Posts in the 'bride' Category

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Watters Adelaide-esque Gown For Under $500

Let’s start the New Year by rocking a reader’s “CAI/GOI” challenge. Today’s challenge: Finding a new dress for Julianne to love!

I am absolutely in love with this Watters gown; however it is completely out of my price range. I would love something for under $500 with similar detailing on the bottom. Do you have any suggestions on where I should be looking?



Julianne, I’m happy to help! Finding something super detailed and sticking to a tight budget can be super difficult but starting a new year is all about resolutions, right? We’ve got this.



Adelaide Gown (Retails for $3,400)


Strapless Pleated Bodice Gown with Pick Up Skirt ($399.99 at David’s Bridal)

Beaded Tiered Tulle Gown with Sweetheart Neckline ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza Gown with Pleated Tier Skirt and Lace ($449.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza A-Line Gown with Angled Draped Pick-Ups ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Tiered Organza Wedding Dress ($419.99 at For Her and Him)

Strapless A Line Wedding Gown ($399.99 at For Her and Him)

Adrianna Papell Strapless Rosette-Skirt Gown ($238 at Dillard’s)

To get the detailing you want for under $500, sales and clearances are going to be your best bet. Lots of places have sales around this time of year. Get out there and look around. If you’re close to a sample size, consider going to stores to see which samples are on sale. I grabbed a sample dress and paid much less for it. It was a tad dirty, but a quick trip to the cleaner made the savings worthwhile.



{Real Bride: Carrie} The Quest For The Dress & ALL THE FEELINGS!

Ok, let me be really, really honest for a second here.  Most of the time, when I look at wedding dresses, I think “Wow!  Why would anyone wear that? It looks like a cupcake!”  So when envisioning what I would wear on my wedding day, I was really at a loss.  First, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to wear white.  Eventually, I decided I did want a white dress but I wanted it to be short!  A casual, barefoot, short-dress, groom-in-suspenders-and-no-jacket outdoor wedding seemed pretty us.  So I started looking at white cocktail and reception dresses online.

The first one I ordered and tried on didn’t wow me.

BCBG Maxzaria Floral Applique Dress

So I sent it back.  Yay free returns!  Then I made a big mistake.  I ventured into the most (in)famous bridal store of all time.  You know the one I’m talking about.  David’s Bridal.  Honestly, I had no intention of buying a dress there.  I’d rather buy a used or independently-designed dress and feel better about where my money is going.  But my mom and best friend really wanted to be in on the dress shopping while I was still in Ohio.  I too wanted to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them.  So I repeatedly emphasized that we were only going “for fun” and to see what shapes looked good, not to buy.  Also, I really didn’t expect to find anything I liked.  I envisioned a whole store full of cupcake-dresses.  But off to the DB we went!

They hardly had any short dresses, of course.  I tried on a few tea-length gowns and they weren’t very flattering.

It’s kinda 50s but kinda meh.

I don’t even remember how I ended up trying on this next dress.  I wanted to try something long just for fun, even though I was pretty set on short.  So I put on this dress, and all of a sudden BAM!  Oh my God, it looked amazing!!! (Not to toot my own horn, judge for yourselves, of course.)

David’s Bridal Allover Beaded Lace Trumpet Gown

I couldn’t stop smiling.  My mom and bestie were loving it.  I loved the classic, slightly-vintage elegance of the dress.  Here’s the kicker: I’m not the most body-confident person ever.  All I ever see when I look in the mirror are the improvements I need to make.  But as I looked at myself in that dress, I didn’t want to change a SINGLE THING about my body.  As cliche as it is to say it, I felt like a BRIDE!  “Nooooooooooooooo….” I started thinking, “You’ve got me, David’s Bridal!”

But don’t think the story’s over yet, because despite all the pros, there are several cons to this dress, and I am the world’s most indecisive bride.  First of all, it’s just SO DIFFERENT from what I had envisioned.  Not short, not casual; I don’t even know if I can legitimately rock this baby with my dreadlocks.  I definitely can’t get super jiggy with it on the dance floor.  I love it, but I worry it just isn’t ME enough.

Secondly, and this is a big one, my bestie and I are 99% sure that this is the EXACT SAME dress that a friend of ours wore about a year ago.  A friend that is probably coming to our wedding.  Uh oh.  That’s a big no-no, right?  I’m sure that she’d be cool with it if I explained the situation to her, but I don’t like the idea of people seeing me on my big day and thinking “that’s so-and-so’s dress!”  Argh, F U David’s Bridal and your massive popularity!

I ended up trying on one more long dress that day.

Forgot the name of this style too

I liked it and it was much more “me” but it just didn’t make me feel drop dead gorgeous like the last one did.

Conundrum!  We left the store empty-handed, despite my mom’s willingness to pull out her credit card at the slightest indication (she’s awesome, but as I’ve said before, we’re paying for this ourselves).  Since then, I’ve been stalking the dress all over the internet, looking for it used and in my size.  I still have the same reservations about about it not being “me” enough and being the same dress a friend wore.  But I feel like if I could find it used for a good price it would be a sign to go for it, as buying used would also allow the purchase to fit better with my consumer values and budget!  No luck with that so far though.

What do you think, my wonderful readers?  Should I go with the ooey-gooey gushy-mushy feeling in my gut and just buy it?  Or is the fact that a friend wore it a big no no?  Should I have faith and hold out for something that fits my original vision?  Was anyone else totally blindsided by ALL THE FEELINGS when dress shopping?

{Wedding Inspiration} Budget-Friendly Bridal and Bridesmaid Looks From ASOS

Bridesmaid Look #1

Pretty in Pink


On the hunt for bridal and bridesmaid looks that won’t break the bank? You can stop searching. We’ve got stylin’ bridesmaids get-ups for right around $100, and a one-of-a-kind bridal look for under $500. Yes, that includes shoes. And accessories. All are courtesy of fashion-forward e-tailer ASOS.

First up, Pretty in Pink Bridesmaid Look – $100.97. This romantic style (seen above) is perfect for a vintage or handmade-inspired wedding, or a laid-back, outdoor or barn ceremony. Pair it with loose, wispy hair and whimsical bouquets. For an outdoor summer wedding, you can skip the flats and opt for brown or bronze sandals.


Something Blue Bridesmaid Look

Something Blue


Something Blue Bridesmaid Style – $97.76 This is the look for a bright, summer beachy wedding. If you’re getting married on the sand, you can also have your girls walk down the aisle barefoot, with bright blue painted toes. Pair it with long wavy hair and a bouquet of fun white flowers, like daisies or dalias.

Black and White Bridal Look

Black and White, Short and Sweet


Black and White Bridal Look – $463.97 This is a style for the untraditional bride, who wants to make a nod to the white dress, but wouldn’t be caught dead walking down the aisle in a full-length gown. Put your bridesmaids in black dresses and carry dusty pink bouquets. On this look, the sandals are almost twice as much as the dress, so if you’re on a tighter budget, skip the new shoes and opt for your favorite pair of black heels.

There you have it! Beautiful budget-friendly looks from ASOS. Do any of these outfits inspire you? Let me know in the comments!



{Real Bride: Emily} A Wedding Checklist For The Scatterbrained Bride

Do you often feel like you’re forgetting something? Well that kind of describes my wedding planning experience, in a nutshell – a long, jerky highway of mental checkpoints, like: “Did I send X and Y wedding invitations?” or “What am I supposed to be doing right now?” or “Was I surfing Pinterest for a reason?”

I frequently feel like I’m totally omitting essential elements of the wedding like RINGS, or CAKE, or a MARRIAGE LICENSE (That last one is more essential than most). And despite having two degrees in WRITING, I still don’t jot down notes or leave myself little reminders everywhere. Or read contracts, for that matter! That’s all on my fiance John.

So while wedding planning has been totally fun, it’s also been just a a teensy bit stressful for me AT ALL TIMES. In order to deter this steady undercurrent of mild mental anguish, I’ve made a very extensive (yet surprisingly basic) wedding checklist. It seems almost too basic to merit posting, but I just KNOW there are other brides like me out there who could totally use this.

These are the things you need to get married. I’ve put an asterisk by the things that are legally necessary.

I'm hungry for braaaaaaaiiiiiiiinnn...cake.

A Groom/Partner* – don’t leave them in the car! You are legally required to have “two consenting people” of “sufficient mental capacity”. Legally, you don’t even have to like each other that much, you just have to be OK with the idea of marriage…

The Date – it’s an abstract concept, but it’s the first thing you have to get nailed down, along with finding…

The Venue – whether it’s a courthouse, an old railroad station, a Scottish castle, or the great outdoors!

The Dress – SQUEE! Now move on to…

The Invitations – even if you’re just sending an e-vite, you should probably let people know where this shindig is happening, and not just rely on word of mouth…or facebook.

A Wedding Party – made up of your nearest and dearest! Let those people know well in advance that they are expected to stand up for you on your big day. AND that they’ll be required to NOT look, you know, how they do in everyday life.

A Caterer – is someone you’ll definitely want to get in touch with SOON if you want to serve people food (and maybe BOOZE?), and not just…

The Cake – which is ok too! Be warned, not all caterers do wedding cakes. And not all cakeries do catering…

A Photographer – couples on a serious budget can just buy a few hours of their time, or just rely on their friends to provide the lasting memories. Couples who are DEADLY SERIOUS about photography should splurge here, and maybe even pony up for…

A Videographer – a lot of newlyweds say they regret NOT getting one of these. I’m just putting that out there.

The Flowers – are another prime opportunity to scale back and save a little cash. If you’re getting married on a beach, or in a garden, why bother? Just spring for some nice bouquets. But if big ol’ blossoms are totally your thing, go crazy. I myself am partial to anemones. Thanks, Pinterest!

The Officiant* – is absolutely necessary to the wedding ceremony. THOUGH there are a few states where you don’t need one. But odds are, you don’t live in one of those states. If you don’t have a preferred preacher, pastor, or yogi, there are all manner of lovely people who are professional wedding officiants. Also, basically ANYONE can become an ordained minister online (EDIT: though according to our resident wedding planner Liz, it might not be legal to have them officiate a wedding in your state)

Music – is easy enough – just bring your iPod! Always imagined yourself being serenaded by a string quartet? Be prepared to line a poor musician’s pocket with some serious coin.

The Rings – could easily be forgotten somewhere by someone at any point during the wedding day. A fact which terrifies me.

The Marriage License* – FYI, you can’t get one of these bad boys day-of. Don’t wait till the Friday before your wedding, either. Take care of this several days if not several weeks before. You don’t have to sign it until your wedding day. (EDIT: Liz rings in again – apparently some officiants CAN issue a marriage license day-of…for a price.)

Witnesses* – are those people you sent wedding invitations to. You did remember to send them invitations, didn’t you?! Fortunately, you usually only need two people to show for this whole thing to be legit.

I STILL feel like I’m forgetting something? If so, PLEASE let me know, brides!

 – Emily 

Beautiful Wedding Hair Accessories for Under $100

Even if you manage to save a lot of money on your wedding dress, it’s still probably one of the most expensive items of clothing you’ll ever buy. So why not save money with an affordable but gorgeous hair accessory? Here are some of my favorites!

1. Velvet Owl $89 // 2. Hana SK $36 // Nordstrom $28 // Anthropologie $15 // Twigs & Honey $83



{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} 1970s Style Wedding Gowns for Under $1000

This week week we’re featuring a whole range of get over it priced gowns — 1970s style.  Let’s see what our bride had to say:

Hello! I would like to say first that your website it pretty much amazing! I have found a lot of tips here that will help me with my up coming wedding. However, I was wondering if you knew of any gowns that had a vintage 70’s look to them under $1000? It would be really helpful to help me in the hunt for my perfect dress! Thank you so much, keep up the amazing work!

Hmm, so nothing specific about what type of 70s… so I’ll throw in a hearty mix of disco diva and boho prairie princess.

Disco Diva 70s Bride:

1. Robert Rodriguez Black Label. $450.


3. Halston Heritage. $626.50.

4. Parker. $395.

5. Mikael Aghal. $236.25

6. Ports 1961. $567.

7.Elie Tahari. $998.

8. Twobirds. $396.

9. ISSA. $367.50.

10. Kaelen. $1125.

11. Rachel Pally. $233.

Boho Prairie Princess Bride:

1. Thread. $480.

2. Vintage Label. $40.

3. Vintage Gunne Sax. $116.99.

4. Twist & Tango. $136.57.

5. Vintage Label. $225.

6. Snow Milk Haute Couture. $80.

7. Vintage Label. $68.

8. Torn by Robby Kobo. $198.

9. Nightcap Clothing. $680.

10. Temperley London. $825.

11. Nanette Lepore. $298.

12. BHLDN. $600.

13. BHLDN. $600.

Miss any CAI/GOI magic?  Catch up here:

Real Wedding: Puja + Stephen: The Indian Ceremony

How much do we love this real wedding feature? A lot…like, a lot a lot. All of this wedding inspiration is makin’ me drool! It makes me want to wear henna and watch bollywood movies and wear gorgeous beaded gowns all day, but I’ll settle for just writing about this wedding and staring at the fabulous photos instead (as I sit in a café in my sweatpants).

It’s quite possible that Puja and Stephen may be one of the most adorable couples of all time. The photos I sifted through of their wedding are breathtaking and I was literally wiping the drool from my mouth, and tears from my eyes, with every click of the mouse… as is usually the case with weddings shot by the one and only Dan Chen of Chennergy.

Puja and Stephen actually had two ceremonies, a traditional western ceremony and an Indian ceremony, both of which took place in Singapore. I think what I love most about this wedding marathon is the vast difference between the ceremonies. The western ceremony was simplistic, elegant, and clean cut while the Indian ceremony was bursting with colors and flair.

Puja and her mom show off their intricate henna designs. This makes me want henna too! It's so beautiful!

A view of the city of Singapore from the hotel. This looks like Paradise!

Day one of the wedding marathon was the Indian ceremony. While Puja was busy prepping, Stephen and the boys were having a blast in the Fullerton Hotel pool overlooking the city.

Puja had beautiful menhdi (henna designs) on her hands accented by several bracelets that adorned each arm. Traditionally found on the hands and feet of Indian brides, it’s application has a ceremony all its own. It is believed that the deeper of the henna, the stronger the bride’s love is for her husband. In some Indian cultures, the bride is not expected to do any housework until the henna fades. (Can someone put henna on my hands and feet? I have a huge pile of laundry I’d really like to avoid. Please?)

The colors in the Indian ceremony are magnificent; deep reds, pinks, and gold that seemed to light up all the space around them.

Puja looks so calm and serene while gettin' her glam on. She is a bombshell!

Lets talk about this dress though for a second. This beaded two-piece gown looked like a dream, especially on a bride as beautiful as this one. It’s so stunning how every part of Puja is decorated…. a vision in dozens of bangles, henna, a beautiful sari, and even jewels on her forehead. Regal, breathtaking, and luminous – she is absolutely a dream.

Here's the dress now! Can we say STUNNING?! Puja looks like royalty here.

As is tradition with Indian weddings, the groom is escorted to meet the bride with drums, music, and dancing. This truly was a ceremony fit for a king! You’ll notice that Stephen rocking a traditional turban and a brocade white top (and he looks pretty darn snazzy in them)!

I love the expression Dan captured on everyone’s faces….. the laughter and smiles and the emotions from peoples faces all the way down to the dance steps of their feet. He positively transports you into these images. You can almost hear the banging of the drums and the laughter and emotion.

This picture makes me want to get up and dance! Or play the drums...or wear really bright colors... or all three!

The ceremony was very intimate. Looking at the pictures, I hardly notice anyone other than Puja and Stephen. It’s so moving to see how in love they are and elated to be committing their lives to one and other.

So happy and truly in love.

If you’re like us, and just can’t get enough… then hang in there – part 3 of this real wedding (the western ceremony) is coming right up! Missed part 1? Grab a kleenex and click here.