Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category
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Hey, BABs! It’s been a minute since we’ve had a good dose of inspiration around here. And these summer nights sitting under twinkly lights at the local watering hole, kicking back with my favorite people and basking in the love and friendship around me had me majorly inspired to dream up a pretty backyard wedding inspiration board. A beautiful, light gown paired with muted and understated earrings and a simple headband. Eclectic table accents include a sparkly runner and a lacy blue runner to highlight the varied tableware patterns and colorful glassware. A proper amount of gold and color to delight and luxuriate.
Varied and gorgeous serveware and dishes can often be found for uber cheap at thrift or secondhand stores, and you can re-donate when you’re done. The table runners and paper lanterns easily translate into gorgeous home decor items … or you can pass them on to a bride you know who would enjoy them for her wedding.
Chinese Lanterns, Luna Bazaar | “Aurelia” Hoop Earrings, Ruche | “Marvelous Maven” Heel in Mint, ModCloth | “Inside Out” Bowl, Anthropologie | Sequin Table Runner in Gold, Koyal Wholesale | “A Lace for Everyone” Table Runner, ModCloth | “Mira” Gown, BHLDN | Brass Flora Indie Headband, Ruche
What do you think of a pretty, intimate wedding under the stars with your nearest and dearest?
I wrote this little ditty two years ago, but it’s just as valid now as it was then (though my life has changed considerably). Weddings are expensive for everyone involved, and I feel like I’ve been hearing some extra griping across the Internetz about the inconvenience from a guest POV. So, let’s sit back and get our week going with these tips on how to do wedding guesting, Broke-Ass style.
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Not everyone can be a baller like Metro kitty.
We all know being a Broke-Ass Bride is about being wise with your green and making sure it’s spent in the right places and with the right people. But what about when you’re a guest at a broke-ass (or not) wedding and you’re still a broke-ass? Unlike when planning your own wedding, being a guest isn’t necessarily at the constant forefront of your mind, occupying all of your money- and sanity-related thoughts. Your life is no longer engulfed by the “OHEMGEEZ how are we going to afford to feed/inebriate/entertain everyone we know and love AND get my hurr did AND pay for alterations AND make sure our friends know how much we appreciate them with gifts AND … AND … AND … ” Well, you know.
But being a broke-ass wedding guest can still have its panic-inducing, curl-up-in-a-ball kind of moments. I’m attending a wedding June 16 in Louisville, Ky. It is one of two I was invited to this summer, and the other I had to respectfully turn down because, well wouldn’t ya know it, it was on the exact same day. It was really difficult for me to say no because the bride was one of the first roommates Husbandface and I had together when we began cohabitating. But the one I eagerly said ABSO-FREAKIN’-LUTELY to is one of my nearest and dearests. In fact, she was in our wedding and her mama has been like my own for many many moons.
But! Louisville is pretty far from my little neck of the woods. And since off-season hit Husbandface and I like a fastball right to the schnozz (sorry, it’s also baseball season), things got pretty tight around here in a hurry. With him getting laid off until his new job starts in June and me working full-time, but for a newspaper — which, as an industry, tend to be notorious for mediocre wages — I knew I had to be uber wise about how I spent my cash, money, yo. But there was no way in a blazing inferno I would let my lack of flow hinder my only vacation this year and my chance to hang with my girls.
In December, I thought things would be peachy-keen. I bought a baller new dress (on sale, from ModCloth) and began browsing some swank digs to lay my head for the week. Then April hit and KABLOOEY! I still have the dress, but can no longer pony up for the luxe life.
As luck would have it, I’m traveling with the bride’s mama. And she is super spending-savvy. First we camped out on Kayak.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com … you name it, to find the absolute cheapest airfare. Things were looking to bottom out around $500. Then, as if with a stroke of luck, the bride herself came through with the best news of all: She had vouchers from her and her fiance’s chaos-riddled journey to get to my own wedding. So, with the vouchers and a 5-hour drive to get to the nearest big airport, the round-trip tickets for both of us only cost $120. WHEW.
Next up was the hotel issue. Obviously, we wanted to stay at the hotel closest to the venue, which is the one where the block had been booked *YOU GUYS. If you don’t already know this, pay attention: Blocks often times cost money for the couple. But, if they can fill the block, they are not only saving you money (in some cases, like when we got married, HALF OFF), but sometimes they’ll even get a room for a night out of it. So really, it behooves ALL THE PEOPLE to take advantage of the couple’s legwork in setting these up.* However, it was a bit pricey to hole up there for the total of 10 days we were going to be there. So, we scoured the area for good deals. But Louisville is BIG. And we weren’t renting a car, thus we’d be relying on the bus system. And *Ta Da*!!! The bride’s Maid of Humor/Sisterface stepped in and offered up her crib AND her know-how of the city’s public transport. So, Sisterface and I are bunking down at the aforementioned hotel for two nights surrounding the wedding, and I get to play roommate with two of my fave ladies in the world for the rest of the week.
Now, I only have to scrimp and save for food, booze and other accouterments (have I mentioned it’s baseball season? Because I’m TOTES checking out the Louisville Slugger factory).
Now, I know that not everyone will luck out quite in the way I did, but between my destination wedding and attending this wedding (the first one ever I’ve had to travel for without my parents), I think I’ve racked up some tips for you:
- Camp out on travel sites. Sign up for fare-alert emails, check back daily (if not twice!) and check out surrounding airports. The town I live in is generally at least an extra $200 to fly in/out of. One an hour and a half away knocks anywhere from $50 to $150 off that price. The one we’re flying out of? It’s a fairly big airport, so it’s super cheap to fly into another major airport. The drive makes the savings worth it.
- Take advantage of hotel blocks. Even if it’s just for a night or two around the wedding. After a fantastic event, it’s so nice to go somewhere close, maybe a little more upscale than what you would normally book, and bask in the glow of what you just experienced. Chances are you’re getting a killer deal, won’t have to deal with too much in the way of transportation to and from and will most likely run into fellow revelers for nightcaps or morning coffee. You’re also helping the newlyweds out.
- Take a chance and bunk up with a fellow single traveler. You could split the cost of the room and any taxis/shuttles you take during the week. And you could make a lifelong new friend. Also, by offering this, you could be alleviating any possible whining to the bride/groom/family that may be taking place. And everyone knows a happy couple means a rockin’ event.
What are some ways you’ve found to make travel, especially traveling for weddings, a little less painful on the purse?
In speaking with a fellow bride this week (on Twitter message at close to midnight, natch), she stated, “I know you’re like Zen Master Bride, but if you need someone to hear you say unproportionally angry things, I’m here.”
Wait, what? Me? Zen Master Bride?
How sweet of her! But that simple message led me to ponder over why I’d be perceived as such, when it sure as hell feels like nothing I’m doing or feeling as a Bride is “Zen”. Here’s my short and sweet advice.
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1. Don’t freak out.
I know. Seems impossible. But remaining calm and keeping a tight reign on my notorious temper has been key for me. I do whatever possible to alleviate stress in my off time, be it relaxing, reading or running and yoga. Because if the Bride ain’t happy, nobody happy. As for emotionally, I try really, REALLY hard to not take questions or comments or jabs personally. It is so difficult to do, especially for a people-pleaser like me. But realizing that these thoughts are (mostly) coming from a place of love has been invaluable. Yes, there will be drama and disappointment and stress. Just trust me when I say that rolling with the punches is far easier than exhausting yourself with a meltdown or engaging in a bloodbath.
2. Remember your Wedding Vision.
Stick with your vision, no matter what. Now, if your vision is to have a 3-day mandatory camping excursion with 150 people in tents out in the great beyond (no kidding, this has happened in real life), you may want to rethink your ideas. Your guests will thank you for not being required to hover-pee over poison oak in the forest. But in my case, even pre-engagement, my fiance and I dreamed of a simple, intimate garden wedding in front of our nearest and dearest followed by a rockin’ meal and music. 10 months later? That’s still the forefront of our wedding in October. And by NOT getting distracted by the pressure, the Pinterest temptations or the glitz and glam of the industry, we were able to stay focused throughout all the planning on *our* vision. Is it easy? Hardly. But it’s worth it.
3. Pick your battles.
This, my friends. THIS. In the epic world of planning a wedding, there will be many battles. It is your choice entirely as to which ones you meet head-on. If someone wants to mess with your dreamy garden wedding vision and insists that you have a destination wedding in Cabo or a cathedral church wedding, well, you have my permission to squash those ideas with a quickness. (Nicely, of course.) But when it comes to the smaller nuances, use your logical and deductive skills to decide whether or not to kick up a fuss or to roll with the curveball. Everyone is different and every wedding is different, but in the end, relinquishing *some* of your bridal control can actually be a good thing.
*And pro tip from me? If someone is insisting on adding something that will either 1. impact your budget or 2. cause you added stress and lost time or 3. both, you have every right to state that you’d be happy to think about it but that you cannot incur the costs of their idea and they will need to help with the execution. The majority of the time, their tune will change most quickly. If not, and they are willing to pitch in AND you actually do like their idea, then let them run like the wind with it. Then you can keep doing you.
4. Let it out.
Please, please, please remember that you are human. Feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, stress are normal. If you keep it all inside, you’ll not only be miserable … you’ll also be dangerous to anyone within a 10-mile radius. This is when having trusted friends who know you, love you and can bear your pain are priceless. In private with them, let it out. (“In private” is critical. Do NOT go apeshit on your Aunt Milda.) Your friends should act as your Vault. With them, wail, scream, cry, whatever you have to do. Follow it up with a glass (or 2) of wine and a good night’s sleep and you’ll feel far better the next day.
So am I totally Zen? Hardly. But these lil’ nuggets of wisdom have helped keep me relatively on an even keel. And I hope they can help you remain as Zen as any betrothed person can be.
‘Til next time,
Y’all, I love helping people out. That’s part of the reason why I love working at BAB. So when my girl Becca sent out a Facebook plea for help in finding shoes to go with this dress in Ocean Blue that she’s wearing as a bridesmaid for a wedding, I was all over it. Because: Duh. I could help her and I had a great mission for my Five for Friday! The Rules: Must be able to walk on both grass and pavement (though if needed, Solemates are the perfect accompaniment for heels in grass), under $40, open-toed and low-heeled. Challenge: Accepted!
Memoir Readings Flat – $29.99 from ModCloth
Anywhere You Rome Sandal in Black – $14.99 from ModCloth
French Connection “Neola” Pump, On sale - $42.97 (original price: $109.95) at Nordstrom
Now these are veeery slightly out of budget, but considering the non-sale price, a great get. A classic shape and style, but with a slight twist and one that translates well for most outfits/occasions, so the ROI is awesome.
I just love these, and I can’t keep it to myself:
A Day in Your Shoes Flat in Noir – $34.99 from ModCloth
Girl, I hope I helped. Regardless I wanna know what you picked, mmmkay?
Which would you choose, BABs?
The next thing on my list of things to do for the big day is make a list of people giving toasts. But it feels awkward to ask people to toast to you, right? I’m uncomfortable asking. But then again — the last wedding I went to as a bridesmaid, I wasn’t asked ahead of time to give a speech. But at the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s father got up and asked why none of the bridesmaids were giving speeches. Shocked, I gave a speech that wasn’t great and that I felt guilted into. How do I go about giving my toasters-to-be some peace of mind without feeling vain? Thanks so much!
Toasts differ a bit between the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception. At the rehearsal dinner, it’s much more open-ended in regards to who gives a toast. Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, so the toasts start off with the groom’s father and can progress to include basically anyone who wants to give a toast, from the parents of the bride to the Best Man to anybody else in attendance. These toasts can be longer and a bit less formal than what you’d expect at the wedding reception. If you foresee an awkward encounter like you experienced, I’d give at least your Best Man and Maid of Honor a heads up. Or, if you aren’t comfortable with that, be prepared to take the toast reigns yourself and graciously thank your guests for attending the rehearsal, thereby avoiding any, “Why isn’t so-and-so toasting?” inquisitions.
As far as the wedding reception, the only person who is absolutely, truly, 100% expected to give a toast is the Best Man, and you have to make sure he’s prepared to give one. In addition to him, the Maid of Honor, parents of the bride, parents of the groom, and the couple themselves can also end up giving a toast. The big thing — make sure people know that they’ll be giving a toast.
For the Best Man, he simply needs to be told, “Hey, part of being the Best Man is giving the first toast of the reception. So, please make sure you have something prepared. And if you’re totally and completely uncomfortable doing this, tell us now so we can devise another plan.” This Other Plan can involve skipping him and going directly to the Maid of Honor, but it’s really unusual for the Best Man to not say anything at the reception.
For everyone else, I’d just ask them if they’d like to do a toast. If so, make sure they’re on the schedule and that they know their toast should be brief. And if you feel awkward asking people about this, think of it this way: This is their opportunity to help celebrate your brand new marriage! Anyone you ask will likely be honored to do so. Plus, it’ll mean that no one ends up getting put on the spot.
How are you handling toasts at your wedding? Will it be just the Best Man, or are you handing the microphone around a bit? Let us know in the comments below!
Hello, BABs! This week we’re going to be looking at SHOESIES again, and of course, Jimmy Choos because … duh. Liz wrote to us about these Jimmy Choo flats that are so fabulous you could wear them with some skinny jeans OR on your wedding day and they would just WORK. Liz is my kind of gal. I have never really been a heel wearing girl and I definitely can’t imagine trying to run around on one of the most important days of my life with sore feet just for the sake of fashion. No way Jose!! I love these flats because the slight heel adds a bit of sophistication so it’s not just your typical flat. So let’s help Liz out!
Jimmy Choo Finlay Square-Toe Flat In Silver (Style: #86966077) $236 at Nieman Marcus
Blue Bridal Collection By Betsey Johnson (Style: #8347807) $24 at 6pm.com
Man-Made Reptile-Embossed Flats (Style: 8330462) $27.99 at 6pm.com
Dessert Dash Flat In Silver $30 at ModCloth
Silver Fish Print Point Toe Flats (Style: 10970842) $44 at TBDress.com
Silver Glitter Mila Flats (Style: P1411) $52 at Unique Vintage
Touch Up Shoes (Style: Tamara 415/416) $54 at BestBridalPrices.com
There come in gold, too!
Sexy Ballet Dance Flats (Style: 10543365) $61 at TBDress.com
Silver Leather Metallic Finish Ballet Flats (Style: 323134402) $75 at BlueFly
So, whaddya think, Liz? I hope this helps you out. I know the right shoes can pull an entire look together. Let us know if you need help getting over any other awesome accessories for your special day. 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.
Throughout this wedding planning process, the most frequently asked question people have for me is, “Is Nessie going to be in the wedding???” I’m serious, so many people want to know if our 16 pound West Highland White Terrier will be gracing everyone with her presence on August 9th.
Now, to be fair, Bryce and I do really like our dog. We’re those people that will take her anywhere dogs are allowed. She goes to doggy daycare, has a dog park she frequents and even flew to North Carolina with us. I do tend to spoil her rotten, and will talk about her to anyone any chance I get.
I am also all for animals participating in weddings! If you cruise Pinterest, there are some adorable pictures of mutts in tuxes and tiaras, happy for their humans to be joined in holy matrimony. And it makes sense: If your dog is a part of your family, why wouldn’t you want to involve it?
The problem I have with all those shenanigans? The logistics of it. I am getting married in a theatre, and although my little nugget is housebroken, sometimes she gets confused when she’s in a location. I would be more than a little mortified if she decided to, er, relieve herself on the vintage carpeting.
Nessie loves people, but she gets a little crazy when she’s around lots of them. She also does not like to see Bryce and I, and not be able to be glued to us. I can just imagine her getting all whipped up and start whining in the middle of the vows. That’s not cute.
We would also need someone to be the dog-keeper. Obviously, Bryce, myself, our families and wedding party are going to be a bit occupied throughout the whole day, so we would have to designate someone to watch over her, take her out and make sure she gets food and water. I would feel weird asking someone invited to the wedding to be on puppy duty all day.
In short, it looks like Nessie will be enjoying a relaxing day at Greensboro’s premier doggy spa, and I doubt she is going to be torn up about missing the festivities. We’ll be sure to show her pictures.
For all of you pup parents, do you think your dog will be able to handle the big day?
GUYS. This happens sometimes, but not very often. Our partners at Gloss Jewelry are trying to make way for new stuff and hollered at BAB to see if we wanted to give you guys an exclusive code.
I mean, DUH. Of COURSE we do.
So, today only, head on over to Gloss Jewelry and pick up something, anything, for 80% off. This is not a joke. 80-freaking-percent. That’s like thisclose to being free!
I’m loving this multistrand pearl necklace for any wedding or wedding party.
And at $35 – 80% … guys, this is $7. SEVEN. DOLLARS.
So head on over to Gloss and see what you can snag with code JEWEL80!
Then come back and tell us what you got at an amazing deal!
As a wedding guest, the dress code has a tendency to be tricky. You want to read between the lines and give it your best go without having to consult a fellow nuptial-goer for fashion advice, but sometimes it can just be plain confusing. BAB tackled this issue way back in 2011 and while there seems to be a bit less rigidity these days (can guest wear white if the bride is wearing pink? Martha says yes.), many of the old tropes still apply. So here’s a refresher from the Broke-Ass archives!
I’m switching gears a bit this week to discuss something that comes up over and over on wedding forums and blogs — what to wear as a wedding guest.
Nowadays, finding something to wear as a wedding guest is almost as stressful as finding your own wedding dress! There are so many etiquette rules, so many stipulations and so many vague dress codes (“festive casual?” “dressy resort?”) that it seems that guests can never figure out which fashions are appropriate for someone else’s wedding.
There are no hard and fast rules, but I’ve been to a lot of weddings and I’ve gotten a feel for these things. So, here is my advice for what a women should and should not wear as a wedding guest.
DON’T wear white or ivory. It wouldn’t bother me personally, but it’s frowned upon in general, and some brides get so upset that they actually ask women wearing white to leave the wedding. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s better to avoid the situation altogether. There are a ton of other colors out there — choose one of them!
DO dress for the venue. If the wedding is on a lawn or on the beach, those strappy jeweled stilettos might not be the best idea. You might want to consider flats, kitten heels or wedges instead. Or if the wedding is in a fancy hotel ballroom, you might not want to wear a casual sundress with flip flops.
DON’T wear the same exact color as the bridal party, at least not intentionally.
DO dress comfortably. I think that anyone who subscribes to the “fashion before function” philosophy is glutton for punishment! You’re going to be wearing this outfit for several hours — why would you want to suffer in a dress that’s too tight or shoes that pinch? Nowadays, it’s easy to find clothes and shoes that are stylish and comfy!
DON’T wear anything that’s too flashy and/or revealing. This is a wedding, not a nightclub. The bride’s great-aunt has no desire to see your butt cleavage. Trust me.
DO keep in mind that some houses of worship have dress codes. For example, one is not supposed have bare shoulders in a Jewish synagogue. If you’re unsure about ceremony dress codes, feel free to ask the bride, groom or their families. And you could always bring a wrap or pashmina with you just in case.
DON’T dress for the wrong time of day. A slinky LBD would be inappropriate for daytime, and a pastel floral sundress wouldn’t quite work for evening.
DO remember that if you have to ask “Is this appropriate?” it probably isn’t. But also remember that even if you make a screaming fashion faux pas as a guest, it’s not the end of the world. All eyes will be on the bride, not you!
What rules do you follow when dressing for a wedding?