests’ expectations. Can’t afford a full bar, cool, just serve beer and wine. Why, someone might ask? Because that’s what you’re serving. Again, people don’t care if there’s everything, just as long as there is something. Or, if you really were looking forward to cosmopolitans and tequila shots all night, find out exactly how much that will cost, and more importantly, how long you have to decide to do it. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be right now. If you love the place, don’t give up, yet.

Are you having the same dilemma choosing between two different venues or vendors? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll figure it out. And if you want to find out more about me and my corner of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 8/21


    A little reminder can help. Print by Etsy seller Hairbrainedschemes

    My friend Mindy is a Disney wedding blogger, and during her Q&A on Periscope (@MindyJoyM) yesterday, a bride asked her if she should cut one of her bridesmaids. It wasn’t working out. Her bridesmaid didn’t seem to be into the wedding and all it entailed, should the bride let her go? What would the best way to do that?

    Umm. First off? There is no best way to do that. There is no clean getaway at the end of that scenario, where you tell her she’s out, she breathes a sigh of relief and gives you a big warm hug, and you walk away from the coffee shop hand in hand. No, the odds are that shock will be expressed, feelings will be deeply hurt, and that coffee shop will be the last time you see her for a while. I mean, come on.

    This is a problem I’ve noticed over the years. It’s not just wedding party problems, it’s people screaming at their parents. Anger at the limo driver or the rental company. Convinced that everyone they’re dealing with either doesn’t care, isn’t doing their job, or is taking advantage of their rapidly declining good well.

    Look, weddings come with a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure. Yes, most of it is on you, it’s your wedding. You’ve invested a lot of time, thought, and lot of money into creating your vision of a wonderful day. All the people around you want that the same thing you do, I swear. But, they don’t live in your head, so they don’t always know exactly what you’re looking for or what you need. Plus, everyone — including you — is trying to pull this thing off while they’re also managing the rest of their lives. Nine times out of 10, whatever they’ve done that’s pissed you off was not deliberately done to you. They might not even realize it’s affecting you at all. Most of the time, you can take a deep breath and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not doing it on purpose. As you would want anyone to do for you.

    You would want them to talk with you before making any snap decisions or judgements. You would want them to ask you what’s going on, listen to you explain, and to figure out what the next step is. And, yes, this all sounds so very rational, but it’s also the truth. Look back on any conflict you’ve had with a family member, a friend, heck, your fiance, where you’ve felt that a finger was being pointed at you. Wouldn’t you have appreciated the opportunity to explain instead of an ultimatum and the door? I know I would have.

    Your feelings (and you do have them) are valid. With specific situations, I usually recommend letting it go instead of getting into it. But, sometimes you are just GAHHHHHHH!!!! You have to say something, but be nice, be nice, be nice. Not only will you feel better about the situation, you’ll feel better about yourself. Plus, the story and the memory of how you were not nice will follow you around forever, both inside your head and in everyone else’s. Wedding planning lasts a short while, the rest of your life is much longer.

    So, bring it up, but say it nicely. Thank them for making the commitment in the first place — don’t treat them like you’re doing them a favor — and then be specific about the stuff that’s bugging you. “You didn’t get your dress/come to my bridal shower/reply in the group emails I’ve been sending for weeks, is everything okay?” And then listen to what they say, and ask if there is anything you can do to help, including setting specific deadlines. It could be that it is all overwhelming, or that she does need to back out, but it’s better that she comes to that conclusion rather than that you do. Have the discussion before you make the decision, please.

    This tactic works with anyone you’re having a conflict with wedding-wise. A vendor, your family, the doorman who doesn’t know where the venue manager put your favors. Tell them what’s going wrong, ask them what’s going on, and figure out how to fix it. Nicely.

    What’s the latest issue you’re dealing with where someone is going to need a talking to? Has someone wedding-wise been not so nice to you? Let me know in the comments below.

    And if you would like to find out more about me and my corner of Wedding World, go to Ooh, and follow me on Periscope,too @SilverCharmLiz.

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 8/14

    Photo: Clane Gessel Photography Dear Liz, I've gone from being a Broke Ass Bride last year to  a Broke Ass bridesmaid this year, and I'm having a hard time with the transition. I've never been in a wedding before,so I have nothing to compare it to really, except for my own wedding.  I had to beg, borrow and steal to pull off my wedding, and we…

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    Yes, "Ask Liz" is back for the rest of the summer. If you have a burning wedding question, send it to The team knows where to find me. Photo: Lucky Photographer Dear Liz: We had a small ceremony a few weeks ago, and we're sending out our wedding announcements now. We don't want anyone to send us gifts, how do we word that on the…

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    Photo: Beautiful Day Photography I've coordinated three backyard weddings so far this season, with two more to go until Labor Day. Backyard weddings are conveniently located, they're pretty, and you certainly can't beat the venue fee. But along with the usual issues they can have, I'm noticing a brand new crop of  mistakes that couples are making that are creating even more ... challenges on their…

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  • 7/10

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    Via Etsy seller ThePartylab So, a couple of Fridays ago, Wedding World opened up to a brand new batch of #TheEngaged. Congratulations, and Welcome Aboard. As BAB's resident wedding planner, I wanted to offer you a few quick start tips about wedding planning. Sticker shock isn't the only thing that's going to surprise you in the next few months. 1. It's Your Wedding, You Can Do…

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    Yeah ... don't even think about it.  Photo by Cakes and Kisses As you get closer to the end of the aisle, one question starts to overwhelm all the others: "How the heck are we going to get all this stuff over there?? The favors, your escort cards, your wedding dress. Maybe you scored and you can bring in your own alcohol. Maybe you wanted to…

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  • 5/29

    You can face the day with anticipation ... or fear and worry. Choose option A. Photo: Liz Coopersmith Your wedding day is here. You can hear the DJ tuning up outside. Your fiance is in the building. Everyone is helpful and excited and happy ... Except you. Instead of gearing up to enjoy this cool day that you’ve created,  you’re still worried that you should have…

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