Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category

Five for Friday: Get Through the Holidays with Serious Sparklez

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Hey BABs! I hope y’all are surviving the holiday crush with your sanity intact and glasses of bubbly to help. While I would say any time is a good time for sparklez, I seem to see more shimmering happiness during this time of year, which drives me wild with the — oh! shiny! So, of course, for this last Five for Friday until the 2015, I found my five favorite ways to pump up your shine factor this holiday season, all for under $100. Get your sparklez on, broke-asses!
Kate Spade Glitter Earrings

Kate Spade Boxed Glitter Stud Earrings, $38
Lulu's Talk of the Town Black Sequin Dress
Lulu’s Talk of the Town Black Sequin Dress, on sale for $29
NastyGal Stars Above Metallic Headband
NastyGal Stars Above Metallic Headband, $35
Badgley Mischka Chrysler at Night Dress
Badgley Mischka Chrysler at Night Dress, $30-$40 rental
ModCloth Play the Party Clutch
ModCloth Play the Party Clutch, $44.99

How do you plan to shine your way through the holidays, BABs?

Wedding Time: The Big To-Do, Part II



Photo: EPLove

Last week I said that while you’re planning your wedding — like, the actual planning and choosing and deciding — you shouldn’t focus on when you’re making those decisions or feel pressured to stay on track and not fall behind, whatever that means. You have a list of checkboxes, take them on by one until they’re X’ed out. Timing is not the biggest factor.

Well, not yet.

Your wedding day on the other hand …

It’s all the contracts. How many hours you have your photographer for. How long hair and makeup has to take. When you can set up your ceremony and reception. When you have to shut the doors behind you. There are so many things that have to fit into so many time frames, within time frames. Manage it by managing your expectations:

Swifter, higher, faster? It’s a Wedding dress, not a cape.

Nothing is going to take less time to do. You will not be capable of doing more in that time than you would normally be able to. So, if hair and makeup takes three hours, make sure you have the three hours, even if it means starting earlier. If your photographer needs an hour for first look and wedding party pictures, give it to her.

Create it in order to save it

The easiest way to stay on schedule is to buffer it — Hair and makeup starts at 9, make sure everyone shows up early and ready to go. Take an hour after hair and makeup, or after the last “event” that morning, for everyone to get their stuff before you jump into the limo. If you have two hours to set up your reception, be there before the doors open, prepared and ready to use all of that time. Tell your wedding party to meet at point B 20 minutes before your ceremony. Announce last call 15 minutes before the bar is gong to close. Twirl away the last dance an hour before you have to have everything out of the venue. Lots of people =- and  there are always a lot of people involved, one way or another — need lots of time.

Making up for lost time

It happens. There are so many moving parts to the day, and so many distractions (most of them fun) that sometimes you fall behind. 8:45pm, photography ends at 9pm, and you haven’t done toasts – yet. Or the cake hasn’t been cut or your bouquet tossed.  Or the music has to stop and you haven’t danced with your Dad – yet.

Jump on it, and get it done, quickest to longest. Cake cutting takes five minutes. And you never have to dance to the entire song. Tell anyone who’s toasting to keep it short and tell them why. And ask your vendors for help and suggestions, okay?
That’s what we’re there for.

Do you have any questions about saving time on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,


Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! A Matthew Christopher Inspired Gown For Under $500

Hai Der, BABs! Does everyone have their holiday shopping done? I don’t, but I shop better under pressure anyway. And speaking of shopping, I really want to help Jen find something she loves because her big day is only 7 months away! She is really smitten by “Sofia” by Matthew Christopher.  It is full of lovely lace and intricate details. So who is this designer? Matthew was raised in Iowa on a pig farm and started sewing with his grandmother at a young age, winning blue ribbons in the local 4-H. When he was in high school he went to a bridal shop with a friend and met Lou Miller who would become his mentor. He knew right away he wanted to do bridal. He went to the Art Institute in Chicago, got an internship at Vera Wang and finally wound up at Galina Bridal where he met Martha Barbour, a patternmaker and designer who had 30 years experience working with names like Christos and Jim Hjelm. He and Ms. Barbour have created a beautiful collection together. BAB Jen really wants something with beautiful, unique lace detail. Here’s what she had to say:

“HEY BABs! I am in love with the Matthew Christopher Sofia dress but it is about 5 times my budget. I love the textures, stripes, polka dots, and bold LACE! I would love to keep the dress under 500. I love dresses with interesting lace like the Rivini Dari, and Pronovias Umana. I have been hunting pre-owned dress sites, but haven’t found anything even close to my budget. I’ve seen you do such a great job with others Please HELP! I’m 7 months out from my wedding!”

Can't Afford ItOriginalMatthew Christopher’s “Sofia” $$$$ 

Get Over It

LightInTheBox150 Lace Trumpet Gown With Sweetheart Neckline (Style: 01128411) $150 at LightInTheBox

LightInTheBox200Tulle & Lace Trumpet Gown With Spaghetti Straps (Style: 00604683) $200 at LightInTheBox

BHLDN240Strapless Gown With Eyelash Lace Details (Style: 31907009) $240 at BHLDN

JJHouse247Organza Mermaid Gown With V-Neck (Style: 002031865) $247 at JJsHouse

RainingBlossoms260Strapless Mermaid Gown With Sweep Train (Style: RB-0075) $260 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

RainingBlossoms300Mermaid Wedding Dress With Lavish Appliques (Style: WD-3120) $300 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

JJsHouse313Satin & Organza Dress With Lace Beading (Style: 002000249) $313 at JJsHouse

RainingBlossoms320Strapless Lace Gown With Chapel Train (Style: WD-1691) $320 at RainingBlossoms

25% Off Right Now. Use Code: WEDDING25

BHLDN480Beautiful Lace Gown Made From original Edwardian Lace (Style: 30850945) $480 at BHLDN

BAB480Strapless Gown With Scalloped Tiers Of Swirled Soutache Embroidery (Style: 30613871) $480 at BHLDN

Hope I was able to help, Jen! Lace on a budget can be tricky but there are a lot of great gowns under there. Have you looked at Etsy? There are a ton of great shops there with lace options under $500. Well, my lovelies, I will see you in a couple of weeks in a brand new year. I hope to come back to new requests. Just leave them in the comment section or on our Facebook page. Happy Holidays! Eat, Drink & Be Merry (Holidays). Xoxo.

Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.

Get Inspired: Host a Lovely Brunch to Ask Your Bridal Brigade

Ally, one of my favorite local DFW photographers and one half of the extraordinary team at The Purple Pebble — you may remember them from brides in glasses fame — recently got engaged (yayyyy!!!) and threw a lovely luncheon to ask her ladies to stand by her side on her wedding day. Of course, throwing a luncheon in and of itself can be a little spendy, and when you add special flare to it because it’s not just any luncheon, the costs can add up quickly. While she still shelled out a pretty penny for the party, Ally managed to be pretty resourceful with a lot of the details and definitely put the BAB credo to work: Creativity is our currency!

Budget Bridesmaid Brunch

The girls I chose as bridesmaids are what I call my “lifers.” Those friends who you can be your true self with, who have proven that no matter what, they’ll be there for you. In my case, these girls are family, high school friends, college friends and girls I met in adulthood. Each one of these girls has been there for me and each one of their friendships means the world to me. When I thought about asking people to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, I knew I wanted to ask in a special way. What a better way than a nice, little brunch celebration? When I asked each girl if she was available for a Sunday brunch on a certain date, they all said yes! Five of the girls in the wedding live where I do. 

Bridal Luncheon Personalized Cards


As I got to planning, I thought of what kind of costs would be associated with this. After looking over everything I wanted to do, and the fact that I had 9 bridesmaids and 2 house party members, I knew I needed to save where I could. First step, host the brunch at my apartment.
For the tablescape:
My mother grew up in the Midwest and has inherited lovely china from her grandmother and mother. I asked to borrow a set. White china with a gold rim was what I went with since my wedding accent color is gold. I also was able to borrow gold silverware. Crystal is timeless and elegant and I thought it would be a nice mix with the china. I was able to borrow crystal water glasses as well as a beautiful round, crystal vase that I put white hydrangeas in. I already had the clear glass tea light holders.
I enlisted the help of Facebook friends for a table runner and had a work colleague let me borrow a gorgeous rose colored sequin runner. I also used Facebook to find another unique piece for the table: I wanted antlers, however, most of the places around town that sell antlers sold them for $25+ a piece. I didn’t want to pay that much for a single antler that I was going to spray paint. I had luck when my fiancé’s mother replied to my post saying that she had a set of antlers in her garage that I could have. Absolutely perfect! I spray painted them gold.
For food and drink: 
I wanted to keep the food low cost and light. I purchased fruit and donut holes to make kabobs, went to a local shop to get kolaches and baked Pilsbury cinnamon roles.

For the mimosa bar, I purchased orange juice with a coupon at a local grocery store chain. As the day of the brunch grew closer, I had multiple girls contact me asking if they could bring anything for brunch. Three girls each brought a bottle of champagne so that was covered!
I purchased adorable black and white striped paper straws from the $1 section at Target. And I was able to find 2 boxes of Libby champagne glasses on sale at Walmart. Two days before the brunch, my mother received a large, beautiful floral arrangement for her birthday. I was able to borrow that for extra decoration. I had a super cute card from my future sister-in-law that said, “You’re Engaged!” and I decided to use that as a cute little accent piece!
004_MintonBridesmaidBrunch_10022014 003_MintonBridesmaidBrunch_10022014
Here is where I wanted to really personalize things for my girls! A wedding planner friend of mine created personalized cards for them. They cost $7 a piece. I went into Michael’s craft store for something a month before I put on the brunch and saw that there were colorful block letters in one of the bins in the $1 section. I was able to find a letter for each girl and each letter cost me $1.50.
Bridesmaid Luncheon Personal Letters
And my favorite part for my crew … a custom cookie! I had a local bakery make me diamond engagement ring cookies for $3.75 apiece. I had to buy a minimum of a dozen so I spent $45 on a dozen cookies. It was 100% worth it … the cookies were decorated with silver metallic paint and large sugar crystals were used as the diamond! They were also very good! For the favors, I spent $12.25 for each lady.
Being a photographer, I was able to photograph all this goodness at no cost!
All in all, I spent $200 on food, favors and accents such as flowers, straws and champagne glasses. Everything else, I was able to borrow. And it certainly helped that my girls brought champagne! For those who do not live in the same city as me, I shipped them a card, letter and cookie from the Post Office so each package was anywhere from $5-$7 to ship.
The girls were all so surprised at the brunch when I asked them all to be bridesmaids! They had no idea it was coming.
I was able to pull off a great, affordable brunch with lovely ladies!

How did you ask your crew to stand by your side, BABs?

Real Bride Jubilance: How to Compromise On Your Honeymoon and Still Win

Real Bride Jubilance How to Compromise on Your Honeymoon and Still Win

The honeymoon has been The One thing my fiancé and I have both been looking forward to, and the most stressful thing to figure out, #AtTheSameDamnTime. I may get excited over finding cute designs for our invitations, but he doesn’t give a damn. What he does give a damn about is our honeymoon, and making sure it is epic.  Throughout wedding planning we’ve been very decisive, and that’s made planning easier. All that decisiveness went out the window when it came to our honeymoon though. How is that possible when we knew what we wanted to do??? Three words: Too. Many. Options.

Our original list of requirements for our honeymoon:

  1. Must be somewhere in the Caribbean – can be a resort or a cruise
  2. Must be somewhere we haven’t been before
  3. Have fun excursions like snorkeling, ziplining, etc
  4. Total cost must be $5k or less
  5. We had to go right after the wedding

That leaves a TON of options and I swear we’ve looked at every single one.

We looked at multiple cruises. We looked at all-inclusive resorts like Sandals, Secrets and Riu. We looked at renting a vacation home. We looked at smaller resorts or bed & breakfasts. So many options. Every time it seemed like we found an option we liked, we would then throw it out. Cost eliminated a lot of places – as much as I’d love to stay at a 5-star resort, we can’t afford a $10k honeymoon. Cruises were eliminated due to cost and logistics. Resorts looked promising, but they were pricey because we’re getting married in March – prime Spring Break season. I tried stalking sites like Travelzoo, Groupon and Livingsocial for deals, but either our time period wasn’t valid for the deal, or the resort didn’t look great. We even tried looking at different destinations like Hawaii and Key West, but we weren’t crazy about our options.

We whittled our list of possible resorts down and then started reading TripAdvisor reviews. Big mistake! TripAdvisor is great, but it’s like Yelp – some folks are never satisfied and give -star reviews for trivial things. I mean, it should be taken with a grain of salt … but it’s hard because you wonder if you’ll be the one person who has a bad experience. Nothing seemed like The One Perfect Honeymoon.

This whole honeymoon thing just pissed me off, because it felt like we were making it harder than it needed to be. What’s so hard about a honeymoon? You just pick a place and book it and go. I was ready to just draw a damn name out of a hat. There was no way we’d figure out the perfect trip in our price range right after our wedding, and there was no way that I was going to work the Monday after our wedding.

And then! My genius fiance said “why don’t we take a short trip after the wedding and the longer trip later?” Did I mention he’s a genius? That is perfect! Why the hell didn’t I think of that???

And that’s how we ended up booking two honeymoons. #NailedIt

Part 1 is a mini-moon to New Orleans! I’m super excited because I’ve never been and I’ve always heard the city was romantic.  We’ll spend a few days at a B&B before we head back to our real life.

Part 2 is our longer honeymoon, which we’ll spend at Sandals Halcyon Beach in St Lucia in May!  We compared prices and reviews for all the Sandals properties, but settled on this one after talking to a friend who has visited the property. After looking at a ton of all-inclusive properties, Sandals had the best reviews and the options we wanted for the best price.

Now that we’ve finally booked, we’re super excited about our honeymoon adventures. I cannot wait to get to New Orleans, and to lay on the beach in St Lucia.

How did you decide on your honeymoon, BABs? Tell us in the comments!

My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly Cry, Part I

This is a post Peach and I talked about, kind of at length. We talked about whether it would be better over on her blog because it’s intensely personal, but I really wanted her to write it, because I know the feeling. I felt the same way about a great many of my photos when I first got them back and guys, it’s devastating. For a multitude of reasons: You’ve spent a lot of money, presumably, on your photos. You’ve spent a buttload of time and or energy — most likely and — planning maybe not every little detail, but a helluva lot of them. You’ve been under pressure, you’ve been asked questions, it’s been tough … and sometimes it feels like “Just as long as everything looks great in the photos. The photos will make much of this stress and worry and fear go away, because it will be a visual representation of everything I’ve been trying to accomplish.”

Our wedding photographer published our pictures to a private website a few weeks ago. Immediately, I had sweatypits and I waited anxiously until Mr. Peach could view them with me. And as we scrolled through the hundreds of images, my most overwhelming feeling wasn’t “Oh wow, I look so pretty!”. Instead, the horrific thoughts running through my cranium were “Oh man, I have back fat hanging over my dress!”“Ugh, I hate my nose in those profile shots” and “I should have spray-tanned to cover up those tan lines”. Wedding 1

 Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

My Wedding photos Made me Ugly Cry

Photo credit: Lee Patterson Photography

My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly Cry

Photo Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

I have to tell you that this kind of destructive self-bashing … it’s not my usual style. I’m normally a pretty badass, confident, life-list chasing kinda gal. But with my wedding pictures, it’s almost as if I expected our amazing photographer to magically POOF me into someone I am not.

Someone with a perfectly dainty nose.

Someone who doesn’t exercise outdoors to stay fit.

Someone who didn’t get those sunburn blotches on her back during a pre-wedding escape weekend.

Those are ME. That’s who I am. And I’m pissed at myself for letting those demonic voices sour the happiest day of my life in the slightest.

I’m not saying there weren’t a great number of photos in which I feel I looked very pretty. Striking, even. But I was left eating my feelings that night over certain shots that haunted me.

What if everyone secretly thought, “What in the world made her think she could pull off that dress?”

What if I was ruthlessly judged by the extra skin that crept over the strapless top of my dress if I leaned this way or that? What if I’d made more of an effort to eat better and run more before the wedding? Would it have made a difference in the way I feel right now? If that weren’t enough destructive self-sabotage, my brain continued on with: Should I have not even bothered with a strapless dress? I am getting up there in age, you know. I’m not exactly young and the crow’s feet and laugh lines show it pretty fucking well. Maybe I overshot my wedding fantasy.

It was that last horrible sentiment that started the ugly-cry.

Guys, don’t worry, Peach turns her shit around. We’ll be sharing Part II soon, but if you’re too damn impatient, head over to to read the whole shebang.



Real Bride Emma: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers …

Real Bride Emma You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Michael and I decided at the outset of our wedding plans that we wouldn’t include anything in the wedding that wasn’t:

  • There for the guest’s comfort or delight
  • Totally awesome and “us”
  • Necessary for us to actually legally get married

It struck me pretty early on that flowers, or specifically professionally arranged flowers, did not fit into any of those categories. In fact, in my opinion the whole thing is a freakin’ money-spinning SHAM. Seriously. Flowers? They DIE. And no one ever remembers them after a wedding. Ever. And yet they cost hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

So we have done the most broke-ass thing possible and said no to them.

Amazingly, I have had several people make weird, screwed-up faces when I tell them this. The conversations usually go something like..


This face. I get this. A LOT.

Person: How are the wedding plans going?

Me: Fine, all under control

Person: Got your band/DJ, caterer and florist all sorted then?

Me: Yes, although we aren’t having a florist. I really don’t see the point.

Person: *scrunchy face of disbelief* No flowers?

Me: *defiant smile* Nope.

Person: Won’t that be weird?

Me: Nope.

Both: *awkward silence*

So there we have it. If there’s one thing I think all BABs should do, it is to challenge the stuff that people think you must have. Most of the crap around weddings is there just to make businesses lots of money. Take the bits you want, and hang the rest!

I’ll update in a later post what I’ll be using to freshen up the place instead of expensive dying flowers.

For now …

Am dram bride out!


Five for Friday: Rad Ways to Display or Gift Your Instagram Glory

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Admittedly, I’m kind of an Instagram junkie. I have like, 5 different camera apps that add some bell or whistle to the incredible multitude of photos I take of my cats. It’s kind of an issue. But Instagram is also there to catch some of my favorite moments with friends and in life and sometimes I want to take them from my wedding- and cat-filled feed and display them in my casa or give a particularly good homie selfie to one of my friends. Plus, gift ideas, y’all. For holidays or your bridal brigade, this is a perfectly personalized present for your pals.


Make an Insta collage, like what Real Bride Meg cobbled together for her sisters. If you’re a DIY-er, this might be a great way to go, and she even gave us instructions!

Sticky9 Magnetic Wall Art

Sticky9 will make little magnets out of your photos, and they’re pretty rad. The company sent me some a while back, and I love having my favorite Instagram shots up on my fridge. But this? This is a magnetic frame so you can display and rearrange your fave IGs whenevs. It’s a little spendy at around $60, but the fact that you can change out the pics at any time makes it worth it.

nail art

I’m so not one for fake nails — I’m really tough on my digits, but let’s be real: If I could get this photo of my kitten on all ten of my fingers, I’d be all about it. And, guys, Zazzle can make it happen. Instagram nail art totally ups the manicure game. You know you’ve got that one friend who is all about her nails, and this $18.95 set is likely something she won’t get from anyone else.

CanvasPop Instagram Wall Art

Sometimes, there are a couple of schamazing Insta pics that are too good to be relegated to the Interwebz and really deserve a place of honor up on a wall. CanvasPop can make that happen, turning those Insta-snaps into pretty canvas art pieces. They’re running a special right now, too — a standard 12″x12″ canvas, which normally runs for $79.95 is now $39.95.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.27.42 AM

How about a temporary tattoo? Because, yes, plz. You can upload your Instagram photo and then hand it out to peeps to plaster on their bods. I really love this idea for a wedding … I love it hard. Prices for custom temporary tattoos at start at about $50 for 100.

What cool ways have you seen Instagram photos used, BABs?

Wedding Time, Part One: The Big To-Do

Wedding Time, Part 1 The Big To-Do

Photo: Persimmon Images 

It’s not always the first meeting. Sometimes it’s the second meeting where it comes up:

“The wedding timeline I found online says that I should have started planning this seven months ago. I’m supposed to have my engagement photos and my lingerie by now!”

Or something to that effect.

Basically, whatever  you’ve done so far, whenever you are, the clock on the wall and the page on the screen is telling you that you’re already behind.  And the clock is still ticking …

Guess what? You are not behind. You are not late. You are fine where you are.

Change the way  you look at it, and the way you look at it will change: Focus on the checklist, not the countdown. These timelines are pretty good about the order of what you should do (pick a date, find a venue, find a caterer, etc.), so stick with that. But it’a all about managing the (admittedly long) checklist. You can borrow my Rule of Threes, if you want.

The Rule of Threes:

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but for every wedding checkbox, there are a ton of choices, and a ton of choices that depend on other choices. In order to narrow it down, and, well, be flexible at the same time, I give my couples three options for each one. So, instead of picking one date that will work, pick three. That way, if you find the perfect venue, you’re not stuck with an unavailable date. Three wedding venues that will work with your style and budget, before you schedule your appointment, so, you’re not as disappointed if the first one won’t fly. Three caterers, three photographers, three dress shops. One at a time for a little less stress. Decide who you want to meet, and then decide who you want to hire.

But won’t that take a lot of time? Truthfully, once you knock one thing off the list, you can use it to find another thing. Venues will have a list of vendors that they recommend, for example. Photographers can recommend videographers and photo booths. If a DJ on your list isn’t available on your date, he or she can refer you to someone who is. Use what you have to get what you want.

Where Time Will Come Into Play

So, you are going to have to manage your expectations a little. You will not always be able to reach or hear back from your prospects right away; it might take a couple of emails and calls. Do both. Try to avoid contacting them over the weekend, because that’s when we all work. Most hotel and venue managers take Mondays off. And, again, figure out at least three days and times when you’re available before you schedule appointments. If you’re meeting face-to-face, expect it to take at least an hour, plus travel time.

There’s one wedding checkbox where timing does come into play: your dress. If you don’t buy off the rack, ordering your dress can take 4-6 months. You can have it rush ordered, but you know … rush fees. Be aware, and don’t be afraid to ask.

It’s the checklist, not the countdown. You’ve got this.

In Part Two, we’ll talk about time management on your Wedding Day, where, ironically, it’s the countdown and not the checklist. Sorry about that.

So, where in  your checklist are you feeling the pressure right now? Let’s figure it out in the comments below. And if you would like to learn more about my little part of Wedding World, visit me at

See you at the end of the aisle,