Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category

Real Bride Kate: Engagement Stationery and Choosing My Battles

I don’t know about the rest of the USA, but in Kansas, engagement parties are relatively uncommon. I’ve heard that they’re a growing trend, but my area’s philosophy seems to be: “Why bother? Wait for the wedding!” In Australia, however, engagement parties are a huge deal. As my Aussie friends inform me, their philosophy is: “Any excuse to celebrate!” And you know what? I think that’s pretty awesome and have jumped right on board.

How could I not be won-over to Aussie ways? They have kangaroos!

How could I not be won-over to Aussie ways? They have kangaroos!

Daniel and I are super stoked for our engagement party, which will sort of double as a going-away party for him. The sentiment is a little bittersweet, but we’re very thankful we have so many great friends and family members to wish us well in our future in the United States. We’ve finally begun making plans for the party, which for me, as a writer, always begins with stationery.

We found one, count it, ONE engagement party invitation we liked on the entire Internet. Okay, on the dozen or so sites we scoured. It is “Bubble Blowout” from Wedding Paper Divas, and it just felt perfect for us. The colors are sophisticated, the drawing of the Champagne bottle has a slight vintage feel (and conveys that celebratory spirit!), and the font mixture is really cute.

However, I’m super cautious about buying stationary online – I’ve seen too many bad cards – so I wanted samples. Of course, I’m too cheap to pay even the minimal shipping fees to acquire samples. Luckily for me, I got an email from Wedding Wire (which I had entirely forgot signing up for) advertising FREE samples from Wedding Paper Divas. Naturally, I ordered every combination of both available colors (gun metal and umber) and each paper type!

My sample package, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas.

My sample package, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas.

Above is the sample tri-fold I received in the mail. Inside were my requested samples, a complete guide to customizing stationary on Wedding Paper Divas, a sample of every paper type and color they offer, and a coupon! I was incredibly impressed. For someone as organized (read: anal) as me, the presentation alone was enough to secure my purchase!

Our chosen invitation style looked just as good in person as it did online, and eventually, we narrowed the field down to two options. The colors are difficult to distinguish in the pictures, but the paper type is pretty clear, I think:

Option A: Umber on “pearl white shimmer” paper.

Engagement Invitation Gold

I love this version of the design. I thought the golden colors showed a good tone variety, where the grey tones in the other design lacked distinction. I also really like the shimmer paper, because, you know, shiny. Alas, I was outvoted by everyone!

Option B: Gun metal on “signature white textured” paper.

Sample from Wedding Paper Divas

My mom likes the grey, because it looks a little purple, her favorite color.

My future mother-in-law likes the grey slightly better than the umber, and she thought the shimmer paper was too “wedding” (which I can concede). Plus, the super-adorable thank-you notes she bought are grey, and I’m all for matching. (They seriously are adorable … they are little cardstock picture frames with room to write notes inside!)

Daniel does not care about the paper type, but he insists on the grey, because his wedding suit, our wedding bands, and every other piece of jewelry we own is grey/white gold/silver.

I’ve decided to let myself be outvoted and save my “bridal veto” power for something else down the track. Plus, there are bound to be hundreds of wedding details that I care about more than Daniel, so I’ll give him a win since he was surprisingly passionate about having the grey invitations. After all, you’ve got to pick your battles, right?

With the stationery selected, the rest of the details are falling into place. We have a location (Daniel’s parents’ house) and a tentative date and guest list. The only tricky detail has been how to ask for only monetary gifts, as Daniel is moving to the USA, so any housewares we received would be too bulky to move or ship (for a reasonable price) and anything electronic could not work without a converter. However, my uber-creative future MILL saved the day by writing a fantastic poem that explains our predicament and politely conveys our request. I won’t spoil the surprise by posting it here, but trust me: it is lovely and oh-so perfect.

Needless to say, I am one happy bride-to-be! I love having plans set in stone, and once we nail down the final date and guest list, I will be over-the-moon with joy! (You know, until I have to deal with the stress of starting the real wedding planning…for both weddings!)

Until next time,

Wedding Inspiration: Introducing Kristy + Que Sera Sera Themes

Hey Broke-Asses! It’s been a hot second since we’ve had a Wedding Inspiration Guru around these here parts, and Kristy was uber excited to step into the shoes of some rockin’ chicks before her. So if you’re struggling with ideas to fit in your theme, need a little extra push to realize your vision or just want to ogle some gorgeousness, come play as she helps provide the pretty! Welcome, Kristy! 

BAB3

Let’s skip the casual ice breakers and get right down to it, shall we? Kevin proposed to me a year and a half after we started dating but as a 19 year old, I didn’t have much of a plan. We knew we wanted something fun and simple after a long engagement and now, 4 years later that is still exactly what we are doing. Seeing as we are all looking for the best deals and ways to cut corners without sucking the life out of our wedding, I will be serving up my most unconventional and over-the-top ideas on a silver platter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll give you all the glitz and glamour, but for now … *insert Toby Keith’s “I Want To Talk About Me” here*. I’ll go into further detail later down the line but today, I’d like to talk to you about themes to give you a general idea of who I am behind this keyboard and maybe spark some interest of your own.

Between our itsy-bitty-teeny-weeny budget and our lack of traditional values, our theme has mostly been left up to venues. It took (I kid you not) approximately 150 different quotes and six visits before we found our destined location. However, before that, our wedding has seen themes from a destination wedding, to vintage, modern, over-the-top-fancy, country and now to simply “Love.”

Kristy Venue

Every wedding day is filled with love (dur) so although it may not seem like a thing – or maybe I just made it one, whatever, it’s a thing now, okay? – it works for what we wanted out of our wedding. All we truly wanted at the end of the day was for our guests to have a blast singing karaoke (oh yes, there will be karaoke), dancing all night and laughing until they pee their pants. Alright … not literally, but you get the idea. Kevin and I have many passions and aside from a shared love of music, most of them are polar opposites. Settling on one idea to represent both of our laid-back and easygoing attitudes seemed much more difficult than we anticipated. I like bling, he likes gaming. I like country, he likes medieval. I love twinkly lights and he likes alcohol.

When we found our location, everything just simply fit together like puzzle.

OUR VENUEThis is it!

Twinkly lights surround ¾ of the seating area, you can sing your heart out on a stage with a city horizon backdrop and dance with your glasses of alcohol from the bar to the side. They have given us complete free range to go wild with the added bonus of being a turn-key venue. There will be a candle tree on each table, dessert will be served on a vinyl record-looking plate and we are allowed to bring in a gamer’s dream of a wedding cake. So yes, without giving too much away (since some of our guests may read this), you will walk in to see a little bit of everything and it may look cluttered but … Kev and I don’t live in a box, so why constrict our wedding to one? Our wedding will allow all the little stars that we love to shine, including our guests. So love … love the theme to my big day.

After bouncing back and forth from A to Z myself, I’ve gathered a ton of ideas from all different genres which I hope will either tickle your fancy or inspire your creativity.

How do you envision your big day? What is it that inspired you to choose the theme to your wedding? 

Kaykisses!

Real Bride Peach: Weddings, Too, Take a Village

Real Bride Peach | It Takes A Village

Via Pinterest

I bet a lot of brides out there are like me: self-sufficient, independent, strong and insistent upon handling everything herself. It isn’t a matter of being too stubborn to accept help. In it’s purest form, it all boils down to the fact that we understand our vision better than anyone and it just makes the most sense to take care of everything yourself. And besides, who really wants to be a burden on anyone? Right? Who’s with me in the “I’VE GOT THIS.” mentality?

That all sounds well and good. That is, until we get hit by the Great Wedding Steamroller of planning, organizing, details, bookings, money, photo shoots, appointments, family drama, dress angst, etc. and we find ourselves face-deep in a pint of Häagen-Dazs, trying to cope with the sheer amount of chaos.

Just me? Hope not. Listen up.

Here’s the revelation all brides-to-be should have:

PEOPLE WANT TO HELP YOU. THEY LOVE YOU. SO LET THEM.

Read that again. (Yes, I’m bossy.)

Whether you are planning your own wedding or have already lived to tell the tale, most of you out there understand the massive amount of effort it takes to pull off a wedding (big OR small). And in the same way the saying goes that “It takes a village to raise a child,” we should all remember that it takes a village to plan a wedding. So please, ladies (and gents), do not be ashamed or embarrassed to accept offers for help. Don’t be too stubborn or insistent on your own self-reliance to turn down extra hands or someone’s time and willingness to contribute. Yes, you may need to stand firm with your vision and set your boundaries clearly as you delegate, but let’s face it … we are not superheroes. 

When you first get engaged, everything is very exciting and swirly-love-emotions and happiness. The actual details of the planning seem a million miles away. (Remember this engagement post I did? If not, go read!) But then as time hurtles rapidly toward your big day, you come to realize that even though you CAN handle everything on your own, it doesn’t mean that you should have to. And where at first you were hesitant to delegate any small task, you begin to realize that no one wants to “take over” your vision. It isn’t about you relinquishing control. It IS about allowing those who care about you to help plan this very large, very elaborate party.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of experiencing both sides of the giving coin. You see, I’m currently the Maid of Honor for my friend Nette. Her bachelorette weekend was a few weeks ago and her wedding is very soon, YAY!!! I cannot tell you how much fun it was to spoil her rotten, take her out on the town and yes, embarrass her just a little bit. That’s my job as a MOH, right!?!? But in all honesty, the single thing that has given my heart the most joy is seeing how much our support, love and outpouring of help means to HER, that we would treasure her so much.

Seeing her gratitude and emotion really resonated with me and tripped my heartstrings. Because it made me realize that accepting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s an acceptance of love.

So put your parents to work with the out-of-town guest bags. Ask your siblings to be on airport shuttle duty that weekend. Let your MOH be the ringleader of the bridesmaid dress purchases. Or just let a friend treat you to a mani-pedi as a way to relax for a damn second.

Because I promise you, it doesn’t make you any less of a Broke-Ass Badass Bride to let yourself be loved by your people.  

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Sparkly, Illusion Neckline Marchesa Dress

affiliate disclosure

Hey there, Broke-Ass Babes! Sadly, no ladies wrote in this week about their wedding dress budget woes. So, this week, I decided to pick one of my favorite dresses from the Marchesa Fall 2014 collection (Style: B10812) and WOWZA, she’s a beaut! A trend that has become very popular in the last few years is the illusion neckline, and if you love to spend hours gazing at gowns like me, you’re sure to see this in every jaw-droppingly beautiful collection of dresses. The neckline in this Marchesa dress is especially dazzling since it’s decked out in pearls and crystals, and the hand-pleated chiffon makes this dress look effortless, yet ethereal like something a Greek goddess would get married in. Are you ready to see it? Here goes, in all of its supreme, flowy, glittering awesomeness:

CAN’T AFFORD IT

Marchesa

Marchesa $$$$ ($3001-$5000)

GET OVER IT

H&M

Sleeveless dress in airy, woven fabric with beading and rhinestone embroidery at top (Style: 66-3399) $99 at H+M.

LightintheBox

A-line Princess Scoop Sweep/Brush Train Charmeuse Wedding Dress (Style: 604656) $119 at LightInTheBox.com

UniqueVintage
White Chiffon & Stone Cap Sleeve Gown (Style: 40778) $224 at Unique Vintage

ForHer&Him
Cap Sleeve A Line Wedding Gown with Decorative Buttons (Style: 0113925) $419.99 at For Her and For Him

Etsy
Romantic  Chiffon Wedding Dress Wedding Gown $438 at Whiterose on Etsy

KathyIrelandBBP
Satin sheath with hand-beaded illusion neckline and cap sleeves (Style: KI1307) $822 at BestBridalPrices.com
MAGGIE SOTTERO DESIGNSwww.maggiesottero.com
An illusion tulle neckline ornamented with beaded embroidered lace drapes the bodice, culminating in a gathered skirt that flows from an empire waist. (Style: 4MC890) $988 at BestBridalPrices.com
BHLDN
This floor-skimming silhouette balances the sleekness of flowing silk with intricately beaded shoulders and bias-cut styling. Harlow gown, $1,000 at BHLDN
MAGGIE SOTTERO DESIGNSwww.maggiesottero.com
Accordion pleated Paris Chiffon combines with embellished illusion tulle to create this Grecian inspired dress (Style: 4MK790) $1,049 at BestBridalPrices.com.

Another option you can consider is adding a beautiful, bridal capelet to your dress. They have some amaze options from the websites above (Like THIS stunner at BHLDN ) and will give your look even more versatility. Enjoy your weekend, BAB’s! Until we meet again…

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! 

Real Bride Kate: How to Marry a Foreigner

DISCLAIMERS:

  1. My and Daniel’s K-1 visa has just been approved. The visa has been issued and is in his passport. Therefore, I can tell you that the process described below DID work for us.
  2. However, even though we have successfully completed the K-1 visa process, we are not experts. We are not immigration lawyers and do not work for any immigration services. I am only offering advice, and if you want professional, 100% certain advice – go to a lawyer or government official.
  3. This information is only applicable to a U.S. citizen whose foreign fiancé(e) is immigrating to the United States.

So, you have fallen in love with a foreigner. No? Just me? Well, if you have, let me offer some rudimentary advice on how and why to go through with the K-1 visa.

Visa JB Graffiti

What is the K-1 fiancé(e) visa?

In layman’s terms, K visas are “family” visas that allow for family members to join their relatives in the United States. The K-1 visa allows non-U.S. citizens (like my Australian Daniel) to join their U.S. citizen fiancé(s) (like me!) in the United States. The immigrant DOES NOT become a citizen with this visa.

Can my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Technically speaking, there are only three requirements for getting a K-1 visa.

  1. You must be truly engaged to the immigrant (duh).
  2. The two of you must have met in person within the last two years (of the petition filing date).
  3. You must make above the poverty line for your household size. Or, if you are a part-time worker and do not make enough annually (like me, as a college student), you must have a co-sponsor, and the two of you together must make above the poverty line for your household size. This is to ensure that the immigrant will not become a ward of the state until s/he finds employment.

Should my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Making the choice to immigrate to a foreign country to be with the person you love is exciting and romantic – it is also stressful and risky.

  1. First, ask yourself all the traditional “ready for marriage?” questions. Are you certain about this person? Do you truly love him/her? All that jazz.
  2. Next, are you (as an individual) ready to have your entire relationship literally examined and picked apart, not only by the government, but by your family and friends?
  3. Is one of you really and truly willing to leave your home country (and family and friends and everything you’ve ever known) for the other person WITHOUT EVER GUILTING THEM ABOUT IT OR USING IT AGAINST THEM LATER?
  4. Can you afford it? The entire visa process (counting postage and final plane ticket) costs roughly $3,000. This cost is spread out over several months, but it is still something to consider.

Is there any way to save money?

Obviously, as Broke-Ass Brides, we’re always looking to save. Unfortunately, because most of the fees are government-mandated, there are not many opportunities to save money. Here are the few (read: only) ways Daniel and I have found to save money during this process:

  1. Don’t hire a lawyer to help you. This one is a risk. On one hand, an immigration lawyer comes with a guarantee that your I-129F petition will be accepted. On the other hand, they cost at least $1,000 and honestly, you still have to provide all the same information and do most of the grunt work. We decided to skip the lawyer, and it worked out fine, but it was a risk.
  2. Do it right the first time. Seriously, quadruple check all directions before you begin your forms. Quadruple check the forms before you mail them. If you mess up, you may have to start over from square one, and then you’ve lost your entire investment.
  3. Sign up for frequent flyer points. Daniel and I have been extremely lucky in that we have had several visits together. From the second visit, Daniel has been accumulating frequent flyer points for our airline of choice. Plus, his family and friends have contributed to those points as well. Because of this, his final plane ticket will be (close to) free. This will save us about $1,200 to $1,500.
  4. Exploit the conversion rate. Right now, the U.S. dollar is stronger than the A.U. dollar. Therefore, my money goes farther than Daniel’s does, and visa expenses are “cheaper” for me. Some people may struggle with putting up cash for their significant other, but the way we see it, this is a joint venture, and in the end, what’s mine is his and his is mine anyway.

So how do you even get a K-1 visa?

There are quite a few steps and a TON of supporting documentation, but here are the bare bones:

  1. Get engaged (again, duh).
  2. The U.S. citizen completes an I-129F petition (and sends in a ton of paperwork). This says, “Hey, Government, my fiancé(e) and I love each other. He/She’s pretty cool. Will you let him/her apply for a visa to be with me?”
  3. Once the I-129F is accepted, the foreign fiancé(e) applies for the actual K-1 visa. This says, “Hey, I’m the fiancé(e). Can I come over?”
  4. Once the K-1 visa is approved, the immigrant has six months to move to the U.S.
  5. Once the immigrant arrives, the couple has 90 days to become legally married.
  6. Once married (yeah, it’s NOT over), the immigrant applies for an “Adjustment of Status,” which makes him/her a permanent resident of the U.S. and gives him/her a “temporary green card.”
  7. After two years, the immigrant receives a permanent green card.

Again, the immigrant is NOT a citizen at the end of this process. S/he is only a permanent resident, which means s/he can remain in the United States permanently, but will not have all the rights of a citizen. Citizenship is a whole different barrel of monkeys.

How long does this take?

It depends. The I-129F petition can take anywhere from one month to one year to get approved. Ours took 1.5 months. After the petition is approved, it typically takes another three to six months to get an interview with the U.S. embassy/consulate in the foreign country. Daniel’s interview was only about 1.5 months after our approval date. At that interview, the immigrant will receive an approval or denial.

Where can I get more information?

  1. Always check out the official website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services first.
  2. The Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Dept. of State) also has a helpful guide.
  3. Another great resource is Visa Journey, which explains the entire K-1 visa process with handy dandy step-by-step guides and timelines.

Visa Love

I know it’s overwhelming. I know it seems ridiculous and crazy. But, trust me: if you really love someone and cannot live without him/her, it’s worth it! If nothing else, now you know why this international bride-to-be has way too much on her plate to pick out flowers just yet!

And to you other international couples, best of luck!

Real Bride Jess: Registries … aka Buy Us Presents

Wedding registries are hard. Everyone’s telling you “don’t forget anything!” “register for more than you need!” “don’t forget China!” “you can always return it!”

Why can’t I just register for the things I want? Neither Michael nor I drink coffee so we really don’t need a coffee maker. My parents have used their wedding China maybe one time, so I probably don’t need wedding China, can’t I just get regular cute dishware? I do see the use of those “things most brides forget to register for” lists, I like to look at those lists! But I don’t think I’m a bad bride for ignoring the item Espresso Machine or Fondue Pot.

What I love about this day and age is you can basically do all of your registering online. The one thing I did want to do in person was register for sheets. I wanted to feel them & make sure that I wasn’t going to receive some thin sheet sized cardboard, but rather cloud-like perfection.

Now I thought this was going to be easy: go in, say you have a registry & would like to add to it, they give you a scan gun, boom. False. You have to sit down, they have to give you paperwork, they discuss your registry & why you don’t have certain things. I felt like I was being interrogated by undercover cops. And THEN (this part was actually the most scarring) someone has to go with you and scan what you want! You’re not even trusted to handle a scanner. The reason for this, I’m sure, is to make suggestions as to what else you should register for and drive up the amount of money guests will hopefully spend. I did succeed in only shopping for bed-related things, but she did win and get me to register not just for sheets but also for fancy pillows,a comforter and a quilt.

Will I be glad to possibly have these items: yes. After I recover from my bitchy resentment will I be glad I went to the store to feel the sheets: yes.

Ok, whining over.

I do have a confession: I am a registery-o-holic. I have four registries. I just like options! I registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Target and Anthropologie. You want to know something else? If four registries is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

 

Real Bride Andrea: Venues, Venues, VENUES!

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my original Joshua Tree location was a bust. The wind, small size, and remoteness have officially become deal-breakers. It would’ve been so hip and cool! Look at the train cars again!

Train cars

There’s a ping-pong table in the pink one!

After a few weeks of whining and pouting at the thought of having to look for another venue, some advice from The Broke-Ass Bride team, and lots of wine, I think I’ve found 3 real contenders that have me even more excited than the last one! I’ve sent out inquiries and everything!

  1. Pioneertown, CA- Pappy & Harriets and an Old Western movie set

Pioneertown, CA, is just outside of Joshua Tree and is basically comprised of a restaurant called Pappy & Harriets, a motel, and an abandoned Western movie set.

Pioneertown

Pros: We could get married on an old Western movie set! AND then we’d get to have our reception at a deserty-westerny-folksy type restaurant/bar/concert venue. This is great because (we hope) to have a really fantastic blues/folk band play as well as amazing DJ. This place would be all set up for that! Food, bar, tables, etc would all be included and provided and I wouldn’t have to worry about all that!

pappy and harriets

Cons: I never thought I’d like to have my reception at a restaurant because I’d feel like it might not be very personal. It also could be really expensive! (I don’t know how expensive yet. But it could be just as much as if I had to bring in everything myself….)  I couldn’t have a lot of say in designing the menu, use my cute bartender friends’ bartending company, decorate with all my Pinterest crafts, etc. Also, the ceremony and reception would be at two different place. I would love to cut down on how much my guests would have to travel once they’ve arrived.

pappy and harriets bar

The bar! Coooooool.

2. The Boulder House “Boulders outside. Boulder Inside.”

A large and beautiful adobe home just outside of Joshua Tree that is surrounded by boulders and the desert landscape!

boulder house

 

Pros: This place is beautiful, serene, secluded and has the desert landscape in Joshua Tree we so desire! And bonus, its an adobe house and really, really neat inside! It is large so if the elements were against us, we could move inside. It sleeps 14 so we could invite our bridal party over the night before (or after!)

boulder roomThat’s a room carved into a boulder, everybody.

Cons: We’d have to bring in everything! I don’t know that I necessarily mind this because I can be choosey about the little things, like dishes and signature cocktails. It does seem secluded, but there could be rules about noise levels that prevent us from having our awesome band and DJ. We might have to bring in equipment for them to play as well.

3. 15 Room Private Hot Spring Retreat

hot springs

The entire Desert Hot Springs retreat is rentable relatively inexpensively and sleeps several as it is spa retreat. Its 2 pools, 1 outdoor and 1 indoor, are fed by the desert hot springs! Fun fact: When it is not rented on Airbnb, it is a nudist resort. (Tee hee, “penis.”) So there’s that.

Pros: The hot springs pools! It has 15 rooms so family and wedding party could stay with us if they wanted. It would cut down on their travel expenses, for sure! The “tantric” suite could double as our wedding night suite quite nicely (wink-wink). There is lots and lots of space to prepare for the day and for the guests to meander throughout and ample parking. It is a really unique space for a wedding, so I’d have those bragging rights.

That pool gets up over 100 degrees because it's fed by a natural hot spring!

 That pool gets up over 100 degrees because it’s fed by a natural hot spring!

Cons: It is a clothing optional resort by day and I’m pretty sure I saw a sex swing in one of the photos. Not that my wedding has to be clothing optional as a result, but it could make some of my more religious guests uncomfortable. (The sex swing would come down…) This is another place I’d have to bring in everything and it’s hard to tell from photos if there would be enough space to set up a ceremony. Maybe I could make an aisle over the pool? That seems ambitious. But I’m nothing if I’m not ambitious.

I’m pretty happy with these venues to choose from. I’d love any thoughts BAB readers might have. Perhaps there are pros and cons I’ve missed?

I’m a happy wedding planner again,

 

Ten for the Weekend: Cufflinks, Crafty Goodness and more discounts!

affiliate disclosure

The weekend is upon us, so before you bust out your shopping shoes and grease up that debit card, take a gander at the 10 rockin’ deals I found for this week’s Ten for the Weekend! Whether you’re aching for some killer Cole Haan pumps or scheming ways to share your wedding photos, there’s surely something her to strike your fancy!

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.58.16 PM

1. Make sure your groom and his dudes are well-accessorized with rockin’ cufflinks.Buy 3 and Get 20% Off with code buy3get20 until 4/30 at CuffLinks.com! And if he has a killer collection already, make sure he can wrangle them in one place with a nifty armoire. Get a free Deluxe Armoire ($200 value) on orders $399+ with code gwp200 until 4/30.

2. For all you pro photographers out there, get a leap on organization this season. Score 15% Off SmugMug Professional Subscriptions for Wedding Photographers.

3. Hey, crafty ladies! If you don’t know Darby Smart by now, you should. And here’s your stellar introduction: Get 25% off all Easter crafts! (My fave are the etched jars or the bunny candle holders.)

darby smart easter crafts

4. Still looking for the perfect headpiece? I’mma help you out with that. Accessory Avenue has some stunning headpieces and now you can score one with a nice 15% knocked off with code BROKE15.

5. Apparently, this week celebrated National Siblings day. Being an only child, this is nowhere near my radar, but Cole Haan seemingly knew, and kicked off its Friends & Family Event by offering 30% Off your purchase! Ends April 15th.

6. If the hunt for wedding favors or gifts for your bridal party has you wincing at the impact on your wallet, then jump on this: American Bridal is shaving a cool 20% off purchases over $175, plus free shipping on orders over $149.

7. What would make your girls feel fancier than wearing a hot, stylin’ dress on your wedding day? Not much, and BCBG is knocking an additional 30% Off Final Cut Dresses Online Only! Valid 4/9-4/20.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 2.37.19 PM

8. Have you gotten your engagement photos back, and now are wondering what the deuce to do with them? How about getting a sweet book to display them? Even better, get that book at 50% off from Mixbook until 4/14 with code APRLMX.

9. Y’all, Groupon has wedding deals. YES. You read that right. GROUPON HAS WEDDING DEALS. Check ‘em out here.

10. One of my favorite things in life is the feel of crisp, new sheets when I climb into bed at the end of a long day. BeddingStyle.com must be reading my broke-ass mind, because they’re rocking a killer 20% off discount right now with code bed20. Valid through 4/16.

Real Bride Kate: Remember Your “Yes”

Up to this point, my and Daniel’s wedding planning has revolved around proposed dates, hypothetical decorations, and just plain uncertainty. However, this is all about to end. Right now, we are elbow-deep in paperwork, but in just a few weeks, on April 8th, Daniel will have his interview with the U.S. Consulate in Sydney, Australia. He will either leave that interview with an approval, at which point we can begin the official planning, or he’ll walk away with a denial, at which point I’ll drink way too much red wine and start back at square one.

As you can imagine, with our entire future on the line, this is a very stressful time for us. The visa process is going smoothly, but we never know what may pop up and make us reevaluate our situation. The only way I have gotten through it is remembering one thing: why we’re putting ourselves through this.

In that spirit, I was thinking about the night we got engaged, and I realized, I had neglected to share our story with The Broke-Ass Bride community! So sit back, relax, and let me send some happy, gushy, love vibes your way.

Captain America Shirt

Fortunately/unfortunately, I knew Daniel was proposing during his visit in November. After all, the whole immigration process doesn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity. Therefore, since surprise would not be part of the equation, I made two requests: don’t tell anyone else your plan and make it private.

Given the fact that he was not in his native territory, could not drive and was sworn to secrecy, Daniel nailed it.

On November 21st, Daniel and I went on a double date with two of our best friends, Teresa and Bryce. While Teresa and I were in class, Bryce and Daniel were hanging out in another town. We drove separately to the restaurant, Teresa and me in one car, the boys in another, and the guys were about an hour late to arrive. I was so angry. We had told them a specific time, and they weren’t there. After a long day of class, I was stressed and starving and just wanted to go home to bed. Of course, little did I know, Daniel was late because he was putting together a night I would never forget.

Teresa talked me down from my irritation, and the four of us ended up having a lovely dinner together. On the way home, Daniel and I drove by the hotel where we stayed during his first visit to me. As we neared, Daniel sighed, “Ah, there it is.” I laughed and replied, “You say that every time we pass here.”

Daniel smiled and pulled out a set of keys, “That’s because we’re staying here tonight.”

I knew what was happening. But my hands still started shaking, I almost missed the turn into the hotel parking lot, and I could not come up with an intelligible response.

Daniel led me up to our suite and made me close my eyes. He walked me into the room and finally allowed me to look. In front of me was a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, and this piece of artwork that he commissioned to commemorate our engagement.

Art by Pearce Hoskinson. Art by Pearce Hoskinson.

I turned around to see Daniel on one knee. At the time, I expected a speech or some other romantic oration. But he simply said, “There’s nothing else to say. Kate, will you make me the happiest man alive and be my wife?”

I had a million snarky, cute retorts rattling around in my brain. But he was right: there was nothing else to say that we hadn’t said to each other already. So I just said, “Yes.”

Was it the proposal I had always dreamed of? In all honesty, no. But the one element I had never been able to fully imagine, my fiancé, is better than any dream ever could be. After all, when you love someone more than anything, when that person knows you better than anyone, when you have shared nearly everything two people can share … you don’t need a fancy proposal. All you need is commitment, love, “yes.”

As we sludge through visa paperwork, as we have nightmares about rejections, as we hand over hundreds of dollars to the government, people ask us, is it really worth it? And there’s nothing else to say but “yes.”

If there is one piece of advice I can give to my fellow brides- and grooms-to-be at this point in my wedding planning, it is this – even when the planning is overwhelming, when the bills are stacking up, when you are ripping your hair out with uncertainty and frustration – remember why you are doing all this.

Always remember your “yes.”