Broke-Ass Category: The Wedding Party

4/26

So the bridal shower has been sort of an ongoing issue with my bride tribe and I. To be honest, a shower was never even on my radar as something I would need to worry about. Isn’t that a time when friends and family get together and shower the bride with gifts? Shouldn’t her only job be to show up? Welp, apparently not.

My MOH is wonderful and I love her dearly. Planning parties is not her thing. If I say, find me someone who rents freezers in Syracuse, she will bring me a list of everything sorted by distance and price. We shop and brainstorm together while taking no prisoners. But apparently she lacks the genetic coding that allows me to say “will you plan the shower?” and for her to reply with” I’ve already booked the venue and have a menu set.” If you caught one of my earlier posts, you’d know what I’m talking about.

One of the tea cups my mother started hoarding

Fast forward to now. I’m living in another state and I’m about 300 miles from home. I rallied the other ‘maids to help my MOH with her planning. My sister and another ‘maid have been trying, unsuccessfully, to contact the venue I picked for the shower. The lack of response from the venue was at first manageable. The owner apparently had some sort of family emergency and was unavailable for a while. Since the owner is the one that books all events, my girls were at a standstill to book the venue. A week turned into two week and then well over a month with no phone calls being returned. The girls called a few times and got the same response. Well crap. This is not worth the hassle, back to the drawing board.

Teapot we got at an antique store

I have a family friend who has a giant house and hosts parties all the time. I had hesitated to ask her if she could host the shower, 1) because she can be a bit overwhelming at times, 2) she and my MOH do not get along, at all, and 3) I didn’t want her going wildly over the top with this, something that has happened before. But, desperate last minute times call for last minute measures. I casually texted her about something completely unrelated and mentioned that we were looking for venue suggestions if she knew any. Not an outlandish question, she’s well connected and party planning is her jam. She responded with the expected response of “you can have it here.” I’ll admit I was very relieved. Anything that she gets her teeth into will be beautiful and go off without a hitch. Problems? Welp, my sister has this vision of what she wants for my shower. I asked for a tea party. Little sandwiches, hats, tea, the whole pinkies up extravaganza. (Not to be confused with Alice and Wonderland).

My sister has been roaming the country and city side in search of antique tea items. She hopes to use them for centerpieces since buying 40 for everyone to drink out of is a bit insane. She asked my mother to help with tea-item acquiring and my mom has gone a little insane hunting down tea cups. Some of them are really stunning though and I plan on running away with them afterwards.

Sale at Michaels on tea party items

So, we now have a date, time and location. My sister is working with the friend and together they can hopefully create something awesome. Spoiler alert: I don’t really care what the party looks like. I’d just like to hang out with an awesome pack of ladies and drink tea in our fancy hats. I have a small army of cute hats that I’m currently debating which to wear. If only all my decisions were this difficult.  

What about you? Are you experiencing unexpected twists and turns when it comes to the shower?

  • 4/20

    Affiliate Disclaimer New

    Reader Sandra commented on this post looking for a floaty dress for her 30th anniversary vow renewal:

    “Just found “Can’t Afford It” today. Wonderful! My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in 2018, and would like to have a vow renewal and small party. I really like Inga Nataya’s “River Fairy” dress in Lilac, but $900 is too much for me to spend on a dress. (My original wedding dress, veil and shoes cost less than $300). I love the Edwardian look of Jenny Packham’s Azalea as well. I’d only like to spend $400 or less, and I hope to be able to wear the dress again to occasions like a graduation party or someone else’s wedding.
    Also, I’m 52 and love vintage clothing. While I love the floaty look of the above dresses, I don’t want anything too youthful.
    Hoping this is not all impossible!
    Can you help? Thanks!!!”

    Sandra, first off — congratulations on your soon-to-be 30 married years! For your renewal dress, I’ll focus my search on simpler “floaty” dresses without trains and won’t limit it to just traditional white gowns. The River Fairy gown has a soft shrug overlay with sleeve look, and I’ll see if I can find this kind of versatility in the dresses in my search, and keep it from going to “young” looking.  I’ll also keep an eye for some Edwardian dresses, which is also a lovely style.  Let’s see them …

    Can't Afford It

    Inga Nataya River Fairy in Lilac

    River Fairy dress in Lilac, $900 by Inga Nataya

    Get Over It

    Nordstrom - Embellished Lace Gown 319

    La Femme Embellished Lace Gown; $319 at Nordstrom

    ASOS - Lace Paneled Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress 113

    Lace Paneled Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress in blue; $113 at ASOS

    ASOS - Needle & Thread Daisy Embroidery Maxi Dress With Cold Shoulder 376

    Needle & Thread Daisy Embroidery Maxi Dress With Cold Shoulder; $376 at ASOS

    Macys - Adelyn Rae Lace Maxi Dress 148

    Adelyn Rae Lace maxi Dress; $148 at Nordstrom

    Macys - J Kara Beaded V Back Capelet Gown 289

    J Kara Beaded V-Back Capelet Gown; $289 at Macy’s

    Macys -Adrianna Papell Beaded Mesh Gown 349

    Adrianna Papell Beaded Mesh Gown; $349 at Macy’s

    Macys -Adrianna Papell Embellished Popover Xapelet Gown 369

    Adrianna Papell Embellished Popover Capelet Gown; $369 at Macy’s

    Dillards - JS Collection Romantic Ruffle Sheer Matte jersey Gown 258

    JS Collections Romantic Ruffle Sheer Matte Jersey Gown; $258 at Dillard’s

    Dillards - R&M Richards Sequined Lace and Chiffon Jacket Dress 130

    R & M Richards Sequined Lace & Chiffon Jacket Dress in Lavender; $130 at Dillard’s

    Dillards - Adrianna Papell Sleeveless Sequin Lace Organza Riffle Tiered Gown 219

    Adrianna Papell Sleeveless Sequin Lace & Organza Ruffle Tiered Gown; $219 at Dillard’s

    So what do you think, is there a dress here for your vow renewal, Sandra?  I wish you 30 more years of married bliss.

    Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you. Please be aware, though, that because you guys love this column so much, we can often build up quite the queue and it may be a while before we can get to your dream dress. Rest assured, though, Team Broke-Ass is on the case!

    *As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.
  • 4/3

    Did you miss Part I? Catch up here. Printable sign available from Etsy seller MonCheriPaperie Here are a few more bridal party norms in place that I’ve observed, which are also huge money suckers for both the marrying couple and the attendants: Bridesmaids and groomsmen must all wear the same dress/suit, and the bride/groom gets to choose it, and it must be expensive-looking and formal.…

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    3/24

    BHLDN Gift Sets, $50 – In Dot or Solid (Comes with a tie, tie bar and pocket square) Dudes! Have you heard about the new collab between BHLDN and The Tie Bar? For those who may not know, BHLDN is the wedding collection by Anthropologie. They're pretty major in the bridal scene (obvs your fiancée has read about them here, here and here) and it…

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    3/23

    Hi BABs!  This week's request comes from reader Randi, who is in love with a Carol Hannah gown: "I love your Can't Afford It? Get Over It! posts... And your book. If I could climb a mountain (Hard to find in New Jersey...) and sing its praises, I would, but for now I've been recommending it to all my newly engaged broke-ass friends. I recently…

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  • 3/20

    I want to talk about our wedding party. There seem to be a lot of traditions and rules in North American/European anglophone culture surrounding bridesmaids and groomsmen that there is heavy pressure to follow. I imagine that if you have been reading my posts thus far, you probably know how I feel about arbitrary rules, especially if they are outdated, rooted in sexism or classism and/or…

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    3/13

    The four in the middle:  planner/doer, her fiance, me and my MOH When it comes time to pick your ladies to stand by you, take into consideration their particular skill sets before you ask them. I have an overwhelming six bridesmaids. I have one that is a doer and a planner. There’s an artsy one, one with a green thumb, a miniature one whose mom…

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    3/10

    This week's request comes from reader Tammi for a very unique look: "Can't Afford it - I'm looking for something like the green version of Jenny Packham's Joy dress. You did such a great job finding alternatives with the JP dress before, I'm hoping you can help me. I can't find anything else even remotely similar anywhere. My budget is under $1500, preferably closer to…

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  • 2/24

    Harwick Duffel Bag, $98 from J. Crew Let's talk about baggage (no, not THAT kind of baggage). Planning a honeymoon in Hawaii? A getaway wedding in New Hampshire? No matter what the occasion is, when it comes to prepping for a trip, quality luggage should always be the first thing you consider. Shoddy luggage will wear quickly with all the throwing around and your stuff…

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