Posts in the 'The Bride' Category

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:

NOPE

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.

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Credit

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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 

Real Bride Peach: My EPIC Bridal Weekend and WeddingMix Fun!

Ever look back on a major event and wish that you had more photos/videos to capture those awesome memories? I sure do. So when it came to what I’ll affectionately call my “Epic Bridal Weekend,” I knew that I needed professional help with the documentation of all the fun details.

Enter: WeddingMix!  My fiancé actually told me about the app first, and then I learned more about them from The Broke-Ass Bride. And I’m so glad I decided to try it out!

By simply asking my bridal shower hostess to include the amazingly easy “how-to” one-pager in her Save the Date email and reminders closer to the event, I was able to ensure everyone came armed and ready with the free app and had added our event in advance. And I’m so glad that I did, because I now have some amazing videos and photos of the entire weekend that I’ll treasure for years to come!

My weekend included: a gorgeous bridal luncheon with fancy food and copious gifts, followed by a bachelorette party with a “Fifty Shades of Grey” theme! I pretty much knew what to expect from the ladies luncheon, but my Maids of Honor and BFFs kept my bachelorette plans completely secret! Not gonna lie, it drove me crazy. But they thought of everything.

The luncheon was so, so sweet and touching. I’d invited a larger group of close girlfriends and my mom for the shower. I felt so loved from the outpouring of gifts and the efforts by the hostess to make everything as beautiful as possible. Just look at the table settings!

Bridal Luncheon

After we ate (and I had cupcakes shoved in my mouth by my mom – love her), we opened gifts. Silly, naïve bride that I am, I didn’t know about the ribbon-breaking tradition that states if I tear a ribbon, it means I’m having a baby {Um, is this really a thing? – Eds,}. I tore one before I knew the rule! All of our many gifts were touching and heartfelt, but the most fun was definitely the set of two NERF guns. Because what future wife wouldn’t want to pelt her fiancé with a dart gun once in a while???

Once the shower ended, it was time to begin the evening’s shenanigans. I made the personal choice to have a smaller group of my closest girlfriends participate in the bachelorette plans. They swept me away to the Georgian Terrace — a beautiful and renowned Atlanta establishment for hosting weddings and stunning events. There, I walked into a suite that was completely decked out in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” theme — framed quotes, cutouts of my fiancé’s face posted on the wall with sayings like “I do believe you’re making my palm twitch,” fun decor, slinky sequin masks, sexy props, condoms (of course) and a gorgeous matted framed picture for my girls to sign and put their lipstick kisses on. It was amazing!! They even kept my 50Peach (as in Fifty Shades of Peach) theme going with peach and vodka shots, fresh peaches from the farmer’s market and even included not one, but TWO of my Mighty Peach Life List items for that evening. These extra touches and special efforts from my girls made my night truly memorable and so, so personal to me.

Bachelorette Party

They even went so far as to have rummaged through my closet for an outfit, brought their own extra options, dressed me, did my makeup and arranged for a stretch limo to drive us around all night! But first, they helped me check off #2 of my Mighty Life list — “Know what caviar tastes like” – which explained the bizarre requests from them about whether I had eggs and if they could boil them. I was already completely swamped with love and gratitude for them all.

And the night? It was truly EPIC.  We hopped in the limo and started poppin’ bottles of bubbly. We arrived at our “dinner reservations” and I cracked up laughing. They took me to Lips – which is dinner and a drag show! We ate and drank ourselves silly while watching these talented performers. I was nervous at first, mostly because we were seated right by the stage, but as the bubbly and rockin’ entertainment sunk in it was just fun. I was even called up onstage with the other brides-to-be in the audience and we were interviewed, then all did an … uhmmm … “special” beverage shot without using our hands. I’ll leave it at that.

After Lips, we had some time to kill before the final stop, so we went to Wet Willy’s for a quick boozy/slushy drink. I got the Peach, of course. Then our limo driver whisked us away to the final stop – 10 high! 10 high is a super fab karaoke bar that boasts a LIVE band that backs up the singers. And my girls, bless them, knew that #1 on my Life List was to sing Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene” at karaoke. They had called months ahead of time and the band learned the song just for me to sing it! WOW.  I won’t lie, I was a bundle of nerves to do it. But that’s why it’s a Life List — even though it was scary, I wanted to make myself do it … and kick some butt in the process. And I did it! It was surreal to be onstage in a room full of strangers, with my girls in the front row videoing and singing along! SO MUCH FUN.

Karaoke

Everything my girls did to make the night special for me was amazing — the personalization with Peach/50 Shades, tackling Life List items, the crazy-cool limo all night and especially the framed picture that is now hanging in my bedroom as a reminder of how loved I am … epic, epic weekend. And most of all, I love that WeddingMix made it easy for us to capture all the moments so that I’ll have my cherished memories to revisit. Many thanks to them for helping me keep these precious memories of my amazing weekend. They’ve graciously created a short video mashup of my epic weekend for you. Enjoy!

And of course, we’ll be using the app and cameras for our wedding! We’ll just email and/or include the one-pager instructions in our welcome bags. Easy peasy. I can’t wait for my wedding video!!

Trust this bride-to-be … go check them out. You won’t be sorry.

Till next time,

 

Real Bride Jubilance: OMG. Five Months Left.

It’s October, which means that our wedding is between 5 and 6 months away (it’s like 5 months and 12 days but who’s counting?). I’ve officially begun to freak out, because we have SO.MUCH.LEFT.TO.DO. We spent September being lazy, but now we have to kick it back into high gear to get back on track.

Real Bride Jubilance OMG. Five Months Left.

What do we have to do? Oh just a few things like:

  • Decide on wedding invitations

Originally I wanted them to be math or science themed since we’re having a nerd-themed wedding. But I couldn’t find anything that I liked even though I looked everywhere. I also didn’t like that I could find chemistry/science themed invitations, or math invitations, but I couldn’t find something that encompassed both. Bummer! Yet, there’s the worry as well that math/science invitations will be overkill – we want people to be excited about the theme and not fatigued with it before they even show up! So now I’m checking out lots of other invitation sites to find other options.

  • Finding a florist

This is one vendor that I’ve had trouble finding. When it came to our venue or our photographer, I was able to use reviews and other factors (like our budget) as a guide to begin narrowing down. This method has failed me in finding a florist: 1) there are way too many florists in the Twin Cities and 2) the majority of said florists don’t provide pricing on their websites. I can’t even use things like style as a guide cause I have no idea what different floral styles are –- is that even a thing? {Yes. It’s absolutely a thing. We’re working on putting together something for the site. – Eds.}  I’m attending a wedding fair with my mom next week, hopefully I can meet a few florists there. I’m also going to get recommendations from our day of coordinator.

  • Picking the menswear

I was leaving this one up to my fiancé, and I’ve been asking him for MONTHS what he wanted the guys to wear, and when he would let the groomsmen know. This is my fiance’s thing –- he LOVES fancy menswear. And yet, each time I mention it, he says he’s going to get to it *sigh*. We’ve managed to make a deal -– he has until October 15th to choose and if he doesn’t, I get to choose.

  • Finding an officiant

This is pretty big, since we can’t get married without an officiant. Will and I are both agnostic, and we don’t attend any type of religious service. We would prefer to have a completely secular ceremony. Minnesota currently only allows registered religious leaders and judges to perform weddings, which is a bummer. I started looking at officiants that we could hire, and let’s just say I was overwhelmed by their rates. I understand they are providing a service, but I’m not keen on paying a stranger $300 or more so they can talk for a 20 minutes. Figuring out who is going to officiate our wedding is a huge conundrum that we haven’t solved yet.

  • All my DIY projects

I have some lofty goals for DIY, like our place cards and decorating our broom. Outside of knitting, I’m not very crafty, so I’m hoping I don’t completely ruin the DIY projects or end up spending a ton of money in an effort to make something that looks decent.

So much to do, so little time to do it. Any ideas on all this stuff?

Real Bride Meg: An Introduction to a Whole New Broke-Ass Bride

Hello, fellow brides! I could not be happier to join The Broke-Ass Bride team as a Real Bride blogger to share my wedding planning stories, advice and tips — and starting conversations with you along the way! I’m fairly far into the planning process, but I still have a ways to go. I’m thrilled to have you on this journey with me!

A (very) brief history of us: My knight in shining armor, Steve, and I met at Temple University 7 years ago. I have yet to get him to fully admit it, but what drew us together was our common passion — Philadelphia sports teams, of course! We currently reside in the City of Brotherly Love.

Steve and I also love to travel, which led us to our engagement night. Long story short, Steve’s proposal plan A was impossible, and his plan B didn’t work out either, so he proposed in the rain on a rooftop in London at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. We had a long flight home back to Philadelphia, so we started to brainstorm about how we envision our wedding. We decided to take our oversees engagement and work it into our wedding theme — time and travel!

Meg's engagement

Meg showing off her princess cut bling in their London flat on New Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy of Steve’s iPhone.

Steve and I are getting married on June 20, 2015, at the Pearl S. Buck Estate in Bucks County, PA. We both come from VERY large families (seriously, I have about 25 first cousins on just one side of the family), so our headcount is around 230. And now for the big reveal (drumroll …)

Our budget is $25,000. I know, I know, not really what you want to hear. Trust me when I say that I’m under the average budget for Pennsylvania — and especially the Philadelphia area.

State wedding costs- HuffPo

Chart courtesy of The Huffington Post
Numbers don’t lie!

Still don’t believe me? Check out this article from CNN– and pay close attention to the chart on the left-hand side.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the elephant in the room, I’m so excited to start sharing my otherwise thrifty and frugal wedding planning adventure with fellow brides! Here are some things I can’t wait to share with you:

- Where to start the planning process: figuring out your style and finding a venue to match it

- When to splurge and when to cut corners: what means most to you and using your resources

- Pinterest: Your best friend and your worst nightmare

Until then …

keepcalmmarryon

Courtesy of Etsy

Real Bride Tiffany: Vegas Won, Penis Hats and All

My bridal party, knowing my love of debauchery and penny slots, planned an incredible bachelorette party weekend in Las Vegas. I survived one day. ONE. But I am here to tell you the good, bad, and ugly of said party weekend.

THE GOOD:

Free flights. WHA? Yea, a BAB dream come true. My MOH’s dad accumulates billions of frequent flier milers for business travel and was kind enough to donate them to a few of us so we could fly (rather than drive 6 hours) to Vegas. And along with that came free drink tickets (which may have been the initial problem … ).

Phallic decor for days. My MOH asked me, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how penisy do you want your party gear?” I went with seven. Which meant sparkly head gear and cookies shaped like man parts. They even gave me a whistle, which was a terrible idea in restrospect because I decided that every time I blew the whistle they would have to lineup by height.

Real Bride Tiffany: Vegas Won, Penis Hats and All

That headgear though? At least 9 people asked to take our picture. One man even gave us $7 to do so.

The shirts. YES THOSE SHIRTS. When planning our Vegas wardrobe I discovered that I looooathed every bridal party shirt on the planet. The rhinestones. The phrases. I just could not do that to anyone. So instead I found the tackiest {Read: greatest – Eds.} shirts on the planet and made everyone choose one. They acted like they hated it but I know that it will become a wardrobe staple soon enough.

Hofbrauhaus. AKA my home away from home. Although this was the place that likely did me in, I have no regrets. And there were ACTUAL GERMANS which was a total plus.

THE NOT SO GOOD:

Paris Hotel and Casino. GET IT TOGETHER. We were so excited to stay here because we could shout “I’m goin’ to France y’all!” every five minutes of our journey. Strike one occurred when our room wasn’t ready one hour after normal check in time. Strike two was when the other girls’ room wasn’t ready two hours after normal check in time. And strikes 3-80 are the severe lack of mirrors in the room which led to incredibly cramped primping sessions. They were able to complain about the delayed check-ins and get one night comped (SCORE!) and then they gave them keys that didn’t work. Paris just couldn’t get its shit together, for real.

THE UGLY:

My lack of stamina. You guys, I can usually rally pretty good. Wake up, crack a Coors and start all over. NOT THIS TIME THOUGH. I was down for the count and spent Saturday night half dead on a lounge chair in the beautiful cabana my girls rented for the day. And then in bed watching Law and Order while they enjoyed the strip. I TOTALLY BLEW IT.

Southwest Airlines. Specifically a flight attendant named Bernie who shamed us over the PA system for not having our drink order spoken as quickly as he would’ve liked it. We will never move on from it, I am sure.

Overall, I had a really wonderful time. And even though I gave a disappointing performance to the crew on Saturday, I was reminded several times that’s kind of how Vegas goes. And oh how true that is.