Broke-Ass Category: The Bride


Affiliate Disclaimer New$500, that’s all that I budgeted for my wedding dress. Many said that it would be  impossible to find a dress under $1000, many told me that I should splurge a little because it’s my once in a lifetime “big day,” many told me it was too early in my planning process to understand how much dresses cost. All of the feedback was shared with good intentions, so I figured that I would set out to find my perfect dress and not worry too much about the cost … at least not right away.

I rallied the Bride Tribe and we set out to David’s Bridal. I have never tried on wedding dresses before and I didn’t have my heart set on a specific style, so I figured that the appointment would be good to at least narrow down the style that I like. The appointment was set for 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, my plan was to not take up too much of their time so I planned to be out of there in an hour and then we could all grab lunch!

Real Bride Ciji's Wedding Dress Shopping Adventure

All of my local bridesmaids joined me and those out of state participated in the fun by sharing their thoughts in our GroupMe. I tried on each and every style and while I have to admit that I have never been one to enjoy trying on clothes, there was something special about the experience! Although a somewhat overwhelming adventure considering that I had never thought about ivory, champagne or white and trumpet vs. mermaid. The best part was NOT looking at the price tags. After trying on about eight dresses and enjoying the time with my favorite ladies who sipped on sparkling grape juice while I sucked it in and allowed a stranger to tug, pull and zip; I left knowing my favorite top two styles and ready to dig deep into finding my budget friendly dress.

It’s been three months since that day and I have learned more about wedding dresses than I could have possibly have ever wanted to know. I’ve considered re-purposing a dress that I wore 13 years ago when I was a debutante. I’ve hit the heart button for all of my favorite sellers on Etsy and weighed the pros and cons of having a dress made and shipped from China or Bulgaria. I’ve researched EVERY bridal consignment store in America and negotiated with strangers on Facebook trading pages.  I’ve considered taking sewing classes, primarily for my reception decor but it wouldn’t hurt to know how to make a wedding dress, right?  I’ve become obsessed with and I check my size and price range daily to find a deal. I’ve done all that I can and just when I was thinking about giving up, something amazing happened. Actually multiple amazing things happened …I found the dress of my dreams, honestly I found four dresses of my dreams.

Finally after weeks of searching every site known to (wo)man, I found not one but three dresses that I love from, all under $100 each. So I bought them all, I just couldn’t take any chances with leaving one for someone else to snag before me. Five days after making the purchase and confirming the shipping plan, I decided to attend a “run for the dress” sale. I really just wanted to go and jump in on the fun and I was pretty confident that unless I saw an “I can’t live without it” dress that fit me with no alterations and was under $150 that I would leave the store empty handed.

I stood in line for an hour, I met wonderful people, we discussed our wedding planning progress and we took selfies to distract us from the long wait to get inside. The store provided a DJ and employees walked around pumping up the crowd. I started to get more and more excited as the time passed and a couple of pumped up text messages from my Matron of Honor/Best Friend were icing on the cake! I was READY and even though I didn’t plan to buy anything, I felt like it was game day.

There was a countdown and then the doors opened and Brides, mothers and friends rushed into the store.

I followed suit, ran in and started to look thru the racks. All of the dresses were outside of my budget so I started to help a new friend that I met in line find her perfect dress. I had all but given up on finding anything for myself and was happy to help her since I didn’t plan to make a purchase until I saw the ONE. There it is was hanging on a picked over rack of dresses as if it was waiting for me to walk over and grab it. As I neared, I decided to grab it and try it on, why not? That was a mistake. I put it on, some of the other brides stopped shopping to help me zip it up, I walked over to a mirror and immediately knew that it was the one. I had to have it, so I bought it.

In one week, I became the owner of four wedding dresses. Oh boy! Now all that I have to do is narrow down which one will be the one that is the ultimate one.  My hope is that I say YES to the dress soon!

  • 5/31

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewBride to Be cake topper from Etsy seller GlitteredBride

    Cake Topper available from Etsy seller Glittered Bride

    I am not one of those women who get excited about baby showers or bridal showers. A bunch of women mingling about the hors d’oeuvres and mimosas and how they know the bride or mother-to-be has never been my forte. I can’t say as I’ve been to a single shower that I wasn’t dying to leave by the end. And don’t get me started on the games.

    We are not having a bridal party, so there’s no Maid of Honor to help plan a bridal shower, and I was actually totally fine with that. I was prepared just to skip the whole thing. My mom, the darling woman she is, Googled who’s responsible for the bridal shower when there is no Maid of Honor and she was elated to learn that modern etiquette indicated that it was her responsibility.

    The idea of a bunch of women crammed into my mother’s living room, sitting uncomfortably on folding chairs and drinking mimosas while I awkwardly open gifts that I already knew I was receiving (registry, duh) made my stomach turn. I’m not a fan of the decorations, the themes and on top of that, the games. Ugh.

    I am relieved to find out that my mother really does know me as well as I thought she did. It may have helped that I was pretty vocal about how much I hate bridal showers. There is no potluck, no living room, no folding chairs. There are games, but they are at an absolute bare minimum.

    My mom and I went to check out Motor Bar and Restaurant at the Harley-Davidson Museum this past week. Motorcycles, the Milwaukee River, amazing outdoor seating, plenty of space for everyone — WIN. It was perfect. I am not a motorcycle rider, but it’s significantly cooler than my mom’s living room or the banquet hall at your local Italian restaurant chain.

    The bridal shower was totally one of those things I was dreading, but my mom’s managed to find a place that isn’t hokey, or ordinary. I will deal with Bridal Bingo or whatever if I have good food, a good bar and a good atmosphere in return. It might actually be … sort of … fun?

    Did you end up having a bridal shower against your better judgment? How did it turn out?

  • 4/15

    Team Bride Badges by MakeLoops

    Team Bride Badges, $7.28 by Etsy seller MakeLoops It's a fact of wedding planning that people are the second-most unpredictable variable (weather is the first!). There will always be someone who doesn't do or say what you're expecting or hoping, and it can be extremely frustrating when it's someone close to you.  Every now and then it's a bridesmaid that seems to go rogue, not following The…

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    Stephanie James Nadine

    What's a bride to do when she loses her job just before getting engaged? She writes to the BAB team for help, of course!  Dear BAB, I'm reading your book -- like it's the bible. I'm the brokest of BABs -- lost my job right before I got engaged! Our super generous parents have given us $15K to do with as we will, but after being unemployed…

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    Gown WG3532, Headpiece 35986C001, Bracelet 9721|| David's Bridal Busts Out A Big Ol' Heaping of Savings

    It's Christmas in July! No, not really, but pretty damn close, y'all. David's Bridal is having their hugest sale of the season. And by huge, we mean RIDICULOUS. For serious. From wedding dresses to styles for your entourage to all those pretty little sparkly adornments, prices are slashed across the board: * Wedding dresses that were originally $300-$600 are now as low as $99, with…

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  • 7/20

    Amy trying on V-neck styles

    I've been dreading dress shopping for months, but after much prodding from friends, I caved, suited up in some Spanx and headed to David's Bridal. I know David's is a great budget friendly option, but based on some previous experience with their dress quality and hearing lots of customer service horror stories, it wouldn't be the first place I would want to buy a dress.…

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    Hey, BABs! Today's post is for bride Julia, who is looking for a floral gown like the "Valerie Lynn" by Heidi Elnora for under $1000. The inspiration gown is a lovely A-line dress, with a natural waist, full skirt, pockets, and most strikingly, a hand-screened floral print at the bottom. The "Valerie Lynn" is the perfect gown for a garden or other outdoor wedding venue.…

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  • 4/27

    A few years ago, I was in a lot of weddings.  It seemed like all of my friends got married within a short period of time. Although I was honored to be a part of their special days, I would be lying if I said that the 'maid duties didn't put a strain on my enjoyment of the event. There I am in the bridal…

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