Posts in the 'The Groom' Category

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 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 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

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 …


Courtesy of Etsy

Real Bride Kate: A Bachelorette Just My Speed

Wow, Broke-Ass Brides and Grooms! My wedding is this Saturday, September 27th! On one hand, I entirely believe it, as I have been planning this day for almost a year. On the other hand, even with all the planning and wedding talk, it really snuck up on me.

I will admit – I’m really over the idea of this wedding. I am ready to end the planning, which has basically become like a fourth (yes, fourth!) job. I am sick of answering the same questions over and over (Yes, there will be dinner and dancing. No, I’m not nervous.). And mostly, I just want to be married and enjoy my new life with Daniel.

All this stress and annoyance has really been doing me in, and let me tell you, my bachelorette party could not have come at a better time.


For my party, my four best friends, Sam, Jess, Teresa and Devin, took me out to Kansas City. We got manicures at Polished, had dinner at the gorgeous Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza, did a wine tasting at Cooper’s Hawk and finished up by meeting Daniel and a few of the guys at Ernie Biggs, a dueling piano bar.

I cannot emphasize enough how perfect this night was for me. In fact, let me tell you the reasons why it was so great, so that you can use them as inspiration for planning your favorite bride’s soiree.

1. It tackled a to-do list item

I’m super busy. I work three jobs and am attempting to cultivate a professional writing career. Planning this wedding is a huge time-suck for me. Therefore, I was so relieved when my friends took me for manicures. It crossed a very important and very time-consuming item off my to-do list in the best way possible – spending time with friends.

2. It pampered me

Have I mentioned that I’m busy? I have a horrible habit of never taking time to relax and spoil myself. Well, if getting manicures wasn’t pampering enough, my friends also took me out to a delicious dinner. Eating a lovely dinner and gorging on fancy pastries was a great way to unwind and reward myself for all my hard work. Of course, the amaretto sours didn’t hurt either!

3. It got me the right amount of tipsy

I’m not a huge drinker. However, I do enjoy my wines and getting a little tipsy on special occasions. By going to a wine tasting, my friends and I were able to get a nice buzz, while still feeling classy and not having to pick only one “poison.” What I most want to emphasize here is that bachelorette parties don’t have to be a sloppy drinking fest. If your bride is more of a wine tasting, get-a-little-giggly drinker, don’t take her out to a crazy bar. Also, keep in mind what the other guests/bridesmaids are like in the alcohol department. Sometimes, a calmer way to drink is more comfortable for everyone.

Wine tasting

4. I got to dance and enjoy music

I HATE clubs. I hate ear-shattering rap/dub-step/whatever-they-call-it music and rubbing up against sweaty, horny people. A dueling piano bar, where I got to sit in a chair, hear a wide range of music and dance on a spacious floor was perfect for me. Always keep in mind what kind of experience will be fun for your bride. She might love music, but what kind of music does she want to hear, what kind of dancing does she want to do? Always keep the party at her tempo.

5. I got to see my groom

After being long distance for almost two years, I don’t like to be away from Daniel. I know, it’s pathetic, but we’re still in that honeymoon post-move, pre-third-round-of-immigration-paperwork stage. Therefore, the fact that our parties were on the same night was great. The boys got to hang out at an arcade and bar hop, we girls got to visit the salon and indulge our palates, and then we all got to hang out and enjoy some music.

Real Bride Kate: A Bachelorette Just My Speed

Of course, the fact that Daniel brought me a stuffed Pikachu he won at the arcade may have strengthened my enjoyment at seeing him that night.

In short, my bachelorette party was fantastic. I had a phenomenal time with my best friends. They succeeded in planning the perfect night for me, and I truly believe that, if you take note of this formula, you can plan to perfect night for your bride, too! Thanks again, ladies!

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.


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.


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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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

Real Bride Elizabeth This is Madness.jpg

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

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

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

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