Posts in the 'Wedding Inspiration' Category

BAB Throwback: Fishing For Budget Decor Has Never Been Easier

This post was one of the first that made me really, truly fall in love with The Broke-Ass Bride when I was planning my first wedding. I loved the colors and the non-floral aspect … not to mention the budget-friendliness. I remember thinking it’d be so great to have one of these at the wedding, then use it for house decor as a little, frequent reminder of that awesome day. The vibrant colors in the LGBT shoot we featured yesterday reminded me of this post all over again, so we’re bringing it back with this BAB Throwback.

I get loads of questions from brides seeking guidance on budget wedding planning, offbeat or green wedding decor, and I can relate! I had many a stressful day pondering how to not only afford decor that would pack a punch, but not lose my limbs paying for it, and still manage to make a statement with it.  But let me tell you, sisters, if you get yourself a roll of fishing line and turn on the creativity. There are loads of unique wedding ideas, affordable and simple opportunities to spruce up a space with little money, little effort, but MAXIMUM flavor, yo! Let me count the ways … Let’s take a walk off the beaten aisle for a moment, shall we?

Clear out the clearance rack at your local post-holiday sale, and string up a dazzling and reflective curtain that’s as festive as it is adorable….

Christmas Ornament DIY

Its raining baubles!
Christmas Ornament Decor
Clearance Ornaments + Fishing Line = broke-ass brilliance!

And use your leftovers to line your aisle, pile into glass vessels for centerpieces, and make a whimsical winter wonderland of it! Wouldn’t it be dreamsicle to hold your ceremony in front of such a shimmery sight?

Hit up your craft shop and go craft pom wild! String these babies up for a light and easy beaded curtain backdrop and give your wedding a modern take on retro design flare.

craft pom wedding DIY

Its the POM diggity!

For a tutorial, click here. And for more pom decor ideas, check out this post!

For the music-oving couple (c’mon rawkstar brides, put your hands up!) How about an edgy and modern (but romantically twinklingly loverly in candlelight) recycled compact disc chandelier or curtain?

Cd curtain at the Sci-port in Shreveport.


Turn up the awesome with a CD backdrop.

DIY CD craft


Colorful compact cuteness. Tutorial here

Whew! That was easy, wasn’t it? And that’s just the beginning – all it takes is a step outside the box and a little fishing line! The best part is, there’s no special DIY talent necessary.

What kind of unusual or found objects will you incorporate into your bad-ass, broke-ass design?

Get Inspired: LGBT Inspired Shoot by Two Sparrows Photography

When Ben and Jenni from Two Sparrows Photography contacted The Broke-Ass Bride little while back asking if we’d be interested in featuring a broke-ass LGBT shoot in honor of October’s roll as LGBT History Month — National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, also happens to be my birthday – I responded with a resonating HELL YES. Gimme dat! So after hooking them up with some of our amazing homies, like DIY darling Tabitha (of geometric table numbers and cement planter fame) and of course BHLDN and Unique Vintage, I waited oh-so patiently for the photos (read: Not patiently at. all.) and guys, it was SO worth it. Here’s what Jenni has to say:

At Two Sparrows Photography we believe love is love, and when LGBT History Month came upon us we were inspired to celebrate the couples who finally have equal opportunity to exchange vows in California and a growing number of states across the country.


We’ve found that gay and lesbian weddings don’t have nearly enough creative inspiration out there yet, so we wanted to do something bold, affordable, and fabulous to help give Broke-Ass-Brides some fresh new ideas. When we partnered up with Tabitha Johnson at Winston and Main her fabulous DIY style helped our vision came to life; pride rainbow colors with an elegant twist, a nod to 60s style, and some fun splashes of unique ideas.

We wanted to contrast our colorful scene with a natural background so we chose some beautiful landscapes around the Altadena trails to shoot, and we have to say, couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. The work certainly isn’t done for marriage equality, but we’re well on our way and are so grateful to have the opportunity to share our inspiration for couples of all kinds with BAB readers. #loveislove

















Check out this behind the scenes video:


Photography – Two Sparrows Photography
Photography – Behind the Scenes - Two Sparrows Blog
Event Design & Styling - Tabitha Johnson
Makeup – Vivian Tran 
Jewelry – Sophia Kaman 
Bridal Dresses – BHLDN
Bridesmaid Dresses and Accessories – Unique Vintage
Scooter – Route 66 Modern Classics
Cake – Bakebeth
Popcicles and Candy – Suck It Sweets And Treats
Tableware – Borrowed Blu
Video – Making of The Shoot – Richard Che 

Real Bride Katie: Fun With Florals

Hello again!

I’m back, this time to tell you about the reasons why wedding professionals are awesome.

I came into this process thinking that – since I’d done it before – I knew everything about how to do this whole wedding planning thing, and exactly what I wanted.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a vendor meeting and went “Uhhhhhhh … ”

Crap! I’m sitting there with a florist, and all I know is that 1) even though we’re aiming at Halloween and fall, I don’t want any orange, and 2) I hate calla lillies (it was pointed out to me that they have a certain … Georgia O’Keeffe kind of feel, let’s say, and now I can’t see anything else). So I’ve got these two really pretty restrictive rules, and nothing else.

“No problem,” said the florist sitting in front of me.


Picture provided by KMB Floral

Kari of KMB Floral is a friend of a friend, and someone I was pretty excited to meet. She had no trouble showing me lots of different ideas and pictures from previous weddings she did, helping me to narrow down what I want. Turns out I’m also not big on greenery, and I like mostly round shapes.

After talking for a while, we settled on this for me:

2014-11-11 11.30.41

Photo by Nicole Spangler Photography, provided and designed by KMB Floral.

This is the inspiration, but some of the ivory roses will be light purple, and there will also be some very dark purple carnations mixed in. I’m in love with these orchids!

I didn’t end up being able to get the lanterns I talked about in my last post (long story short, Target made the raven and the owl have the same item number, and so almost every time we ordered one for in-store pick up, they pulled the wrong one. AND I’m afraid of owls, so that was *not* going to fly!), so we picked these for the bridesmaids.

2014-11-11 11.30.38

 Photo by Kaptured by Kristina, provided and designed by KMB Floral.

Probably with a little less greenery.

I like that the orchids are a little bluish, not just purple. I’m not particularly married to a shade of purple – you’re not going to see me posting about scouring the Internet to find something in just the right color. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for us, I’m more focusing on mood and our general color scheme of black, creams, grays, and purples. All shades are welcome here! It takes a little bit of stress off, and I think it can help add depth.

Kari also helped us think about centerpieces. We plan to do most of them on our own, but are considering having her do them for the six tables that are on the ground floor of our venue. This is the inspiration:

2014-11-11 11.30.36 Source: KMB Floral.

We’re also considering using this as a jumping-off point to create a curly willow centerpiece all our own. Time and budgeting will tell! Kari has been kind enough to provide us a quote with and without the centerpieces, so that we can make the decision, and we’re going to be kind enough to not steal her design directly, but rather use it as inspiration only, if we choose to go that route. Andrew was pretty excited about the curly willow as a way to bring in some woodsy touches, so we may explore that further.

We haven’t booked KMB Floral yet, as we want to shop around a bit before we make up our minds, but she’s definitely someone we know we’d love working with. Her work is beautiful and her prices are BAB-friendly!

How did you figure out what you liked for your decor, BABs? Did you know going in to the meeting or did you kind of figure it out as you went along?



Real Wedding: Ansley and Derrick’s $13K New York DIY Dance Party Bash

Reader Ansley emailed her wonderful wedding to us, and my jaw dropped: Homegirl had a $13,000 wedding. In New York. For 80 people. YOU GUYS. It can be done! She focused a lot of time on DIY, sure, but she and her hubs also prioritized in a big way: They wanted food, pretty things and a good time … but she didn’t want to waste money on flowers that she didn’t really care about or other things she found extraneous. So in a city with an average wedding cost hovering around $63,000, Ansley and Derrick pulled of a superfun bash for a good $50K less than that. And they make it look goooood.

Ansley and Derrick Laughing

Name or how you would like it to appear: Ansley and Derrick

Occupation: Quality Assurance Specialist and Mechanical Engineer

Wedding location: Aurora Gallery, Queens

Wedding Date: 10/25/2014

Budget: $13,000

Animal Place Card Holders

How would you describe your wedding: Secular handfasting/dance party/ DIY

What was your favorite part of your wedding? I loved getting pampered before the wedding and hanging out in my hotel suite with my family and friends. I had a blast eating and dancing at the reception … the highlight was spending time with friends and family.

Mother Son Dance

Greeting Guests

What did you splurge on? Food! About 25% of the budget went to the buffet of comfort food including chicken parm, pulled pork, mac n cheese and 11 other dishes!

Cake Topper and Cupcakes

Sharing Cupcakes

What did you save on? Rings. I got tungsten and cubic zirconia rather than diamonds and gold. I also saved on flowers. I used a paper flower bouquet from Etsy and baby’s breath. Total cost- under $100


Paper Bouquet and Shoes

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I probably would have skipped a DJ and made my own playlist, as neither of us really like house music.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Getting people to reply to RSVPs! I feel like I chased down half the people we invited.

Sweet Ceremony Moment

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I learned that you really determine your own experience. I visualized a fun, happy wedding and I felt relaxed all day and really enjoyed the food, dancing and fun with my friends.

Gettin' Down!

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? The food, the cake, the dress, the dancing and the decor.



Top 5 least favorite? The DJ… the fact that the venue didn’t have an outdoor space … Not much else.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “The last week you will panic, you will freak out.” … All the people who told me how nervous I would be.

Ansley and Derrick Black & White

The best? Take time to eat.

Any other bits of wisdom? Skip anything that isn’t important to you. People won’t care/notice/mind. Your wedding is more important to you than anyone else, so be true to yourself.

Bridal Portrait

Dancing with Fun Lights

Budget breakdown:

Buffet, drink mixers and service: $3400, T&C Catering

Cakes: $200, Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Dress and Alterations: $1000, David’s Bridal

Booze: $1000

Paper Bouquets and Boutonnieres: $75, The Paper Flowerbed on Etsy

Venue Rental (including tables and chairs): $2100, The Aurora Gallery

Photographer: $700, Daria Wheaton

DJ: $800

Table linens: $200, Linen Tablecloth

Decor (including candles, spray paint and other craft materials):$300, Save on Crafts and Quick Candles

Cake and cupcake Toppers: $30, Modern Blooms on Etsy

Stationery: $500, Type Ten on Etsy and VistaPrint

Jewelry and veil: $100, Brenda’s Bridal Veils and Glitzette, both on Etsy

Groomswear: $300, Men’s Wearhouse

Hotel and Rental car: $500, The Paper Factory Hotel

Favors: $200, The Knot Shop

Hair and Makeup: $120, Jeannie Lopez and Kristin Bray

Rings: $100, Amazon

Day of Coordinator/Decoration: $500, Sofia Orellana

 Congratulations, you guys! If you want to submit your Broke-Ass wedding, email christen {at} brokeassbride {dot} com to get the how-to!

Get Inspired: Go Bold and Beautiful with Red, Off-White and Black

 Real Bride Kate’s wedding was gorgeous — not only because of the uniqueness of it, but because the bold color palette was stunning. I mean, her DRESS. Come on. So I found it only appropriate to put together an inspiration board with a similar palette, featuring a bold red, ink black and smooth off-white. This combinations pairs so well, and gold, silver, gray or another easy neutral would easy sub in for the off-white.

Get Inspired Red, Off-White and Black

Top row, from left: ‘S Marvelous Heel in Scarlet, $39.99 at ModCloth | High-Shine Heels, $160 at BHLDN | Black Rotten to the Core Fit ‘n’ Flare Dress, $48 at Unique Vintage | Shortcake Story Dress in Red, $54.99 at ModCloth

Middle row, from left: Striped Affair Wedding Invitations in Red Lantern, starting at $1.59 at Wedding Paper Divas | Small Red Vintage Glass Bottle (Cylinder Design), $2.95 at Luna Bazaar | Dude-Quet of Calla Lillies with Ruscus, starting at $40 from The Bouqs | Stun, Moon and Stars Dress, $99.99 at ModCloth | Ivory Lux Lace Swing Dress, $123 $50 at Unique Vintage

Bottom row, from left: Mignon White Pleated Chiffon Evening Gown, $718 at Unique Prom | Red Beaded Lace Mesh Cap Sleeve Long Dress, $200 at Unique Prom | Faye Gown, $1000 $240 at BHLDN | Another Late Night Backless Black Lace Maxi Dress, $69 at Lulu’s

What do you think of this bold combination, BABs?

Words to Wed By: Sweet Poems That Don’t Suck

In our ongoing Words to Wed By series, we’ve so far tackled prayers and blessings and sayings for the sweet geeks among us. Now how about a little poetry, y’all? I know, there are times that poems suck and are uber rhyme-y, but then there are the really good ones. The ones that tug at them heartstrings like whoa. These are some of ‘em.

Words to Wed By Sweet Poems that Don't Suck

Litany by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) by E.E. Cummings.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

“I Rely on You,” by Hovis Presley

I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you.

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The life that I have

Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Real Wedding: Kate and Daniel’s From Australia to Kansas, Do-It-Our-Way Celebration

Guys, I’ve been absolutely dying to get the whole damn story on Kate and Daniel’s insane, beautiful, literary, uncertain wedding … and it’s finally here! Her amazing red dress, the f*ck it all attitude about how things “should” be, the anxiety of the whole visa and immigration process … it’s been a helluva journey, but now Kate and Daniel are married. And it was the shit. Congratulations, you two. It’s been a pleasure sharing your journey.

Real Wedding: Kate and Daniel's From Australia to Kansas, Do-It-Our-Way Celebration

Name: Kate Colby & Daniel Gullotta

Occupation: Administrative Assistant / Student

Wedding location: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, Paola, KS

Wedding Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014

Budget: $10,000

How would you describe your wedding? Our wedding was untraditional, at least by our families’ standards, and rather intimate (under 50 people). We had a civil ceremony, which we wrote with the help of our friend, Kristin, who acted as our officiant.

Wedding party and officiant

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Our favorite part of our wedding was taking photographs. This sounds really shallow, but during the long distance, we were never able to be together and take photos – it’s not like we could snap a selfie after a movie date, after all. So being able to build a collection of photographs together was really special. Plus, because most of Daniel’s family and friends couldn’t attend the wedding, it was very important to us to have photographs to share with our overseas loved ones.


What did you splurge on? Our two big splurges were a “getaway car” and a hotel room. We could have stayed on site at Casa Somerset in one of their lovely rooms, but we decided that we wanted to have the night entirely to ourselves (given that friends and family were staying there as well). Of course, we didn’t need a car to take us to a hotel, either, but we didn’t think driving would be the smartest option, and I fell in love with a 1963 Cadillac limo.

What did you save on? Everything else! Honestly, we cut out pretty much every other extraneous expense or found cheap options for the aspects of our wedding we didn’t want to eliminate.

Buffet line


Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? The main thing we would have done differently is left the wedding earlier. That sounds bad, but we had a very small wedding and everyone outside of the wedding party, our parents, and four other guests left before the getaway car even arrived. I would have liked for more people to be there to see us off – and I know we both could have used the extra hour of sleep.

Also, we probably would have figured out how to spend less money. Even though we came in about $1,500 under budget, it still makes us queasy to think about how much we spent on one day (not to mention how much our parents contributed, again, for one day), and with the costs of long distance and immigration, it would be nice to have some of that back.


What was your biggest challenge in planning? Because of Daniel’s immigration, the timing and guest list were the most difficult aspects. Our wedding date was entirely dependent upon when Daniel’s K-1 Visa got approved by the U.S. Government, and we only had 90 days upon his immigration to get married. Therefore, we had to organize his move and the wedding very carefully in connection to each other. The guest list was also troublesome, because we did not have an honest picture of how many overseas loved ones would attend for a long time, and we chose to limit who we invited from my family to keep things small and more “fair.”

Ceremony in progress

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I learned that I am a people-pleaser. In the end, the wedding came out well, but there was a time during the planning where I was worrying a lot more about what other people thought than what I actually wanted. To be honest, I was Team Courthouse for 98% of the planning. However, in the end, I figured out how to convey my needs and wants to everyone involved, and I was able to get my dream wedding.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

1. Our Ceremony: We were very proud that we were able to write and design our own ceremony. It was short and sweet and entirely true to us.

2. Food: The food was delicious! It was all handmade and locally grown (except for the pasta, which was flown in from Italy!).


3. Dancing: Despite some hesitation from my parents, I stuck to my guns and insisted my dad and I dance to “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas. I am so happy we got to share our song together, and it’s a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. Also, we made our own dinner and dancing playlists and were our own DJs, which was great.

4. People: We are lucky to be surrounded by some pretty exceptional people. Our officiant flew in from Pennsylvania for us, even though she’d only met us once in person. Our photographer agreed to shoot our wedding, even though she didn’t plan on doing weddings this year so she could focus on her writing. Our sound/tech guy also flew in from Seattle (again after only meeting us once) and offered to step into that role with no hesitation. We’re really lucky.

5. My Red Dress: I think the thing I am most proud of about our wedding is my red dress. To me, it served as the ultimate symbol of our wedding, the “we are doing this our way, and it’s going to be awesome” symbol. Plus, the white dress is the most iconic “traditional” wedding symbol, and it is also about the least “me” thing I can imagine. I’m very proud of myself for taking the risk and wearing my favorite color. I can’t even fathom what our wedding would have been like without my red dress.


Top 5 least favorite?

1. The Cost: Even though our wedding was cheap by average standards, it was really painful to spend so much money on one day. After how expensive the long distance was and the immigration still is, it was very hard to throw down money on one event (and while our parents’ help significantly softened our personal blow, we feel a bit guilty that they spent so much of their own money on one day, too).

2. The Timing: As I said before, we didn’t have much choice in the timing of our wedding. Immigration and other international factors dictated our wedding date, and if I could have done it on a different weekend, I would have in a heartbeat.

Centerpiece and favors

3. The Fuss: Everyone kept making such a big deal out of the wedding. I know it was “my special day” and all, but it was really annoying to have people constantly asking me about color schemes and decorations and other minutia (especially considering most of my answers were “We’re not doing that.”). Plus, there were some people who were fussing and making drama out of nothing on the day-of, which really irritated me.

4. The Missing Loved Ones: While we knew going in that it couldn’t happen, we were very sad not to be able to share our day with Daniel’s family and friends, and we would have loved for more Australians to be there.

5. Unexpected Guest List Changes: Perhaps the most unexpected thing about our entire wedding was that we had two guests decide not to come at the last minute (in favor of a barbeque) and two guests show up uninvited. Luckily, as you can see, they cancelled each other out and the total guest number remained the same.

Crowd shot

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? We didn’t really receive any bad advice. However, two things we did not like hearing were: A) Something will go wrong; and B) But you have to do [insert wedding tradition here]. Again, I don’t understand what all the fuss was about, but our wedding went off smoothly, and even the unexpected aspects were easily fixed or not worth fretting over. The wedding world needs to take a chill pill.

The best? The best advice we received was simply, “Enjoy the day, because it goes really fast.” We found this to be overwhelmingly true. At the end of the night, we were sitting in the Cadillac and drinking our champagne, and we just looked at each other and were like, “Wow! It’s all over!”

Getaway Car

Any other bits of wisdom? As I said in my previous post: question everything and be true to yourselves. For every decision you make, be sure you are making the decision that makes you happy – not the one that you feel you should make. Likewise, don’t worry about what your wedding should be. Make it exactly what you want. It’s your day, your guests won’t remember every detail, but you probably will.

Make sure you create the memories that you want to have.


Budget breakdown?

Venue rental & rooms for out-of-town guests: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, $930

Food (Rehearsal dinner & 3 course buffet-style wedding dinner): Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast: $2,200

Beverages: $300

Batman Cake and 9 Dozen Cupcakes: The Elm Bakery, $267.57

Cadillac Limo: Pech Limo, $318.50

Wedding Night Hotel, Chateau Avalon, $279.46

Photography, Lucky Photographer, $1,000

Video camera and accessories: Target, $528.94

Wedding Band: MoissaniteCo, $525

Wedding Dress: Daisy Bridal House on Etsy, $294

Alterations: Mona’s Alterations, $385

Bridal Accessories: $63.25

Bouquets (Bridal and three bridesmaids): PumpkinsandButtercups on Etsy, $186.50

Hairstyling (Bridal Party, Mothers, & Officiant): $260

Groom’s Suit: K&G Fashion Superstore, $200

Groom’s Accessories: $164

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas, $172.71

Guestbook: Barnes and Noble, $21.80

Decorations: $160.50

Speaker System: Audio Rent KC, $150

Wedding favors, Faithful Crafter on Etsy: $106.35

Total Cost: $8,513.58

Get Inspired: Deck Your Wedding in Jade, Ivory and Taupe

 Happy Monday, BABs! I hope your Halloweekend was wonderful and amazing and so wildly full of fun and candy. For today’s Get Inspired styleboard, I thought I’d get a jump on the holiday season and the soon-to-be abundance of greens and reds and holly jolly that will surround us everywhere we go. Jade is a really striking color of green that will pop in photos, but is a little softer in shade than kelly green, making it a little easier for a variety of skin tones to pull off. Taupe as a neutral would look amazing here and there to tone down the high-energy jade, and ivory isn’t as stark as white so it blends well with the other two.

Jade Ivory Taupe

Made with PicMonkey

Top row: Decorative Moss Chandelier, $46.95-$55.95 at | Peaceful and Quiet Votive Candle Holder Set in Sunset, $39.99 at ModCloth | Paper Pennant Banner, $5 at | Ornate Vintage Framed Chalkboard, $55.95 at | Glass Leaf Tea Light Holders, $33.50-$37.22 for set of 8 at

Middle Row: That’s A Wrap Teal Green Long Sleeve Dress, $49 at Lulu’s | Leyna Gown, $600 $240 at BHLDN | Ethereal Deal Dress, $59.99 at ModCloth | Honora Gown, $1800 $600 at BHLDN | Lavish and Lovely Dress in Jade, $94.99 $65.99 at ModCloth

Bottom Row: Top of the World Taupe Sequin Maxi Dress, $44 at Lulu’s | Reliably Refined Necklace, $34.99 at ModCloth | Top: Jade Upgrade Heel, $69.99 at ModCloth | Bottom: Architectural Tour Heel in Cement, $69.99 at ModCloth | LULUS Exclusive Bead Me Up Beaded Taupe Dress, $40 at Lulu’s

What colors would you like to see together? What’s your scheme look like?

Real Bride Meg: Eliminating Guest List Drama, One Name at a Time

There are so many reasons why your wedding day will be the best day ever. It’s the first party you’ll be hosting as husband and wife — a celebration that best represents you as a couple, from the food to the music and the decor. I don’t know about all of you fellow brides, but I am most looking forward to having all of my favorite people in one place. It’s possibly the first and last time that will ever happen!

kate's wedding

Flash mob on the dance floor at a family wedding. Photo by Meg

It wasn’t that long ago that I gave advice on how to find “the one.” You may recall one of the steps to finding that perfect venue is coming up with an estimated guest list number. This will give you the best idea of what you can afford and who you can afford. If you come from a large family like me and Steve, or if you’re just trying to keep things really intimate on your wedding day, this can seem like a very daunting task. It’s nearly impossible to invite every single person you love to your wedding!

After our overseas engagement back in January, Steve and I started brainstorming during our seven-hour plane ride home by scribbling some names on pages of SkyMall. We quickly realized how difficult it would be to narrow down our guest list to a reasonable number. We came up with about 275 names for our first draft. Not. Gonna. Happen!


Tearing up the dance floor with some of our closest friends. Photo by Meg

We kept those wrinkled magazine pages on our coffee table for the next couple of months. Every now and again, we’d have those “Wait, did we forget to add so-and-so?!” moments, which was both good and bad. It meant we’d have another guest we’d love to have at our wedding, but it also meant the list was getting out of control.

Some say you can expect about 10% of your guests won’t be able to make it to your wedding, but expecting 10% to be no-go’s wasn’t enough when we had 275 on our list. We needed some rules and regulations. We needed to cut that 10% before we could even assume they wouldn’t come.

When it came down to ordering our Save the Dates, I sought the advice of BAB, friends, and bridal magazines to narrow down our list. We came up with this strategy:

1. How much can we budget for each guest?

2. Family comes first.

3. Have we seen them in the past year?

4. When it comes to plus-ones: if there’s no ring, there’s no invite.


Doing the YMCA at a family wedding. Photo by Meg

As with anything that has to do with planning a wedding, you need to think about your budget when creating your guest list. Of course, this varies from bride to bride depending on your wants and needs. After talking with some recently married friends in the area, we estimated that every guest would be about $100, from having a seat for them at the ceremony to having them on the (extended) dance floor late into the night.

Next, we had to think of who we absolutely needed to see on our wedding day. This rule was fairly simple to stand by as we use it in everyday life — immediate family comes first. Are we not going to invite a cousin we haven’t seen in a while because they live in California? No! Since Steve doesn’t have any first cousins on his dad’s side, we did have to alter this rule a bit by inviting some of his second cousins.

As easy as the family list was, narrowing down the friends list was a challenge. I consider the neighbors I grew up with as my second family. On the other hand, Steve is still really close to his large group of friends from high school. So, we came up with this — if we haven’t seen them in a year, they don’t make the cut. This seems to be a general rule I’ve come across in my wedding planning research. We also compared our friends lists to keep our numbers as close to each other as possible.

Our last, and definitely most difficult rule, was the plus-one rule. We’re in the “wedding years,” meaning a lot of our friends and cousins our age have significant others, and some of them are pretty serious. As much as we love them all, we can’t make room for them all — not at the venue and not within our budget. We decided to handle this as fairly as we could. If there’s no ring on the finger, they’re not currently on the guest list. We already know a few people will be upset by this, but we believe in our reasoning and we’re hoping our loved ones will be understanding of our budget. When all is said and done, more plus ones will be considered depending on how this 10% thing goes!


A glimpse of what our dance floor will look like at our wedding. Photo by Meg

When it came down to it, all of the time we spent considering who to invite and creating some rules for those who were on the fence was definitely worth it. We were able to narrow down our total guest list to a whopping 249, and we’re expecting about 230 to celebrate with us. Our rules and regulations made it so much easier that we often still think, “How did we do that?!”

Narrowing down your guest list is just one of the more difficult decisions you’ll have to make during the wedding planning process. I recommend you come up with your rules, and then share them with your parents and wedding party. You don’t want any miscommunication. Be firm and make sure they understand! Most of all, remember that it is your day.

So, now I have to ask, what are some ways you were able to narrow down that guest list?