Broke-Ass Category: Wedding Inspiration


Affiliate Disclaimer NewReal Bride Lucinda: DIY Wedding Success

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

We did it! On June 4, 2016, we tied the knot on a beautiful (and hot!) day outside of Boston, Mass. After over a year of planning, everything came together just like we wanted, including everything we DIY’d with all of our friends.

The biggest DIY of them all was my wedding dress, which was probably the hardest and most time-consuming sewing project I’ve made in my 20 years of sewing. I started planning what kind of dress I wanted to make in August 2015, bought all of my fabric in NYC in September, made my test dress to make sure my pattern fit in October, cut out all of my fabric for the final dress in December and steadily worked on constructing the dress from January to April. I could have made the dress a lot faster had I been laser-focused on getting it done, but with everything else that goes with wedding planning, I worked on it here and there when I had time between DIY projects. The good thing was that I wasn’t scrambling to finish it up to the last minute.

Real Bride Lucinda and her handmade wedding dress

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

The back of Lucinda's DIY wedding gown

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

My dress is from an Italian pattern company called Marfy — it has a sweetheart neckline, kimono cap sleeves and skirts that gather at the side waist. To make my dress, I used French lace, silk and silk georgette fabric. The belt is silk ribbon with small flowers I attached to it, made out of leftover silk fabric from my dress. I also added faux buttons up the back over the zipper to make it look like it was buttoned up. My accessories pictured above I bought from Etsy, but I made my veil out of English netting. Total cost for my dress and accessories: $600

I also found my makeup artist at Sephora when I got a free makeover last year, and my hairdresser who usually cuts and colors my hair did my updo. That was much more affordable than using someone who specializes in wedding hair and makeup, and I could afford to have all of the makeup done for my bridesmaids as part of their gift from me.

Clutches Lucinda made for herself and her bridesmaids

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

Lucinda poses with her bridesmaids

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

The weekend before the wedding, I got the idea to make coordinating clutches for all of the bridesmaids to carry their essentials with them to the wedding. I also made one for myself out of leftover lace from my bodice. Because you know, that’s what sane brides do a few days before their wedding, right?! #crazyoverhere

Crepe paper flower centerpieces and DIY table numbers

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

Our centerpieces were very simple with flowers we made out of floral crepe paper, bunches of baby’s breath and vases we found at The Dollar Store. The table number signs we bought at Michael’s craft store and the number holders we found through a restaurant supply company. Total cost of our centerpieces per table: $10

Simply decorated cake with DIY cake sign

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

Reserved signs for VIP family members

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

DIY labels on mini  Champagne favors

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

Our printables turned out even better than we thought they would!  We made signs for the cake table, place card table and bar with cute sayings and our wedding hashtag — easy peasy with some fancy fonts in Photoshop and printed out on our inkjet printer. We also thought it would be a nice touch to add “reserved” tags to the chairs of our parents and grandparents for the ceremony — really easy to customize using a free printable from Something Turquoise. The favors were a little tricky at first — my girls and I ended up scraping off the original labels on the mini champagne bottles (easier than soaking off the labels or using Goo-Gone) and stuck on the labels I made in Photoshop, tied the bottle with some ribbon and added a paper straw.  Total cost for 60 bottles: $150

Lucinda's friends pose in front of the DIY photo booth backdrop

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

Newlyweds pose in front of DIY photo booth backdrop

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

The photo booth backdrop was my favorite decoration for our wedding, and probably was the easiest DIY project. I found this fringey fabric at Joann Fabrics, added a backing fabric so it was less transparent, and sewed a casing at the top for the pole of the frame to go through. The frame is PVC piping that we sawed and assembled together with PVC connectors and caps, an easy tutorial we found on Pinterest. The balloons came from Oh Shiny! Paper Co. on Etsy and made the photos more festive. And it just so happened that one of our friends had a selfie prop kit that we used for silly photos. Total backdrop cost: $80

Lucinda and Chris pose for portraits

Credit: Maria Burton Photography

All in all, we wouldn’t have done our wedding any other way!!

  • 7/7

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewContinuing to work with couples long after my I Dos have been said, it’s easy to get this feeling of, “Ah, damn! I wish I had done something like that!” From impossibly cute to just downright creative, I’m constantly amazed by how inventive and fun the couples I get to work with through Little Wedding Extras can be. Now that we’ve put away three weddings in the past month, I’ve got to share some of the great things that we made happen … but only because there was an amazing couple with the ideas to get it started.

    Your Exit Isn’t Limited to Bubbles or Streamers!

    Shakin it

    Real talk: most venues won’t let you toss anything anymore, and as pretty as sparklers are, most cities have dropped a big ol’ no on them. One musical couple picked up a bunch of mini tambourines so the guests could shake and cheer while they made their big exit. To top it off, they had a trumpet and trombone player follow them out! I was also a huge fan of the wording they chose for the sign letting people know to grab one — “Thanks for shakin’ it with us!”

    Centerpieces Don’t Have to be Flowers.

    dinosaur centerpieces

    These little Jurassic warriors made awesome decorations for the outdoor reception in late June. Since they were easily portable, guests took them home and got to enjoy them after the wedding.

    They Don’t Need to be in Traditional Vases if They Are.

    Katie and Jordan mini terrariums

    Each guest table at Katie and Jordan’s wedding featured a different style centerpiece made from succulents, herbs or greenery. These mini wine glass terrariums were a hit with guests when it was time to take a piece of the decor home!

    You Don’t Need a Theme and it’s Fine to Mix it Up!

    Ryan Rosie welcome table

    Ryan and Rosie had an “Up” themed poster for guests to sign and used the sweet handprint mailbox to collect cards, but the rest of their decor was simple, fun and totally separate from the theme. Adding an element you love here and there without using it to style your entire wedding is always OK! Have fun and let your creativity be your guide!

    Religious or Cultural Elements Can Always be Beautiful.

    Katy David Chuppah

    For Katy and David, a chuppah was an absolute must for their traditional Jewish ceremony. Religiously, it simply needs to be four poles and a canopy (although many couples use specific religious elements to create the symbol of their future home), so we went all out in designing a gorgeous birch and organza canopy with floral accents that complemented her bouquet and other arrangements.

    Weddings are all about you as a couple. If it isn’t perfectly uniform and matchy-matchy, it’s still a wedding! Let the things you love in your life and your relationship play a part in the day, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine, because there is no right and wrong when it comes to celebrating the day they way you want!

  • 6/28


    A few months ago, we had received some invitation samples from Minted and fell in love with their Delicate Dots design. I loved the extra elegance foil adds, and since we have a relatively short guest list, we decided to splurge on the invitations a little. We were finally able to get our order in this past weekend, and I can’t wait to receive them!…

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    Hi there all my broke brides-to-be! After my engagement photos came back, I got a lot of questions about who did my hair in the 1920s finger waves style. Photo: Jessica Bailey Answer: I DID!! It was really simple, and really cheap, so I thought I would share with you the cost and the process! This is a great look for any occasion. You could rock…

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  • 5/13

    Etsy PaperPunched Personalized Vows Wedding Book

    Personalized Vow Books available from Etsy seller PaperPunched Picture this: You're well-versed in rom-coms and you’re full of ideas for personalized vows that you're sure will melt your partner’s heart (and probably your mom’s, too). Weeks and months pass, and now you’re a week out from your W day with a recycling bin full of rejected vow drafts. What’s a Broke-Ass to do??? Let's back it up…

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    Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 10.19.40 PM

    On top of making my wedding dress and flowers for my centerpieces, I came to the conclusion not that long ago to yes, DIY most of our printable materials for the wedding as well. This isn't because I'm a crazy-insane person that decided to take on even more to DIY during our wedding planning chaos, but resulted from not finding the exact kind of designs…

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    Photo available from Etsy seller KevinKlimaPhoto Hotels have been my largest vendor disappointment to date. Last year, I was really excited to learn that a brand new, boutique-style hotel was being built directly across the street from our ceremony location and venue. Couldn’t get much easier than that, right? I knew it would be a bit pricey, but was prepared to shell out some cash…

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  • 4/29

    Beau-Coup Rock Candy on a Stick

    I've had the idea of carnival weddings on my mind ever since Rachel revealed that would be the theme for her Ohio nuptials. I've seen a few weddings with the theme before and have always loved the fun, colorful, eclectic vibes and gorgeous blend of whimsy and romance. It's kind of impossible not to feel like a kid at heart when attending an event with…

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