Posts in the 'The Bride' Category

Real Wedding: Ashley and Curtis’ Unique Farm Wedding

Ashley and Curtis’ sweet Minnesota wedding was put together with a lot of time, energy, effort and love. While the bride and groom did not set a budget (!!), they managed to pull off a great party and amazing wedding under around $18,000. While rain threatened to put a damper on their big day, the skies cleared up, the roads dried up and the party got started!

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Name: Curtis and Ashley Cauley

Occupation: City Planner

Wedding Location: Carver, Minnesota

Wedding date: June 21, 2014

Budget: Curtis and I decided early on that we would not set a hard-fast budget. Rather, we would diligently research every decision to be sure that we were getting the most value for every dollar we spent. For us, this didn’t mean that we were picking the cheapest vendor. Rather, we considered how the price compared to other options and whether we would be satisfied with what we got for the price we paid. Most of the time, this meant we didn’t go with the cheapest option. {After some needling, Ashley threw out $15K- $18K as their final tally – Eds.}

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How would you describe your wedding:  This will likely be the easiest question for me to answer. Our wedding was simply OURS. Growing up and getting married in a smaller town leaves you without a lot of options to make the wedding as unique as you are as a couple. Around here, more often than not people have their receptions at a golf course and serve chicken dinners. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we wanted something different.

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After several disappointments with reception halls, a family friend offered us their farm. This was an opportunity for us to make the wedding unique and basically gave us a blank slate to work with. This opportunity allowed us to pick the vendors we wanted instead of a list of four or five vendors “allowed” to cater to each venue.

Our wedding theme was inspired by an invitation at a wedding fair and Curtis’ family farm. Our classy peacock and rustic wheat theme was perfect for us!

There so many things that we did to make our wedding OURS:

  • Commemorating those who have passed before us. My mother passed away six years ago after a yearlong courageous battle against breast cancer. Then tragically we lost Curtis’ dad two years ago unexpectedly. We decided that we would pick something to commemorate our parents. For my mom, I included two pictures of my mother on her wedding day. One of which was my grandparents walking her down the aisle. This was extra special because they walked me down the aisle. Before Curtis’ dad passed away, he passed down a pocket watch that had been passed down in the family for four generations. It only made sense that he would carry the watch in memory of him.

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  • Unity tree. Rather than doing a unity sand or candle ceremony, we branched out and had a unity tree celebration. During the ceremony we followed our wedding party in watering the tree that is now planted in the yard. The tree was also a beautiful décor piece in the church.
  • Ceremony song choices. Thankfully our pastor was open to letting us select our own ceremony music. We weren’t looking for anything “crazy” but wanted music that was special to us. Truthfully I think in the beginning I overlooked how challenging finding our ceremony music would be until I started trying to find music. Curtis and I decided a long time ago that I would walk down the aisle to Look at You Girl  by Chris LeDoux.

We ended up finding a string rendition of Stand by Me that we were both absolutely in love with. After hearing it there was not a doubt this was the song for our wedding party to walk into the church to. The issue was we couldn’t download the song since it was a preview for a string quartet that plays at weddings. We couldn’t find anything that beautiful and we tried to reach out to them. After a few attempts, I got a response saying they weren’t even sure if they had a copy of it and other copies were located across the county. However, after some chatting and some research on their end they emailed us a copy at no cost.

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The rest of the music just fell into place. My cousin sang a Miley Cyrus song. Yes, Miley Cyrus. (When I look at You.)

  • Invitations and programs. Over the course of several days, Curtis and I spent probably 12 hours looking through pages and pages of wedding invitations online. We couldn’t find something that we were in love with, and we weren’t willing to spend $4 an invitation. After coming up empty-handed, I decided I would spend a few hours designing our own to see what I could come up with. If we didn’t like it, it was only two more hours wasted on invitations.

I used designed a tri-fold invitation which included several of our engagement photos. They turned out beautiful. Then the only challenge was where to print them at a reasonable price. I called around and found that our local newspaper could print them. They printed them for 50 cents each including an envelope.

To save even more money, rather than doing RSVP cards which never get sent back, we set up a Wedding Wire account. Through the account people could RSVP electronically. The website was completely customizable and allowed us to include additional wedding information such as maps, hotel information, song requests and time lines.

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I also decided to take on our wedding programs. I fashioned them like a magazine and included more engagement photos. The programs included so much more information than a typical program. We were able to include our menu, a reception to-do list, paper airplanes, our story, a heart-felt thank you and information on our wedding party.

  • Paper airplanes. I hated the idea of doing bubbles or sparklers for when we walked out of the church. I almost skipped the idea entirely but then last minute decided it would be fun to do paper airplanes. It was perfect since we are waiting to take our honeymoon to Europe. So the airplane included the following poem:

The last two years have been busy and have kept us on the run.

Therefore, we’ll wait two years to have some honeymoon fun.

That’s right folks, we are waiting until our second anniversary

to enjoy Europe’s territory

Use this paper to fold a plane and set it aside,

Then let ‘er fly when the newlyweds walk outside.

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  • Cake and pie To say that I love cake would be a complete understatement. In fact, I could easily have eaten our entire three-tier wedding cake myself. Curtis, on the other hand, is not a fan. He loves pie, especially fruit pies. When it came to figuring out what we wanted, we decided to do both. People from our church volunteered to make homemade pies, which was perfect. In fact, I believe more slices of pie went than cake.
  • Pups. We have a mini and a toy Australian shepherd. They are our babies and we spoil them rotten. It would have been completely wrong for them to not be at the reception to celebrate with us. They wore matching bowties and enjoyed the reception right alongside our guests.
  • First dance. Curtis and I did not want to do the traditional stay-and-sway for our first dance but were not looking to break out to Baby Got Back. We settled on taking some dance lessons and showcased our new moves to (I had) The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing. No, we did not do or practice the infamous lift.

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  • Shoe Game. I shamelessly stole this idea from Pinterest. To avoid knowing what the questions were I printed off several renditions and sent them directly to our DJ. This game was absolutely hilarious and gave our guests a look into our relationship with a ton of laughs. Facing back-to-back, each of us had one of our own shoes and one of the other’s shoes. When asked a question, we answered by raising the shoe of the one who was more likely to do or exhibit that behavior. Some of the questions were serious like “who is the first to say sorry” and “who is the most stubborn” but ranged all the way to “who wears the pants in the relationship” and “who runs the TV remote.” The guests said the best part of the game was watching our faces as we answered.
  • Reception. Having our reception outdoors, we had so much space to do whatever we wanted. We included a hayride for our guests from their cars (which were parked a nearby farm). Dinner was under tents. We wanted our guests to have something to do even if they didn’t like to dance. So, we had yard games (including lifesize Jenga); a campfire and s’mores; picnic tables outside; and a photo wall with endless props. We found that our guests stayed way longer than at other weddings. It think it was largely in part because there were things to do for those who didn’t want to shake their groove things. The last song played at 1:15 in the morning and we still had over 50 people at the farm –30 of which were dancing.

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What was your favorite part of your wedding? Is it cliché if I say everything? Because I mean it, the day was absolutely perfect. The wedding was personal and so full of love. Our wedding is still being talked about as being the Wedding of the Year. I think it was all the small details that made the biggest impact.

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What did you splurge on? What did you save on? I can’t really answer these questions, since we just researched and were happy with all our financial decisions.

Was there anything you would have done differently? Had you asked me a month ago I would have said started my pictures earlier. But since then we got our pictures back and there are way more than I thought there was going to be. So nothing.

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What was your biggest challenge in planning?The biggest challenge was knowing when and where to start. I felt pretty lost during the whole process. Many women have their mother to help and guide them or at the very least to turn to advice or a good cry. We had no idea how much a wedding could or should cost. I got over this by religiously using my wedding planner. I buy one for each and every one of my friends who gets engaged.

What lessons did you learn from planning or having the wedding itself?

  • Have a “get stuff done” day. A friend held a couple days where she invited us over, gave us some wine and had us work on wedding projects. She highly recommended I try it out to get stuff done. I had one day where 15 people came over to help. We polished off a lot of wine but they got projects done so fast I was literally pulling more out to do. In one afternoon they managed to get more done than I had in the last year of crafting.
  • Learn to say noWeddings equate to everyone wants to sell you their services. It’s actually exhausting to listen to people try to sell you their stuff. I’m such a softie that I have the hardest time saying no to people. Finally I had to learn what it means to say no, I’m not interested.

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  • Something will go wrong. Everyone tells you that something will go wrong but the day of everyone seems to forget that. I had been telling myself for months that I was going to stop worrying about wedding stuff at 9 a.m. on my wedding day. Best thing I could have done. I let go of my schedule, let go of my tedious type A planning and lived in the moment. I have no idea if anything truly went wrong. I was too busy enjoying the day. 
  • Dare to be different. Our wedding was unlike any of the ones held around us and it was perfect. The day was unique and filled with love. Don’t just use something because it’s the only option. Find your option.

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What were your top 5 favorite things?

Top 5 least favorite? This question is really hard to answer, since I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything went perfectly, so much so that I’d be afraid to do it over again in fear it wouldn’t go so well the second time.

So, I’ll fill this section with a major challenge. Two days before our wedding we got 10 ½ inches of rain in 24 hours. Almost every road was either washed out or flooded, houses were flooding and there was literally water everywhere. Rumor has it that our town of 5,000 made the world news. Thursday was supposed to be our set-up day leaving Friday for the relaxing day to finish up details and get our nails done. Obviously the rain made us change our plans.

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Thankfully, everyone was accommodating and we were able to change our Friday appointments to Thursday when it was pouring. Looking out the window as the day passed made the reality of how much water we were getting set in.

Our church and reception site were only ½ mile apart on a gravel road. Before we went to bed on Thursday, the road between the church and the reception site washed out. I put a message on Facebook asking friends who had some free time to come help us make up for lost time.

By Friday morning, the county was fixing the small township road (someone must have put in a good word) and 20 people were in the yard with one tent already assembled and a kitchen crew was slicing pies. It was enough to make me cry, it was so overwhelming as we were so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives.

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I only had one moment where I broke down and cried for 20 seconds. I am a Type-A planner who had a floor plan for all the tables, candy bar, cake table, DJ stand and food to fit under the tent. Well with all the rain we couldn’t use my plan anymore. I had to walk away for a minute before I realized how silly I it was. This was my wedding, and there was no way I was going to let something so silly get in the way of so much hard work, excitement and planning. In what I was planning to take a day and a half took about seven hours because so many people came to help. People say it takes a village to raise a baby, but I think it also takes a village to pull off a wedding.

This may leave you wondering how things turned out. Our wedding was the only wedding in a string of seven where it didn’t rain. Most of the yard dried out and most of the roads were at least partially opened in time for the wedding,hich was fantastic since we had so many travelers. We had representatives from 12 states joining us. Other than a few well-placed sheets of plywood no one would have known we had just had so much rain.

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What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “The details don’t matter.” I think that everyone talks about in the grand scheme of things, no one will know that it was supposed to be there or it was missing. It’s probably true but when the details are there, people talk. Dare I say it … we had Port-A-Potties for restrooms at our wedding. We placed a pop-up tent in front of the bathrooms, hung lanterns, stocked baskets with tons of grooming items, hung mirrors and rented hand-washing stations. I am not kidding … people talked about how awesome our bathrooms were.

We spent a lot of time draping the ceiling with lights and tulle. While it wouldn’t have mattered, it looked spectacular at night. I also hung large pieces of fabric at the shed entrance with a “best day ever” sign. People dubbed the wedding the “Best Day Ever” and would not stop talking about how awesome the shed looked.  

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The best? The best advice I got was to use the WedPics app. It’s an app that allows your guests to upload all of the photos they took in one space. Then people can look, download and print the photos right from the app. We ended up getting over 400 photos through the app and helped us be patient while we waiting for our professional photos. It was so fun to go look through the photos the next day and see all the smiling faces of our friends. Also, some of our friends took some photos that our photographer missed.

Any other bits of wisdom? This is so long I think I covered just about everything. Ha.

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Church:
West Union Lutheran Church, Carver, MN | Wedding Dress: The Wedding Shoppe, St. Paul, MN | Tuxes: Tuxes by Theresa, Belle Plaine, MN | Venue: Family friend’s farm | Rental company: G&K Rental, New Prague, MN | DJ: Showtime Entertainment, River Falls, WI | Florist: Corey Ann Allen Designs, New Prague, MN | Photographer: Katie Maier Photography, Belle Plaine, MN | Videographer: Kaj Kjellesvig, Friend, Hopkins, MN | Cake: The Cake House, Glencoe, MN | Caterer: Dangerfields, Shakopee, MN | Hair and make-up: The Hair Saloon, Belle Plaine, MN

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Theia Collection’s “Emma” Gown for Under $700

Hey, BABs! This week we’re helping Brianna get over the lovely “Emma Gown” by Theia for BHLDN. Don O’Neill is the designer/creative genius behind the Theia Collection, which was created to “bring out a woman’s inner goddess.” Theia, a Titaness in Greek mythology, possessed the power of light. So, basically, she made everything sparkle and we here at BAB lurve our sparklez. This particular gown was inspired by the blossoms of the Japanese cherry tree. This petals were designed by using the laser cutting technique. This technique has been around for a long time, butack in the day you would have to spend beaucoup bucks as laser cutting was only used mostly for couture clothing. Now you can walk into most clothing chains and find something using this technique. So now that you know a little bit about it, here’s what Brianna had to say:

“Hello! I love this column and hope you can help with my own search. I absolutely love the detailed and textured look of the BHLDN Emma dress, but the price is a bit high for me. Something under $700 (honestly, the lower the better) would be awesome. Ombré or solid color, any help is welcome!”

Can't Afford It

Original Emma Gown by Theia Bridal for BHLDN (Style: 31233463) $1,295 

Get Over It

Nordstrom JS Collections Floral Applique Gown (Style: 564325) $240 at Nordstrom
RainingBlossoms3 Taffetta & Organza Sweetheart A-Line Gown With Beaded Flowers (Style: RB-0032) $274 at Raining Blossoms
RainingBlossoms2 Tulle Softly Curved Strapless Neckline A-Line Wedding Dress With Floral Decorations (Style: WD-2393) $319
at Raining Blossoms
RainingBlossoms Tulle Softly Curved Strapless Neckline A-Line Wedding Dress With Floral Element Design (Style: WD-3264) $319
at Raining Blossoms
NeimanMarcus Sue Wong Beaded & Floral Embroidered Beaded Gown (Style: 0474132235171) $510 at Saks Fifth Avenue
BestBridalPrices Strapless After Six Wedding Dress With Heirloom Lace & Full Shirred Skirt (Style: 1037) $540 at Dessy
AnnTaylor Ann Taylor Rose Petal Spaghetti Strap Wedding Dress (Style: 256364) $650 at Ann Taylor

40% Off Right Now!!!

Brianna, I certainly hope I helped you find a great alternative for that gorgeous gown!

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! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

Real Bride Peach: The Engagement Shoot – Recap

Here’s what I have to say about our engagement photo shoot. It was hotttttt.

Unfortunately, I don’t mean that we looked hot (even though we totally did). I mean that when you live in Atlanta, Ga., and you battle schedules and wind up with a shoot at 5 p.m .in the beginning of August … well … you best be prepared to sweat. And sweat we did.

Real Bride Peach The Engagement Shoot Recap

Beforehand, Jersey and I looked all lovely and put together and even joked around in the living room while we awaited our photographer’s arrival. I had treated myself to a DryBar blowout earlier that day and I told my stylist (direct quote): “Spray the S*** out of it with the strongest thing you have.” So I calmly head home, hair perfectly coiffed, and spent a good amount of time on my makeup. Primer, tinted moisturizer, shadow, liner, mascara, blush and, what the hell, … even tried some false lashes, but that went over like a fart in the wind. So I nixed those bad boys, put on my gorgeous frock from Nordstrom and considered myself good to go! I felt pretty, but also I tried not to think about how oppressively humid it felt outside.

Our photographer arrived and we got started. Y’all … within 15 minutes, my face was beaded with sweat. It was beyond description, the level of humidity. Not to mention, at least 90 degrees. By the time we finished 5 minutes of a few posed shots, our photographer’s shirt was soaked through. We took a few more near some flower pots, sitting on the ground. And I promptly received four mosquito bites for my efforts. And my makeup was now running down my face in rivers.

We moved over to an abandoned house, but not before I paused to take a handkerchief and wipe alllll of that moisturizer, primer, tint and powder off. Then I took a clip and swooped my long hair up off my neck into a semi-updo. Because, yep. I’d reached the point of giving up. And all we could do was laugh. Because, Hello: Georgia. August. All we needed now was the accompanying thunderstorm.

But our photographer assured me his shots so far looked great, but he could touch me up if it was very bad. We kept on and headed to the beltline, where we walked and shot, walked and sweat, walked and shot/sweat some more.  We must not have looked too bad, because we got a bunch of congratulations shouted at us, along with a “gorgeous couple!”  But by the time we arrived home to change for round two, all three of us were sweaty, smelly messes.

Luckily, the second half of our engagement shoot was indoors, so we took some time to change, cool off, maybe have a beer and get to know our photographer a little better. The rest of our shoot went fabulously, thank goodness. We only got a peek at one or two shots and were so tickled! Oh, and wouldn’t you know it? Within 30 minutes of being inside, the heavens opened and the bottom fell out. We got so lucky that it held off for us!!  The shoot continued on, with our laughter mixing with the thunder and the camera flash dancing with the lightning.

It just goes to show that no matter how well you plan, something is always going to turn on its head. Perhaps this was a good test for me, to see how I’ll handle curveballs on the big day. If so, I think I’ll be just fine. Because it’s way better to laugh about it than be upset. I have utter confidence in our photographer and in our goofy personalities that we’ll have some amazing shots to show for it, despite the heat and humidity.

‘Til next time,

Real Bride Tiffany: Where We Stand with Two Months Left

Hey, hey BABs! Last Monday marked our 2 month countdown until the big day! TWO MONTHS YOU GUYS. Still not completely freaking out but minorly freaking out on the inside. As per usual for me! Let’s check in on where we are, shall we?

Real Bride Tiffany: Where We Stand with Two Months Left

  • My lovely and fantastic and fabulous bridal party threw me the most amazing shower last weekend. It was held (by my request, naturally) at this awesome wine bar with the most delicious brunch featuring bottomless mimosas.
  • We have about 5 plastic bins stored in our living room and small kitchen area. Four of those bins are full of beer bottles and the 5th is full of decor. Jmeoww has deemed it her new home, of course.
  • Invitations have been mailed! More details to come on those bad boys.
  • I have about one million and a half little decor projects. All laid out on a spreadsheet because my life is controlled by spreadsheets at this point. Simple things like a cake topper and ring bearer banner. Program designs are swirling around in my head. Seating charts and place cards. DOES IT EVER END?
  • In other news I cannot complete a thought or a sentence to save my life. Thank goodness my friends are polite because this bride brain is truly making me wacky and a little strange to be around.
  • Alterations begin [today!]. I don’t require many, thanks to a corseted-back dress. Just some chesticle support and a bustle should do the job. Let’s just all cross our fingers and light a candle that my thighs have reduced their size. I’ve been working semi-hard at that whole fitness thing. Meaning we both cut back our beer intake by about 90%. We tried really hard for 100% but Justin worked 15 days in a row and we both needed a few brews to get through that.
  • Marriage certificate, what? Yea, we should do something about that …
  • Oh, and I have a hair and makeup trial this week! I have a hairstyle in mind, but am not really set on makeup yet. To Pinterest I go!

And the list of things to purchase and accomplish goes on. And on. And even on some more. Do we really only have two months left, you guys?

Cant Afford It? Get Over It! House Of Mooshki’s “Evie” For Under $1,000

Hey BABs! I’m pretty excited about this week’s Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Reader Shannon wrote in about “Evie” by House of Mooshki.  Owned by Vicki McCarthy, House of Mooshki is a team of people in London who cater to the modern day bride but with a dash of vintage flair. I discovered them earlier this year and I’ve pretty much been OBSESSED ever since. Sadly, they don’t have any stockists in the US but a little birdie told me that will probably change in the future! “Evie” is an elegant, tea-length gown with tiers of tulle & hand-dyed guipure lace. This dress reminds me of the way women used to dress. All you need is some lace gloves and a veil and it’s perfection. I hope you like what I’ve found for you!

  Can't Afford It

 

Original “Evie” by House Of Mooshki. $2,600

 

Get Over It

 

 

Modcloth A-Line Silhouette With Layers Of Tulle & 3/4 Sleeves (Gilded Grace Dress) $140 at ModCloth

ForHimAndHer Tea Length Gown With Illusion Neckline (Style: 0117134) $280 at ForHerandForHim.com

SimplyBridal Satin Tea Length Gown With V-Neck & Scalloped Lace (Style: 80464) $288 at SimplyBridal.com

UniqueVintage Embroidered Lace Tea Length Dress With Jacket (Style: P9515) $298 at Unique Vintage

BestBridalPrices2 Tea Length Wedding Dress With Sweetheart Neckline & Tulle Skirt (Style: 6749) $394 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDN Glimmering Lace Dress With Shear V-Neck (Style: 31882756) $420 at BHLDN

BestBridalPrices Tea Length Tulle & Satin Bridal Gown With Zipper Back (Style: 1550) $658 at BestBridalPrices.com

(Free Veil & Shoes!)

BestBridalPrices3 Mid-Century Inspired Tea Length Gown With Rho Lace (Style: Rho 6741E) $670 at BestBridalPrices.com

253225-JJ_Davids_Bridal_03_008 Cap Sleeve Wedding Dress With Illusion Neckline (Style: CMK513) $700 at David’s Bridal

Etsy Sweetheart Neckline Floral Ivory Embellished Dress With Gold Sequin Detailing $700 by Amanda Archer

I would definitely look further into Etsy, too. There are so many bridal shops, just when I think I’ve found them all, I discover 50 more. There are so many styles to choose from for every budget. Let us know if you have anymore questions. Until next week, BABs …

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!

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

BAB Throwback: Raechel + Joel’s Autumnal $8,000 Wedding Bash

BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and some feature the Real Weddings you’ve read about in our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide.” Because we’re firm believers that photos help tell the story, we want to help you match the blog post to the Sample Budgets from Real Brides found in the book (p. 194-223).

The adorable Raechel and Joel are the perfect example of a couple who used their wit, creativity, and awesome friends to rock their budget-savvy sensibilities to the max, and have themselves a “cheap wedding” that was in no way cheap looking.

To start with, just look at their insanely creative save the date video.  (Caution: be prepared to fall in love)

Ok, so while you’re wiping the drool off your keyboard, let me hit you with this mindboggler: these two cuties threw a wedding fully funded by themselves for only eight thousand dollars. $8,000, people!

Raechel works in visual sales at Anthropologie and worked her store discount for her hair piece and earrings, and she picked up her dress from J. Crew, which she ordered online at Christmas time to capitalize on the seasonal discounts… What a smarty pants! Her bridesmaids were asked to find dresses inspired by champagne colors, and they ended up ranging in budget from $30 to just under $150…. while the groomsmen and the groom all wore mixy-matchy vintage inspired suits.

Raechel and Joel knew that they wanted to splurge on their venue so they reserved a good chunk of their budget for the art gallery where the reception was held. Their evening reception featured drinks and desserts only, the couple saved a pretty penny on catering that way.

Now get this: They actually bought all of the desserts at Costco, which was a big money saver and thanks to Raechel’s creative arranging skills, you can hardly tell they’re store bought! Another one of crafty secrets? All of the wedding decor was from Raechel’s favorite hunting spot, “Wanda’s,” an old grocery store which converted to a thrift store in the ’80s. She scored loads of old crates, silver platters, wooden hat boxes, and milkglass vases for around $50 buckaroos. Talk about getting bang for your buck!

They went the friendor route by buying all of their flowers wholesale and enlisting the help of a buddy who loves doing floral arrangements. The bouquets were tied together and finished off with some vintage champagne lace that Raechel scored at a thrift store for super cheap, and they looked like the bomb diggity. Getting your florals wholesale is a very simple fix if you’re a broke-ass DIY bride.

Our favorite part? Raechel’s words hit deep in our hearts when explaining the day: their wedding was much more of a community event than a random mix of vendors. Every one of her friends were an essential part of something special by helping the wedding come together. Raechel and Joel sure know how to pick ‘em!

So what have we learned from Raechel and Joel? Work at a cool clothing store simply for discounts, have friends who are photographers, culinary experts, and floral lovers, and live off of desserts and sweet treats only! Just kidding, but trusting in your own creativity and leaning on your loving and crafty friends is a lesson from which we can all benefit!

How are you using your friends and family to make your big day special? Are you decorating the space yourself? Are wholesale flowers calling your name? Let us know and send us some wedding porn of your own for us to drool over!

 

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Watters “Kerry” Inspired Dress For Under $1,200

Hey, BAB’s! Can you believe summer is almost over?! I don’t want to so I’m just going to pretend I’m writing this from a beach somewhere with the kind of drink that has a tiny umbrella. This week I am helping Tina get over “Kerry” by Watters. It’s her dream dress and I really want to help this lady out. With its chantilly lace and silk charmeuse, it’s easy to see why she is swooning hard for this dress. Vatana Watters is the AMAZING lady behind these wonderful designs. About 26 years ago she started making gowns by hand for her close friends and family and not long after that had her own line, Watters, which is highly respected in the bridal industry today. She also designs bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses and she has a line called WTOO which offers beautiful gowns with a more BAB-friendly price tag. I have a feeling this won’t be my last Watters request. Here goes!

 

  Can't Afford It

Original Watters “Kerry” (Style: 4096B) $2,296 

Get Over It

BestBridalPrices2 Fit And Flare Wedding Gown With Lace Illusion Sleeves (Style: 12923) $679 at BestBridalPrices.com

Free Veil & Shoes!

DavidsBridal 3/4 Sleeve All Over Lace Trumpet Gown (Style: WG3684) $749 at David’s Bridal

BestBridalPrices Chantilly Lace Gown With Sequin Floral Appliques On Tulle (Style: 4MW836) $1,049 at BestBridalPrices.com

Etsy V-Back Lace Wedding Gown With Built-In Corset $1,050 at Etsy

DavidsBridal2 Trumpet Chantilly Lace Gown With Embroidered Lace Appliques (Style: MS251089) $1,150 at David’s Bridal

I don’t know how familiar you are with other Watters dresses but I would recommend checking out WTOO. Most of the dresses in that line are under $1,500 and very pretty. Otherwise, I hope I’ve given you some options to choose from. Let me know what you think, Tina! Until next week, BABs …

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!

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

Real Bride Elizabeth: This is Madness

Real Bride Elizabeth This is Madness.jpg

All of our furniture has been sold on Craigslist, 17 boxed have been shipped vis FedEx, and our 18 hour road trip with a car literally packed to the brim is over. We made it to North Carolina and immediately jumped into wedding mode. The night we got in, we went to the liquor superstore and put in our order for our alcohol. I’ve set up in-person meetings with our DJ, photographer and officiant.

It feels good to be “on location” and jumping into wedding prep. However, it’s madness. At the moment, we are staying with Bryce’s family, so there are 8 people and 3 dogs in one house. My family (5 people) arrive Tuesday night. Luckily, they are bringing no dogs.

It has been stressful, but really fun! Unfortunately, Bryce has not been quite as gung-ho about everything. With the stress of moving, wedding and now buying a new car, we’ve definitely had some little spats and tiffs. I am trying to be “gentle and kind,” as our pre-marital counselor advised.

The end is very much in site — a week from today I will be married, living in Raleigh and starting my new job at Duke. There’s so much change and madness, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Real Bride Peach: The Engagement Shoot

In just over one week, Jersey and I will be cheesing it up in front of our photographer for our engagement shoot. No need to remind us that it’s only been … oh, NINE months since we got engaged and we are just now getting this done. Trust me, we know. Our schedules have been impossible to coordinate, but at this point I’ll be happy if we can get a few prints in time to use for our thank you cards and our DIY guest book.  (More on those later!)

Real Bride Peach The Engagement Shoot.jpg

So here I am, all twitterpated about finally getting some amazing professional shots of the two of us, when it hits me: What the hell am I gonna wear???

Um. You guys? Am I the only gal out there who cannot dress herself? In fact, I have an entire Pinterest board titled just that. But thank the heavens for my amazing friend, Bertie. Not only is her style swoon-worthy on a daily basis, but I swear she can sniff out an Internet steal-of-a-deal sale equally as well as our BAB lovely Christen (oh, you know, just this Unicorn Wrangler)!

Within a few hours of my cry for help, she returned with a few links for me. Before I knew it, I was clicking the big fat PURCHASE button on this gorgeous number below. Full price was $148.00, marked down to $88.80! (Go check it out at Nordstrom on Ivy and Blu at Nordstrom. You won’t be sorry.)

Nordstrom

Ivy and Blue

When it arrived a few days later, I was nervous putting it on … pleasepleaseplease fit over my booty … but was ecstatic to find that it was amazingly flattering and the size was true. With it on, I feel like this lovely frock is a cobalt blue version of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress. Which is *exactly* how I want to feel for our shoot: glamorous, elegant, classic, with a hint of flirt.  For under $100, I’ll take it, plus did I mention it is SO comfortable?!?  I can easily wear this again for our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, plus special occasions after the wedding.  Paired with either some nude cork wedges or patent nude pumps, I’m all set!

Then over dinner last week with Bertie, I confessed something I’ve not told anyone. Ready? I secretly want to own a dress in a killer, knock-your-socks-off shade of RED. Bold, glorious, rich … red.

The next day, wouldn’t you know it, Bertie shoots me a few more links. And then I’m buying this.

jcrew

J. Crew Pleated Flare Dress

And with their 40% off sale going on, guess what? This darling was $28.00, marked down to $49.99, with an extra 40% off. Final price: just $29.99. YES, PLEASE!

The moral of the story, friends, is to be crafty. Seek the help of your style gurus who can find gems (and not just dresses — jewelry, paper goods and shoes too!) that will not hurt your BAB budget! Scour for sales. And be patient. Good quality finds are out there, if you are persistent … and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I’ll be sure to share pictures after our shoot. I’m so excited!

Till next time,