Broke-Ass Category: Wedding Inspiration


I make things. It’s sort of my deal. Whether it’s cooking, painting or Christmas cards, creating things with my hands is something that means a lot to me. I’ve been struggling to come up with ways to make things for our wedding and still keep an elegant, vintage look. To me, calligraphy is a luxury that’s definitely out of our broke-ass budget, but it packs a lot of punch in the elegance factor. I love the small details that simply take everything up a notch. Plus, I’m always a fan of things I can do while sitting at my coffee table, watching a Lifetime movie and drinking a glass of wine.

I do realize that I can print envelopes and place cards in a nice script font and call it a day, but the idea of my wedding being without details that I made myself, feels entirely inauthentic to me. That’s not who I am and my friends and family know that.

So, that being said, the first thing I’ve dubbed as my own is the calligraphy. I don’t remember why, but I used to do it as a kid, along with a number of other nerdy, solitary things — like spending hours playing solitaire while creating dozens of cassette tapes of music recorded directly from the radio. (Weren’t you bummed when you caught the DJ speaking, or missed the very beginning of the song?) I’m sure I’m seriously dating myself now. There were these things called “cassette tapes … ”

Anyway, I’ve recently received my supplies — turns out calligraphy isn’t that hot of a thing these days, and what I wanted wasn’t available in the store so I ordered online from Blick. I have the feeling this might be something I’d really enjoy, and really be good at, so we’ll see how it turns out. Maybe I have a little freelance career in calligraphy in my future.

Are there any BABs out there who’ve mastered the art of calligraphy? Any tips or tricks to share?

  • 9/22

    Affiliate Disclaimer New

    Ah, wedding style. I feel like choosing a wedding style is similar to choosing a major in college. From starting college as a graphic design major, then a social services major (I was gonna save the world!), then finally graduated in interior design. Today I work in web development, so — just goes to show you that where you start out, is rarely where you finish.

    I’ve mentioned previously that prior to getting engaged, I never dreamt much about what our wedding was going to be like. Primarily because it was just that: our wedding, not just mine. I always knew it wouldn’t be a spectacle of girly-ness, or full of tradition and formality. Once we had gotten engaged, I was certain that the venue would point me in a direction, and after we had decided, it was obvious.

    milwaukee historic third ward by ron cogswell

    Credit: Ron Cogswell via Creative Commons

    We’re getting married in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. If the cream city brick and amazing late 1800s architecture doesn’t scream vintage, I don’t know what would. Our venue is Onesto. It was built in the late 1800s and while the first floor was originally storefronts, and later a bar, the family that owned the building lived in the second floor, where we are getting married. We were immediately sold on the high, loft-style ceilings, exposed ducts and three working fireplaces. We actually ended up pushing our date back to make sure it was chilly enough to use the fireplaces. The venue is a great mix of vintage inspired elements, industrial loft accents, steeped in historic Milwaukee charm.

    The idea is to lean vintage with my dress and the décor, pull in industrial elements like antiqued metals, while still incorporating our Milwaukee pride. I think our love for our city is something we have in common, not to mention, it is where we met, fell in love and got engaged. We actually got engaged about two blocks from our venue! To pull off our city’s vibe, I’m thinking vintage Pabst or Old Milwaukee coasters at the bar, city skyline pillows on the furniture and historical Milwaukee maps used throughout as our stationary inspiration. Etsy has been an amazing source for these fun, retro items since I don’t have the time to be hanging around rummage sales.


    We stopped by an antique store not too long ago, and I picked up this gem. It’s your typical fairy lamp, but I can see it flickering with the fireplaces, creating a warm glow. It sits on our bookcase today, but it was the first thing I bought for the wedding and I’m hoping that it sets the tone for some of the other decor. Ya gotta start somewhere, amiright?

    Michaels Ampersand Marquee Light

    I had also gone to Michael’s to poke around and I bought this ampersand marquee on impulse. It was 40% off!

    What was the first item you bought? Has your themed changed, or stayed the same?

  • 9/11

    Ask Liz Wedding Time vs. Catring

    Dear Liz,  The second deposit for my venue is due next week, and when I looked at the contract and thought about what we want to happen that day, I'm starting to freak out. Our wedding is next month, we're getting married at 5pm, and the music has to be off by 10pm, so we can be totally out by 11pm. With the ceremony, cocktail…

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    vintage blue suitcase wedding decor

      Suitcase available from Etsy seller VintageAtmosphere Have you wondered what you’re going to do after the wedding with the loads of fake flowers, chalkboards and whatever other delightful piece of wedding décor you couldn’t bare to part with? You may even have magical ideas of turning it into a wreath for your front door or re-purposing it for the holidays. Of course, some make…

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    LabelWorks Script Font

    I’ve always been a sucker for details. Little extras. Special additions. Something nice turns into something great with a little extra oomph and as I prepared to send out my formal wedding invitations, I needed that little something extra, so I armed myself with another calligraphy pen, some awesome vintage stamps I purchased on eBay and the sweetest little way to add an extra personal…

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  • 8/25


    We love Minted -- we've always loved Minted -- because they have stunningly amazing stationery. But when we got word through a little birdie (in the form of an email from Minted) that they were launching Print-It-Yourself wedding stationery, we kind of died a little (in a good way). Because, you guys, this super affordable option to get the gorgeous designs Minted offers up without spending…

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    2015-08-15 23.16.16

    Remember this post? When I wrote it, I was right about at the 6 month mark. By the time you read this, I'll be right before the 6 WEEK mark. Holy crap, does time ever fly! And I am pleased to report that the checklist has been significantly reduced.  Of course, a couple of those projects are still enormous, and I definitely still have *plenty*…

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    wedding 1

    It's official: I have graduated from a Broke-Ass Bride to a Broke-Ass Wife! On Saturday, August 8th Kris and I got married and pulled off our DIY wedding without a hitch! Seriously, it went really well. Our homemade cupcake tower came out better than expected, Kris' homebrewed beer and wine were delish and our decor was on point. To tell you the truth I had my…

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  • 8/12

    Real Bride Emma: On the Precipice of Crafting

    Fellow BAB's, I have some awful news. Pretty soon, I have to start crafting. Yikes. No BAB wedding would be complete without a certain amount of DIY-mania, and ours is no different. There are three main things we are DIY-ing: 1) My bouquet and the button holes for the menfolk. 2) All the table decorations. 3) The flowers. That's right, we're growing and then arranging…

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