Broke-Ass Tag: budget wedding planning


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Hello BABs and happy Thursday! Is it Thursday again already?! This summer has gone by so fast! School starts this week — or has already started — here in Northeast Ohio, and there’s something about back-to-school that always reminds me of the movie Grease. Maybe it’s because that’s how the movie begins … Anyway, the tail end of summer’s soundtrack is always a Grease medley for me. (Ok now I’m totally dating myself, whatever. ) I may or may not know the lyrics to “Hopelessly Devoted to You” well enough to sing karaoke. Even my local drive-in movie theater (which I still have yet to get to this year) plays some of the same vintage commercial trailers that you see in the movie.
Right on cue comes reader Hannah’s nostalgia-filled request (via comment on this CAI/GOI post), complete with a full, tea length skirt, a ’50’s vintage vibe and some swiss dot fabric:

I can’t afford this dress and I need to get over it! What I love about this dress is that it screams me: polka dots, a bow, pretty pearl buttons. It’s feminine but not overwhelming, quirky, cute, and fun. My future honeydew and I don’t have a whole lot to work with so I would like to spend under $400 on my dress! Help, please, and thank you! <3, Hannah

Well aren’t you adorably polite, Hannah! A veritable Sandra Dee! Thank you for submitting your request, now let’s see what we can find!

Can't Afford It

House of Mooshki Daisy 1

House of Mooshki Daisy 2

House of Mooshki Daisy, >$2,000

Get Over It

Unique Vintage 1950s Ivory Dot High Society Swing Dress

1950’s Style Ivory Dot High Society Swing Dress, $138 at Unique Vintage

Polka Dot Tea Length 50's Wedding Dress MillyCouture

Polka Dot Tea Length 50’s Wedding Dress, $199 by Etsy seller MillyCouture

Candy Dot Dress AmandaArcher

Candy Dot Dress, $385+ by Etsy seller AmandaArcher

BHLDN Chloe Dress

Chloe Dress by Jenny Yoo, $250 at BHLDN

Vintage Inspired Tea Length Wedding Gown

Vintage Inspired Tea Length Wedding Gown, $350 by Etsy seller EllanaCouture

1950's Ivory Swiss Dot Strapless Swing Dress Unique Vintage

1950’s Ivory Swiss Dot Strapless Swing Dress, $98 at Unique Vintage


1950's Style Swiss Dot Sundress xtabayvintage

1950’s Style Swiss Dot Sundress, $325 by Etsy seller xtabayvintage

Retro Polka Dot Tulle Tea Dress 50shouse

Retro Polka Dot Tulle Tea Dress, $160+ by Etsy seller 50shouse

J.Crew Ivory Clara Dress in Silk Chiffon

Ivory Clara Dress in Silk Chiffon, $295 at J. Crew

White Polka Dot Tulle Wedding Dress MichyLouDotCom

White Polka Dot Tulle Wedding Dress, $350 by Etsy seller MichyLouDotCom

BHLDN Celia Dress

Celia Dress by Hitherto, $180 at BHLDN

(Other colors available at different price points.)

1950's Mary Jane Style Polka Dot Dress

1950’s Mary Jane Style Polka Dot Dress, $358 by Etsy seller PixiePocket

Retro Polka Dot Illusion Wedding Dress 50shouse

Retro Polka Dot Illusion 3/4 Sleeve Wedding Dress, $180+ by Etsy seller 50shouse

Aisle Be There Dress ModCloth

Aisle Be There Dress in Lily by Trashy Diva, $165 at ModCloth

1950's Style Wedding Dress with Petticoat

1950’s Style Wedding Dress with Petticoat, $399 by Etsy seller PixiePocket

Kennedy Blue Ashton

Ashton Dress, $160 at Kennedy Blue

(Also in white.)

Retro V-Neck Polka Dot Wedding Dress

Retro V-Neck Polka Dot Wedding Dress, $165+ by Etsy seller 50shouse

Lisa’s Bonus Pro Tip: Add a petticoat slip (maybe in a bright color?) under a fuller skirt for that ’50’s retro vibe, and rock out in a beehive or victory rolls ‘do! Take it up a notch by learning to swing dance for your first dance with your boo. 

Hannah, I hope some of these alternatives will help you to find the pinup-inspired gown of your dreams! Let me know in the comments below! I’ll just be over hear craving a vintage soda float with the soundtrack to Grease stuck in my head. 😉

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.
  • 8/27

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    I’ve always been a sucker for details. Little extras. Special additions. Something nice turns into something great with a little extra oomph and as I prepared to send out my formal wedding invitations, I needed that little something extra, so I armed myself with another calligraphy pen, some awesome vintage stamps I purchased on eBay and the sweetest little way to add an extra personal touch: the Epson LabelWorks Ribbon Printer.

    calligraphy envelope and Epson LabelWorks printed ribbon

    Since there was no inner envelope (hello, extra $$$) in my invitation suite, I was looking for a way to band my enclosure cards together. LabelWorks lets you choose from a buttload of fonts before you add symbols, borders and special characters. The simple script font coordinated well with our invites, but you can go as casual, fun or professional as you want with the choices!

    LabelWorks Script Font

    The printer works with special cartridges that combine a half-inch ribbon spool with a coordinating color foil for writing. The gold on navy went perfectly with my suite, so after inputting our names and choosing a font and border, I hit print to test it out. The characters filled up about four inches of space and the screen tells you the finished print size when you hit start, but I needed the ribbon to be long enough to wrap around the cards with room to fasten in the back. All I had to do was hit the advance button twice before and after each print before pressing the easy cut button which leaves your ribbon with a nice clean edge. I just used a little craft glue to secure the ribbon and let them dry before stuffing envelopes.

    Overall, this machine is incredibly easy to use. You’ll want to grab the instruction book for your first time, but the directions are simple to find and follow. One of my favorite features is the ability to save your work if you need to take a break. Your first design is automatically saved, but if you have multiple uses for the printer, you can switch back and forth with ease!

    Epson LabelWorks monitor

    The cartridges are a little pricey. A $20 spool yielded 26 ribbons at about eight inches long, so in the end, I chose to wrap the ones being sent to friends and family who would appreciate the extra frill. A short Thank You ribbon for favors will go a lot farther. It may not be a super Broke-Ass way to add a little extra shine, but after hand addressing over 70 envelopes (again!), it sure felt easy, and if you’re a regular crafter like me, it’s a worthwhile investment.

    Are you looking for some special personalization to your wedding? What have you tried? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 8/26


    It's less than two months to go 'til the wedding, and in my waking hours I am nothing but serene. Everything is progressing nicely, budget looks tight but good, and Mr Fiance and I are getting more and more excited about the big day. So why are my nights plagued by stress dreams? I know BAB has talked about wedding nightmares before (wedmares, anyone?), but I…

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    We love Minted -- we've always loved Minted -- because they have stunningly amazing stationery. But when we got word through a little birdie (in the form of an email from Minted) that they were launching Print-It-Yourself wedding stationery, we kind of died a little (in a good way). Because, you guys, this super affordable option to get the gorgeous designs Minted offers up without spending…

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    Remember this post? When I wrote it, I was right about at the 6 month mark. By the time you read this, I'll be right before the 6 WEEK mark. Holy crap, does time ever fly! And I am pleased to report that the checklist has been significantly reduced.  Of course, a couple of those projects are still enormous, and I definitely still have *plenty*…

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  • 8/21

    Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! I know we cover wedding stationery a lot -- I mean, we just did it for Five for Friday, but we rarely cover the other little paper goods extras. Menus, place cards, programs, thank yous ... they get skipped over a lot. Hell, once I started down the rabbit hole of non-save the date and invitation paper goods, I was blown away…

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    A little reminder can help. Print by Etsy seller Hairbrainedschemes My friend Mindy is a Disney wedding blogger, and during her Q&A on Periscope (@MindyJoyM) yesterday, a bride asked her if she should cut one of her bridesmaids. It wasn't working out. Her bridesmaid didn't seem to be into the wedding and all it entailed, should the bride let her go? What would the best way to do…

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    Have you seen BHLDN's Fall 2015 line yet? Well, you should get on that because, as always, it is gorgeous! Today's CAI/GOI request is from reader Kyla, who emailed us looking for some help finding a dress similar to BHLDN's Valentina gown, from the Spring 2015 collection. Oh, the ruffles on the back of that gown! What an unexpected surprise as you walk down the…

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  • 8/20

    This summer has been nonstop. I finished my spring semester graduate class in mid-May, then jumped into wedding mode full-time (on top of full-time employment). The wedding was at the end of June, then honeymoon, then three days after we got back I started an accelerated six-week summer semester. We rehabbed my apartment, got a new dog and un-rehabbed the apartment until the dog is done…

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