Posts in the 'Wedding Inspiration' Category

Five for Friday: Gorgeous Invitations from Marchesa + Wedding Paper Divas

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Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! I recently got a hot tip that beautiful, illustrious fashion house Marchesa launched a collaboration with our ever-adored partners Wedding Paper Divas to make some seriously stunning invitations. Here are my five favorite offerings from this killer partnership:



Sumptuous Swirls, $184 for 100.



Night Blooms, $184 for 100.



Breathtaking Blossoms, $184 for 100.

lithe_lace-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-black Lithe Lace, $184 for 100.

beaded_flair-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-cashmere_pink-pink Beaded Flair, $184 for 100.

Aren’t these invitations swoonworthy? Which is your favorite?



Shop The Broke-Ass Bride’s Favorites at Unique Vintage!

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Hey BABs! You know we’re always trying to find the coolest, sweetest partners to work with to bring you rockin’ frocks at a price that won’t kill your budget. And with our ever-lovin’ love for cool, retro styling, Unique Vintage is one of those partners that holds a special spot in our hearts.

And now, you can shop our very favorite looks from Unique Vintage‘s site, because they apparently love us as much as we love them. We went through and picked pieces that truly made us swoon, with price tags that didn’t knock us unconscious. With a range of items from shoes to cardigans to wedding gowns, we tried our best to find something for everyone. Head on over and check it out!

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Which of these BAB faves do you love?

Winning Wednesday: Let ModCloth Doll You Up for Your Rehearsal Dinner

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finished collage
There are few things that Team Broke-Ass loves more than ModCloth. From the prices to the styles to the superfun apartment swag, it’s almost like they’ve crawled inside our brains and set up shop. And that love only increased when ModCloth decided to start pimping some ridiculously gorgeous wedding wares. Swoon x 1000! It’s a problem.
So, obviously, when the chance came to share this mad obsession with you, our darling Broke-Ass Brides, we jumped at it. And since the ModCloth-BAB love seems to be so mutual, they’re not just trying to put you in a dress and call it a day. NOPE. ModCloth is tossing a $150 gift card your way to outfit you fully for your rehearsal dinner. I mean, haven’t you spent money on enough things already, without having to take a whole ‘nother outfit into consideration? With a v. large portion of their dresses falling well under $100, you’ll have enough left over to get some sweet new kicks and beautiful baubles, which should help you kick your bridal style into full gear!

Each method earns you an entry, so get to clicking so you can score this rockin’ $150 gift card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, what outfit would you rock for your rehearsal dinner, BABs?

Real Bride Jess: Wedding Countdown – 4 months to go!

Our engagement has FLOWN by. Am I the only one who feels this way?  I thought our 11-month engagement was perfect … until seven of those months just disappeared. The problem with wedding planning is that most of us have never done this before. Some people have friends or sisters that they help out, but it isn’t the same. I feel like I need a whole ‘nother year to plan, but I want to be married right now! What I’ve started telling people is, “I understand why people elope.”


Our adorable Save the Dates.

I know you’re all wondering: Well, what have you actually accomplished? Here’s the answer:


And the scarier list- things I still need to do:

  • Actually pick a florist

  • Pick a DJ

  • Get a bartender

  • Tablecloths, cutlery, plates, glasses, etc.

  • Hair and makeup people

  • Rent a dance floor (this seems silly, but is a real thing)

  • Lighting

  • Get Michael a wedding band

  • Outfit my flower girls

  • Outfit the Michael & his groomsmen

  • Venue decorations

  • Buy and send out my invitations


I’m sure this is not even the full list, but you get the picture. At the end of the day I’m definitely overwhelmed but more than that I’m excited to be so close to finally marrying the man of my dreams.



Real Bride Andrea: A Fly on the Wall

I had the rare opportunity this weekend to attend a wedding where I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t a guest or a guest’s date so therefore I was able have a completely objective, fly-on-the-wall perspective of someone else’s special day. I got to watch a shoe-string budget wedding almost fail. But guess what? I was the only one who seemed to notice.


Our food at the Gedding. Simple and beautiful. We were proud!

A chef friend of mine asked if I would be her sous-chef for a wedding for about 40 people in Nipomo, CA. I love to cook and I love weddings and now I love to see what other couples are doing, so I agreed to do it with her. It should be noted here that one of the grooms (it was a gay wedding, a Gedding) is a co-worker of my chef friend. So, she (and I) were doing this for free. Free Catering from a genius chef and her cute sidekick? Nicely done, Grooms. Nicely done. The wedding was held at a modestly beautiful, country home. The ceremony was set up outside in the backyard with white folding chairs and several vases of flowers. The reception tables surrounded the ceremony area, ready to have the ceremony chairs added as soon as it was time to eat. About 5 hours before the ceremony was to begin, we arrived to several family members and friends (half the wedding guests) making favors, stringing lights and putting together flowers. From the looks on everyone’s faces, it was clear they’d been working all morning. There were people running around asking where things were, who was supposed to be where, etc. It seemed a little stressful to say the least.

We found the kitchen to be really well stocked for our needs, so we got to work on what seemed like 57 different small plates the grooms wanted us to put together. Stuffed mushrooms, pesto chicken, pulled pork sliders, curried cauliflower, crème fraiche potatoes, tapenade, etc, etc. (It all ended up being delicious!) The kitchen was a central location so I got to see and hear everything. So many things went awry, that even I was getting stressed out.


This is the “Chef friend,” Stephanie. We call her “Chefani.” I suppose I could’ve named her in the post before now. She is also one of my bridesmaids!

It seemed to be due to sheer lack of organization, so as a soon-to-be bride, I was taking notes! I got to see a lot of mistakes addressed in The Broke-Ass Bride book first hand! Here is what I learned for my own wedding:

Lesson 1: Be careful in using friends as vendors and have a back-up plan! The Dj cancelled last minute and they decided to “just turn on the iPod” (Yikes.) The DJ was “an old friend” of one of the grooms. Why would he cancel last minute?! From what I could tell, there was no other entertainment planned for the reception. After everyone had eaten and they had cut the cake, the sun had not even gone down yet and there was NUTHIN’ going on. By the time my chef friend and I left, (6pm) people were shuffling around to get ready to leave.

Lesson 2:  Limit alcohol consumption (and Lesson 1 again.) The owner of the venue (another friend of the Grooms’) began taking tequila shots at 1pm. Approximately 7-8 of those shots later, (And 7-8 times that I turned her down in joining her) she had, (surprise, surprise,) forgotten to make her special BBQ sauce for the pulled pork sliders. (I still haven’t decided if all the tequila was because she was nervous or that was a regular thing. Either way, it was impressive because despite 1,000 repeats of the joke that she was “trying to sauce the cooks” by offering us shots, she stayed pretty with it.) When she finally did remember, she barreled into the kitchen, pulled out several pots and pans, her laptop for the recipe (for her special sauce,) all the ingredients she might need, and more tequila. She started her sauce and promptly forgot that she was making said sauce so my chef friend came in to save it. Thank goodness! (I’m pretty sure the owner of the venue took all the credit for that sauce that she didn’t really make.) By the time the wedding was to begin, she had cleaned up pretty well but had a little sway to her. After the ceremony, she had moved on to wine and probably didn’t last much longer after we left. She invited us to Christmas Eve dinner, but probably won’t remember.

Lesson 3: No matter how small the wedding, make sure your wedding guests know where to go and when to go.  As the guests arrived, not one person knew where to go, not even the officiant! With all the family and friends helping with wedding favors and decorations when we arrived, you’d think they would’ve made some cute signs directing people where to go. They had so many cool areas set up, the ceremony area, a wine and beverage bar, the food tables, etc. Let people know that’s what’s happening! I was just the caterer’s assistant, and part of my job became directing people where to go and greeting other vendors (more friends) as they arrived. Throughout the wedding, people were like, “I guess the ceremony’s starting?” “Do we eat now?” “Is the bar open or what?” My chef friend and I had all the food set and ready to go as soon as the ceremony ended. Everyone approached the food tables and NO ONE partook. We had to run outside and yell, “Go ahead! Eat!” People really need to be given permission at weddings. Even small weddings need timelines.

Lesson 4: If you do use friends as vendors, figure out a way to thank them that doesn’t involve making your wedding a walking advertisement for their companies/services. There were, what seemed like, 100 “toasts” that went on forever thanking all the friends for their contributions for the wedding. “Thank you to Ben from Cakes R’ Us for the beautiful cake. You can find more of his cakes at!” or “We can’t thank our good friends at Wines R’ Us enough for their contributions today. They’ve been making wine since 1986 …”  Maybe some people might disagree with me on this and I do think that friends and family who make a wedding possible should be thanked, but this wedding sounded more like a golf charity event.

Lesson 5: As long as you’re happy, your guests will be happy. Ultimately, everyone was there to see the couple get married. They looked handsome and seemed really happy and that is really what matters. It is really a comforting feeling to know that, even if all my grand plans for the most awesome wedding of all time don’t all work out, people are still going to be happy to be there for us. And for that reason, we cannot fail.

But in all seriousness grooms, no entertainment? The iPod never even got turned on.

Catering a Gedding wouldn't be complete without a good selfie. Pardon my bangs, I worked pretty hard that day.

Catering a Gedding wouldn’t be complete without a good selfie. Pardon my bangs, I worked pretty hard that day.

Still don’t have a venue …


Five for Friday: Fun New Finds for Your Wedding Decor

Ah, spring. Everything’s a little cheerier, brighter and newer. And as wedding season rapidly approaches, that newness extends to all things wedding related: dresses, trends, hair and makeup styles, themes, colors, photography poses and styles, decor … the list goes on. But one of my favorite things about the dawn of a new spring in a new year, on the threshold of a new wedding season, is that I get to look for those new things and then share them with you guys! And man, for an Interwebz junkie like myself, it can mean hours of pinning, searching, compiling, the opening of many new tabs (ahem, 32 right now), all for the sake of finding five rockin’ items to share with you, darling broke-asses every Friday. So this week, I found five fabulous new detail pieces from Luna Bazaar that will add festive, colorful newness to your wedding day and won’t murder your bank account!

GA01B I’m kinda silly-mad in love with anything gold right now, and this bunting fits the bill.

Gold Color Story Large Triangle Pennant Banner, $19 (available for pre-order)


Stripes! Straws! Color! It’s a winning trifecta!

Robin Egg Paper Straws (25 pack), $3.95



I love the rich simplicity of the two flowers in this apothecary jar. It’s a statement without being invasive.

Glass Apothecary Jar (Cassia design), $38

Stripes own my heart. DUH. But I also love the versatile pop of color: Use it around menus, napkins, centerpieces, favors, chairs … 
Bellflower Purple Striped Baker’s Twine (15 yards), $3.50

bambu-round-BAMP  This is a little different, but it makes a big impact, both aesthetically and environmentally. Use it for dessert displays or hors d’œuvres.
Medium Round Bamboo Plates (25 Pack), $24

Well, Broke-Asses, any of these new finds tickle your fancy? What new things are you trying to incorporate into your wedding day? Tell me in the comments!

What’s In a Venue? Dana and Paul Find a Wedding Space that Matters to Them

My first wedding was so FUN. It was the best party I’ve ever been to. And a lot of my guests said the same. I danced so hard that I spent the next month on crutches. I mean, that’s a good party.

But… the thing is… I don’t really remember connecting with my guests in a meaningful way. It was lots of passing each other in hallways, all “Heeeeeeeyyyy! Thanks so much for coming! Gotta go over here and do this thing now!” Or bumping up against each other on the dance floor for a few seconds. But, with the exception of the receiving line, I barely got to speak with anyone outside of my bridal party the whole evening. And we had 100+ guests. Don’t get me wrong… it was fun to be able to look to my right, and to my left, and see friends and family all around me. But the night lacked a certain level of intimacy and connection with the crowd, because the frenzy of the party was so high. But, at 31 years old, it was the kind of party that made sense to me.

This time around, I’m 36 years old. I’ve been through a divorce, which cost me a large chunk of my local circle of friends, and taught me a lot about who my real friends are. This time, I crave a more intimate, close-knit event, with our most core group of people. I want to be able to spend time talking with them. To remember, years later, their faces on that day. To feel connected to the group who will bear witness to our commitment and celebrate it with us.

Lucky for me, Paul is totally on board with the same feelings (even though it’s his first wedding). He was much more concerned about us choosing a venue that had special meaning for us, but that made the decision simple. On our second date, he took me to The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel for dinner, and that night, we became a couple. Two months later, he took me and my sister there, and gave the most impromptu, romantic speech about how much he loved me and how he planned to “marry the shit out of me” one day. Ten months later, we took our parents there, to celebrate the day my book released. We went back for Valentine’s Day this year, and again last weekend for our 1-year anniversary. The hotel and restaurant were designed by Philipe Starck, and have a very whimsical but elegant sort of “Alice in Wonderland on acid” kind of aesthetic. It’s quirky, modern, stylish, unexpected and sophisticated. And it’s perfect for us.

The Bazaar at SLS hotel

The Chef du Cuisine for The Bazaar and all SLS properties is José Andrés, a protégé of legendary chef Ferran Adrià, and a darling of the molecular gastronomy movement. If you watch “Iron Chef America,” you’ll recognize him as a semi-regular judge on the show. Paul and I are HUGE foodie nerds, and Chef Andrés’ food is nothing short of spectacular.

In The Bazaar, there’s a private dining room called SAAM. Touted as a “secret oasis of calm with The Bazaar” it seats about 40, and they usually serve an exclusive chef’s tasting menu of delicious, unique, very fancy courses. And it’s the perfect spot for our wedding.

saam at the bazaar


And rather than a pants-off-dance-off style reception, we’ll have the kind of party that really reflects who we are as a couple: a fabulous dinner party, featuring 18-20 courses of food by one of America’s most-beloved, progressive chefs, to be enjoyed with an intimate group of our nearest and dearest. Great food, great company, great celebration — our style.

But first, we’ll have a ceremony. In one of their lovely, mirrored, white draped meeting rooms. (Imagine it without the tables, and more set up for a wedding, but you get the drift.)


And then we’ll whet our collective palates with cocktails in The Bar at Bazaar, which is absolutely fabulous, and features a bad-ass liquid nitrogen Capirinha cocktail that I adore.



And the best part? This whole shebang, done our way, will cost about 1/3rd of what it would have done to do it more traditionally, with a ballroom reception and 100 guests in the same hotel.

I am so thrilled we were able to follow our hearts and dream up a wedding that felt authentic to us, and mirrors our values, tastes, and personalities. Here’s to the second time around, and hindsight being 20/20!


Use Your Registry To Go BPA-Free In the Kitchen

Oh, the registry. Definitely one of the more fun aspects of wedding planning, because you get to think about your space and your life and how you want to live it. And with all the harmful, nasty-ass shizz out in the world, why not let your home be a sanctuary of sorts? Here are 15 fabulous BPA-free items that are perfect for any registry and kitchen! BPA-Free Kitchen Registry

1. Prepworks from Progressive GPC-3681 Dice and Slice Chopper
2. Lekue Lemon Press Set, Green, 2-Piece
3. S/3 Assorted Fluted Mixing Bowls
4. Glass Dharma Decorative Dots Multicolored 5 Piece Glass Straws and Brush Set
5. Ninja Professional Blender with Single Serve Blending Cups (BL660)
6. Lekue Silicone Kitchen Grip
7. Knife Sharpening Steel
8. New Snaplock Lid: Tempered Glasslock Storage Containers 18pc set
9. 5 Piece cmsHome Ultimate Kitchen Utensils Tools Gift Set
10. Chef’s Knife
11. S/4 Assorted Porcelain Spoons
12. Essential Bakeware Set
13. 3-Pc Nesting Bowl Set w/ Handle, White
14. Norpro Silicone Mini Pinch Bowls, 4 Piece Set
15. Soma Water Filter {eds. note: I have one and I love it. It makes stinky Florida water taste AMAZE.}

What items are you pumped to be able to add to your registry?

Real Bride Tiffany: Friend-fficiant

You’ve heard the word “friend-or” (which I am highly against which is probably a story for another day), but have you heard of a “friend-fficiant”? Probably not because I literally just made that word up nine seconds ago to use in my title. If you haven’t figured it out yet, “friend-fficiant” refers to a friend that is serving as your officiant at your wedding. I haven’t copyrighted it yet so please feel free to use it as you see fit.

Religion is not a part of our lives, and we decided that having someone we know be our officiant would be so gosh darn special. And also PAYING someone to officiate your wedding? Insane. Absolutely insane. I understand that there are professionals that are realllllly good at officiating weddings and creating perfect ceremonies. But I am also incredibly stingy and I knew that I could get someone to do it fo’ free, naturally.

And beyond the cost-savings, we do have a very special (not “special”) friend that just happens to be the reason for our entire coupled existence. She is the one whose fiance worked for the same company as Justin and who invited me to crash that infamous Christmas party that would forever change our fate. She is also incredibly well-spoken, and shares our core values and beliefs so close that we could all actually marry each other and live on a compound. Which, would make her endlessly happy because she has been trying to get us to move up to Seattle ever since she left us in San Diego. BUT I DIGRESS.

me and em

Like the real ladies we are.

We have a really rad friend who is MORE than honored to be our officiant. FRIEND-FFICIANT. After we told her, she immediately got ordained through the internets (once she finished crying). IMMEDIATELY. She also chose the title of “Doctor of Space and Time.” And I mean, that just totally validated our decision.

Having a friend-fficiant is a fairly new concept to my family — my family with Catholic roots. My mother probably suspected I would never get married in a church, but I do think that she did expect us to have a professional minister conduct our ceremony. It just felt so cold to us, and so incredibly impersonal. It was just not our gig, at all. Non-traditional is basically our gig.  How special to have someone who knows our relationship from the very start to seal it in marriage for us? I can’t think of anyone better (besides Bill Murray, H. Jon Benjamin, or Herschel from the Walking Dead)…

Are you considering a friend-fficiant?