Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category

Real Wedding: Ashley and Curtis’ Unique Farm Wedding

Ashley and Curtis’ sweet Minnesota wedding was put together with a lot of time, energy, effort and love. While the bride and groom did not set a budget (!!), they managed to pull off a great party and amazing wedding under around $18,000. While rain threatened to put a damper on their big day, the skies cleared up, the roads dried up and the party got started!

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Name: Curtis and Ashley Cauley

Occupation: City Planner

Wedding Location: Carver, Minnesota

Wedding date: June 21, 2014

Budget: Curtis and I decided early on that we would not set a hard-fast budget. Rather, we would diligently research every decision to be sure that we were getting the most value for every dollar we spent. For us, this didn’t mean that we were picking the cheapest vendor. Rather, we considered how the price compared to other options and whether we would be satisfied with what we got for the price we paid. Most of the time, this meant we didn’t go with the cheapest option. {After some needling, Ashley threw out $15K- $18K as their final tally – Eds.}

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How would you describe your wedding:  This will likely be the easiest question for me to answer. Our wedding was simply OURS. Growing up and getting married in a smaller town leaves you without a lot of options to make the wedding as unique as you are as a couple. Around here, more often than not people have their receptions at a golf course and serve chicken dinners. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we wanted something different.

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After several disappointments with reception halls, a family friend offered us their farm. This was an opportunity for us to make the wedding unique and basically gave us a blank slate to work with. This opportunity allowed us to pick the vendors we wanted instead of a list of four or five vendors “allowed” to cater to each venue.

Our wedding theme was inspired by an invitation at a wedding fair and Curtis’ family farm. Our classy peacock and rustic wheat theme was perfect for us!

There so many things that we did to make our wedding OURS:

  • Commemorating those who have passed before us. My mother passed away six years ago after a yearlong courageous battle against breast cancer. Then tragically we lost Curtis’ dad two years ago unexpectedly. We decided that we would pick something to commemorate our parents. For my mom, I included two pictures of my mother on her wedding day. One of which was my grandparents walking her down the aisle. This was extra special because they walked me down the aisle. Before Curtis’ dad passed away, he passed down a pocket watch that had been passed down in the family for four generations. It only made sense that he would carry the watch in memory of him.

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  • Unity tree. Rather than doing a unity sand or candle ceremony, we branched out and had a unity tree celebration. During the ceremony we followed our wedding party in watering the tree that is now planted in the yard. The tree was also a beautiful décor piece in the church.
  • Ceremony song choices. Thankfully our pastor was open to letting us select our own ceremony music. We weren’t looking for anything “crazy” but wanted music that was special to us. Truthfully I think in the beginning I overlooked how challenging finding our ceremony music would be until I started trying to find music. Curtis and I decided a long time ago that I would walk down the aisle to Look at You Girl  by Chris LeDoux.

We ended up finding a string rendition of Stand by Me that we were both absolutely in love with. After hearing it there was not a doubt this was the song for our wedding party to walk into the church to. The issue was we couldn’t download the song since it was a preview for a string quartet that plays at weddings. We couldn’t find anything that beautiful and we tried to reach out to them. After a few attempts, I got a response saying they weren’t even sure if they had a copy of it and other copies were located across the county. However, after some chatting and some research on their end they emailed us a copy at no cost.

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The rest of the music just fell into place. My cousin sang a Miley Cyrus song. Yes, Miley Cyrus. (When I look at You.)

  • Invitations and programs. Over the course of several days, Curtis and I spent probably 12 hours looking through pages and pages of wedding invitations online. We couldn’t find something that we were in love with, and we weren’t willing to spend $4 an invitation. After coming up empty-handed, I decided I would spend a few hours designing our own to see what I could come up with. If we didn’t like it, it was only two more hours wasted on invitations.

I used designed a tri-fold invitation which included several of our engagement photos. They turned out beautiful. Then the only challenge was where to print them at a reasonable price. I called around and found that our local newspaper could print them. They printed them for 50 cents each including an envelope.

To save even more money, rather than doing RSVP cards which never get sent back, we set up a Wedding Wire account. Through the account people could RSVP electronically. The website was completely customizable and allowed us to include additional wedding information such as maps, hotel information, song requests and time lines.

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I also decided to take on our wedding programs. I fashioned them like a magazine and included more engagement photos. The programs included so much more information than a typical program. We were able to include our menu, a reception to-do list, paper airplanes, our story, a heart-felt thank you and information on our wedding party.

  • Paper airplanes. I hated the idea of doing bubbles or sparklers for when we walked out of the church. I almost skipped the idea entirely but then last minute decided it would be fun to do paper airplanes. It was perfect since we are waiting to take our honeymoon to Europe. So the airplane included the following poem:

The last two years have been busy and have kept us on the run.

Therefore, we’ll wait two years to have some honeymoon fun.

That’s right folks, we are waiting until our second anniversary

to enjoy Europe’s territory

Use this paper to fold a plane and set it aside,

Then let ‘er fly when the newlyweds walk outside.

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  • Cake and pie To say that I love cake would be a complete understatement. In fact, I could easily have eaten our entire three-tier wedding cake myself. Curtis, on the other hand, is not a fan. He loves pie, especially fruit pies. When it came to figuring out what we wanted, we decided to do both. People from our church volunteered to make homemade pies, which was perfect. In fact, I believe more slices of pie went than cake.
  • Pups. We have a mini and a toy Australian shepherd. They are our babies and we spoil them rotten. It would have been completely wrong for them to not be at the reception to celebrate with us. They wore matching bowties and enjoyed the reception right alongside our guests.
  • First dance. Curtis and I did not want to do the traditional stay-and-sway for our first dance but were not looking to break out to Baby Got Back. We settled on taking some dance lessons and showcased our new moves to (I had) The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing. No, we did not do or practice the infamous lift.

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  • Shoe Game. I shamelessly stole this idea from Pinterest. To avoid knowing what the questions were I printed off several renditions and sent them directly to our DJ. This game was absolutely hilarious and gave our guests a look into our relationship with a ton of laughs. Facing back-to-back, each of us had one of our own shoes and one of the other’s shoes. When asked a question, we answered by raising the shoe of the one who was more likely to do or exhibit that behavior. Some of the questions were serious like “who is the first to say sorry” and “who is the most stubborn” but ranged all the way to “who wears the pants in the relationship” and “who runs the TV remote.” The guests said the best part of the game was watching our faces as we answered.
  • Reception. Having our reception outdoors, we had so much space to do whatever we wanted. We included a hayride for our guests from their cars (which were parked a nearby farm). Dinner was under tents. We wanted our guests to have something to do even if they didn’t like to dance. So, we had yard games (including lifesize Jenga); a campfire and s’mores; picnic tables outside; and a photo wall with endless props. We found that our guests stayed way longer than at other weddings. It think it was largely in part because there were things to do for those who didn’t want to shake their groove things. The last song played at 1:15 in the morning and we still had over 50 people at the farm –30 of which were dancing.

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What was your favorite part of your wedding? Is it cliché if I say everything? Because I mean it, the day was absolutely perfect. The wedding was personal and so full of love. Our wedding is still being talked about as being the Wedding of the Year. I think it was all the small details that made the biggest impact.

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What did you splurge on? What did you save on? I can’t really answer these questions, since we just researched and were happy with all our financial decisions.

Was there anything you would have done differently? Had you asked me a month ago I would have said started my pictures earlier. But since then we got our pictures back and there are way more than I thought there was going to be. So nothing.

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What was your biggest challenge in planning?The biggest challenge was knowing when and where to start. I felt pretty lost during the whole process. Many women have their mother to help and guide them or at the very least to turn to advice or a good cry. We had no idea how much a wedding could or should cost. I got over this by religiously using my wedding planner. I buy one for each and every one of my friends who gets engaged.

What lessons did you learn from planning or having the wedding itself?

  • Have a “get stuff done” day. A friend held a couple days where she invited us over, gave us some wine and had us work on wedding projects. She highly recommended I try it out to get stuff done. I had one day where 15 people came over to help. We polished off a lot of wine but they got projects done so fast I was literally pulling more out to do. In one afternoon they managed to get more done than I had in the last year of crafting.
  • Learn to say noWeddings equate to everyone wants to sell you their services. It’s actually exhausting to listen to people try to sell you their stuff. I’m such a softie that I have the hardest time saying no to people. Finally I had to learn what it means to say no, I’m not interested.

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  • Something will go wrong. Everyone tells you that something will go wrong but the day of everyone seems to forget that. I had been telling myself for months that I was going to stop worrying about wedding stuff at 9 a.m. on my wedding day. Best thing I could have done. I let go of my schedule, let go of my tedious type A planning and lived in the moment. I have no idea if anything truly went wrong. I was too busy enjoying the day. 
  • Dare to be different. Our wedding was unlike any of the ones held around us and it was perfect. The day was unique and filled with love. Don’t just use something because it’s the only option. Find your option.

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What were your top 5 favorite things?

Top 5 least favorite? This question is really hard to answer, since I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything went perfectly, so much so that I’d be afraid to do it over again in fear it wouldn’t go so well the second time.

So, I’ll fill this section with a major challenge. Two days before our wedding we got 10 ½ inches of rain in 24 hours. Almost every road was either washed out or flooded, houses were flooding and there was literally water everywhere. Rumor has it that our town of 5,000 made the world news. Thursday was supposed to be our set-up day leaving Friday for the relaxing day to finish up details and get our nails done. Obviously the rain made us change our plans.

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Thankfully, everyone was accommodating and we were able to change our Friday appointments to Thursday when it was pouring. Looking out the window as the day passed made the reality of how much water we were getting set in.

Our church and reception site were only ½ mile apart on a gravel road. Before we went to bed on Thursday, the road between the church and the reception site washed out. I put a message on Facebook asking friends who had some free time to come help us make up for lost time.

By Friday morning, the county was fixing the small township road (someone must have put in a good word) and 20 people were in the yard with one tent already assembled and a kitchen crew was slicing pies. It was enough to make me cry, it was so overwhelming as we were so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives.

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I only had one moment where I broke down and cried for 20 seconds. I am a Type-A planner who had a floor plan for all the tables, candy bar, cake table, DJ stand and food to fit under the tent. Well with all the rain we couldn’t use my plan anymore. I had to walk away for a minute before I realized how silly I it was. This was my wedding, and there was no way I was going to let something so silly get in the way of so much hard work, excitement and planning. In what I was planning to take a day and a half took about seven hours because so many people came to help. People say it takes a village to raise a baby, but I think it also takes a village to pull off a wedding.

This may leave you wondering how things turned out. Our wedding was the only wedding in a string of seven where it didn’t rain. Most of the yard dried out and most of the roads were at least partially opened in time for the wedding,hich was fantastic since we had so many travelers. We had representatives from 12 states joining us. Other than a few well-placed sheets of plywood no one would have known we had just had so much rain.

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What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “The details don’t matter.” I think that everyone talks about in the grand scheme of things, no one will know that it was supposed to be there or it was missing. It’s probably true but when the details are there, people talk. Dare I say it … we had Port-A-Potties for restrooms at our wedding. We placed a pop-up tent in front of the bathrooms, hung lanterns, stocked baskets with tons of grooming items, hung mirrors and rented hand-washing stations. I am not kidding … people talked about how awesome our bathrooms were.

We spent a lot of time draping the ceiling with lights and tulle. While it wouldn’t have mattered, it looked spectacular at night. I also hung large pieces of fabric at the shed entrance with a “best day ever” sign. People dubbed the wedding the “Best Day Ever” and would not stop talking about how awesome the shed looked.  

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The best? The best advice I got was to use the WedPics app. It’s an app that allows your guests to upload all of the photos they took in one space. Then people can look, download and print the photos right from the app. We ended up getting over 400 photos through the app and helped us be patient while we waiting for our professional photos. It was so fun to go look through the photos the next day and see all the smiling faces of our friends. Also, some of our friends took some photos that our photographer missed.

Any other bits of wisdom? This is so long I think I covered just about everything. Ha.

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Church:
West Union Lutheran Church, Carver, MN | Wedding Dress: The Wedding Shoppe, St. Paul, MN | Tuxes: Tuxes by Theresa, Belle Plaine, MN | Venue: Family friend’s farm | Rental company: G&K Rental, New Prague, MN | DJ: Showtime Entertainment, River Falls, WI | Florist: Corey Ann Allen Designs, New Prague, MN | Photographer: Katie Maier Photography, Belle Plaine, MN | Videographer: Kaj Kjellesvig, Friend, Hopkins, MN | Cake: The Cake House, Glencoe, MN | Caterer: Dangerfields, Shakopee, MN | Hair and make-up: The Hair Saloon, Belle Plaine, MN

The High Cost of Wedding Fear

Former BAB advice columnist / current wedding planner extraordinaire Liz Coopersmith, of Silver Charm Events, stopped by to give you guys a boost this week! Guys, there’s no reason to feel fear about or shame toward your wedding. Really, honestly and truly. It should be a very happy time in your life, because hey! You’re in love! And you’re getting married! And yes, there’s a lot of bullsh that can surround a wedding day, but don’t let that get you down. Liz explains why:

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From Bridget & Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove

I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame.

It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.

Or, in the reverse, getting upset that you’re spending so much of your/your parents/whomever’s money on one day, when you could use it on a downpayment on a house, instead.

Or, the sideways look you and your fiance give each other when I ask how you met.

Or, when you tell me how much certain family members need to be kept away from each other, or, kept away from you. And then follow up, five minutes later, by saying it’s not that bad … but seriously, everyone has to be on opposite sides of the room.

Or, how you keep giving in to what your parents or your friends want you to do, instead of standing up for what you want. Are you being a doormat?

Or, not giving into what your parents/friends want you to do, and standing up for what you want. Are you turning into a Bridezilla??

You can’t win, because you won’t let yourself win. You’re ashamed of where you are, so you won’t allow yourself to be happy with what you have, whatever that is right now.

Researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” Shame is built out of the fear that you won’t be understood. And I’ve noticed that a big reason that people don’t feel worthy of acceptance and belonging is that they don’t really think that they can ever get what they want. Not really.

I understand – there is a lot of pressure to make your wedding the best and most perfect and most beautiful day of your life. And (GASP!) there are not supposed to be any limits – financial, personal, logistical – on the best day of your life! That’s what makes it such a great day, right? Poor people don’t have beautiful and perfect days, only people with unlimited budgets do. You can’t have a beautiful and perfect day if your families are always at each other’s throats, only people with close, well-behaved relatives can. Do you deserve to live happily ever after if you met online and not through a Random Act of Fate? What will happen if you tell the truth? You want to impress your family and friends, and most of all, you want to impress yourself. It is a lot of pressure, and completely unrealistic.

The cost of wedding fear is that it focuses on what you don’t have, and on hiding what’s not there. It’s a waste of time. Plus, it makes you feel like crap.

So, what’s the cure?

1. Be honest, with yourself and with anyone else you’re dealing with, wedding-wise. Just … be honest. The more you try to hide what you’re afraid of, the more control you give it. And, eventually, it’s going to have to come out. Are you worried about being judged and rejected by potential vendors … who don’t know you? It’s business, not personal. If they can’t work with you, for whatever reason, then you can’t work with them. If they are going to be mean or snooty about it, then you really don’t want to work with them, right? Which brings me to …

2. Don’t go in looking for a fight; don’t walk into the room expecting resistance. What you look for, you will find. I’ve met with many brides who will, in one sentence, tell me they have a limited amount of money, and then tell me that’s not enough for them to have the wedding they want, and then ask me, “You can’t work with that, can you?” This is before I’ve even opened my mouth to reply. I get it – you’re rejecting yourself before I get a chance to do it, but don’t assume. Same thing with your family and friends. Tell them what you need and what you want, and then see what happens. Don’t be defensive, just have a conversation.

3. Remember that you are not alone. Not even close to being alone. If you’re facing a wedding planning problem, there are tons of other couples facing the same thing. Find them online and and seek empathy and sympathy. And solutions, too.

4. Some things will not change, but they can be worked around. If your parents couldn’t be in the same room with each other before you started planning your wedding, odds are then they won’t be able to on your wedding day. You’ve been managing your family for years, and you know how to deal with them — or not deal with them — so they don’t drive you insane. Keep doing that. The historic house you love is not going to drop their rental rate by a couple thousand dollars on a Saturday night. You are probably not going to win the lottery before then, either. Accept it. You might not have Ivanka Trump’s budget, but you’re not so broke that you can’t have a beautiful wedding day, and the love surrounding you will be free (Aww!). It is what it is. If you can’t afford Saturday night, what about Friday or Sunday? Less guests? What about a cocktail or dessert reception? Figure out what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

5. Use what you have to get what you want and need. You think you don’t have anything, or not nearly enough? You’re so wrong. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a local bridal show and see what’s possible. If you’ve picked your venue, you can ask for photographer and florist recommendations. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. If anything, you have too many choices. Keep looking until you find the best option for you.

6. Be grateful for what you do have. A fiance who loves you, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how you met them, or what type of reputation either of you had during the Bush administration. Friends and family that are happy and eager to help, even if they won’t back off (they mean well, I swear). One day to celebrate that with all your favorite people in the world. Pollyannish? Sure. True? Totally.

7. Don’t twist yourself into knots. Many a bride has overextended her budget, her patience, and her good will trying to overcompensate for a perceived lack of … whatever. Pull the brakes anytime you hear yourself saying, “I don’t want them to think … ” or “I know it’s still not going to work, but … ” Full stop. Turn around. Find an option that doesn’t make you hyperventilate. Ask for help if you need it. Take help when it’s offered.

8. Finally, give yourself some credit. You’re sitting there thinking, “HowamIgoingtodothishowamIgoingtodo thisHOWAMIGOINGTODOTHIS?”Look around! You are doing it, the way everyone does it: One step at a time.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Liz

Real Bride Tiffany: When to BUY, not DIY

Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I often convince myself that I can create ANYTHING. Even though my brain and my severe lack of patience tell me otherwise. Even so, my wedding crafting to-do list reached about 10 items too many. To resolve this problem, I turned to my best Internet friend, Etsy.

BABs, if you are unfamiliar with Etsy, get outta town! But keep reading first. Etsy is like that one friend that can do anything and everything and oh, how you envy her skills. And every now and then you find such a well-priced handmade item on Etsy that you just simply can’t turn it down. Because the cost of supplies and patience to create it yourself are outweighed by the joy in making that little click to buy a homemade, handmade item from a small business. Here are some of the items I purchased for our wedding:

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1. flower girl bracelet from Stargazing Lily | 2. cake topper from The Path Less Traveled | 3. clipart from Shh Maker Design | 4. garland from Funky Frills UK

Etsy browsing has become one of my many online hobbies, and I’ve purchased from quite a few different sellers. These ones in particular (with the exception of the clipart because you get to download it immediately and there is no interaction) feature great customer service and fast shipping. And trust me, I’ve had my bad Etsy experiences. We’ll talk flower girl dresses at a later date, maybe. But you guys already know my … ahem … skills as far as DIY is concerned, so for me it sometimes just made sense to throw money at it rather than try for the potential headache.

So BABs, my advice to you would be to take the time to browse a variety of Etsy sellers {Eds note: Aftcra is also a fabulous resource, and its wedding section is schamazing} before making a decision. Create lists of your favorites shops and items (within Etsy, not like actually on real paper). Check shipping costs and speeds. And if that cost is low enough, why not spend a little dough to check one of those many DIY projects off your list? Just click “buy” and let the Etsy pros do it for ya!

Ten for the Weekend: Chucks, Rad Grilling Tools and a Sale You’ll Want to See!

Ahhh, Friday afternoons. I’ve looked forward to seeing what’s on sale at the end of the week, a) so I can share ‘em with you and b) so I can drop some major hints for my upcoming birthday. And guys, this weekend? It’s some srsly great shit. From shoes to stationery to awesome grilling tools to one of our absolute faves, this Ten for the Weekend pretty much has it all. Get to it!

Ten for the Weekend

1. There are few things I love more than retiring a pair of beat-up Chucks only to replace ‘em with a shiny new pair that’re ripe for the scuffing. 6pm.com is kicking up to 60% off Converse until 9/14.

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I think this pair would be adorbz with that elephant dress I got.

2. The cooler weather has arrived (at least momentarily … ) and that’s prime soup and stew season! Right in the nick of time, Sur la Table is having a sale on its 7 qt. red round oven — $64.96 (normally $115) until 9/15. Get yo cook on!

3. PaperSource, the definitive, well … source of pretty paper is knocking 20% off personalized stationery. Take 20% Off Personalized Stationary For a Limited Time at PaperSource.com!

4. If you’re in the market for anything customized / personalized and just straight you, then you should probz head over to Zazzle where you’ll get 15% off all orders when you use code BOUNDLESSFUN.

5. It’s football season, which is pretty much synonymous with burgers and steaks and wings. And there’s a tool for that! Quirky is knocking 25% off its Tailgating collection through 9/16.

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I love multitools, and this one’s for grilling. It’s like, all of the winning!

 

6. Yo, braves ones! Thinking of doing your own wedding cake? Craftsy can help, and the icing on the cake (haaaaa!) is the 50% off sale on Food and Decorating classes they’re having until 9/14.

7. The change in seasons can wreak havoc on your skin. Do damage control and go ahead and knock 15% off plus score free shipping on orders of $50 or more at PaulasChoice.com until 10/7.

8. Need some new wardrobe essentials? Head over to boohoo where you can get 20% off with code GET20 until 9/14.

9. Lucky you, fall brides! Those last-minute wedding goods — think clutches, flip-flops, even a couple ties! — are on sale over at Dessy where they’re having a killer blowout sale with stuff as low as $5.

10. And finally, the piece de resistance: Kate Spade 20 % off fall styles with code FALLWD14.

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This bag needs to be in my life like, yesterday.

Happy shopping, darlings!

Five for Friday: Fun Extras for Your Bridal Brunch

One of my favorite parts of the morning of the wedding is having a great get-together over food, bubbles and beauty with friends. When my girl T got married, I jumped at the chance to stick my grubby little paws in the details of the morning-of bridal brunch. Of course, not all brides are into this event, but if you want a good way to ensure you have fun prior to having more fun, get to spend some time with your gals (and/or guys), get some food in you (VERY IMPORTANT) and start the celebratory feel a little early, then I highly recommend scheduling it in before you get ready for the main event. Here are five fun extras to kick off the festive vibe:


Gilt Gold Paper Straws – 25 Pack – $3.95

Guys, drinking out of straws is just fun, mmay?

 

c:disegnips18890_a.psVoga Italia mini sparkling wines

I’m totally in love with the sleek packaging on these bottles. They’d be great to use for guest bathroom toiletries … you know, after all the bubbly is gone!

32665903_030_aVined Advice Coasters – set of 20 for $12

 Have your crew write their advice on these coasters, then take some time to yourself before getting ready to read through them. The endearing sentiments will make their presence by your side that much more meaningful.


Pop! Photo Props – $14.95

Because, selfies. #duh


Confetti Fountain – set of 3, $41.85

I know I don’t need to tell you that confetti makes everything better. Brunch is no exception.

Are you planning anything fun and special for your crew on the morning of your wedding? Tell us in the comments below!

Ask Heather: Where Can I Find Bridesmaid Dresses?

Ask Heather: Where Can I Find Bridesmaid Dresses?

Image courtesy of Photo Pink

Dear Heather,

I have no idea where to start for my bridesmaids’ dress shopping. Help!

Apanda

Dear Apanda,

I have a confession to make: I hate shopping for clothing. Therefore, I am probably not the best person to be answering this. Hopefully, though, some of our readers will chime in and leave some comments!

I’m not sure if you’re struggling with something like choosing a color or style, or where to actually purchase a dress. If you’re having trouble with the former issues, I’d suggest starting with your bridesmaids’ skin tones and figuring out what will or will not be flattering. For instance, in general, it takes a special someone to pull off yellow. So, if your wedding colors are yellow and grey, I’d go for grey for the dresses. If you’re deliberating over what style, check out some actual weddings and see if you are drawn to any looks. For more casual affairs, I’d avoid full-length gowns. And if any of your bridesmaids have concerns about certain styles (some folks really don’t like strapless dresses), take that into consideration.

When it comes to shopping for dresses, there are several options. The first option, and the one I chose, is to simply say something to the effect of, “Buy a [color] dress that’s [this material] and [this length].” You can even leave out some of those descriptors. If you’re a bit more particular, feel free to send fabric swatches, or ask that your bridesmaids send you a picture of them in the dress before purchasing it (or make sure the return policy is reasonable). To see what this could potentially end up looking like, just check out the picture at the top of the post. Those are my bridesmaids (and bridesman, who was told “Get a grey suit. We’ll provide your tie.”) The only instructions they received were to purchase a knee-length cool-toned (blue rather than red undertones) purple dress. Bam.

The second option is to simply choose a store and go for it! This can be a David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Gap, Old Navy, or anywhere you shop on a regular basis. If you already shop there, odds are you like what they offer. There’s no reason why a bridesmaid dress has to be purchased at an official bridesmaid dress retailer (whatever that means). If not all of your bridesmaids are local to you, obviously make sure there’s a store available near them, or that the store you choose has an online presence and a good return policy.

Which leads me into my last option – online. There are some retailers who offer bridesmaid dresses online but not in stores. Target is one such store. J. Crew is another. I’m positive there are more out there, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind. If you have a favorite store, it’s probably worth looking into whether they fit this bill. I’m also a fan of Dessy and ModCloth for dress needs. You could also simply search for “[color] [length] bridesmaid dress” and see what pops up. (Also, check out BAB’s Resources page and look through the banners on our sidebar for more places to find great bridesmaids dresses. – Eds.)

Readers, how about you? What did your bridesmaid selection process look like? Where did you end up getting your dresses? Let us know in the comments below!

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Jenny Packham’s “Tease” Inspired Gown For Under $2000

Hey BABs! This week we’re helping a lovely lady get over “Tease” by Jenny Packham. She is one of my absolute FAVORITE designers. Not only does she make some of the most stunning wedding gowns you’ll ever see, she also designs amazing ready-to-wear clothing. You’ll see all of Hollywood royalty from Angelina Jolie to Kate Winslet wearing her gowns and even Princess Kate who is, ya know, ACTUAL royalty. Jenny Packham is British herself and has been making these stunning creations since 1988. I become more and more obsessed with all things British each day so it’s no surprise I adore her. So, the gal we’re helping has her eye on two Jenny gowns but I’m going to save the other one for next week so you’ll have to wait … but I promise it’ll be worth it! Here is what she had to say:

“Could you help me get over these two Jenny Packham dresses? Budget 2000 or less, but prefer to be 1500 or less. They are both unique and I haven’t seen anything else like them. Your help would be amazing!”

Well, lady, there is a reason you haven’t seen anything else quite like them … because WOW. The neckline makes it truly unique. I am in love with all the vintage flair it has. Probably why Dita Von Teese (fashion ICON) herself rocked this gown

Can't Afford It

OriginalJenny Packham’s “Tease” $6,400

Get Over It

SimplyBridal2A-Line Chiffon Gown With Beaded Bateau Neckline (Style: 80356) $306 at Simply Bridal

BestBridalPrices2Chiffon Gown With Sparkling Crystal Beading (Style: 6773) $650 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPricesDress With Swarovski Crystal Beading Draped Neckline (Style: 4MS840) $1189 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPrices4Romantic Sheath Dress With Swarovski Crystals (Style: 4SW044) $1,198 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPrices3Dress With Beaded, Embroidered, Sheer Neckline (Style: 11219) $1,348 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPrices5Satin Wedding Gown With Beading At Illusion Neckline (Style: 10182) $1,490 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDN Silk Gown From Ranna Gill (Style: 33060351) $1,800 at BHLDN

The back of this gown is insanely gorgeous and this dress, also by Ranna Gill, is very similar and on sale!

I hope I was able to give you some ideas. I will help you get over Jenny Packham dress #2 next week so STAY TUNED. Until then, BABs!

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.

Winning Wednesday: Get Your Big Day Set with Elegant Wedding Invites

We know that invitations are one of the first elements of your wedding that convey the look and feel guests can expect on the big day. We also know that wedding invitations can be super pricey. And holy bananas, are there options! Foil, letterpress, embossed, pocket, flat, square, shapes, laser cut … where do you even begin to begin?

Winning Wednesday Get Your Big Day Set with Elegant Wedding Invites

 

Made with PicMonkey

Well, you can start with Elegant Wedding Invites, which strives to provide both classic and contemporary designs at totally BAB-friendly prices, and throws in things like RSVP cards, envelopes, free shipping over $40 and easy customization. Borne from the concept of injecting humor into wedding stationery, Elegant Wedding Invites has grown to recognize the need for classic style at affordable prices.

But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get the gorgeous details that are filling up your Pinterest — Elegant Wedding Invites has stationery featuring lace, burlap, chevron … and yes, ones with a confetti-like motif. So, you know, they covered the bases. And it doesn’t stop with stationery — Elegant Wedding Invites also has favors and toppers to make sure you’re fully good to go on your wedding day.

And of course, since it’s Winning Wednesday, they’re going to shower you with some extra love: One lucky BAB will score $200 in credit to spend at Elegant Wedding Invites on anything from your full invitation suite to those little wedding extras.

As usual, each task earns you an entry. The more tasks you complete, the more entries you get, the better your chances of winning. Ya dig?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Newly Engaged? Join Team Broke-Ass and Blog Your Planning Adventures!

Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t stop the wedding fun! I know some of you may have gotten engaged this summer, and if you’re at least 6 months away from your wedding day and have a way with words, then we want you to come play with Team Broke-Ass and blog about your planning process!

Newly Engaged? Join Team Broke-Ass And Share Your Planning Adventure!

So if you dig the wedding blogging world and want to dive on in, c’mon! The water’s great! We’re looking for a few good newbies to join the fun and be a Real Bride contributor for The Broke-Ass Bride! Blog about your family dramz, dress twirlz, DIYz and all the other fun stuff, and share it with our schamazing readers. Share how you’re making your broke-ass budget work so that you can rock a badass wedding!

The right candidate will:

  • Know your way around WordPress
  • Be able to commit to a pretty regular posting schedule (but we can work with you on this!)
  • Have some writing experience — or are such a word nerd that you just know
  • Know the deadline … respect the deadline
  • Share your shizz with sass, smarts and sweetness
  • Know that e-hugs and e-high fives are the best kind of payment, since this is an unpaying gig. However, there is a possibility to earn some skrilla down the road, and we’re always happy to dole out love, ridiculously good recommendations and even the occasional freebie (plus, you get an endless amount of resources right at your fingertips)

Please send a writing sample and a letter of intro (please include information about your wedding — specifically budget and wedding date) to info@brokeassbride.com! We’ll be accepting applications until Oct. 1!