Posts in the 'budget wedding planning' Category

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! A Beautiful Tulle Ball Gown For Under $1,500

Hey BABs! This week we are helping Payton to get over a beautiful strapless tulle ball gown with a beaded sash. This is a super popular, classic design that brides all over are still wearing today.  You will see a strapless ball gown in nearly any bridal collection. This particular designer is Essense of Australia, though other details are scarce … but I can tell you one thing: I found some GREAT alternatives for you, lady. Check them out!

Can't Afford It

OriginalStrapless Tulle Ball Gown $3,000, Essense of Australia

Get Over It

BBP490Mori Lee Tulle Ball Gown (Style: 6775) $499 at

BBP650Strapless Tulle Wedding Gown With Sweetheart Neckline & Ornate Beading (Style: 8445) $650 at

BBP807Satin Tulle Strapless Ball Gown With Asymmetrical Rouched Top (Style: 20721) $807 at

BBP934Ball Gown Wedding Dress With Alencon Lace On Tulle (Style: 1917) $934 at

BBP950Venice Lace Edged With Crystal Beading On Tulle (Style: 5162) $950 at

BBP1020Tulle Overlaying Beaded Alencon Lace Appliques (Style: 1959) $1,020 at

BBP1038Knotted Tulle Bodice With Sweetheart Neckline (Style: M359) $1,038 at

BBP1049Alencon Lace On A Tulle Wedding Gown With Beaded Organza Sash (Style: 5263) $1,049 at

BBP1100Soft Tulle Pick-Ups Over Silky Satin Accented With Heavily Beaded Bodice (Style: 2052) $1,100 at

BBP1100-2Embroidered Lace Appliques On Tulle, Edged With Crystal Beading (Style: 2614) $1,100 at

BBP1280Soft Tulle Gown With 3-Dimensional Organza Flowers At The Waist (Style: 2103) $1,280 at

BBP1329Strapless Tulle Ball Gown With Sweetheart Neckline And Detailed With Feathered Applications (Style: Barbate) $1,328 at

On Sale – Originally $2,214!

Let me know what you think, Payton! I wasn’t sure of your budget but all of these dresses are under $1,400. Best Bridal Prices is a great website and some of those dresses come with a free veil and shoes! Let us know if you need if you need anything else from the BAB team! 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 Elegant Pocketfold Invitations From Download & Print!

It’s about time for a useful DIY around here, dontcha think? Digging through the BAB archives, I found this gem of free printables. Enjoy, darlings!

Today we’ve got a special treat from our pals at Download & Print, providers of gorgeous stationery templates for brides and hostesses the world over! Because they know BABs are DIY-friendly by nature, they are very graciously hooking us up with a  few absolutely FREE wedding invitation templates! First up we have this beautiful “Elegant Black Pocketfold Invitation”. You can download all the individual components for this invitation suite by clicking here. For the full tutorial, we’ll turn things over to the lovely ladies of Download & Print…

Wedding stationary is commonly one of the top ten wedding expenses, so if you are not afraid of a little work, I am here to show you how to trim that expense dramatically. With the free printables being offered to Broke Ass Brides, you can create an invitation set that is elegant, timeless, and doesn’t necessarily scream “DIY”!

What you’ll need to create this project:

-         FREE  printable templates

-          Black A7 Pocket available from

-          Champagne Metallic Euro-Flap envelopes from

-          Champagne Metallic Card Stock from

-          ‘Sand’ Card Stock 80# from

-          Ink jet or Laser Printer (or print at a local copy shop)

-          Paper Cutter or scissors

-          Double Sided Tape

Step #1: Open the template & add your wording

Download the template files and save to your computer. Open them in MS Word and type in your details.  To replicate the exact look in the photo use fonts Exmouth and Trojan Pro, which are available for free download.

Step #2: Print the Invitation & Insert Cards

Print the invitation, pocket cards, and belly band on the 80# ‘Sand’ card stock

Step #3: Cut Out the Cards, Belly Band, and Metallic Backer

The metallic backer is cut by using the ruler on the paper cutter, or by measuring with a standard ruler and cutting with scissors. The templates are cut by following the dotted lines on the template.

Final measurements after cutting should be:

-          Metallic Backer: 4⅞ x 6⅞

-          Invitation: 4⅝  x  6

-          Small Insert: 4¼ x 5

-          Large Insert Card: 4¼ x 6

-          Belly Band: 1½ x 10½

Step #4: Tape the invitation to the metallic backer

Place two strips of tape on the back of the invitation, each about 4” in length. You are aiming to leave approximately 1/8” of the metallic backer showing around the invitation. Eyeball the top edge and right and left sides and lower the invitation onto the front of the metallic card, pressing it gently into place.

Step #5: Tape the backer to the pocketfold

Using the same process as in step #4 … place two 4” strips of tape on the back of the metallic backer.  Eyeball the top, right, and left edges, then lower into place.

Step #6: Arrange the cards into the pocket

Stack the RSVP and accommodation cards in the pocket, with the shorter card on top.

Step #7: Seal the pocket with belly band

Score the belly band along the two dotted lines to the right and left of the name frame, or just make a nice, crisp fold with your hand.  Align the band on the pocket fold, wrap around and tape with double sided tape.


Optional Envelope Liner

If you would like to add a high class look to your off the shelf envelopes, a custom liner is an easy way to add sparkle.

Supplies you will need:

Step #8: Print and cut the liner

Open the PDF template and print onto your card stock. Cut around the liner design with scissors, and insert into an envelope with the design facing toward you.

Step #9: Center and fold

Center the liner onto the envelope, leaving an even space around the flap. Fold the liner flap down, creating a crisp fold in line with the envelope’s fold.

Step #10: Tape and close

Apply double sided tape to the reserve of the folded down liner, two strips approximately 3” long is ideal. Close the envelope flap onto the liner and press firmly to secure.

Is this invite EXACTLY what you’ve been looking for, or is it a tad too classy for your tastes? In either case, stay tuned for even more sweet invite designs from Download & Print


Winning Wednesday: Bedeck One of Your Bridesmaids with TopWedding

Oh, it’s been a minute since we’ve had a giveaway, hasn’t it? Well, TopWedding is here to change that.

In honor of their beautiful new arrivals of bridesmaids gowns, TopWedding is giving away one of the sleek silhouettes, perfect for a formal affair or wintry bash. With a huge range of colors and styles available, and since they’re manufactured overseas, TopWedding has dresses to complement any style of wedding theme with prices accessible to nearly any budget.

Winning Wednesday: Bedeck One of Your Bridesmaids with TopWedding

This is a sampling of the dresses TopWedding has to offer. A few of these styles are eligible for the giveaway.

One lucky BAB will get one dress out of their pick of  six different styles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). As per usual, each task below earns one entry. The more tasks completed, the more entries earned, the greater chances of winning, ya dig?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real Bride Jubilance: Finding the Right Invitations Is Harder Than I Thought

Back when we first got engaged, I had a specific plan in mind for our Save the Dates and wedding invitations. I initially wanted our Save the Dates to look like a tweet (because we met on Twitter) and for our invitations to have a nerd theme. In those first exciting days of our engagement, I started Googling, looking for possible ideas that matched what was in my head. And I didn’t find much, which was surprising (I touched on this a bit here).

Nerd invitations were pretty easy to find, but the type of nerd invitations I was looking for was scarce. My fiancé is a mathematician and I’m a chemist, and I wanted invitations that reflected both. I found some chemistry invitations, and some math invitations, but no general “nerd” invitations. There were also lots of video game nerd invites, and while my fiancé and I forged our bond over animated games of Super Mario on my Wii, I couldn’t call us gamers by any stretch of the imagination.

While I was lamenting the lack of cute nerdy invitations, I also realized a crucial point – custom invitations can be expensive, and expensive invitations are not a part of our budget wedding plan. We also realized that we didn’t have to share our wedding theme before the wedding – we could save it for the wedding and wow our guests on our wedding day. Once we decided to do invitations that weren’t custom, I started visiting invitation vendors and checking out both selection and prices.

I figured the best way to decide on an invitation suite is to get our hands on some actual samples, right? I love getting wedding-related things, so discovering that lots of online companies provide free samples gave me great joy. I wound up ordering samples from a variety of companies, including Wedding Paper Divas, Minted, MagnetStreet, and Invitations by Dawn. As I expected, designs that I originally loved online didn’t wow me once I had a physical invitation in my hand. But this wasn’t just my decision – my fiancé had a vote as well. I kinda expected him to defer to me, but surprisingly he has very strong opinions on what our invitations should look and feel like.

My BFF got married this past July, and his new wife raved about Wedding Paper Divas. I liked a lot of their designs online and also that you could receive 8 samples free! I’m all about the free stuff.

Real Bride Jubilance's Wedding Paper Divas Samples

Some of the Wedding Paper Diva invitation samples we received

Real Bride Jubilance's MagnetStreet Samples

Our samples from MagnetStreet

Once we received all the samples, we laid them all out and started comparing. First we whittled down all the ones we liked, and then we compared prices, paper options, and the ability to customize. For us it really came down to 2 companies – MagnetStreet and Wedding Paper Divas. Both are comparable in price, and both had options that we liked, both in designs and paper options.

So what broke the tie? We considered what we’d already chosen. In August we got these awesome Save the Dates from MagnetStreet, which featured a chalkboard theme in green. We thought “why mess with a good thing? The chalkboard theme totally fits into our nerd wedding so let’s carry it through to the wedding invitations”. We adore our Save the Date magnets and our guests have all raved about them and the quality. The great products and fast service have made us big MagnetStreet fans.

Real Bride Jubilance's Save the Date

Our chalkboard Save the Dates from MagnetStreet — ain’t we cute???

And that’s how we ended up choosing the Chalkboard Sweetheart Invitations from MagnetStreet. But the best part is the 25% off coupon we’re using to order them! Initially my coupon was set to expire before we attended our food tasting, but they were more than willing to allow us to use our coupon after the expiration date. Now THAT is customer service! I’m super excited to order these and I can’t wait to get them – yay!

*checks “decide on invitations off the wedding to-do list*

Next up – figuring out wedding decor!

Words to Wed By: Love Quotes for the Geeks at Heart

The words you speak when standing at the altar with your person don’t always have to come from a serious or traditional place, as long as you’re serious about the love an commitment you share with one another. In fact, some people have a hard time being serious all together (raises hand), and some people are serious about their love for geekery — and may very well want to include their favorite quotes from the land of geek. Personally, as a huge Doctor Who fan, the inhabitants of the T.A.R.D.I.S. tend to have very profound words about their interpersonal relationships. The Lord of the Rings crew? They had to stand through thick and thin to reach their destination. In fact, many of these fantasy tales could be about love and marriage and commitment — if they weren’t, you know, about warding off Cybermen or outsmarting Orcs or smuggling any number of things across the far reaches of the universe.

Words to Wed By Love Quotes for the Geeks at Heart


“Star Wars” Han and Leia rings available at Amazon

The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater. – Haldir, “Lord of the Rings”

I’m your density. I mean … your destiny. – George McFly, “Back to the Future”

I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone. – Arwen, “Lord of the Ring”

“It’s not enough to just live. You have to have something to live for.” – Commander William Adama, “Battlestar Galactica”

“You know when sometimes, you meet someone so beautiful – and then you actually talk to them, and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick; but then there’s other people. And you meet them and you think, ‘Not bad, they’re okay,’ and then when you get to know them… Their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality’s written all over it, and they just – they turn into something so beautiful.” — Amelia Pond, “Doctor Who” 

“I am of sound mind. The man next to me is the one I want. You asked me, I’m answering, yes I love that man of mine.” — Lydia Deetz, “Beetlejuice”

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.” – Gandalf, “The Hobbit”

“I came across time for you. I love you. I always have.” Kyle Reese, “The Terminator”

“Our lives are different from anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.” – The Second Doctor, “Doctor Who”

“You’re mine and I’m yours. And if we die, we die, but first we’ll live.” Ygritte, “Game of Thrones”

“Do you wanna come with me? ‘Cause if you do, then I should warn you — you’re gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past. Aliens from the future. The day the Earth died in a ball of flame. It won’t be quiet, it won’t be safe, and it won’t be calm. But I’ll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime!” – The Ninth Doctor, “Doctor Who”

Do you have a favorite geek quote that should be added to this list? Tell us in the comments!

Real Bride Katie: Planning for My Own Halloween Wedding

Hey everyone!

I’m so excited to report that things have gotten much better since my last post. The biggest and best news is that we set a date! We were getting very frustrated over the decision, which was really hard at a time of year when we’re both very busy anyway. I was even having stress dreams over it, and it is *WAY* too early in the planning process for that nonsense! We found out that the couple at the venue we wanted had confirmed their booking for 10/24, and my little sister informed us that she wouldn’t be able to attend on 10/31 either. Fed up, I made two mood boards, one for 11/7/15 and one for 10/10/15, and told Andrew to decide. He chose 10/10, and now the contract is dropped off and the deposit is paid (thanks to a lovely gift from his parents). What a load off!

Of course, 10/10 isn’t Halloween, but since our decorations are up well before October 1st every year, we’re usually deep into the spirit and we have no issues incorporating it into our wedding. We feel like it’s a win all around — we get Halloween inspired decor, no one expects to be in costume, no one has a trick-or-treat issues and all the must-have people can attend.

We decided with very little time to spare, too. Now, in addition to looking at things from the awesome post Christen made me, I get to shop Halloween clearance this weekend! Saturday will be the biggest day, because a lot of stores drop prices right away on 11/1. I’ll also be checking in throughout the week for items that are just on the Nice To Have list to get deep discounts. Here are my top 3 wants:

3. Non-Orange Pumpkins


Our colors will be a range of purples, grays, black and ivory. No orange allowed! But we still want to incorporate pumpkins. I will be looking for some like this one from Target to include. We will also probably get some real white pumpkins next year. {Psst! Katie! Check out these silver pumpkins – Eds.}

 2. Spiderweb Table Accents


Maybe not this one specifically, but lacy spiderweb table runners seem like the perfect accent for a Hallowedding table! These are also usually super reasonable, so it’s a great little decor boost with minimal budget impact.

1. Crow Lanterns


These lanterns are my number one goal for the whole trip. The orange backing is removable, so I plan to replace it with purple and have the bridesmaids carry these down the aisle instead of traditional bouquets (though I will probably have the florist embellish them a little bit). I’m a little worried because the closest Target to me is already sold out, but one of the great things about living in the city where Target is headquartered is that we’re even more saturated than everywhere else! I’ll search the whole metro if I have to!

What’s on your Halloween shopping list?

Get Inspired: Gore-geous Details for a Hallowedding

With Real Bride Katie‘s heart set on a Halloween wedding, and the spooky holiday staring us down at the end of the week, it seems like the right time for a great Halloween wedding — er, Hallowedding — style board. Rather than go with the standard black-and-orange approach, I glammed it up the morbid black with some dark purple and added a little glistening gold, so it still exudes the classiness of a wedding but with a darker feel appropriate for this spooky spectacle.

Hallowedding Style BoardDecor at top: Plum Purple Block Printed Square Paper Lantern, $12.95 at Luna Bazaar | Black 15-Inch Tissue Paper Pom-Pom (striped design), $2.75 at Luna Bazaar | Black Little Classic Hurricane Lantern, $5.50 at Luna Bazaar | Bats and Cats Paper Lantern String Lights, $19.75 at Luna Bazaar | Gild Gold Paper Hand Fan, $1.70 at Luna Bazaar | Small Gold Mercury Glass Trinket Box (pumpkin design), $14.75 at Luna Bazaar

Attire from left: Maximum Shine Black and Gold Sequin Maxi Dress, $88 at Lulu’s | Shortcake Story Dress in Purple, $54.99 at ModCloth | Odette Dress, $430 at BHLDN | Craft Cocktails Dress, $59.99 at ModCloth | Irina Dress, $330 at BHLDN

Shoes from left: Eoweriri in purple, $89.99 at | Head of the Sass Flat in Black, $34.99 at ModCloth | Fleur Those About to Walk Heel by Poetic License, $139.99 at ModCloth

What do you think of this spooktacular styleboard, darlings? How would you style a Hallowedding?


Real Bride Meg: When Pinterest Can Be Your BFF and Your Worst Enemy

Raise your hand if you had a wedding board on Pinterest before you were engaged. Is it possible you made one before you were in a relationship?!

Ladies (and gents), the wonderful, whimsical world of Pinterest can be just that — a fantasyland when it comes to wedding planning. If you are just starting to plan out your wedding day, I feel that it is my duty to tell you to take caution! Your wedding day will not — I repeat, WILL NOT — go as smoothly or beautifully as your Pinterest board makes it out to be. It just isn’t realistic. I tell you this because I care about you, but I won’t stop a girl from dreaming.

Let’s start with the bad side of Pinterest — there is a lot of DIYing involved. For the budget-minded bride, this seems like the most logical route to take. Yes, making things yourself can be a lot cheaper than buying them, and yes, craft stores love sending coupons. But, DIY is very time-consuming, and as Broke-Ass Brides, you’re working hard for your money!

Here’s a reality check: you can’t do it all. For starters, not everyone has the talent to pull off their Pinterest finds. Not only that, but if you take a look at your wedding board right now, I bet you’ll find tons of DIYs you want to do between now and your wedding. I don’t think I need to tell you how precious your time is when planning a wedding. Be realistic and take on what you can. You’re the only one who will notice if something you pinned isn’t on the cake table.

paper flowers


Photo courtesy of Pinterest via

A perfect example of what can turn into a DIY nightmare are paper flowers. I plan on sprinkling a few into my own decor to save a couple of bucks, but I’m also aware of how much time it takes to make them look how you want.

Now, let’s focus on the good side of Pinterest. In my opinion, it is the best tool for organization and ideas, especially when you’re in the very beginning stages of wedding planning. I think it is such a great tool for organization that I’ve started making individual (secret) boards for each part of my wedding, from wedding day looks to ceremony readings and floral arrangements.

And yes, it’s also good for DIYing — in moderation. While I use Pinterest less for DIYing and more for keeping track of my ideas, I have found some really cute table decoration ideas that I’ve altered to my own liking.


Pinterest’s version of a bar decoration. Photo courtesy of Pinterest via


My version of a Pinterest bar decorationDIY– made to match our personalities (and hobbies). Photo courtesy of Meg

My advice is this: every 4-6 weeks, go through your wedding board and weed out whatever you don’t like, or don’t think you need anymore. You’ll have more realistic expectations about how much time you can make for your DIY projects, and in the end, you won’t end up with more than makes sense. With that said, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your bridesmaids may be dying to get involved somehow, so reach out to them and have a DIY day. It will totally take some of the stress away and be a great way to bond.

And when all else fails, visit Etsy or Aftcra. It will definitely be a bit pricier than doing things yourself, but if it’s something you truly want on your wedding day, you’ll find that it’s worth it when you’re less stressed and/or in a time crunch. More to come on that!

Where are you finding your wedding inspiration? How do you manage your Pinterest time?

Ten for the Weekend: Cold-Weather Shopping Deals for Budget Babes

Happy Friday, BABs! I think fall has finally decided to show it’s face — albeit shyly — here in North Texas … just in time, too, since all the cutest stuff seems to be on sale! This Ten for the Weekend has oodles of gorgeous and cozy fashion finds that won’t destroy your budget, but will leave you looking the bestest.

1. A super fancy dress at a quarter of the price? Yep, Rent the Runway does just that. And go ahead and score $20 off orders $75+ until 11/1 when you use code TREAT2014.

Marchesa Notte gown from Rent the Runway

I’d love to see this gorgeous Marchesa Notte dress on a fall bride (Rent for $200, retails at $1395).

2. Speaking of fashion: Ann Taylor (#duh) is offering 50% off your entire purchase with code FASHION50 utnil 10/28.Take 50% off Entire Purchase with code FASHION50. 

3. Not one to be left behind, Lord & Taylor is taking an extra 25% off women’s, men’s and kids with their Friends & Family sale until 10/26 with code FRIENDS. 

4. Stock up on cool, casual essentials with American Eagle’s 25% off new arrivals offer — use code NEWVIBES until 10/27. 

AEO Striped V-Back Sweater Dress

This striped sweater dress (with a V-back!) would be in constant rotation — with my pajamas. Erry day, y’all.

5. Cooler weather calls for sox, but not just any old sox … Save 10% on all orders from the Sox Box using code SAVE10.

6. Flaunt your team spirit at Fanatics with 15% off NCAA sweatshirts and jackets until 10/31.

7. Get a head start on holiday shopping and get home decor, cards, calendars, etc., with Shutterfly and go ahead and save 40% off while you’re at it.

8. YO, DIY BRIDES! If you’re printing your invitations at home, you need this: Comp and Save is offering $5 off your $5 order (+ you get a free wristband) until 11/2 with code 5BC5 at checkout — so stock up on ink and toner!

9. Still in denial that winter is, indeed, coming? Book a vacation with Expedia where you can save up to 55% in Los Cabos, Mexico, plus get a 20% spa discount at select resorts until 10/31.

10. Of course, the best for last:, my own personal favorite place for all things fun, funky and design-y, is knocking 10% off sitewide (you must use this link)! Get on it!

Heart Gloves Grey Cherry by  Yastikizi

Got a cold-weather engagement shoot? These gloves would be perfect!

Happy shopping, BABs!