Posts in the 'The Bride' Category

Real Bride Elissa: A Dress that Impresses

You guys. I officially have my dress, and I am so. excited.

I actually bought my dress in August of last year. I’d finally found a day that two of my besties were available, and had scheduled a few appointments at L.A.-area salons. My BAB strategy was to find a really gorgeous floor-length bridesmaids dress, and order it in ivory or Champagne. I had picked out a few amazing styles that looked almost identical to actual wedding dresses, but were averaging around $200 to $400 – sometimes a full $1k less than their bridal counterparts.

The first salon was supposed to carry a few of my favorite styles, but it turns out those “Find it in Stores” features are not at all accurate. They only had three dresses under $1k in the whole store! I did find a strong contender, but was excited to get to the next salon, who actually had the Watters bridesmaid dress I was thinking might be The One. It was completely on the opposite side of town, so after an hour’s drive in traffic, I was more than ready to get my dress on. Once I told the owner my budget, though, her welcoming attitude disappeared. She did let me try on two bridesmaid dresses, but refused to let me even touch anything else in the store, including the sash that she physically held around my waist. She tried to push onto me the ugliest dress I’ve EVER seen (a short-sleeved, heavily beaded mock turtleneck), saying it was going to be the only “real” dress within my budget. The whole appointment lasted no more than 15 minutes, and I had steam coming out of my ears. To add insult to injury, I hadn’t even liked the dress I’d been fantasizing about for weeks.

mockneck Seriously. Imagine this covered in beading and a full skirt. (Image via http://www.undershirtguy.com)

I knew I’d spend the rest of the day seething if I went home then. We passed a David’s Bridal on the way to the previous salon, so we stopped in to try a few more things on. I did NOT want to buy a dress at David’s; I’d bought my prom dress there and remembered how generic so many of their bridal options were, and no one wants to be generic on their wedding day. I knew they were one of the few places that would take a girl on a whim, though, and I needed to try on a few more gowns. I think the third dress in was the one that gave me tingles. It actually ticked off all but one of my requirements, and when the salesgirl told me that it was on clearance, I took it as a sign and bought it on the spot. Never say never!

For the next few weeks, I obsessively stared at pictures of myself in my dress. My non-refundable, final sale dress. I looked it up online and found that there were over 100 other brides who had reviewed it, over 100 other women who were going to be the same as me. Had I made a huge mistake, been blinded by a bargain? The more I looked around, though, I kept coming back to the details that drew me to the dress in the first place (so many tiny buttons!). I had to accept that I loved this darn dress, along with all the other women. The missing requirement though was straps, which I knew are a relatively easy addition to strapless dresses, and a way to make the dress even more “me.” After months of Photoshopping over my lunch breaks, harassing my beleaguered bridesmaids about “which strap design looks more vintage,” I revisited a dress I’d pinned ages ago, before I was even engaged. After a quick Photoshop mock-up, I decided my latest idea was going to be perfect, and took the dress and photo to my seamstress in late January.

I went in for my first official fitting this past Saturday. After weeks of anxiety about trusting my vision to someone else’s brain, I pulled my dress out of its bag and slipped into the straps. I turned to the mirror; it was not what I’d envisioned. My brain took a few moments to reconcile the idea with the reality, even as my best friend gasped in excitement. I’m being purposely vague about the changes I made to it in case my fiancé reads this, but I decided it turned out really, really great. Much more unique than I had even imagined. For only a few hundred dollars, I’ve basically got a custom dress that has all my ideal elements: straps, pretty skirt, all the tiny buttons, and best of all, individuality.

So fellow BABs, I think I’m hooked on tailoring now. I also brought in an ivory maxi dress that I hadn’t yet figured out how to wear, and am having it shortened to a midi for my rehearsal; the combined purchase + alterations cost is still half the cost of the J.Crew clearance dress I originally splurged on for the day before the big day.  With just under three months left before the wedding, I can think of a lot of places to use that extra money!

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My bridemaid caught this moment after I saw my altered dress for the first time. Otherwise it’s under wraps until June!

Real Bride Katie: Finding the Little Things to Bring It All Together

The dress is, of course, the largest part of a bride’s look, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. With my dress in the hands of my lovely seamstress, I’ve set to work thinking about accessories.

It’s important to my fiance that I wear a veil of some kind. He doesn’t really care what kind, but that’s just something he’s always pictured when he imagined his bride. I’m happy to oblige … because they’re pretty, #duh! I tried on some options when I was dress shopping, from a long cathedral veil to the short fascinator birdcages. After searching the options on Pinterest, I decided on a bandeau veil, like this one I found on Etsy.

Because I’m a BAB, I’m choosing to DIY my veil. I just bought the jewelry pieces I’m going to put on the sides, and I am SO. EXCITED.

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(Sorry, Abe!)

I realize most brides won’t be looking for quite the same things I am, because my Halloween influences are pretty specific, but you can totally look in the same kinds of places! Vintage jewelry, especially brooches and earrings, are perfect pieces to accent a veil. I bought two of this lovely spider from PinkFoxFindings on Etsy, and there are tons of other great pieces in her collection and in others on Etsy. I love these spiders particularly because they fit the Halloween theme, but also have some of that art deco feel that’s coming in as well. Next, I’ll need to buy a piece of tulle and get to work figuring out whether I want to attach them with bobby pins, combs, or some other method. I’d like to be able to remove the veil but leave the spiders in for the reception, so that will take some research.

My dress will also have a belt. When I tried on the ones in the store, I loved how they changed the look of the dress to accent my waist, but hated their absolutely ridiculous price tags. $200 for a piece of ribbon and some fabric flowers? NO. My seamstress will be making it for me with some blingy appliques, but I also wanted a Halloween item as the centerpiece. It took some patience, but eventually the same seller as the spiders came across this bat, and he’s perfect.

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Now if I can only find shoes in time for my next fitting, I’ll be set!

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Ersa Atelier “Melisse” Inspired Gown Under $1000

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Hello dear BABs! I’m Lisa, the newest Broke-Ass Bride team member, and I’ll be your tour guide today in the Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! I’m psyched to be helping out with these posts every other week!

This week’s CAI/GOI request comes from Anne, who has superb taste in gowns, I might add. She’s fallen in love with the Ersa Atelier “Melisse” gown, and who could blame her? With its frothy tulle skirt and delicate lace bodice detailing, I find myself wanting to twirl (dance, prance, float) around in it, too! (I also have an inexplicable desire to eat the gown … I swear it looks like fine spun sugar and cotton candy! YUM! This must be what Sugar Plum Fairies look like!) Anne likes sweetheart necklines, lacy sleeves, and beautiful backs.

Anne, honey, you’re in good company! Like I said, superb taste! But Anne’s gown budget is maxed out at $1,000, so the search is on!

It just so happens that the very details Anne is drawn to are also the same classic features that designers have been using to woo brides for decades. Sleeves are just beginning to make a comeback in modern wedding gowns, but if you’re looking for a princess-inspired gown like the “Melisse,” you’ll find a wide variety of unique, affordable options in vintage ’50’s and ’80’s styles, when lace sleeves and sweetheart necklines were also quite popular (and stunning!). If you find a gown that has great “bones” you can always have it altered to look more au courant, too!

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Ersa Atelier “Melisse” (Collection ranges from $7,000-$12,000)

Get Over It

  Etsy Sweetheart Hollywood 03.05.15

Vintage Embroidered Lace Gown, $650 by Etsy seller Merletto

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Vintage 1950’s Lace and Tulle Wedding Dress, $198 by Etsy seller LaceAndYarn

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Vintage Embroidered Lace Gown, $299 by Etsy seller Foreverus999

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 Princess Style Wedding Dress with Lace Sleeves, $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

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Lace Wedding Dress with Sleeves and Keyhole Back, $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

How gorgeous is that back!?!?

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Bride of Frankenstein Inspired Long Sleeve Lace Wedding Dress $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

My personal favorite option for you, Anne, is a two-parter. In the 1950s (and as early as the 1920s and 1930s), many gowns were made to be worn again later as evening dresses, so they came with a removable lace overlay. I think this option could really work well for you!

First, find a plain-ish strapless or spaghetti strap gown in the silhouette and price range you love. There are tons of options with sweetheart necklines and flowy tulle skirts! Like one of these:

 

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After Six Wedding Dress 1027, $275 at Dessy

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 After Six Wedding Dress 1049, $525 at Dessy

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Avery, $799 at Kennedy Blue

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Mignon Strapless Chiffon Gown, $398 at Dillard’s

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Annabelle, $260 at BHLDN

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Claudine Wedding Dresses Style 7003, $275 at BestBridalPrices.com

Then, add the BHLDN Marnie Topper! This gorgeous lace cover-up ($220) can be layered over virtually any sleeveless style gown to achieve a similar look as the Ersa Atelier “Melisse” inspiration gown. Check out that deep-v back!

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Marnie Topper Back 03.05.15  

Marnie Topper, $220 at BHLDN

 If that topper’s not quite your style, I’ve got others!

  Celine Bolero 03.05.15

Celine Bridal French Lace Bolero Cover-Up Shrug in Ivory, $320 by Etsy seller girlwithseriousdream

Dessy Lace Top 03.05.15

Lace Top, $40 at Dessy

So Anne, I hope I’ve helped to solve your Can’t Afford It dilemma with some Get Over It wedding gowns. How’d I do at finding alternatives? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Bonus Pro tip: When ordering from an online retailer, sign up for their email updates and wait for the discount codes to come rolling in! But I’m sure you savvy BABs already thought of that. 

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 Shannon: The Shoes were Spendy #SorryNotSorry

Ok, BABs. I did a very not-Broke-Ass thing. Confession is good for the soul and all that, plus, what I did was soooo pretty.

I blew a lot of money on a pair of shoes for our wedding. At first I was kinda wringing my hands wondering how I was going to justify this expenditure to a bunch of badass, budget-savvy wedding wizards, but then I realized, there’s nothing wrong with spending some extra cash when you can. In fact, the purchase came after a long conversation with my husband-to-be about how we each deserve a splurge — a silly, just-for-us splurge.

Let’s face it: Staying strictly in budget can be really disappointing. You’re compromising; you’re settling; sometimes you’re completely doing without. It’s totally cathartic to set a little extra aside and just BLOW the money to have that one thing that is absolutely perfect, price be damned!

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Seriously, do it.

Shoes were a really obvious splurge for me. About five years ago, I had an accident that resulted in my left heel and ankle shattering. Like, the specialist told me, “Your right heel is fractured; your left heel doesn’t exist anymore.” It took a massive surgery, 10 pins and a custom-made metal plate  to get the thing back together. I was told I’d be relegated to orthopedic shoes for the rest of my life, but out of sheer stubbornness, I was back in (sort of) high heels after about two years. Long story short, cheap shoes and I don’t get along. I have to have cushion and support and that usually means money.

I started hitting up the usual suspects when looking for luxe for less: Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, but I was coming up short. Actually, I was coming up tall, as in, way too tall a heel for my now struggling feet and ankles. I’ve always had a “thing” for particularly fabulous footwear, but I was getting sad and claiming, “Fabulous doesn’t come in three inches.”

One evening I was browsing my normal discount sites online and came across a new (to me) one: The Outnet. They deal in some seriously high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories, but at deeply discounted prices. As I scrolled the mid-heel formal shoes, I found it: Fabulous at Three Inches. Screenshot 2015-03-03 16.26.16

Five. Hundred. Dollars. I mean, I was under budget on my dress, venue, flowers and food, but that’s, like, a car payment.

But they were EVERYTHING I was looking for! Pearls and sparklies, ankle straps to keep them on, a heel right at three inches, and I searched online reviews and they all said Rene Caovilla makes extraordinarily comfortable shoes. Oh, bother.

Out of respect for my fiance, I had promised that I would run big purchases by him and this qualified as big. Expecting him to rein me in and encourage me to find something more affordable, I shot him a message. He didn’t balk. He didn’t cringe. He told me if I was sure, get them.

I placed the order and after a UPS delivery debacle that rivaled the saga of the engagement ring (delayed delivery, wrong address), I finally had them!

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They fit perfectly and lived up to the promise of comfort. Once I got them on my feet, I didn’t care that I spent a lot. They really were everything I was looking for, and they made me feel FABULOUS!

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They even have glitter soles! Silver. Glitter. Soles! I’m in heaven.

So I could have settled for something a 10th of the price. I could have used that money to buy slightly more expensive wine or a couple extra kinds of cheese, but as much as I love both of those things, eh, they’re not going to make me squee the way these shoes did. It might be a wasteful expense to some, but I really, really, really love shoes, specifically these shoes. And I’ll wear them again. I’ll wear them on the honeymoon; I’ll wear them for anniversary outing. Let’s be honest, I’ll wear them in the bedroom!

The point is, you’re going to be making a lot of “us” decisions and a lot decisions to cater to your family. I think it’s healthy to do something just for you — just remember your partner deserves the same privilege. If someone criticizes you, who cares?! You march down that aisle in your gorgeous shoes or your new diamond earrings or cheers your family with pricey champagne or kick off your Chucks before you attack a bounce house in your wedding wear! It’s your wedding, so treat yo’ self!

 

 

Real Bride Shannon: Beating the Bridal Gown Blues

As brides, we have a lot to stress over. Whether it’s the environmental stress of an industry demanding we spend, spend, spend, the intimidating task of pleasing everyone, or the stuff we completely make up (I’m not alone in that, right?), planning a wedding can wreak havoc on your chill. I knew before I got engaged, hell, before I was even sure that I was ever getting married, my wedding dress would cause a mountain of stress.

To start things off, I never qualified for my “Love Your Body” card. I’m a hateful nitpicker in front of the mirror, saying things to myself that no one would ever think of me and I certainly wouldn’t think of anyone else. As I admitted to you last week, I tend to have this strange, backward way of thinking where the more compliments I get, the more afraid I am of not living up to what I perceive as lofty expectations of me. So, needless to say, I was already in a hole the first time I went shopping, and to make things even more difficult, I didn’t really have a budget.

My mom, on the other hand, was reeeeeeally excited. She had hauled me all over the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex in high school to find the perfect prom dress (two years in a row!), and she was still getting over her disappointment that my sister only tried two dresses on, so she was ready for some hardcore wedding dress shopping.

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Our first trip was to an outlet mall with racks and racks of every size dress. We weren’t so much shopping as testing the waters. I never had a vision of what my dress would look like. I just didn’t want to look bad, so we pulled several dresses from the racks and I headed back to the dressing room with minimal fanfare.

These were the best of the bunch and you can see I was none too pleased. I didn’t think either of them were worth half of their $899 price tags, which terrified me for the day I actually got my budget set. Looking back at the pictures now, both dresses seem nice, but I obviously didn’t see it then:

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Not exactly a “yes to the dress” expression.

While my overly dramatic look of disgust might suggest that it was an epic waste of time, we actually accomplished the two things we set out to do, both of which were a surprise to me: I learned that a mermaid silhouette complimented my figure best and that true white or a very pale ivory washed out my already-pale skin the least. If you have major questions that likely can’t be answered without trying something on, I highly recommend a trial run at a similar store where you won’t be pummeled with high-pressure sales.

My second trip was still an “I’m just looking” venture, but this time my mother, sister and I went to one of the largest bridal salons in Dallas. At this point, I knew my fiance was willing to spend a lot more on a dress than I originally expected, but I was still pretty iffy on where that budget was coming from. Sensing that I probably wasn’t buying that day, the saleswoman told me to pick out eight dresses and hang them on a hook. It wasn’t exactly customer service, but at least there wasn’t any high pressure.

capbead As feared, the first dress I tried on looked much better on the hanger than it did on me. At a street size 8, I’m right in that sample size area and this one was just a hair too big through the middle while practically bursting at the hip seams. I had been warned, but perhaps didn’t put enough credence into the notion that it’s extremely rare to fit perfectly into a sample size without alterations, but I was already disappointed.

smdress This one fit quite nicely and I really liked the illusion neckline. Although I wasn’t overly excited, this was my mother’s favorite and it took no more than her saying so for me to feel overwhelmed with (perceived) pressure. When I told my mom, “I guess this would be ok if I don’t find something better,” she told me it was time to try something else on. I’m sure what I was sensing was not her irritation, but my assumption that she was upset that I wasn’t equally in love, and I reluctantly headed back to the dressing room. I got in and out of a few dresses without any “wow” moments. I was beginning to think that I was just going to settle for something that “worked” even if it didn’t make me feel beautiful or special or like a “real” bride.

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The strapless dress just seemed lackluster and I was inclined to avoid strapless anyway. I adored the lace and beading on the silvery dress on the right, but it was a discontinued sample and was only available to buy off the rack in a size that I knew wouldn’t fit properly without some extreme dieting. I shimmied out of it and pulled out the last dress — the one I had intentionally saved for last.

ac1 This Allure Couture dress was the most expensive I pulled that day. Coming it at a staggering $2250, it was more than I was willing to commit to, but not impossible if I cut corners elsewhere. Yes, the sample was a bit too snug, but what left me really disappointed was when mom said unemotionally, “It’s…nice.”

“That does that,” I thought.

Mom was ready for me to choose another eight gowns and I was just ready to get out of there. I wasn’t sure if I was hangry because I was hungry or because stuffing my face just sounded like a good idea, but I used it as an excuse and we headed to grab lunch.

Things were tense between my mother and me for the next couple of weeks. I allowed myself to get crippled by fear. I was afraid of disappointing her. I was intimidated by her pages of handwritten notes of designers and dresses and where they were sold in the area and how much they were. I was scared to death of my then-unestablished budget. Things culminated in a particularly nasty fight that tentatively resolved with, “I love you, but I can’t be your Wedding Barbie.” I explained that while we have the same decadent taste, “decadent” wasn’t in my budget. We ended on the kind of understanding you only get from family. She hasn’t pressured me since (even if I invent reasons to feel pressure).

After making peace with my mom, I went home for a visit. That weekend my dad handed me an envelope with $1,500 in it and explained that if he could do anything, he wanted to buy my dress. I knew it was more than he had to give, but it was also something he desperately wanted to do. Sometimes the sacrifices we make for people we love are far outweighed by our joy in doing something to help. This was one of those times. I hugged him and thanked him and knew I had a budget.

I was still feeling the pull from Mom to go shopping again, and despite our successful reconciliation, I was still feeling overwhelmed. I was also more than miffed that the store that was supposed to be THE store in Dallas was … really disappointing in terms of both selection and staff. I had heard good things about Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, about 15 miles south of my house, and on a whim one day, I made an appointment to go … all by myself.

The purpose was twofold. I didn’t want to drag my mother across the world to be annoyed that dresses we had Pinned and researched weren’t actually there, and I wanted to see how I felt about dresses without her opinion.

Full disclosure: I am in no way being compensated for this statement.

Oh my goodness, if you live within whatever distance you’d be willing to travel of Bridal Boutique Lewisville, you want to go to there. My associate Candice was so warm from the get-go that I knew I was going get through this! She asked me questions to know how to best help me and, boy, did she ever help! She even talked me out of trying on a dress that I adored, but knew was outside of my budget. In what seemed like seconds, we had a load of dresses to take back to the dressing room.

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She got me out of my comfort zone, while still embracing my style. One thing she mentioned that will be helpful to anyone shopping is that she was glad I had my hair and makeup done. Even though my hair was just a messy updo, being a little extra made-up will give you more of the over-all bride feeling when you’re checking yourself out. You may want to consider bringing some jewelry, too!

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She even took the pictures for me and gave me a little pose coaching so they were ready to show my family. You can see her in the mirror up there. I knew from my last excursion that I favored the modesty of the illusion neckline, so we had plenty of those to try on.

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She retook that picture several times, but apparently I was so excited, I blinked every time. It was getting a little silly so, it was time to take it and run. I tried on a few more; not all of them were great, but we even got to visit my old friend, this time without rips and tears!

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In the privacy of a Tuesday afternoon, just Candice and me, I found THE one, for $1,250, which was under my (gifted) $1,500 budget. It happened to be the first dress she pulled for me based on what I told her I was looking for. And all that customer service and enthusiasm? It came AFTER I told her I wasn’t going to buy anything until my parents were there! Before I had even made an appointment to bring the folks in, I got a sweet, hand-written letter in the mail from Candice telling me how wonderful it was to work with me!

I was so nervous to tell my mom that I’d actually found my dress without her, but once I showed her pictures, she couldn’t argue. I learned that sometimes, whether other people are making you feel overwhelmed or you’re overwhelmed because you’re stressing out about other people, taking some alone time, even for something you’re putting a lot of emphasis on, is a really empowering, yet calming way to go. I made my appointment to try the dress on again for Mom and Dad and when I did, I caught Dad tearing up. Success!

So which dress made my daddy cry? It’s not here. It’s too obvious! You’ll have to wait another seven months (Y’all. I’m getting married in seven months!), but I’ll tell you all about my shoes next time!

Real Bride Meg: It’s Go Time!

BABs, I have a confession: I have taken a serious break from wedding planning over the last two months. I know, I know; how could I with only 4.5 months(!) to go? To be completely honest with you, real life has been getting in the way. We spent a lot of time and funds over the holidays, and we even settled on a house last week. With that said, it’s been kind of nice to take a step back and analyze all of the planning I have been doing for what seems like 12 months straight.

Even though we haven’t physically done anything for the wedding in a while, Steve and I certainly haven’t stopped thinking about it. We are constantly brainstorming — mostly about what we can eliminate. There are some things we thought we wanted when we were in the honeymoon stage of wedding planning, but now realize we can do without — like favors. We have gone back and forth on this so. many. times. At first, we wanted to make coasters out of bathroom tiles and maps due to the beer enthusiast of a groom and travel-themed wedding, but the thought of putting a lot of effort into something half of our guests would leave behind was hanging over my head. Then, we thought we’d do something simple (and cheap), like bottle openers, but even if they were all $1 each, that is potentially $230 wasted. We decided to scrap them all together, and realized that it’s totally OK to do so after doing our research.

Real Bride Meg: It's Go Time!

Photo: Do It and How

Something else that’s been hanging over my head? Our to-do list I made at the beginning of January to be completed by the end of February. It is as follows:

– Get the groom’s formalwear
– Decide on invitations
– Book transportation
– Finalize honeymoon

According to The Knot Wedding Planner app, we’re behind on the first two items, but I can tell you Steve and I have a little Valentine’s Day date at Macy’s this year. Macy’s always has great deals, and if you sign up for their charge card, you automatically get 20% off your purchase. Now, that’s what I call a cheap date!

On the other hand, invitations are haunting me. I have been looking for something nice and inexpensive since November, and I just can’t find the ones. We revisited our options recently, and ultimately decided to wait another week to order, being it is both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. Us BABs would never turn down the opportunity of a good deal!

Real Bride Meg: It's Go Time!

Lots to do. Please send help!

I also revisited my Excel sheet of our decor more recently. Seriously, guys, it’s the easiest way to keep track of what you want, what you need and what you can do without throughout every part of your wedding day. I haven’t really been keeping track with the things I’ve gathered in the last few months, but I fully plan on taking a few hours to go over my inventory in the upcoming weeks, especially since I’ve planned a bridesmaids get-together next month. I could definitely use a few extra sets of hands with my DIYing these days!

With all that is left to do in the next 4.5 months, you can imagine that I feel a bit crazy as of late. Although I’m not doing much for the actual wedding day, I have been getting myself ready and keeping my stress levels in check. Steve and I started doing pre- and post-work workouts most days. We’re a couple of yogis, so most mornings consist of 20 minutes of stretching and strengthening. We amp it up in the afternoon with 20-30 minutes of cardio. (If you want to challenge your groom, have him try this. We haven’t been able to do the entire thing!) Nothing too intense — just trying to tone things up so I’m dress ready!

Real Bride Meg: It's Go Time!

A little motivation never hurt anyone. Photo courtesy of CardozaWood on Etsy

In addition, we’ve been monitoring what we take in. Steve makes amazing green smoothies every morning, with kale, spinach, Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, coconut water and a banana. It’s a great start to our days! I’ve also been taking biotin, which targets your skin, nails and hair and I’ve been exfoliating with  Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads, which you can find at Target. The citric acid helps with cell turnover, making your skin glow. I’m mostly pleased with the results simply because my skin feels hydrated — not really what you would expect from an exfoliant!

All of these things are helping me gear up for what’s to come — it’s time for bridal go mode!

How are you spring and summer brides doing with your to-do lists?

Real Bride Katie: Dipping My Toes into Gown Shopping

With the holidays over and the nine-month mark just behind us, it’s time to get this wedding train a-movin’!

On Saturday, my mom, my fiance’s mom, and two of my best friends are accompanying me to Luxe Bridal and David’s Bridal, and hopefully we will find me a dress. I think it’s interesting to look at what people think they want versus what they end up actually loving when they try it on, so I’ve decided to share all of that with all of you!

I did already go on one try-on mission to David’s, because I was worried (foolishly, it turns out, because of course the sale got extended) that their $99 dress sale would end before my appointment. I tried on two dresses.

First, a clear no. I think this dress has promise for someone, especially at $99, but it isn’t proportioned right for me.

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This next one is a contender. I don’t particularly love the fit in these photos, but I also stopped in just after work, and wasn’t wearing appropriate foundational garments. My mom and I both want to see this one again with shapewear this weekend.

1ab

Credit

1aba

Pardon my awkward face!

When you look at my Pinterest board, it looks like I know exactly what I want. There’s a clear silhouette that I’m looking for:

2015-01-14 14.51.50  (L-R, Mori Lee Julietta,  Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner Style 2608, Dressily Me Style WWD57342,) 2015-01-14 14.52.52 (L-R Essence of Australia D1848Essence of Australia D1615, Essence of Australia D1617)

But until I get into the shop and try things on, who knows? Maybe I’ll end up buying a big floofy ball gown because that’s what looks best. Stay tuned for more trying on pictures and *crosses fingers* hints at the winner (or a post begging Christen to do a Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! for me)!

 

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin’s Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

Names: Tiffany & Justin

Occupation: Educational Writer & Video Game Designer

Wedding location: Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens, San Diego California

Wedding Date: October 11, 2014

Budget: Well, here’s the thing. My kindly generous parents didn’t give us a solid figure to work with, but I wanted to be reasonable and arbitrarily chose $15,000. And then when we really got into things I realized that would be impossible in SoCal and pushed it to $18,000. Which as you will see was totally busted.

How would you describe your wedding? An intimate, nontraditional wedding with sophisticated brewery and geeky touches. A close friend was our officiant. She wrote our ceremony and we wrote our own vows. We wanted it to be an intimate party with our closest friends and family members, so we kept the guest list to about 100 (we ended up with 91 guests, which was perfect). Our decor was simple, yet vibrant and complemented the beautiful brewery space perfectly.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Can I say all the things? Because ALL THE THINGS. More specifically, our first look. Our vows. And after the ceremony when we hid behind the building among the extra chairs and tables to have some quiet time together before our big entrance. It even took the wedding coordinators a while to find us, which they eventually did and brought us more beer and appetizers.

What did you splurge on? Photography, and we are so glad that we did. Also, a designer/day-of coordinator. She was especially helpful decorating the space and keeping me in line decor-wise.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

What did you save on? We cut down a lot on flowers, mainly leaving out the family flowers. We also opted to not have favors and we haven’t yet heard complaints about that from anyone! We like to think that our open bar was a pretty darn good favor.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Justin says he wishes he would’ve eaten more mac ‘n’ cheese. I agree. I also think I would have communicated with our vendors a bit more, and been a bit more picky. MORE? Yes, more. Looking back there are some photos I missed (with our officiant, duh). I was very passive with my hairstylist and even with the florist. I was very much in the frame of mind that some things weren’t a big deal, and while they didn’t break the day they certainly caught my eye in photos.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Accepting that wedding-related things are ungodly expensive, and also patience. And of course, the guest list. While I am happy with the choices we made, I am not happy with the chatter I have heard about from those that weren’t invited. Maybe I should’ve made our intentions more clear. Or maybe people should just get over themselves. EITHER WAY. The guest list was a challenge, but in the end those who made the cut continue to show us how important they are in our lives.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? You cannot, and will not please everyone. But at the end of it all, the only thing that really matters is how much happiness your choices make you and your husband.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
Our vows, even though it was an incredible struggle to get through them without completely sobbing.
Our ceremony overall. It was funny and emotional and so memorable.
Seeing our friends and family partying together.
THE BEER.
The venue, and how gorgeous it turned out with our decorative choices. And did I say the beer?

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

Top 5 least favorite?
Justin spilled beer on his shoe (see what happens when you ask for input?). I wasn’t even aware of this, but my dress was filthy.
Not eating enough mac ‘n’ cheese (again, thank you for the input, Husband of mine)
Getting too drunk before photobooth time. Whoops.
I ended up barefoot because no one could find my shoes.
The anxiety and unnecessary drama and worries leading up to it all.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
A tour guide on our honeymoon told us not to talk about finances after 5 pm. The logistics of that are just impossible, but we did understand her point. She also spoke to birds … so … you know …

The best?
Besides the basics (don’t be a douche, don’t go to bed angry, marriage is work … etc. etc.) we haven’t really heard too much. I think people realize we got this thing down pretty good!

Any other bits of wisdom?
One of your bridesmaids should have eyelash glue on hand, always. More importantly, if something matters to you, don’t let people tell you it shouldn’t. Or that it is wrong. Or inappropriate. Details mattered to me. Jewelry mattered to me. Our ceremony mattered to us. This day is for you and your husband, and the memories you want to create and remember forever. I think we did a darn good job of making our wedding unapologetically, 100% us. And it was awesome.

Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

Budget breakdown

Venue (Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens. Includes all food, open bar, cake, dj, all linens, and ceremony setup): $14,350

Photographer + photobooth (Next to Me Studios): $3200

Coordinator (Events by Elisa): $1600

Flowers (Seven Stems): $975

Dress (with alterations) + Accessories (The Bustle, Bauble Bar, Asos): $1700

Grooms Attire (Friar Tux): $200

Invitations + Save-the-dates: $600

Other Decor: $200

Total: $22,825

Get Inspired: LGBT Inspired Shoot by Two Sparrows Photography

When Ben and Jenni from Two Sparrows Photography contacted The Broke-Ass Bride little while back asking if we’d be interested in featuring a broke-ass LGBT shoot in honor of October’s roll as LGBT History Month — National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, also happens to be my birthday — I responded with a resonating HELL YES. Gimme dat! So after hooking them up with some of our amazing homies, like DIY darling Tabitha (of geometric table numbers and cement planter fame) and of course BHLDN and Unique Vintage, I waited oh-so patiently for the photos (read: Not patiently at. all.) and guys, it was SO worth it. Here’s what Jenni has to say:

At Two Sparrows Photography we believe love is love, and when LGBT History Month came upon us we were inspired to celebrate the couples who finally have equal opportunity to exchange vows in California and a growing number of states across the country.

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We’ve found that gay and lesbian weddings don’t have nearly enough creative inspiration out there yet, so we wanted to do something bold, affordable, and fabulous to help give Broke-Ass-Brides some fresh new ideas. When we partnered up with Tabitha Johnson at Winston and Main her fabulous DIY style helped our vision came to life; pride rainbow colors with an elegant twist, a nod to 60s style, and some fun splashes of unique ideas.


We wanted to contrast our colorful scene with a natural background so we chose some beautiful landscapes around the Altadena trails to shoot, and we have to say, couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. The work certainly isn’t done for marriage equality, but we’re well on our way and are so grateful to have the opportunity to share our inspiration for couples of all kinds with BAB readers. #loveislove

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Check out this behind the scenes video:

Vendors:

Photography – Two Sparrows Photography
Photography – Behind the Scenes – Two Sparrows Blog
Event Design & Styling – Tabitha Johnson
Makeup – Vivian Tran 
Jewelry – Sophia Kaman 
Bridal Dresses – BHLDN
Bridesmaid Dresses and Accessories – Unique Vintage
Scooter – Route 66 Modern Classics
Cake – Bakebeth
Popcicles and Candy – Suck It Sweets And Treats
Tableware – Borrowed Blu
Video – Making of The Shoot – Richard Che