Posts in the 'The Groom' 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

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,

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!

 

Real Bride Elizabeth: This is Madness

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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.

BAB Throwback: Heather & Chris’ Elegant, Misty Mountaintop Wedding Affair

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).

Heather and Chris’ wedding was originally posted 1/17/13 and appears on page 212 of the book.

Ladies and gents, today we’re SO pleased to feature the wedding of our fabulous contributor Heather (our resident “Can’t Afford It/Get Over It” maven), and her adorable new hubs, Chris. You can tell from these pics (and her regular blog posts) that Heather has excellent taste and fab personal style — and she absolutely brought both to her wedding day. Heather and Chris opted for a time and cost-saving wedding package from a gorgeous golf course in Burlingame, CA, which is half an hour outside of San Francisco. Metro area weddings can be twice the price of this beautiful celebration, but Heather and Chris have graciously provided us with an extensive wedding budget breakdown that shows how they pulled off a wedding with 120 guests for around $20K. So without further ado …

Your names: Heather Murtagh, Chris Vega

Occupations: Reporter at the San Mateo Daily Journal, Vice President for a San Francisco-based R&D startup, respectively

Wedding location: Burlingame, CA

Wedding date: Aug. 31, 2012

Wedding budget: $20,000 (But we went a bit over)

Approximate guest count: 120

How would you describe your wedding? Short reception, big party

What was your favorite part of your wedding?

Heather: The moment we first saw each other. We decided to see each other before the wedding so we could get some of our wedding party photos done before getting things started. The photographers set up a moment where Chris had his back to me and turned around to see me. He was so happy I actually thought he was drunk. He wasn’t. It was very sweet.

Chris: The time we spent together, the alone time.

What did you splurge on? Alcohol. We wanted to have an open bar for longer. And we really wanted to have a big party. We succeeded.

What did you save on? We went with a venue that offered a package deal. That was really helpful in keeping costs in check as well as for planning. Also, my dress was much cheaper than we originally budgeted thanks to a going-out-of-business sale at Priscilla of Boston.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We would have gotten a videographer.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Gathering contact information was difficult at first. Other than that it wasn’t too difficult. We went with a location that offered package deals. That made things much easier.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants to help, they just need to know how.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

Heather’s list:

The first time we saw each other

Spending 30 minutes after the ceremony alone taking pictures. It was really nice to have that time to

ourselves. Turns out we giggle a lot when left alone.

Having so many friends and family together in one place.

My brother marrying us! It was so personal. He took it very seriously but also got in some jokes, which is what we wanted. There was a moment when he got really emotional; thinking about it gets me emotional. But my favorite part was when he said to Chris, “You may now kiss my sister.”

The after party! We went to our favorite local bar after with a smaller group of people. It was so much fun. The owner knows us and was very sweet by letting us stay late and providing free drinks for the bride.

Chris’ list:

Heather – she showed up.

My groomsmen were awesome.

Great supportive family and friends.

Photographers were great.

Venue and DJ were great.

Top 5 least favorite? (We failed and only came up two each… I guess that’s a good thing.)

Heather’s list:

Some people had attitudes on the big day. It was hard to not let that get to me. But ultimately no good would have come from focusing on it.

Our venue had a new person on hand to coordinate on the day. We made it work, but it was an inconvenience. Everything did work out though and we’d still recommend them highly.

Chris’ list:

The hangover.

Delta canceling our honeymoon flight multiple times the morning after.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? …

The best? It’s your day. Enjoy it.

Any other bits of wisdom?

Heather: We both were a bit bummed when everything – wedding and honeymoon – was done. It was like there was nothing big to look forward to after having a year of so much activity. It was weird to get back into the swing of non-wedding planning life.

Chris: Remember to savor the moment. It goes by so fast. Also, if you can, get away on a honeymoon right after. It will give you time to enjoy the high of your new marriage.

Heather & Chris’ wedding budget breakdown:

Venue: Crystal Springs Golf Course - $14,028.23

Food/Drink: Included in our Venue fee — We opted for a lower per person package cost then added on additional hours of a open bar. In total we covered the cost of three hours of bar and had a cash bar for two hours.

Attire/Accessories: Dress – $700 from Priscilla of Boston during their going-out-of business sale. Spent $150 on alterations. Bought Badgley Mischka shoes through Rue La La’s Sunday sale for $50 with tax and shipping. Rented Chris’ tux for $120 from Men’s Wearhouse.

Flowers: Flowers for the reception were included in the package. Paid $936.36 for the bouquets from Rosedale Floral Design – one for the bride and six for the bridesmaids; 10 boutonnieres and two corsages for our moms.

Décor: We really didn’t do much in terms of decor except add votive candles and little hershey kisses on the table. We had enough children for a kid’s table. So I went to the local dollar store and grabbed $15 worth of stuff. It was actually a total hit and hilarious to watch the kids decide who got what.

DJ/band/entertainment: Our DJ was included in our venue package.

Photography: Paid $2,706.25 for the Kermit and Miss Piggy package from Chasing Glimpses Photography, which included: 6 hours of photography at your wedding and nearby locations, Two photographers, 2500+Photos Taken, 6 hours on Site; 20 hours Post production, 75 photos in a modern flush mount photo album, Private 60 days Online Gallery for viewing, sharing, and purchasing DVD of approximately 500 of the best images of your wedding day. All images are enhanced, retouched, if necessary, for beautiful reproduction. We ended up with a DVD of 850 photos. Also, the girls were willing to stay an extra hour with no notice when I realized we hadn’t really gotten some shots during the reception.

Videography: Didn’t do it, but we regret that.

Cake: A delicious cake from Burlingame Cakery was included in our venue package. It was delicious and super easy to get put together. I emailed a photo of the cake design I liked and tried all the combinations. I think Chris liked this part of the planning the best.

Favors: $130 — I made our favors. I’m a huge supporter/volunteer of Make-A-Wish. Using scrapbooking paper, I put together little paper favors that asked people to “Make-A-Wish for the Bride and Groom.” Each had a $1 coin attached. We asked people to either put the coin in a vase near the door or make a larger donation. Anything collected we donated. In the end, we donated $310 to the Greater Bay Area Chapter.

Invitations/printing/postage: My friend designed the invitations and RSVPs. I work at a newspaper. After I asked the publisher about a printing contact,  he offered to cover the cost as a gift. We spent $91.75 on postage. Our Save the Date was a video made by a friend who is starting a side business. Check it out here!

Hair and make-up: $120 for a friend who is also starting a business. She did a test and also bought new makeup on the wedding day which I kept for touch ups.

Wedding bands: $600, we got simple bands and ordered them through a family connection who works in the jewelry industry.

Bridal party: Necklaces for the girls, personalized on etsy. $85

Coordinator/planner: Didn’t use one.

Officiant: My brother got ordained online for free.

License: $40

Other: $500 for rehearsal dinner. We hosted it at Chris’ grandfather’s house, which was less than a mile from the ceremony site. We hired a local taco vendor to come and make food. Then we took advantage of a local winery’s case sale for the booze. We ended up with lots of leftovers.

Also, we spent $310 on hotels over two nights. We did stay local but wanted to be separate on the day of the wedding. We let our siblings, who couldn’t really afford the hotel, crash at our apartment and stayed at the hotel on our wedding night.

Total: $21,792.44

Thanks so much to Heather and Chris, for sharing their big day with BAB, and special thanks to Chasing Glimpses Photography, for providing the gorgeous wedding photos! 

Real Bride Tiffany: And We Have A Honeymoon!

Yes, the most exciting thing to happen to us re: wedding planning lately was booking our honeymoon! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!

Like all of our wedding related ventures thus far, we wanted to be conservative in our honeymoon spending.  My parents kindly offered a (free!) week in their timeshare, which we took them up on. HOWEVER. That thing about timeshares is that they are not a guarantee. We had to exchange one of their San Diego weeks for a Hawaii week and have been waiting for something to happen since January. JANUARY YOU GUYS. It is truly a miracle that I made it to July without my brain exploding due to lack of honeymoon planning.

So we chose a date (July 5th) and if we didn’t hear from the timeshare by then we would book on our own. SO WE DID. We are going to Kauai, y’all!

By Adam Keller via Wikimedia Commons
I will be covered in mosquito bites, but I will kayak to these falls. I will.

Beforehand, I spent many solid hours browsing VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) because there are amazing deals but also it is basically like walking in a stranger’s house which is oddly fun for me. Once I internally decided that we did not want to risk getting a 1970s kitschy condo for our romantic honeymoon, we both started browsing hotels.

Originally, I wanted to stay on Kauai’s north shore — the romantic hideaway side of the island. Very quickly I discovered this was not in our budget. Because I am not one to do what every one else does, there was no way we would stay on the south shore. So we chose the east shore and found a lovely hotel that has all of the things that matter to us — proximity to beach, comfy bed, good Yelp/Trip Advisor reviews, and a killer happy hour. Maybe that last bit is important to just me …

We did book everything through one travel site (Expedia), but made sure to browse for better deals just in case! Here are some tips to help you honeymoon without breaking the bank:

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Because when I say things like, “oh $600 more isn’t that bad!” it actually really is that bad.
  • Get a fantastic guide book and explore your options early. The Hawaii Revealed series has always been a fave and we Amazon Primed that baby so we could decide which part of the island to stay on.
    • We are also using this to strategically and financially plan all of our excursions. Because if I don’t plan it now, I won’t be able to relax then. I sense another spreadsheet coming on …
  • Use rewards or earn rewards! I am a firm supporter of Ebates because even if I only earn $1 IT IS STILL $1. In addition to Ebates we used a credit card that will earn us rewards (sometime in the next century probably).
  • Find free excursions! My Pinterest and other Internet research has already begun. Mama wants to spend our $$ on mai tais not overpriced excursions!

Source
“Free” is my middle name.

Justin has never been to Hawaii and I’ve never been to Kauai. This is going to be an excellent adventure!

Have you been to Kauai? What would you recommend?

Get Your Dudes Their Duds and Stress Less with Menguin

*This post is brought to you by our friends at Menguin.

BABs, lets be real: Wrangling guys and outfits can often be kind of a pain. Sure, some dudes dig dressing up, but certainly not all do. Add in measurements, try-ons, tailoring … it’s easy to see why the task of finding a wedding suit would be one that continually gets put off. I mean, there’s gotta be a simpler way, right?

Duh. Of course there is. And, as per usual, The Broke-Ass Bride has the inside scoop.

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Menguin takes a huge ol’ chunk of that hassle of renting a tux and just chucks it on out the window. They help cut out time by doing pretty much all the dirty work online: You can style, fit and pay all from the comfort of your couch, and the tux will come right to the door … and can even be returned the same way thanks to the rockin’ prepaid Tuxbox. I mean, simple, right? Even the most Jeff Spicoli-ish of groomsmen would have a hard time mucking this up.

And of course, dear Type-A brides, you get to remain in control by not only styling the dudes, but also by being able to track where they are in the ordering process, so if good ol’ Spicoli happens to be in the party, you can dutifully light a fire under him when he needs a little jumpstart.

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No time to get the guys down to the shop for fittings? Menguin’s e-Tailor can do the work, as long as he has a webcam at his disposal. Or, you know, he can go the old-fashioned route and go to a regular tailor for measurements and input his specifications right in their system.

At $160, you’re getting all the pieces — jacket, pants, shirt, tie/bowtie, cummerbund/vest and shoes — and since it’s delivered right to the front door, you’re saving on gas. Which is always pretty rad. Color-matching helps ensure everyone is nicely coordinated, and if any piece of the tux doesn’t fit right, just holler at Menguin and they’ll overnight a replacement. I mean, that’s service, people.

And now for the really good shit:

From now through Aug. 8, the groom’s tux is $1 if he has 5 or more homies ordering from Menguin. YOU GUYS. $1. Just give ‘em a shout at 1-844-MENGUIN and mention you saw it on The Broke-Ass Bride.

Extra special double-plus bonus: A portion of all proceeds at Menguin go toward aiding penguins who’ve been affected by oil spills. I mean, comeon.

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It doesn’t really get much easier than that, does it, BABs? Get thee on over to Menguin to get the ball rolling!

 

 

 

Real Bride Elizabeth: The Drama Has Arrived

Oh, how naive I was to think I could cruise through these 8 months of wedding planning without any drama. And, much to my surprise, all this drama came from the groom’s side! You don’t hear that very often, do you?

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Back in December when we got engaged, Bryce’s best friend from childhood, Ron, was back in their hometown of Greensboro. Ron has lived in Amsterdam as an artist for the past few years. Bryce asked Ron to be his best man almost immediately after they got engaged, and Ron accepted with no hesitation. He seemed genuinely excited to be a part of my day, and I was happy.

A couple months after our initial engagement, Bryce and I set out to get the tuxes sorted. Bryce got in touch with all the groomsmen and told them what they needed to do. We told Ron to just send us his measurements as I am pretty sure there aren’t any Men’s Wearhouses in Amsterdam. No response. Several other Facebook, Whatsapp and emails ensued. No response. Finally, in the midst of bachelor party planning, Ron’s brother Dan (who is also in the wedding and was planning the entire bachelor party) mentioned to Bryce that no one in the family had heard anything from Ron as well.

This baffled me. Ron was very active on Facebook and Instagram, and nothing indicated that he was in trouble or that anything was wrong. Bryce and Dan were trying to get in touch with him, asking if he was still planning on coming over for the wedding. Eventually, I messaged him on Instagram, saying that it would really mean a lot to Bryce if he would let us know either way so we could make further arrangements. No response.

Finally, less than two months before the wedding, Ron finally messaged Bryce and told him he couldn’t afford to fly out for the wedding in August.

Now, if anyone can understand about not being able to afford being in a wedding, it’s me. It has never been easy or convenient for me to be in weddings, and if I can’t do it, I tell that person ASAP. If he would have told me way back in December, “Hey, I don’t know if it’s feasible for me to fly over for the wedding,” I would have totally understood, and tried to come up with a way to get him here. He’s my fiance’s best friends, and if I had to contribute money towards his ticket, I would have had no problem saving some extra money for that. However, less than two months before the wedding … I just can’t make it work.

While I have since cooled down over this incident, I was pretty enraged at first. Like, who does that? I live in the Midwest, I get that kind of passive aggressive bullshit every day. It drives me crazy! Not to mention I was angry for my fiance. I was angry that he didn’t seem that bothered. Apparently, this is “Typical Ron” and “not unexpected.” How is that an acceptable excuse? How is this a good friend? F that.

However, my sister pointed out that if Bryce really, truly was not that bothered by it (which, as far as I could tell, he wasn’t), why should I waste negativity on it? I just had to take a deep breath, let it go, and focus on the positive parts of the wedding. I’m getting married in a month, that’s more than enough to make me smile!

 Have any of you BABs had a bridal party member disappear from the radar? How’d you deal with it?

Real Bride Jess: The Invite Dilemma

Hi all!

First of all, let me apologize to my friend, Rachel. Rachel got married a few years ago and I was hurt that she didn’t invite me or any of her other friends from junior high through high school. Now, as a Broke-Ass Bride, I totally understand and apologize for being mad.

OK, let’s talk about one of the most difficult aspects of your wedding: the guests. Who do you invite? Who do you leave off? Do you listen to your parents?

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I think I mentioned before that I split our list and told Michael that his family was his responsibility (a decision that I still stand by). The difficulty of this is in people asking, “why didn’t cousin X get invited?” I dutifully respond, “Michael was in charge of his side of the family, take it up with him.” I love being able to this because I HATE confrontation and I like deferring the blame.

What I ended up doing, since I have a large family who live locally, is inviting my whole family and a few close friends. We each had 75 invites and 56 of those (on my side) are people I am directly related to.

What Michael did, since most of his relatives live in other states/countries, is invite his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but no cousins. He said that most of his cousins he has never met or met once when he was little and he wanted to save his invites for the people closest to him. While I totally respect and understand this choice, it did rub some people the wrong way. Luckily while I tend to be more of a people pleaser and would have bent if people complained, Michael stood strong – which I really admire.

The other rough subject of invites is plus-ones. We have had a few people that were shocked that everyone did not get a plus one. Even if I could afford for everyone to bring a guest, I wouldn’t want them to! My wedding is about celebrating with the people I love –I don’t want random people there. I don’t want my sister to invite a guy she met that morning at Starbucks to the most important day of my life (this won’t happen because my sister is 13). The question then becomes: How do we keep  our guests from inviting unwelcome guests (and how do we categorize “unwelcome”)? What we decided was that we would allow people to invite their boyfriends/girlfriends as long as they had been dating for at least a year. To minimize our risk further we didn’t send our invites to “Johnny Smith + 1” but rather, “Johnny Smith and Andrea Biltmore.” Then, the thought is, even if Johnny and Andrea break up, he can’t bring a stranger.

How did you deal with the guest list? Did you get any major pushback?