Posts in the 'The Bride' Category

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Vintage Lace Chiffon Tea Length Dress For Under $200

Hello my lovelies! This week we have lovely bride-to-be, Shane. She already found her dream wedding dress but wants something she can move a little more freely in at her rehearsal dinner. She found this lovely, vintage tea length dress but unfortunately, they were sold out. Harrumph! BUT, never fear … Elaine is here! And totally up for the challenge. Here we go …

CAN’T AFFORD IT?

EtsyOriginal

Vintage 50′s Lace Chiffon Tea Length Wedding dress $172 at Etsy.

GET OVER IT!

EcoFriendlyCoutureEtsy

Ivory Mori Girl Bohemian Romantic Fairy Beach Wedding Dress $120 at Etsy.

OKDressesEtsy

Vintage Ivory Lace High-Low Beach Wedding Dress $150 at Etsy.

UniqueVintage

Vintage Inspired Swing Dress With An Ivory Floral Overlay (Style: 35378) $156 at Unique Vintage

PennyPardyEtsy2

One-of-a-kind vintage inspired tea length dress $169 at Etsy

ModCloth2

Tulle Lined Lace Dress With Illusion Neckline And Delicate Lace Overlay $170 at ModCloth.

(I am GUSHING over the back of this dress)

AngelBridal2Etsy

Short Sleeved Lace Wedding Dress $189 at Etsy.

AngelBridalEtsy

Sleeveless Scoop Neck Lace Dress $189 at Etsy.

ForHerandForHim

Boat Neckline Lace Dress $190 at For Her and For Him.

tbd_dress

Delicate A-Line Spaghetti Straps Knee-Length Embroidery Georgia’s Lace Wedding Dress (Style: 03818871) $192 at TBDress.com.

 

If you want to add a little oomph to any of these dresses there are plenty of petticoats available. Petticoats everywhere! Like here and here. I hope you find something you love out of this selection of dresses. Let me know what you think!

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!

 

 

Real Bride Kate: Engagement Stationery and Choosing My Battles

I don’t know about the rest of the USA, but in Kansas, engagement parties are relatively uncommon. I’ve heard that they’re a growing trend, but my area’s philosophy seems to be: “Why bother? Wait for the wedding!” In Australia, however, engagement parties are a huge deal. As my Aussie friends inform me, their philosophy is: “Any excuse to celebrate!” And you know what? I think that’s pretty awesome and have jumped right on board.

How could I not be won-over to Aussie ways? They have kangaroos!

How could I not be won-over to Aussie ways? They have kangaroos!

Daniel and I are super stoked for our engagement party, which will sort of double as a going-away party for him. The sentiment is a little bittersweet, but we’re very thankful we have so many great friends and family members to wish us well in our future in the United States. We’ve finally begun making plans for the party, which for me, as a writer, always begins with stationery.

We found one, count it, ONE engagement party invitation we liked on the entire Internet. Okay, on the dozen or so sites we scoured. It is “Bubble Blowout” from Wedding Paper Divas, and it just felt perfect for us. The colors are sophisticated, the drawing of the Champagne bottle has a slight vintage feel (and conveys that celebratory spirit!), and the font mixture is really cute.

However, I’m super cautious about buying stationary online – I’ve seen too many bad cards – so I wanted samples. Of course, I’m too cheap to pay even the minimal shipping fees to acquire samples. Luckily for me, I got an email from Wedding Wire (which I had entirely forgot signing up for) advertising FREE samples from Wedding Paper Divas. Naturally, I ordered every combination of both available colors (gun metal and umber) and each paper type!

My sample package, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas.

My sample package, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas.

Above is the sample tri-fold I received in the mail. Inside were my requested samples, a complete guide to customizing stationary on Wedding Paper Divas, a sample of every paper type and color they offer, and a coupon! I was incredibly impressed. For someone as organized (read: anal) as me, the presentation alone was enough to secure my purchase!

Our chosen invitation style looked just as good in person as it did online, and eventually, we narrowed the field down to two options. The colors are difficult to distinguish in the pictures, but the paper type is pretty clear, I think:

Option A: Umber on “pearl white shimmer” paper.

Engagement Invitation Gold

I love this version of the design. I thought the golden colors showed a good tone variety, where the grey tones in the other design lacked distinction. I also really like the shimmer paper, because, you know, shiny. Alas, I was outvoted by everyone!

Option B: Gun metal on “signature white textured” paper.

Sample from Wedding Paper Divas

My mom likes the grey, because it looks a little purple, her favorite color.

My future mother-in-law likes the grey slightly better than the umber, and she thought the shimmer paper was too “wedding” (which I can concede). Plus, the super-adorable thank-you notes she bought are grey, and I’m all for matching. (They seriously are adorable … they are little cardstock picture frames with room to write notes inside!)

Daniel does not care about the paper type, but he insists on the grey, because his wedding suit, our wedding bands, and every other piece of jewelry we own is grey/white gold/silver.

I’ve decided to let myself be outvoted and save my “bridal veto” power for something else down the track. Plus, there are bound to be hundreds of wedding details that I care about more than Daniel, so I’ll give him a win since he was surprisingly passionate about having the grey invitations. After all, you’ve got to pick your battles, right?

With the stationery selected, the rest of the details are falling into place. We have a location (Daniel’s parents’ house) and a tentative date and guest list. The only tricky detail has been how to ask for only monetary gifts, as Daniel is moving to the USA, so any housewares we received would be too bulky to move or ship (for a reasonable price) and anything electronic could not work without a converter. However, my uber-creative future MILL saved the day by writing a fantastic poem that explains our predicament and politely conveys our request. I won’t spoil the surprise by posting it here, but trust me: it is lovely and oh-so perfect.

Needless to say, I am one happy bride-to-be! I love having plans set in stone, and once we nail down the final date and guest list, I will be over-the-moon with joy! (You know, until I have to deal with the stress of starting the real wedding planning…for both weddings!)

Until next time,

Real Bride Tiffany: 99 Bottles of … Flowers?

Let’s face it, BABs. Flowers are freaking expensive. Yet so, so lovely. And one must be incredibly talented and crafty to pull off wedding decor sans flowers. Unfortunately, I am only mildly crafty and have the patience of a child when it comes to DIY-ing anything, so I knew that some of our budget would go to flowers. So, how are we going to keep our florals budget-friendly but still absolutely darn fabulous? Like this:

centerpieces
Because of our brewery wedding, beer bottle centerpieces are not only a natural choice, but they look really damn good. That slick amber glass? (Okay, and some green and clear glass for good measure.) But that gorgeous glass just beautifully pops with some greenery — add some buds and BAM! Bou have a centerpiece. 
Lucky for everyone involved in our wedding process, Justin and I enjoy enough beer to make these centerpieces happen. Best DIY ever. We HAVE to drink beer? FINE WE WILL COLLECT BOTTLES. FORCE US. We’ve estimated roughly 150 to 200 beer bottles will be necessary to make this vision happen. And because of our deep enthusiasm for the beer, we are approximately halfway to our goal. Good for the wedding, bad for our wedding diets. A necessary risk!
Drinking the beer is the fun part. The not so fun part? Removing those pesky labels. We quickly learned that not all labels are created equal. And that not all Pinterest suggestions speak the truth. The best and easiest way to remove a glued-on paper label? Soak in soapy water for hours. Literally hours. Like, the longer the better. Hopefully you aren’t in a rush and don’t need your sink.

bottles 1

Because this will be your sink … soaking away those labels for hours … and hours. I started off fancy with a vinegar concoction but now we are at just straight soap and water.

bottles 2

And TA-DA!

And if I get brave and Justin allows me to handle lighter fluid, I’d like to turn some of these into candle holders. We shall see about that one!

We definitely still have more collecting and de-labeling to do. So come on over and bring some beer!

Us with beer. Just because.

Are you crafting any part of your wedding decor? Tell us about your ideas in the comments!

Wedding Inspiration: Introducing Kristy + Que Sera Sera Themes

Hey Broke-Asses! It’s been a hot second since we’ve had a Wedding Inspiration Guru around these here parts, and Kristy was uber excited to step into the shoes of some rockin’ chicks before her. So if you’re struggling with ideas to fit in your theme, need a little extra push to realize your vision or just want to ogle some gorgeousness, come play as she helps provide the pretty! Welcome, Kristy! 

BAB3

Let’s skip the casual ice breakers and get right down to it, shall we? Kevin proposed to me a year and a half after we started dating but as a 19 year old, I didn’t have much of a plan. We knew we wanted something fun and simple after a long engagement and now, 4 years later that is still exactly what we are doing. Seeing as we are all looking for the best deals and ways to cut corners without sucking the life out of our wedding, I will be serving up my most unconventional and over-the-top ideas on a silver platter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll give you all the glitz and glamour, but for now … *insert Toby Keith’s “I Want To Talk About Me” here*. I’ll go into further detail later down the line but today, I’d like to talk to you about themes to give you a general idea of who I am behind this keyboard and maybe spark some interest of your own.

Between our itsy-bitty-teeny-weeny budget and our lack of traditional values, our theme has mostly been left up to venues. It took (I kid you not) approximately 150 different quotes and six visits before we found our destined location. However, before that, our wedding has seen themes from a destination wedding, to vintage, modern, over-the-top-fancy, country and now to simply “Love.”

Kristy Venue

Every wedding day is filled with love (dur) so although it may not seem like a thing – or maybe I just made it one, whatever, it’s a thing now, okay? – it works for what we wanted out of our wedding. All we truly wanted at the end of the day was for our guests to have a blast singing karaoke (oh yes, there will be karaoke), dancing all night and laughing until they pee their pants. Alright … not literally, but you get the idea. Kevin and I have many passions and aside from a shared love of music, most of them are polar opposites. Settling on one idea to represent both of our laid-back and easygoing attitudes seemed much more difficult than we anticipated. I like bling, he likes gaming. I like country, he likes medieval. I love twinkly lights and he likes alcohol.

When we found our location, everything just simply fit together like puzzle.

OUR VENUE This is it!

Twinkly lights surround ¾ of the seating area, you can sing your heart out on a stage with a city horizon backdrop and dance with your glasses of alcohol from the bar to the side. They have given us complete free range to go wild with the added bonus of being a turn-key venue. There will be a candle tree on each table, dessert will be served on a vinyl record-looking plate and we are allowed to bring in a gamer’s dream of a wedding cake. So yes, without giving too much away (since some of our guests may read this), you will walk in to see a little bit of everything and it may look cluttered but … Kev and I don’t live in a box, so why constrict our wedding to one? Our wedding will allow all the little stars that we love to shine, including our guests. So love … love the theme to my big day.

After bouncing back and forth from A to Z myself, I’ve gathered a ton of ideas from all different genres which I hope will either tickle your fancy or inspire your creativity.

How do you envision your big day? What is it that inspired you to choose the theme to your wedding? 

Kaykisses!

Real Bride Jess: Cake, Cake, Cake!

Vendors are terrifying. In a perfect world I would just have a friend that was a caterer, a friend that was a florist, a friend that was a DJ, etc. Unfortunately that’s not my situation. I, like most brides, have to rely on the good people of yelp (and like minded websites) and the recommendations of my venue and friends.

How I feel when going around in circles with 50 different vendors.

That being said there were two vendors that I didn’t even have to think about: Photographer — thanks Suzanne at SheWanders for being so bomb; and cake. As a little kid, my family and I used to go to VG’s for donuts every weekend. Michael calls me a “doughnut snob” because I don’t think anything compares to a VG’s raised crumb doughnut. VG’s also made all of my childhood birthday cakes. That being said, there was no question in my mind that if I could have VG’s make my wedding cake I would.

Last weekend I picked up my flavor samples — marble cake with vanilla frosting, one with raspberry and Bavarian cream, and the other with chocolate mousse filling.

Now let me say a couple of things that reinforce why I love VG’s:

1. They give you two 7” round taster cakes for free. This meant that my whole entire family got to taste the cake and I even had leftovers to bring into the office.

2. The flavors were AMAZING. I don’t usually like fruit filling (many of the tasters felt the same way) and only got the raspberry because my mom wanted to try it, but we all loved it! The cake itself was super moist and tasted great four days after I first got it when I brought it in to work.

3. They totally worked with my out-of-town difficulties. Since I live in LA and VG’s is in San Diego, I couldn’t really do an in person consultation, but they work great via e-mail & actually respond to me in a timely manner.

4. They don’t want to charge you a million dollars. Their quote was similar to what my parents paid for their wedding cake 25 years ago.

The bottom line: VG’s is fantastic. It’s one less vendor that I have to stress about, and that makes it a tiny bit easier to deal with the rest of the craziness.l

Yes, this is actually a cake made by VG’s. Isn’t it fabulous?

 

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

affiliate disclosure

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! 

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!

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!

 

Ask Heather: Bronx Wedding for $8000 and Parties for A Second-Time Bride

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 5.50.07 PM

Photo courtesy of Christopher Duggan

Dear Heather,

Our wedding is this coming August, 2014. Due to a job loss, our financial situation has changed majorly. I  have a venue – Maestro in the Bronx, NY – which  I love. I’m on a minimal budget of $8,000 and postponing isn’t an option. My venue, which comes with a videographer, eats up most of my budget and I’m downgrading my video package to raw video, but that’s only because I can’t break my contract with my videographer; they have already threatened me with legal action if I want to cancel, which would mean I’d have to pay 25% of our $6000 for no services. They got us when we first got engaged and offered us a free 3-day hotel stay and cruise gimmick, and I didn’t know to read the whole contract. This was obviously a hard lesson to learn. I tried cutting the guest list but I really have to find another option. My fiance proposed to me at my church school site, so I must invite not my whole congregation, but a good size. No offense to our church, but we just got our church building, and I wouldn’t have it there because there’s no drinking or playing mainstream music allowed. It’s not the wedding I imagine; I want to party. My dress is under $500. I have a friend taking my pictures for $400, a DJ for $600 and a make up artist for $75 each. I have to pay for my two of my bridesmaids because they want their faces done, too. Thank the lord my maid of honor said she would do her own. I’m paying for that because I can’t do the bridal luncheon or the spa day they wanted and they are on their own with their hair. I have no idea what I’m going to do for transportation and no family to ask for a loan. I’m doing the centerpieces and invitations on my with my Cricut cutting machine; It’s small, but it will have to do. I have a bunch of scrapbook paper and more craft supplies, so I want to use what I have and hope people will take them as favors. I haven’t even figured out how I’m going to have a cake and so many other things I’m sure I am leaving out. I so wanted this to be a day of love, but it seem to be turning into what one of my bridesmaid said that hurt my feeling so much: “You’re going to have a tacky wedding with all this arts and craft stuff you’re doing. It’s going to look like you had your students put together your wedding.” If you can help me I would greatly appreciate it.

$8000 Bronx Wedding

Dear Bronx,

For the majority of weddings, venue and catering take up 50% of the total budget. I’m hoping that the $6000 you’re paying for your venue covers catering. If not, you’ll likely be better off paying the 25% penalty and walking away from that venue, or it will decimate your budget. For all the other folks out there – read your contracts carefully!!! I cannot possibly stress this enough. Bronx learned her lesson; please learn from her.

You say you cannot cut your guest list, but I sincerely doubt that’s true. You should invite people you genuinely want to be there. Don’t feel required to invite obligatory guests. You might end up hurting some people’s feelings, but odds are, most folks will understand. Weddings are expensive, and each guest can add a sizable amount to an already small budget.

You mentioned being worried about favors and your cake. Don’t bother with favors if they’re going to impact your budget. I don’t know anyone, ever, who has left a wedding saying, “Man, that would have been an awesome event, if only they’d given out favors.” As for your cake -  get a sheet cake from a local grocery store. They’re often quite good, and way cheaper than going with a bakery and getting an official wedding cake.

I’d also consider dropping the DJ and just going with an iPod. It will be more work for you, but it’ll also save you that $600. I just coordinated a wedding recently that used a laptop and a set of speakers, and it was fabulous. When people requested songs, if we didn’t already have them, we could just download them from YouTube. I also wouldn’t worry about providing transportation. Your guests and wedding party can probably figure out how to get themselves from Point A to Point B.

And now, your bridesmaids. First off, they are not entitled to you paying for their hair or makeup. If they want to have their makeup professionally done, they can most definitely pay for that themselves. Second, they are also not entitled to having a bridal luncheon or spa day, so do not feel guilty about not providing that for them. If you can afford it, anything nice you can do for your ladies is great, but that’s only if you can afford it!

As for your bridesmaid who called your wedding tacky … I want to use substantially angrier language, but I’m going to be all polite and simply say please ignore her opinion. I have been to plenty of weddings with handmade decorations, and I have consistently loved them! It adds a really personal touch and shows that you put a lot of love into the day.

Dear Heather,

I’m on my 2nd wedding, and people keep asking if I’m having a bridal shower or bachelorette party. Is it common to have another, or is it usually foregone?

I’m a Bride Again

Dear Again,

Normally, a 2nd wedding doesn’t include a bridal shower or bachelorette party. However, if you want to have them and have people who want to throw them for you, I say go for it! Two of my friends got married last year and it was a 2nd wedding for both of them. The bride didn’t want a shower, and I was bummed! We did end up doing a low-key dinner for her bachelorette party, but I would have loved more ways to celebrate her upcoming nuptials.

Some folks might get all judgmental if you have additional celebrations for a 2nd wedding. Those people are just mean. If you are truly concerned about their opinion, though, you could consider doing a “no gifts” shower, if you’re worried about looking gift-grabby.

And now, I’m going to hop on my soapbox about 2nd weddings, because I just cannot resist. Some people get all cranky about 2nd weddings, about how they aren’t “real” and blah blah blah. This is nonsense. Second weddings involve people who have already been married, been through the life-altering, decimating experience of divorce, and have the courage to try again. They’ve loved, had that loved ripped away, but care about this new person so much that they’re willing to risk that pain all over again. I think they’re brave. So there, society!

What do you think, lovely readers? Any suggestions for Bronx on how to cut costs? Have you ever learned your lesson from not reading a contract thoroughly? And how about Again? Would you have a shower and bachelorette party for a 2nd wedding? Are you like me, and always looking for a reason to celebrate? Let me know in the comments below!