Posts in the 'Wedding Inspiration' Category

Cool Wedding-y Shizz Around the Web

StyleUnveiled has left me totally drooling with their roundup of the top wedding cake trends of 2015.

If there’s someone who loves Adrianna Papell more than we do, it’s Kiss My Tulle. She styled up three different looks for the designer’s gorgeous blouson gown (bonus: It comes in plus sizes!).

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Credit: Kiss My Tulle

Head on over to Something Turquoise today to enter to win a reversible “Here She Comes” / “The New Mr. & Mrs.” sign from Etsy artist Pink Slip Inspiration.

Speaking of giveaways: Brenda’s Wedding Blog is giving away an Origami Owl bridal bouquet keepsake locket.

Getting married in Virgina? Here’s a great how-to from Tidewater & Tulle (and OMG. That blue!!!).

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Photo: T.Y. Photography

OR, if you’re in South Carolina, Classic Bride has five v. good reasons to get hitched in Charleston.

I’ve been kind of obsessed with hanging florals lately — a small way to make a huge impact. Brooklyn Bride gathered up her Top 10 hanging floral designs.

There’s a real wedding up on Budget Savvy Bride that makes a super industrial warehouse look ridiculously chic, and you should head over there immediately to swoon.

I couldn’t be more ready for spring and the color pop wedding ideas shoot on Ruffled just make the yearning worse. Gimme all the colors!

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Credit:  Ben Q. Photography

Bridal Musings gathered up some sage words of advice for married couples (and we’re included!).

Real Bride Elissa: The Bridesmaid Conundrums

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Photo: Clane Gessel Photography

One of the first questions I kept getting asked after “When’s the big day?” and “Where’s the big day?” was “And how many bridesmaids are you going to have?” I increasingly felt like the number of close female friends I could force to buy a dress was somehow crucial to my marriage’s success; I have only a few close ladyfriends, and I didn’t want anyone to feel left out if they weren’t a bridesmaid. I briefly considered just asking all of them, but a double-digit wedding party just didn’t fit my smallish garden wedding, not to mention the additional budget for bouquets, gifts, etc. And knowing my own tight budget, I definitely didn’t want to stretch anyone else thin on my behalf. I decided pretty definitively that I wasn’t going to have bridesmaids, and therefore avoid myriad potentially awkward situations. (We’ve all seen the movie.)

As things got rolling with wedding planning, though, I realized that a few of my friends were already performing wedding party duties, unasked: researching vendors, sending me recommendations, offering to go shop for supplies, even starting to plan my bachelorette! I had been part of two of their weddings already, as bridesmaid and coordinator, and had been talking mutual bridesmaid duties for years with the third, so I knew that official or not, they were already going to be there for me – why not recognize them?

When I actually asked them to be bridesmaids, I was weirdly nervous. I knew they wouldn’t say no, but kept thinking about how nerve-wracking it must have been for my fiancé to propose, if I was feeling the jitters even for this! Seeing their excitement made all of that disappear though, and I knew I’d made the right choice to honor our friendships in this way. They all even said some version of “I wondered when you were going to get around to it!” followed by “I’ve actually already started dress shopping!” Friends: They know you better than you know yourself …

That left me finding ways to incorporate my other awesome ladyfriends into the day. I had heard the term Bridal Brigade somewhere along the way and decided to just run with that concept; while my most involved friends are designated bridesmaids, another dear friend will do a reading, one will help coordinate, others can help me craft, bake and decorate, but in the end, they’ll all be part of my Bridal Brigade. I’m also going to invite them to come finish getting ready with me at the venue, so they’ll be a part of my pre-ceremony photos, and of course we’re all planning the biggest bachelorette brunch buffet there ever was (no matter what other plans we make, THERE WILL BE BRUNCH).

As good as I feel about this plan though, I’m still feeling pretty guilty about making my bridesmaids buy dresses. Granted, they’ve all expressed their excitement at an excuse to buy a pretty new dress, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about offering flexibility in style and budget, but still having the overall look be cohesive. On top of that, between crazy work schedules and with one on the East Coast, we won’t be able to go shopping together.  Since my girls are three totally different heights and styles, we’re definitely doing the “similar color, different dress” route. Beyond that though, I’m kind of at a loss at where to start.

I’d prefer not to go the bridal shop route, since I’d like for them to get dresses that can ostensibly be worn again. Some of the dresses I’m liking at places like Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and even ModCloth are still upwards of $200, and I’d like to keep costs as reasonable as possible. My wedding has a vintage aesthetic, too, which rules out a lot of the trendier (re: cheaper) dress options. Before sending everyone out into their respective cities to scour the sale racks for some sort of blue-ish, knee-length concoction that we hope looks good together, we’re considering ordering from a site like eShakti or Azazie. Both of these sites lets you order a dress customized to your measurements, for basically the price of an off-the-rack dress at a department store. And this way, we know they’re all literally cut from the same cloth, so they’ll be the same color, and the girls can all choose the style that is most flattering to their body type. Sounds awesome, right? But, since none of us have ever tried something like this before, we’re all a little anxious about putting our bridesmaid budgets into the great unknown. eShakti has awesome reviews and the most flexibility in style, but Azazie is a newer site, geared more toward the bridal party, with styles and colors that we especially love.

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The Ingrid from Azazie, $109

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The Allison from eShakti, $59

I’d love to know if anyone has tried one of these sites before! If so, how was your experience? Are there any similar sites we should check into?

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

While the last wintery centerpiece had longer banquet or family-style tables, this cozy style is better suited for the roundtops typically found at a wedding reception. Simple, natural and super budget friendly, this one is just a slight spinoff of the last design.

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

Step 1:

Start with the piece of fabric that says “winter!” I stayed with the winter feel by using red plaid. But feel free to use whatever speaks to you (even if it’s some of Uncle Bubbas old flannel shirts … think outside the box!). Thanks Uncle Bubba $$ saved. I went straight for my favorite craft store. I paid $5.99 a yard with a 40% off coupon. Place the blanket it on top of your existing tablecloth or plain table in a loose bunch. Play around a bit, until the piece is centered and looks flowy (not flat).

Step 2:

Find 3 cylindrical vases in various sizes for each table. Some local florists or event coordinators may be willing to rent out their vases for a relatively inexpensive price. If you are a hunter and a gatherer, check good ol’ thrift shops, Goodwills and yard sales.

Step 3:

Making your own SNOW! I made two types of snow from paper towels and baking soda. I can’t take credit for this genius idea – I found it here.

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

 Baking soda snow
DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece
Paper towel snow

I found my Magic Bullet was perfect for shredding paper towels. The instructions I read mention using damp paper towels, but I found it worked best with a mix of damp and dry pieces of paper towel. Don’t forget to rip the paper towel up into pieces before shredding it in the blender more. Both my baking soda and paper towels were bought at the dollar store to stay within budget.

Step 4:

Hello nature –here we come again! This is an easy step. After filling your vases with the desired level of snow, simply place 2-3 pinecones in one vase. Then, place some branches from a pine tree in the second vase. (I used a circular placement). Thanks pine tree, you have been a big help! Last, I used a branch from the crape myrtle bunch and cut it with a saw into cute little mini logs. Take some twine and tie the log bunch together, before placing it in the vase. I added a little piece of that holly branch from the last design to this one for the pop of red!

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

Step 5:

Don’t forget to sprinkle some of your extra snow all over for that real snow feel! And as always candles, candles, candles. This is where a craft store is a big help.Without a coupon, a box of 24 votives at Michael’s is $7.99.

DIY or DIE: A Snowy, Woodsy and Budget Centerpiece

And voila! Your centerpiece is done, and for fairly cheap!

Photos: Danielle Angell Photgraphy

What do you think of these winter-inspired centerpiece ideas, BABs?

 

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the wedding industry – it’s deceptive. And tricky. Wedding magazines and blogs show you amazing photos of the cutest weddings, and the whole thing was done on $3 and full of amazing DIY projects. You get sucked in, you find some how-to’s, you pin some things on Pinterest, and you think “I can do this! No problem!”

Yeah … that shit does NOT always work out like you think it will. I thought I could do these “simple’ projects:

  1. Paper flowers
  2. Chalkboard signs
  3. Table numbers
  4. Escort cards
  5. Our broom for the Jumping The Broom ceremony

I may have gone a little nuts in Michael’s buying stuff for these projects.

So what happened when I tried these projects? Let me tell ya …

My first DIY trial was this relatively simple tutorial for tissue paper flowers. I figured they would be cute in the centerpieces and our high-tops at the cocktail hour. Starting out, they were pretty easy, until I discovered that  unfolding layers of tissue paper without it ripping is hard, like calculus hard. I ended up spending up a couple hours making only a few flowers *sigh*.

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

The fruits of my paper flower labor. Could this pass for a real flower for you?

After the paper flower drama I was a little scared to try something else, but I bit the bullet and took advantage of a 40% off everything coupon at Michael’s to get supplies to put together our wedding broom.

Short history – “Jumping the Broom” is African American wedding tradition that began in slavery. Slaves could not legally wed, so they used jumping the broom as their way of signifying marriage, as the new couple “jumps” into their new life together. Today many African Americans jump the broom as a way to recognize their heritage and ancestors. This is a tradition my fiancé and I are both excited to carry on and I was excited to put together our broom.

At Michael’s I got some pretty ribbon, some purple and green flowers … and then I couldn’t find a broom anywhere in the store. Turns out, they don’t carry them anymore except during Halloween. Bummer. And whack. Think about all the money they are missing out on! Anyway, I decided to improvise with some grass looking material that I figured I could secure into a broom shape. It seemed like a good plan … until I tried to actually secure the grass. Turns out, this stuff sheds like CRAZY and it looked really bootleg.

In the words of Sweet Brown: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

And that’s when I decided to support some small business owners on Etsy. I found a lovely shop who sold some beautiful wedding brooms, Romancing Juliet. I placed an order, and in only a week my broom showed up at my door. Color me surprised, I was expecting it to take much longer!

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

Our wedding day broom in our wedding colors of mint, lavender & gold

Etsy has completely saved my entire life. I don’t have to worry about getting things done, cause I can PAY people to do them  instead. Who knew? My broom is now taken care of, along with our table numbers and escort cards.

I did finish one DIY projec: the chalkboard signs. That was super easy and actually pretty fun to do. I painted two coats of chalkboard paint onto wooden pieces and then wrote my messages using a chalk pen. I may redo the Escort Cards sign – all I need to do is paint over it!

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

Chalkboard signs! Easy to make … or remake if needed

In the end, I ended up trying my hand at a few things, but I also learned that my best skill is finding great vendors who can bring my ideas to life.

Have you had any DIY projects that turned into duds? What about any ideas that were just easier to pay for than attempt to tackle on your own? Tell us in the comments below!

Real Bride Shannon: My Venue Saved My Engagement!

*Confession* At just under eight months to go until we say our vows, we’ve already been engaged for just over eight months. It took us a while to get the ball rolling.

We knew from the beginning that neither of our parents were in financial positions to pay for large percentages of our big day and that anything we spent would have to be saved. It got intimidating, so for a while, there was a lot more talking than doing.

We threw lots of ideas around and did a fair amount of research, but with every price quote came the discouraging feeling that this was all out of our reach. Woody and I had similar visions, which can be a blessing and a curse. While we were on the same page about the look and feel we wanted to create for our wedding day, neither of us were there to serve as the often-needed voice of reason. 

The majority of our family lives near Fort Worth, so we wanted to stay as local as possible. We both strongly leaned toward a one-stop-shop type venue where our guests weren’t having to travel from ceremony to reception. I learned from my sister’s wedding that the less stuff you have to rent (dishes, tables, linens, etc.), the easier your life was going to be, so we were taking that into consideration with our venues. Dallas/Fort Worth has plenty of all-inclusive venues, but good grief, do they get expensive.

Our whole wedding planning experience was taking on a rather desperate air, and was beginning to get peppered with a lot of arguments we had previously promised never to have. I was growing weary of telling people, “No, we still haven’t set a date yet,” and the looks of judgment, pity and concern were getting under my skin. It was getting tense and taking a lot of the fun out of being engaged.

Then one beautiful day, I got a message from my betrothed with a link. I followed it, and it was like a light shown from Heaven right onto my screen. There it was: this gothic-inspired chapel and reception hall, just south of downtown Fort Worth and it was affordable! Real Bride Shannon: My Venue Saved My Engagement!

After clicking around the website, I found out that the Belltower Chapel and Gardens was owned by a charity. A CHARITY, Y’ALL! It was donated to ACH Child and Family Services – a non-profit that serves abused and neglected women and children in a nine-county area around North Texas. They opened the chapel as a wedding and events venue, and the money raised through rentals goes to things like counseling, crisis management, and housing. How special is that?!

Real Bride Shannon: My Venue Saved My Engagement! Photo by Melissa Shook at shookphoto.com

Permission to use graciously granted by Melissa Shook at shookphoto.com

The morning of my 30th birthday, Woody and I met my mom and sister for a tour. It was even better in person. Bridget, the chapel manager, ran us through, pointing out details like the gorgeous stained glass and convenient amenities. The venue is BYOB (a HUGE money saver) and accepts outside catering, which was crucial for us because Woody’s father happens to be an award-winning chef who had already offered to cater for us (which is just one of those really, incredibly fortunate budget boosters). There was no poker face, no “We’re going to weigh our options.” We checked the available dates in September, which we had tentatively pegged as the perfect time for a Texas wedding and booked the last Friday.

Most budget-savvy brides know off-peak is cheaper, on average, to book. We saved $1,000 by opting for Friday night versus a Saturday. For $2,800, we got exclusive use of the chapel, indoor and outdoor reception area for the day, six hours of event time, a day-of coordinator with up to two hours of planning prior to our date, table and chair rentals, staff set-up and break down — essentially everything that we wanted for a price we could afford. Super-cute bonus: It’s called Belltower Chapel because they have a working bell tower. After your ceremony, we get to go outside and ring our own wedding bell!

Another perk of the venue is that they don’t have a pay schedule. A 50% deposit is required to book and you have to be paid in full eight weeks before your wedding, but in the mean time, you can pay any amount when you want to.

So much of your budget can get blown on decorations: flowers, banners, ceremony backdrops – it adds up. Even though the wedding will be in the evening, the venue lights the stained glass windows from the outside, casting a rainbow of color into the hall. Hello, built in mood lighting!. We’ll decorate with some flowers and centerpieces, but this place is stand-alone gorgeous!

Real Bride Shannon: My Venue Saved My Engagement!

Even empty, the reception hall was gorgeous!

Maybe it’s a little dramatic to say the venue saved my engagement, but the peace of mind from having a date and location are making everything a lot more fun!

What about you, BABs? Did you have any big things that were starting to get a little too urgent for comfort? How did you find the solution? Tell us in the comments below!

Cool Wedding-y Shizz Around the Web

How about a schmancy Valentine’s date in? Every Last Detail has some great inspiration on having a romantic dinner in your back yard with your love.

For bridesmaid dresses on a budget and in every color of the rainbow, head over to Kiss My Tulle.

Kiss My Tulle - Rainbow of Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses

Potted succulents are a wonderful wedding favor — especially for those friends of yours stricken with brown thumb syndrome. Brenda’s Wedding Blog has a great succulent favor DIY.

Going nautical with your nuptials? Make mini vintage sailboats for your centerpieces or as favors, courtesy of Tidewater and Tulle.

Key necklaces have been popular for years, but they get a great modern twist with glitter, thanks to a glitter skeleton key necklace DIY on Classic Bride Blog.

Wedding flowers are spendy, but Budget Savvy Bride has some great tips on how to save on your wedding florals.

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Photo: Christopher Bell

According to our venerable planning guru Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events, there are two questions you should ALWAYS ask when you start wedding planning.

Real Bride Jubilance: Coming To Terms With My Wedding Expectations

Real Bride Jubilance: Coming To Terms with My Wedding Expectations

Credit: One Love Photography

Confession – I love wedding magazines. A lot. I used to be that woman in the bookstore thumbing through wedding magazines even though she was single. I also love wedding blogs – I started reading The Broke-Ass Bride even before we got engaged! I have a whole section in my Geedly for all things bridal.

My favorite part of wedding magazines and blogs are the real weddings. I love seeing how other people put together their big day – the design, the colors, the outfits. I’d happily read a magazine or blog that was completely devoted to nothing but real weddings (BTW can someone make this happen? Thanks). I’ve gotten inspiration and ideas from the magazines and blogs I’ve read, along with following wedding-related accounts on social media.

As I get closer to our Pi Day Nerd Wedding, I’m becoming more anxious about our wedding plans. Did we choose the right things to put our money into? Should we have sprung for fancier decorations? Will anyone think it’s cute? Did I do enough DIY projects? Will it be wedding magazine/blog/social media worthy???

Part of my anxiety is wrapped in reconciling the vision and expectations I held with reality. Going into wedding planning, I had countless expectations for our wedding day. Through the course of planning, we’ve made decisions that are different than the expectation I had in my head. I don’t regret any of our choices, but I didn’t realize how many assumptions I had about wedding planning and the day itself.

I found myself with a case of full-blown wedding anxiety this weekend, after I stumbled upon photos of a gorgeous wedding on Instagram. This wedding looked like it cost $100K easily, and each element made me compare our wedding to theirs. I felt sad and envious – these people had a gorgeous wedding that was shared all over the Internet. How would mine compare? Would anyone like it? Did we go too cheap?

My wonderful amazing thoughtful fiancé talked me through it and gave me some perspective. We planned the wedding that WE want, from the colors to the nerdy touches. We prioritized the things that were important to us, and skipped things that weren’t. One of those things we prioritized was financing our wedding ourselves, with no debt. Sure we could have a huge $100K blowout and then spend the next 10 years paying for it. We chose to go a different route – it’s not bad or worse, it’s just different. And that’s ok, because that’s what we want.

We’re about 30 days away from our wedding (OMG!) and I’m going to step away from wedding-related social media. At this point, 90% of the wedding is planned and paid for anyway. I don’t need to see anything else, because I don’t need any more inspiration. I just need to focus on our wedding day, and marrying an amazing guy.

And then after the wedding I can go back to wedding blogs and magazines, but instead I’ll be comparing those weddings to my super cute nerdy Pi Day wedding.

Real Bride Elissa: Kicking Butt and Taking (Vendor) Names

Carrie + Zach 58

 

Credit: Bright Fizz Photo

I downloaded one of those wedding countdown apps a few weeks ago out of curiosity. Just how many seconds were left until we said “I do?” My biggest shock though came in realizing that, duh, January to June is FIVE months, not six. We had missed the six month mark, when I told myself that I’d have to actually start making hard decisions instead of continuing to do research on my lunch hour. So January got a little crazy for me, and now, it’s February (a.k.a., four months, two weeks, six hours and 10 minutes).

Basically, if this whole post ends up being tl;dr: shop small, shop local, go with your gut, ask everyone you know, and don’t be afraid to ask for a payment plan. After seeing the countdown clock tick faster and faster (or so it felt), I allowed myself a few days of panic, but then gave myself a deadline of the end of January to have some big decisions made and contracts signed. Let me tell you how amazing it feels to have so much crossed off my list:

  • Catering: In my last post I questioned whether I should take a leap of faith and try a caterer whose food I’ve never tried. In the end, though, I realized that I needed to go back to my original vision: Tacos. You guys, I love Mexican food so much. So does my fiancé. So does all of my family. And we live in Los Angeles, which has some of the best Mexican food in the country, outside of Mexico. Why was I bothering with anything else? On a whim, I checked the website of my absolute favorite taco stand in the city, MexiCali Taco & Co. I swear six months ago they didn’t have a catering link on their website, but now they did. I reached out, got an immediate answer from their awesome proprietor and sent in my deposit last week.
  • Cake: L.A. brides, one word: Porto’s. Actually, six words: Cuban cake with mango cream filling.
  • Music: After having a whole DJ vs. iPod playlist existential crisis, I went ahead and asked on Facebook if anyone knew any good DJs. I got tons of great recommendations, and even got some great tips from one company about what to look for in a DJ, after I told them they were outside of my budget. But, as I had secretly hoped would happen in a city like L.A., an old friend whose boyfriend is a professional DJ messaged me. We’re meeting up in a few weeks, so more on that later.
  • Rentals: If I had any advice to give newly engaged brides, it’s that all-inclusive venues are a generally a great idea. Since that wasn’t an option for mine, I called a place nearby my apartment with reasonable rates. After calculating which items were cheaper to rent than to buy, we settled on tablecloths, napkins, dishes, and wine glasses. I could possibly have shopped around more, but I got such a good vibe from them that I knew I should just trust my gut (and Yelp).
  • Dress Alterations: Facebook came through once more with tons of awesome recs. But once more, I felt such an instant connection with a seamstress my BFF recommended that I decided just to go with her and not look around anymore. I dropped my dress off last Saturday to have straps added and all the usual fit issues corrected; not only did she already have all the materials I needed in her shop, but she also quoted me significantly less than I was expecting.
  • Save the Dates and Invitations: After a kind of crappy experience with Vistaprint on my Save the Dates (more on that later), there was no way I was going to use them for my actual invites. I LOVE graphic design, and though I’m by no means a pro, I designed both my save the dates and my invites myself. I found a graphics/print shop near by my house with great reviews, and got a sample printed on some Paper Source bulk paper the shop recommended. It looks amazing, and I’m going to save about $100 by buying all the supplies myself, versus using a professional invitation company.
  • Wedding band: My fiancé bought my engagement ring from a jeweler’s stall in an antique mall. Luckily he restores and recreates jewelry too, so we were able to melt down an old white gold ring and have it remade into a band that perfectly complements my current ring. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Plus, he was able to break out a payment plan and provide a slight discount because we’re paying with cash. This is another huge tip, especially if you’re using smaller, more local vendors.
  • Decorations: We were able to find an awesome stained glass piece at another antique mall, already on sale but again with the payment plan/cash discount. We brought it home a few weeks ago and are currently on the hunt for more antique pieces for our altarpiece – between Craigslist and haunting my local thrift stores and salvage shops for the next few months, I’m feeling pretty confident we’re going to have a pretty bad-ass creation to share with you after the wedding.

I think I may take a break from wedding planning for the next week, since I’m starting to feel like a broken record with my family and friends. But the next big task is something hopefully a little more fun: finding bridesmaid dresses!

Cool Wedding-y Shizz Around the Web

Brenda’s Wedding Blog pinpoints the hottest trends that will be in 2015 — including oh, so delicious looking mini-burgers and beer shooters.

Colin Cowie Weddings Mini Burgers

Photo: Colin Cowie Weddings via Brenda’s Wedding Blog

Emmaline Bride put together a hefty list of 50 cheap date night ideas.

Budget Fairy Tale rounded up some gorgeous Disney-inspired cakes that almost look too good to eat.

The cinnamon bath salts DIY on Classic Bride would make a fantastic gift for your gals … or yourself.

If you’re thinking of going vintage-y with your wedding ‘do, Kiss My Tulle has a great giveaway going on.

Kiss My Tulle Vintage Hairstyle Giveaway

A Valentine’s themed bridal shower is a super cute idea, and Coastal Bride put together a DIY gift box for your gals that is pretty easy to put together.

Wedding planning can get you down, but Tidewater & Tulle has 10 ways to stay happy during the process + a free printable.

Budget Savvy Bride strikes again with another gem of a budget wedding tip: Make a signature cocktail!

Budget Savvy Bride Wedding Budget Tip No. 20

Buzzfeed has a listicle of the absolute sweetest elopements that made me crumble into a puddle of happy tears.

On the note of wedding trends, Offbeat Bride has a a list of head-scratching wedding trends.