Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category

Amp Up Your Megawatt Grin with Smile Brilliant

I admit it: I’m a huge coffee and red wine fan. I mean, c’mon, how could I not be? But my teeth, on the other hand, aren’t so keen on the enamel-staining vices. They carry a very special tint all their own, one that I’m always happy to see disappear. And I would have especially loved to have pretty bright-white teeth in my wedding pics, rather than these dingy old Chiclets.

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Smile Brilliant approached me about trying out their tooth-whitening kit, and I mean, duh. Of course I’d be willing to try it.

 

They sent me a beautifully-packaged kit, complete with the tools to make my own impressions (which I sent back to Smile Brilliant’s lab so they could in turn fancify some me-specific trays), desensitizing gel and whitening gel. When my own Christen-ized trays came back (about a week or so later), I was able to get down to business — first with the desensitizing gel, then the whitening gel. Guys, make sure you follow the instructions, and similar to following a recipe, read them all the way through before you do any damn thing.

Retailing around $90, Smile Brilliant definitely provides a professional-feeling experience, and I enjoy that the whitening trays are tailored to each specific user. The company purports that the reason for this is so the trays will fit to your teeth, creating a more comfortable experience for the wearing time. I can dig it.

The entire process used for Smile Brilliant‘s teeth-whitening system can be found here. In short, it saves time and money by not having to go through the whole rigamarole with your dentist.

But Christen, you say, what about your teeth? How’d they come out? Guys, here’s the thing: My teeth suck. I had braces for eons as a kidlet, and a really shoddy job taking them off has pretty much kicked me into the Your Teeth Are Too Sensitive For Life camp. Of course, every once in a while I get a wild hair and convince myself that my chompers have magically healed themselves and I, too, can tote a megawatt smile! But nope. My teeth would barely accommodate the trays for a half-hour, so my run with the whitening process was short. But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear about your experience with them, however, if you take ‘em for a rock ‘n’ roll. Then I can be super jelly while I down another cup of java, knowing that your teeth are prettier than mine (the upside: I can down all the java and wine I want without worrying about staining my teeth … because that job is done and over).

 

 

Real Bride Tiffany: DIY-ish Invitations

I have been completely hesitant about this post because: #1 I could talk about paper for days and #2 I OVERSPENT and am mildly shameful.

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It was DIY hell but totally worth it.

When I first started browsing invitations, I hated everything. Well, not hated. But I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was also, as per usual, mildly horrified at the cost. I knew what had to happen. I would have to do these bad boys by myself. With some help. Well, a lot of help. Here is what you need to DIY your wedding invitations if you are insanely picky like me.

A graphic designer

Everyone knows someone that is a graphic designer, right? RIGHT. Well, hopefully you do. If not, browse Wtsy for an unreasonable amount of time until you find a designer’s style you like and pray that they will do custom for you! I was fortunate enough to use my MOH’s best friend and her impressive design skills. I am not even joking when I say that she designed exactly what we wanted. A modern, clean, brewery themed wedding suite. I still can’t get over it.

invites

Envelopes

Did you know that square envelopes cost significantly more to mail? NOW YOU DO. They looked so good though. 

Did you know that your printer will eat your expensive envelopes if they are too thick? NOW YOU DO. Ugh, this though. This hurt me. I “splurged” on getting pre-lined envelopes from Cards & Pockets and our printer ate most of our “extras.” Thank goodness for those extras!

I downloaded the fonts our designer used to make a super sweet envelope template in MS Word because it is 2014 and handwriting should be outlawed. If you think guests appreciate the time you took handwriting their names, then I shall tell my guests how I individually hand-fed each envelop through the printer all whilst holding my breath that it wouldn’t jam. All of this sans alcohol, because calories and wedding dress and stuff.

A  reliable and affordable print vendor

We used Cat Print for the Save the Dates and invitation pieces. I will also be using them for our programs. Their pricing is fantastic for the quality of paper they offer. I chose 130# stock because I like to give people paper cuts. And also because it looked and felt expensive. Want round corners? They can do that too. Want free paper samples? HECK YES I DO. That might have been my favorite part of this entire process and left Justin completely perplexed about the intricacies of paper textures.

A small posse to assemble all the pieces

We only had 67 invitations to mail out. And I decided that they needed that monogram AND twine. After assembling 10, I was done. Justin was a HUGE help as was my little sister (even though he can’t lick envelopes and she doesn’t know how to tie things … ). It took a little over one week to get everything done once I had the final printed pieces in hand.

helpers

You can bribe helpers with beer and also things to play with.

The final cost? Let’s break it down, shall we? This includes our save-the-dates as well.

Design: $160. for 8 hours of design
Printing: $157. 4 pieces, 80 of each with bleeds, rounded corners and on 130# stock.
Envelopes: $127. square, lined and RSVP.
Postage: $132. Those damn square envelopes.
Misc. supplies (twine, eyelets, replacement eyelet tool for the one I broke … ): $35

Total: $611 for 80 pieces. Or $7.60 each.

Is that more than I wanted to spend? Yes. But they are incredible and completely us, so totally worth it!

BAB Throwback: To See Or Not To See … That Is The Question

Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.

BAB Throwback to see or not to see that is the question

From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.

It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.

Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.

Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography

Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of  you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.

Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?

And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.

So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! BHLDN’s “Kayleigh” Inspired Gown For Under $500

Hello, BAB’s! How y’all doin’? This week we’re helping KAYlin get over BHLDN’s KAYleigh (I had to).  When I first saw the dress I was like, “Grecian Goddess.” I know it’s been a while with all the amazing requests coming in, so I hope you’re out there, girl. Kayleigh wrote in saying:

 “Help me BABs, you’re my only hope!
I fell in love with the Bhldn “Kayleigh” dress, but it’s both way out of my budget (below $500) and discontinued! I’ve been scouring the internet for a comparable dress, but I can’t find anything. I’m in love with the simplicity and softness of the dress. Long time fan!
Thanks for all you do!”

 I won’t keep you waiting …

Can't Afford It

Original“Kaleigh Gown” Catherine Deane for BHLDN (Style: 2653000) $1,200

Get Over It

LightInTheBoxMermaid Sweetheart Halter Lace Wedding Dress (Style: 00604657) $142 at LightInTheBox.com

DailyLookLine & Dot Lace Halter Dress (Style: 112672) $171 at Daily Look

RainingBlossoms2Chiffon Halter Neckline Sheath Wedding Dress With Beaded Waistband (Style: WD-3269) $190 at GoodCheapWeddingDress.com

CastlePromAndBridalBeautiful Satin Gown With Sheer Lace Overlay by Alfred Angelo (Style: 7281L) $219 at The Castle

BestBridalPrices4Strapless Floor Length With Soft Net Over Lace (Style: 8614L) $239 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDN2Romantic Dress With Soft, Light Tulle by Jenny Yoo (Style: 31062417) $260 at BHLDN

Crystal Lattice Sash $180 sold separately.

BestBridalPrices2Lace Halter Dress With Scalloped Edge Detailing (Style: 2043) $270 at BestBridalPrices.com

BestBridalPrices3Elegant Gown With V-Neckline & Sash At The Waist by Impressions (Style: 11655) $298 at BestBridalPrices.com

BHLDNFull Ball Gown Skirt With Layers Of Tulle by Tadashi Shoji (Style: 30369367) $300 at BHDLN

RainingBlossomsLace Sweetheart Strapless Sheath Wedding Dress With Bow Back Waistband (Style: SI-0066) $320 at Raining Blossoms

JCREWBeautiful Gown With High Cutaway Neckline & A Bias Cut Skirt (Style: 69879) at J. Crew

Instead of focusing on the halter neckline (which is silk charmeuse, btw!) I tried to focus more on the soft, lace detail. I almost didn’t notice it when I first looked at this dress, but the Kayleigh dress is beautiful simplicity. Keep in mind, too, that finding a strapless sheath might be the way to go, and then have your seamstress or tailor add the halter strap — since straps are super easy to add to wedding dresses.

I hope I was able to give you some good ideas. Be sure to check out the websites that are featured ’cause you’ll probably find even more options. Until next week, 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.

BAB Throwback: DIY or Die – A Step-by-Step How-To Guide To Making Colorful Paper Rosettes

This wonderful tutorial first appeared on the blog in 2012, but with the ubiquity of gorgeous, interesting backdrop ideas in weddingland lately, I figured it was a great time to take a little jump back and revisit this awesome paper rosette how-to.

I don’t know about you Broke-Asses, but spring has finally sprung (fingers crossed!) in my neck of the woods. And due to such, I thought it would be a great time to break out a bright, festive tutorial. The ladies over at A Good Affair popped this bad boy in my mailbox and I just knew you’d love it. The paper rosettes are easy, fun, CHEAP and look awesome for any wedding. 

How-To by A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production

Photos: Luminaire Images

Supplies:
2- 12”x12” sheets of paper
Glue stick or Elmer’s
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors

Step 1: Take your 12”x12” sheets of paper, and cut in half.


Step 2: Fold the 6”x12” papers accordion style with ½” folds.


Step 3: After you finish folding all the pieces, glue the end of one piece to the end of a second piece so that they overlap.


Step 4: After gluing all your pieces together to form one long accordion paper strip, take the two ends and join those together in the same fashion. This creates a completed ring of folded paper.


Step 5: Making sure the glue has dried and all pieces are secure, stand your ring upwards, and gently press the top edge outwards, with the bottom edge remaining on your work surface. This will form your paper rosette!


Step 6: If you are using two-sided paper, decide which side will be the front or back. The back side should be facing up. This is where you will hot glue to secure your rosette.

Step 7: To secure your paper rosette, take your hot glue gun (it sets faster) and put a dollop of glue right in the center. Make sure to hold down the rosette as the glue sets. If you are planning to have your rosettes double-sided i.e. both sides will be seen, be sure to hot glue right in the center very neatly.

Step 8: (Optional) Dress up your paper rosette with a simple circle cutout, or a coordinating embellishment! You can get creative!


Step 9: (Optional) To give your paper rosette a rounded edge, after you’ve folded your papers but before gluing, take your scissors and round off one side of your folded paper.


End Product: A beautiful 12” Paper Rosette!

Notes: Different paper sizes and fold sizes will give you a variety of rosette sizes and looks!

Pretty neat, eh? You down for some DIY awesomeness? I mean, it looks so simple even a DIY dunce like myself could prolly get it done.

Submitted via Two Bright Lights.

 

 

Real Bride Kate: How Our Wedding “Theme” Chose Us

First and foremost, let me emphasize that I am not one of those traditional people who believe a wedding must have a theme. I know, me, untraditional? Shocking. Therefore, Daniel and I did not approach our wedding planning with the goal of creating a theme. Instead, we chose items based on our likes and dislikes, and a wedding theme naturally emerged as our planning progressed. I want to share the questions we asked ourselves with you, not only so you can understand how our “theme” evolved, but so you can use it when shaping your own wedding theme or simply sorting out the finer details.

Invitation

This is our invitation, which features our first wedding “must,” the color red. Picture taken by our friend, Teresa.
  1. What is a must?

Think about the one style/theme detail that is non-negotiable and begin there. When it came to “choosing” a color for our wedding, it was a no-brainer. I adore the color red. As in – It. Is. My. Spirit. Color. I love red so much that I will be wearing a red wedding dress. It only made sense that red become the main color of our wedding. When Daniel began the search for our wedding invitations, he searched for ones with red accents and found the gem above from Wedding Paper Divas. It gave us our secondary and tertiary colors, black and white, which we also happen to love. Easy and natural.

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These are two of our “vintage-y” centerpieces. Each table will have a different centerpiece that can be used as a lantern for our outdoor reception.
  1. What is your style?

I don’t mean your wedding style. Think about the two of you as a couple and your material belongings. Are your wardrobes full of chic dresses and sharp suits? Is your house decorated in ultra-modern stainless steel fixtures and geometric patterns? Do you love muscle cars and collect rock memorabilia? Whatever your style is in your life – let your wedding reflect that. Don’t worry about what is trendy; worry about what is you as a couple. For me and Daniel, our style is vintage with a modern twist, which is reflected in almost every detail of our wedding, simply because we let our natural style lead our choices.

Book Mark Favor

This is the sample book mark favor from FaithfulCrafter on Etsy. Ours will have a custom reading from our wedding ceremony.
  1. What are your passions?

Think about hobbies, passions and places you two share. Figure out a way to work these into your wedding aesthetics. Daniel and I both love reading and academia, so without our even noticing it, books began creeping in as a theme. First, Daniel suggested doing a reading from Homer’s The Odyssey in homage to the “long-distance” side of our relationship. Second, we bought bookmark wedding favors (with red accents and a vintage flair, of course). Then, I decided to have bouquets made from book pages (luckily, my bridesmaids are all writers and bookworms, too!). Now, I’m running with the theme and even trying to work vintage books into the centerpieces. Books reflect our passions, emphasize black and white as part of the color scheme and just plain make us excited to decorate. What’s better than that?!

Book Page BouquetThese are the sample book page bouquets from PumpkinsandButtercups on Etsy. My bridesmaids and I are having each bouquet custom made out of our favorite novel!
  1. Most importantly, what do you want?

When it’s all said and done, you don’t need a theme or special colors or even decorations if you don’t want them. Sit down with your partner and brainstorm your dream wedding. Then, figure out how you make it happen within your budget and your personal style. I can tell you from experience: once you open yourselves up to happiness, it will find you!

In the end, I guess you could say that my and Daniel’s wedding theme is “literary vintage” with a color scheme of “red, black and white.” But, really, we don’t need those labels. It’s just us.

What about you, BABs? How did you determine your “theme”? 

Designer Dresses on the Cheap, Bass-Thumpin’ Beats and Giving the Boobies Support

You might know — or maybz you don’t — that The Broke-Ass Bride is a national partner of Brides Against Breast Cancer. Because we love the boobies, we love a good cause and their Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a great source for BABs to support a good cause and find their coveted wedding frock for a great price.

And this past weekend, the Nationwide Tour of Gowns set up shop in Fort Worth, Texas. So, with Funkytown only being a hop-skip-and-a-jump away (er, 45-ish minute drive thanks to my lovely friend Liz), I figured it would be a good time for me to go check it out live and in person, and holler at some of y’all by helping with any questions you may have and offering up a signed copy of “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide” as a raffle prize.

BAB's Christen sets up shop at Brides Against Breast Cancer's Fort Worth event

I got this ModCloth dress for the conference I spoke at in NYC a couple of weeks ago, but it’s pretty much my favorite right now … y’all, it has pockets. And it fits like a glove, even on my 5’2″ frame.

The Fort Worth event, held at the Worthington Renaissance (OMG, guys. It’s so pretty. And they have salt scrubs in the bathroom) was a two-day event, with Friday being a VIP deal (pricier tickets but with food, booze, bigger prizes and you get the first pick of the gowns) and Saturday playing host to the regular shebang.

cake babc

The food was good, the bubbles and cake were ridiculously good. I don’t normally dig fruit-flavored grub, but that champagne-and-strawberry cake on the right was so delightful.

A number of brides were able to find their dresses on the first night, and the very first gal who did find her dress was gifted a bottle of bubbly by the hotel, had a mini-makeover by the gals at Mary Kay and of course was fawned all over by everyone. Which, natch, when she came by the BAB table, I had to get a pic, too.

Bride with dress picked at BABC's Fort Worth stop

She has a face. I promise. But for privacy sake, I blurred it out.

Over the weekend, the Fort Worth show sold 27 dresses, which is pretty decent! I snuck into the dress showroom at one point to have a look around and see what kind of gorgeous goods were being offered up (there was a gorgeous one-shoulder Grecian-style Nicole Miller that was marked for around $730 — and retailed over $2,000). It’s a little chaotic, because brides are vying to get to the dresses before one-another, but BABC volunteers maintain a decent modicum of order.

The Dress room at BABC Fort Worth

 

The quality of this photo sucks. I apologize. But look at the gowns!

And gals don’t just come for the dresses — there was a DJ, who is available for weddings, set up (with a disco ball!) to hold a dance-off and keep the energy high the whole weekend. The aforementioned ladies from Mary Kay were on hand for makeup tips and tricks and a host of local vendors were set up to offer up their services and provide giveaways. I, personally, talked to probably around 200 brides the whole weekend (theres a girl who is planning a wedding in the DFW area for around $5000 and I made her PROMISE she’d email me all the goods when it’s over).

Proceeds of the dress purchases and tickets for entry go toward support and education services for those who have been impacted by cancer.

If you’re still gown shopping, the BABC’s Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a great source for finding that gorgeous dress for a BAB-friendly price, and if you’ve already gotten married, please consider donating your gown (or time!) to this awesome cause — and give the boobies some extra support!

 

Real Bride Emma: With Wedding Booze, There’s Trouble Brewing …

Let’s talk about booze. Because over here in the continuously tipsy British Isles, weddings and booze go together like birds of an inebriated feather. Weddings are often judged on just how much free-flowing alcohol there was, and whether anyone got so drunk as to not be able to remember the entire day. Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 19.47.35

via 
Just your average booze-filled English wedding.

When we booked our wedding venue, we first thought we’d just let them provide drinks and be done with it. But the more we investigated, the more we felt that by doing it this way we’d have less control over what was served, and also that we might not be able to afford the volume of drinks that we would like to offer people. Most venues offer “packages” and ours was no different. Reducing the provision to a number of drinks per head just felt a bit, well, scroogey. So we decided to provide the booze ourselves. Michael, being the hands-on and generally practical man that he is, has decreed that he will brew us Elderflower Champagne for the reception drinks. (Here is a link to a recipe if you don’t know what it is … That’s right, I linked to the BBC, because I am THAT English.) He has already done one batch as a trial, which worked reasonably well (although you have to add a bit of extra flavour to it). He promises that next year will be even better, and at a cost of around 50p (~$1) a bottle, it’ll be absolutely broke-ass to the core. Next stop is a local wine fair to bulk buy an awful lot of wine, and perhaps a few other little treats. Marvell- *hic* -ous Amdram Bride – out.

That’s Hot: Get Yourself Some Flowers from the Side of a Volcano

Yeah, you read that right. From the side of a freaking volcano. And you don’t have to spend a million bucks for it to be an actual thing in your life.

The Bouqs -- Flowers Grown on the Side of a Volcano

Relatively new flower company based out of California, The Bouqs, makes it happen. Grown either on an eco-friendly sustainable farm next to an active volcano in South America, or on an eco-friendly sustainable farm next to the California surf. So you know, eco-friendly is the key phrase here. And we like that.

We also like the price tag and the super vibrant options. The awesome folks at The Bouqs hollered at me to see if I wanted to take the experience for a test drive, to which I was all “Duh.” Flowers? Delivered to me? Yep. Sign me up, yo.

So I picked out an arrangement (Recognize! … no, really, that’s the name of the bouq) because I enjoy lilies and a buttload of color and they were on my doorstep within the week. Super bright, super colorful and easy to prep for display.

The Bouqs

Metrokitty approves.

At about $40 per Bouq, they’re a pretty great deal, and they definitely arrive in a timely manner. I was slightly bummed, as the petals started falling off after only a couple of days, but to that end: They’re cut flowers. They will die. It’s a thing. No use crying over fallen petals, amirite?

If you’re into DIY-ing your bouquet and want the blooms delivered right to you — which cuts down on errands before your big day — The Bouqs would be a pretty great way to go.

Plus then you could be all “Oh, these flowers? They’re from the side of a volcano. NBD.”