Posts in the 'Budget Wedding' Category

Oh, Hey There New Broke-Ass Brides!

Oh, Hey There New Broke-Ass Brides!

Heeeyyyoooo! Welcome to 2015, BABs! For those newbie Broke-Ass Brides, welcome to the party! For those of you who’ve been partying for a minute, yay! You made it through the hols, hopefully with your sanity fully functional.

Regardless, darling, you’re engaged. And that means you’ve got some biiiig things coming your way. And we’re here to help!

A great place to start would be here:

A Budget Cheat Sheet for the Newbie Bride

A Love Letter to the Newbie Brides

Jumpstarting Your Wedding

Real Bride Stories

Take your time. Take a look around. There’s a Resources button at the top of this page that has some great places where you can find your wedding essentials. We also have a Contact area where you can holler at us with any questions or suggestions you might have. We’re here to help, mmmkay?

We also have a number of wonderful inspiration posts on the blog, and many, many more on Pinterest. Oh while you’re at it, you should probs follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. We have all sorts of cool shit.

And we’re super stoked you’re here to play! Congratulations, newbie brides!


2014 Gift Guide: For the Love of Design

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

There’s nothing quite like a well-designed product — either aesthetically or for usefulness … but it’s really great it it’s both. Whether it’s sleek and simple, fun and quirky or just one of those “D’oh! Of course! It makes total sense!” (See: this cutting board, which I didn’t include because I’ve obsessed enough over it.) And of course, once I got to looking, it was like a rabbit hole of awesome. So, I present the latest installment of The Broke-Ass Bride’s 2014 Gift Guides, chock-a-block full of radly (I have a friend who is going to HATE me for that) designed goods. There’s quite literally something for everyone on this list, and it’s all under $75.

The Broke-Ass Bride's 2014 Gift Guide For the Love of Design

Top Row, from left: It’s decor and greenery! Boskke Sky Planter, $19.99 || If they get revved up by good design, let them doodle their own, no matter where or when. Moleskine Gift Box Travel Set, $47 || A magnetized bottle opener is a beer-drinker’s best bottle-cap collecting friend, and this one is gorgeous. Areaware Magnetized Bottle Opener, $14.00

Second Row, from left: It’s old-school, yet modernly irreverent and your best homie will surely appreciate every ounce of it … especially if you make the cross-stitch your own damn self. B*tch Please Cross-Stitch Kit, $20 || These little carafes with wood toppers are so cute but so sleek and would be perfect for whatever schamazing sauces you put on your foodstuffs. Zest-Dressed Cruet Set, $29.99 || I love this water filter set to the end of the Earth — it’s pretty, dishwasher-safe and BPA-free. Soma Sustainable Water Filter, $60
Third Row, from left: It’s an old-school gramophone, updated to look awesome for the audiophile in your life. Premium DIY Gramophone Kit, $55.99 || Sure, you could probs use a tennis ball or your wonderful significant other, but this thing is like MADE for your feet to help soothe stress and banish pain. Foot Rubz, $5.99 || You or a person (kid or not) you know can totally create alter egos out of little peg people, and you know it’s going to be rad. DIY Peg Doll Craft Kit, $28

Fourth Row, from left: Let your whiskey get a slight chill and a little water without tasting like the dregs of melted-ice booze. Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge, $14.95 || As a cat owner, wall-mounted vases are a mother effin’ brilliant idea. Trees Company Vase Set, $19.99 || A triple-sided jewelry stand that also evokes trees just looks schamazing, amirite? Driving You Wilderness Jewelry Stand, $24.99

Bottom Row, from left: GUYS. THIS. Because seriously, how fucking cute? Pawcet, $24.99 || Forget cootie catchers, teensy-tinesy folds or paper airplanes. Origami Sticky Notes, $4.35 for a pack of 100 || Um, how about a fish tank that also happens to grow plants and essentially sustain itself? The fish poo feeds the plants, the plants clean the water … and you just have to remember to feed the fish. Aquafarm: Aquaponics Fish Garden, $59.99

BAB Throwback: Raechel + Joel’s Autumnal $8,000 Wedding Bash

BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and some feature the Real Weddings you’ve read about in our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide.” Because we’re firm believers that photos help tell the story, we want to help you match the blog post to the Sample Budgets from Real Brides found in the book (p. 194-223).

The adorable Raechel and Joel are the perfect example of a couple who used their wit, creativity, and awesome friends to rock their budget-savvy sensibilities to the max, and have themselves a “cheap wedding” that was in no way cheap looking.

To start with, just look at their insanely creative save the date video.  (Caution: be prepared to fall in love)

Ok, so while you’re wiping the drool off your keyboard, let me hit you with this mindboggler: these two cuties threw a wedding fully funded by themselves for only eight thousand dollars. $8,000, people!

Raechel works in visual sales at Anthropologie and worked her store discount for her hair piece and earrings, and she picked up her dress from J. Crew, which she ordered online at Christmas time to capitalize on the seasonal discounts… What a smarty pants! Her bridesmaids were asked to find dresses inspired by champagne colors, and they ended up ranging in budget from $30 to just under $150…. while the groomsmen and the groom all wore mixy-matchy vintage inspired suits.

Raechel and Joel knew that they wanted to splurge on their venue so they reserved a good chunk of their budget for the art gallery where the reception was held. Their evening reception featured drinks and desserts only, the couple saved a pretty penny on catering that way.

Now get this: They actually bought all of the desserts at Costco, which was a big money saver and thanks to Raechel’s creative arranging skills, you can hardly tell they’re store bought! Another one of crafty secrets? All of the wedding decor was from Raechel’s favorite hunting spot, “Wanda’s,” an old grocery store which converted to a thrift store in the ’80s. She scored loads of old crates, silver platters, wooden hat boxes, and milkglass vases for around $50 buckaroos. Talk about getting bang for your buck!

They went the friendor route by buying all of their flowers wholesale and enlisting the help of a buddy who loves doing floral arrangements. The bouquets were tied together and finished off with some vintage champagne lace that Raechel scored at a thrift store for super cheap, and they looked like the bomb diggity. Getting your florals wholesale is a very simple fix if you’re a broke-ass DIY bride.

Our favorite part? Raechel’s words hit deep in our hearts when explaining the day: their wedding was much more of a community event than a random mix of vendors. Every one of her friends were an essential part of something special by helping the wedding come together. Raechel and Joel sure know how to pick ‘em!

So what have we learned from Raechel and Joel? Work at a cool clothing store simply for discounts, have friends who are photographers, culinary experts, and floral lovers, and live off of desserts and sweet treats only! Just kidding, but trusting in your own creativity and leaning on your loving and crafty friends is a lesson from which we can all benefit!

How are you using your friends and family to make your big day special? Are you decorating the space yourself? Are wholesale flowers calling your name? Let us know and send us some wedding porn of your own for us to drool over!


Real Bride Emma: Singing a Song of Savings about Wedding Music

OK, as promised I shall tell you all about the music I have lined up.

So far we have only gotten as far as booking the evening stuff, but I am already very excited about that. Music is a big thing for both me and Mike, and we wanted to make sure the evening reception was a proper party.

I have been incredibly fortunate enough to sing professionally with a few bands in Bristol, but one lot stood out to me. They’re ridiculously talented, lovely lovely people, and I knew that they’d be perfect for our wedding band. They are: Speakerbox.


via Speakerbox

But a band wasn’t enough. We needed something to take us all the way to midnight — so enter another fab friend of ours, Wesley Henderson-Figg and his awesome company U-Turn.

So far we’ve just booked his DJ services, but I’m pretty sure if we continue to make savings like we have done, then we could be tempted by the chocolate fountain or the popcorn cart!


via Wesley Henderson-Figg

So there you have it. The evening reception music is sorted, and I couldn’t be happier.

We still have to think about music in the service, but that’ll take some time as we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to performing friends. I don’t even know where to begin …

Till next time all,

Amdram Bride – Out.

*boogies away from computer*

Winning Wednesday: Toast To Love with Darby Smart’s DIY Etched Champagne Flutes

We’ve talked about my DIY skillz before (read: they don’t exist). If I were set out into the wild of crafting land (Michael’s), I’d have no freaking clue where to start, what kind of goodies to get, etc. I mean, it’s very likely I’d get caught in a vortex of “Oooh! Shiny!” and “Lookit all the pretty coooolllloooorrrrsssss!!!” and I’d walk out with paint and glitter and nothing to affix them to.

So, naturally, when I discovered Darby Smart and their very no-nonsense “We’ll send you all the shit, and instructions, and you just have to sit down and DO IT” approach to DIY and crafting, I was totally intrigued. Because I like making things and showing them off, but I kind of really need cut-and-dry instructions and no wiggle room to mess it up. Though, it’s very likely I will still find a way *foreshadowing*. And then looking at Darby Smart‘s website, and ogling at all the things I could actually like, do, the world very quickly became my wannabe-crafty-DIY oyster. Really, they got me hook, line and sinker with the animal figurines affixed to … anything.

So, of course, I hollered at them, and they happily agreed to send me a kit. I really wanted the Champagne flutes — they have two kits for Champagne flutes, and I didn’t really care which one, I just knew I needed to have them. A few days later, an adorably turquoise-and-chevron box arrived on my doorstep.

And then it sat on my table, and then under my table for a while. Because you guys, DIY is intimidating.

Until this past Sunday. That handsome guy of mine had to go into work for a while and I was kind of binged-out on Netflix and it was a fairly sunny day, so the light in our living room was awesome and my workspace was calling to me. So I poured some wine and got to work (yes, it was past noon, and no, DIY can’t be done without alcohol in the circles I run in).

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Much to my surprise — though it shouldn’t have been, because the instructions were like, stoopid-simple — it was easy. 

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1. Tape off design you want — the kit comes with stickers (shown on the “Drink” flute) and I used electrical tape for my own stripey design. I also taped off the top part of the glass where lips were to touch it, because I have this super weird thing about texture and the texture of etching makes my teeth hurt.

2. Slather on the etching glue. No, seriously, lube that baby up. Protip: Brush all in the same direction to give a smoother appearance. And watch out for clumpage, because that’ll also make it look, well, clumpy.

3. Let dry. Wait. Drink wine.

me wine.jpg

4. Rinse with warm water. You’ll want to make sure all that clumpage I talked about rinses off.

5. Untape. De-sticker. Revel in your masterpiece.

finished flutes.jpg

OK, so maybe they’re not some grand masterpiece (maybe I should have just etched the inside of the letters instead of the whole thing) but they’re still pretty freaking rad. And now I have Champagne flutes! Certainly those ladies with more DIY skillz than me will be able to conjure up some baller designs.

Oh, and hey, BABs, you can totes get in on this, because Darby Smart is giving away one of these Etched Champagne Flute kits!

darby smart giveaway.jpg

As per usual, each task earns an entry. Open to US residents only (sorry loves!) Good luck, BABs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real Wedding: Courtney and Carli’s Sentimental, Intimate, Barn Loft Nuptials

You guys, ever since one of the brides, then the photographer, made contact with me about featuring this wedding, I was dying for the whole thing to land in my inbox. I knew it was a story full of love, but I didn’t know all the deets nor had I seen any photos yet … but I just knew it was one that would tug at my heart strings. And oh man … You can actually feel the love emanating from the words and pics. The wedding was held at 11 a.m. in the loft of the barn where one of the brides had ridden horses prior to their move to South Africa. Their sweet pup, Kobane, even joined Courtney and Carli — bedecked in a bow tie and all — for the reception. As conservationists, the brides had their wedding bands made from recycled silver and formed to resemble budding twigs. All of the decor was reminiscent of their relationship through the years, or was an actual piece of their history! So sit back, relax and enjoy all the love from this gorgeous Canadian wedding!


Names: Courtney & Carli le Roux

Occupation: Conservationists

Wedding location: Rockwood Park Stables, New Brunswick, Canada

Wedding Date: 24 May 2014

Budget: $2500 CAD (~$2,305 USD)

How would you describe your wedding: A very intimate, quiet and special day full of small touches that are “us”; from the suitcase of letters we’ve sent each other, to books bound in twine that we’ve shared, hand written menu cards and an “our story” board.



What was your favorite part of your wedding? We loved how intimate it was, and how every tiny element held meaning. Exchanging vows was the favourite part, because we wrote them in the same room at midnight the night before we were married, but didn’t get to read each other’s.


What did you splurge on? Our photographer. Photos of the day are absolutely beautiful and we are a bit panicked even at the thought that we nearly didn’t have them.


What did you save on? Food, venue, dresses, decor and rings. We self-catered everything in a brunch-style buffet. Our venue was the hay loft of the barn where one of the brides rides and was loaned to us for free, so long as we cleaned it out and set it up. We managed to find an off-the-rack dress that was not only 50% off, but fit one of us perfectly, and the other was handmade by Courtney’s mother. The décor was all handmade and items that we already owned — from old suitcases and books tied in twine, to an old typewriter and vintage camera with case, and we made our archway out of branches that had been broken in a recent winter ice storm. We used old tables that were already in the barn and covered them with inexpensive linen, and used items and dishes that we already had to decorate them. Our rings were handmade and found on Etsy, and were given to us as a gift by Courtney’s sister, Alishia-Marie.


Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We are really happy with how everything went together, but we really shouldn’t have spent so much time and energy worrying about the food. We stressed ourselves out about it and on the day, there was no need — we had far more than enough, and everyone who attended would have been fine even if there hadn’t been. The day was about us, not the food, the decorations, the dresses.



What was your biggest challenge in planning? We planned everything in less than two months, and initially we hadn’t intended to use the hay loft and so trying to find a venue in such short notice was a bit stressful, until we were offered the loft. If you can, use a location that doesn’t require much decorating, and something that family or friends own — a nice, big yard, a cottage, a beach — it will save so much time and money.



What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Whatever happens doesn’t matter — the day is about you as a couple, and nothing else. Anyone at your wedding will understand that. Relax. It isn’t actually as serious as it’s made out to be — the commitment you are making is, but the day itself isn’t. And have fun! The things that go “wrong” make wonderful stories.


What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

1 – How intimate and personal it was.
2 – That everything in the room had some kind of meaning to us.
3 – That the place we got married at had so much meaning for us.
4 – I had a surprise FaceTime call from one of my closest friends, who was unable to attend because she is living in Korea.
5 – The ceremony itself. We rewrote the template ceremony given to us by our officiant, and it made it so much more special.


Top 5 least favorite? We can honestly say that we have nothing to fill in here, other than we wish certain people had been able to make it.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? Have favours! Print programs! You need this … You need that …
Basically, people forgetting that the wedding was ours and ours alone, and that we were free to do whatever we pleased.


The best? Just enjoy it, and it’s about you. When we would get stressed out or worked up about something that really didn’t matter on the day, we were reminded of that fact. That all that mattered was us, and that we were happy.


Any other bits of wisdom? We know that so many people say it, but it really is not worth the stress. All that matters is that that paper gets signed – everything else is just for fun.


Budget breakdown?
$1000 Photogtapher Alicia Robichaud of
$350 Dress for Carli, that needed no alterations
$75 Fabric for Courtney’s dress, hand mande by my mother
$250 Food, self-catered (and delicious!)
$275 Officiant
$100 Marriage License
$100 Hair for both of us
$100 misc DIY decoration supplies, linen, dish and chair rentals, etc.
$250 Wedding shoes, which were riding boots that are still being worn by both of us
$225 for both recycled silver wedding bands, given to us as a wedding gift.
$2500 Total

Congratulations, ladies!

Do you have  a wedding you’d like to submit? Email for details. 

Real Bride Tiffany: Our Budget-Friendly Wedding Website

Ah, the wedding website. A necessary thing in this day and age. And a necessary thing for someone like me who hates answering questions. It is on the Internet, I say! I do actually always say that … don’t ask me, puh-lease just Google that shizz.

We wanted traditional paper invitations because: #1 I love me some paper and some graphic design and; #2 not all of our guests are completely Internet savvy and would prefer the snail mail version anyways. But we did also want a website for more information that wouldn’t be included anywhere else … the entire point of a wedding website.

The thing about those websites though, well, some of them can be QUITE cheese-tastic. I appreciate the free templates that a variety of wedding sites offer. They just felt very much so not us and not actually as customizeable as they claim. But paying for one? Out of the question. Paying $15-$30 a month or $75-$100 a year was just not something we were interested in.

Our solution was simple. We both have experience with blogging platforms, which are typically free. We both have remedial to not-so-remedial design abilities. We can DIY this website!

Step 1: Use a blogging platform to build your site layout and customize away. We used Blogger because that is what we were both comfortable with at the time. I used dafont to search through about one billion (free!) font options and nearly went blind. And the I used Photoshop to create the header and buttons {Eds. note: If you don’t have Photoshop, try PicMonkey}.



Step 2: Fill in the blanks! We left out the traditional wedding website sections such as “our story” and crap like that because, honestly, if you don’t know our story you probably won’t be invited in the first place. We chose to include: wedding details (duh), accommodations (featuring a map and all of the details needed to book), around town (for the out-of-towners to explores during their visit), registry links and our email addresses for contact information (featuring a picture of that cat because she needs to be included everywhere). Oh AND an open letter to Bill Murray which we will get to at some point during this journey …





Step 3 (optional, but no one likes clunky URLs and grandma isn’t going to remember that whole “blogspot” inclusion so help a sister out): Purchase a domain name from somewhere like GoDaddy (we paid about $15 for one year).

Now, I must warn you. Our website is nowhere near as awesome as this one, but it is still pretty dang awesome AND hopefully will meet the needs of all of our guests. And at the end of the day, it cost us only $15. Done and DONE.

Five for Friday: Beauty Essentials to Swear By

Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! It’s Five for Friday time, and this week I’m going to share with you my five favorite — nay, necessary — beauty products. My skin is often a hot mess, a combination of dry and oily, and prone to breakouts that timewarp me back to my adolescent days (because that was a great time). I’m also amazingly *blessed* with fair skin, rosy cheeks and hyper pigmentation that leaves a racing stripe on my forehead and a mustache-y shadow on my upper lip. Oh, and my hair? Blond, thin, fine and brittle. But, I’ve found a number of products that actually help me look and feel better any ol’ day of the week, and since I’m not a selfish asshole, I might as well share!


Everdeep sent me a trial kit a while back, and while I’m always a little skeptical of skincare lines that claim to work magic, I love the face wash. I use the whole line, and since it only comes as a kit, it’s tough not to. But the product that stands out the most is the Radiance Revitalizing Cleanser. Used in conjunction with my Clarisonic, I’ve actually noticed a pretty substantial drop in breakouts. And it tingles when I use it, which sends my  “OMG it’s working!!!” sensory chips into overdrive.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.48.32 AM


Now, I know these are expensive, but I’ve been using my Clarisonic Mia (in this color, even!) for two years now and the exfoliation helps with the pigment problems and seems to help lessen the oiliness I feel in this Texas heat. And the lazy girl in me likes that it runs on a timer so I don’t have to actually count the 60 seconds it takes to cleanse my skin.

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Moisturizer is a must, regardless of how dry my face feels. And since I’m fair-skinned and really enjoy patio-drinking, sunscreen in my daily moisturizer is a must in my beauty regimen. Olay Complete All Day UV Moisture is super light, not oily and is affordable, so it’s easy for me to re-up whenever I need to. And there’s nothing in it that irritates my skin, which is pretty awesome, because I don’t need any more of that going on.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.58.16 AMI have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to replenish my stock of Moroccanoil Treatment, but I can’t wait until I have enough cash to do so, because my hair has been hating me without it. As I said, my hair is blond, fine, thin and brittle. And I don’t get it trimmed very often (averaging once a year here, folks), so I need all the help I can get to make it a little more pliable and pretty. At the behest of my very favorite hairdresser and good friend, I started using Moroccanoil Treatment about five years ago, and it’s probably the longest-tenured product in my regimen. It smells good, makes my hair soft and seems to help protect it against split ends and breakage, which I’m totally down for.

Pour Over the Plans Bottle from ModCloth


An awesome water bottle (this one is from ModCloth) in a BPA-free material. I don’t want any cray hormone-scrambling chemicals to come anywhere near my water. My water filter is made from BPA-free material, so my water bottle is too. I prefer glass, because I think metal tastes weird. We all know hydration is key to all the things health-wise, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve skimped on that high-quality H2O a time or two over your life. Since I’m sort of an all-or-nothing kind of gal, the way I force myself to sip on the clear stuff is to make sure that it’s essentially my only option for thirst-quenchery in the house. And I like to pep it up with strawberries, kiwis, oranges and cucumbers so it’s not quite so … meh. Plus, with a cute bottle like this, I’m more likely to tote it around with me. Because it’s the pretty things, right?

What beauty essentials do you swear by? What’s included in your everyday essentials?

Real Wedding: Bridget and Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding


Man, you guys, I’ve been seeing so much about Palm Springs lately. I know it’s full of opulence and wealth, but it’s also pretty … pretty. And so many shimmering turquoise pool! Bridget (also Dana’s literary agent!) and Steve tied the knot in a very intimate but very gorgeous ceremony at a Palm Springs rental house surrounded by their closest family, then whisked away for a sweet dinner with everyone. Sit back and take in all this beauty!STEVE + BRIDGET EPFAVS-24

Name (s): Bridget and Steve Matzie

Occupation: Literary Agent and Economic Development Consultant for Usaid

Wedding Location: Palm Springs, CA

Wedding Date: 3/10/2012

Budget: Somewhere around $10,000


How would you describe your wedding: Beautiful, casual and intimate (immediate family only), self-designed ceremony with readings from our favorite pieces of literature and our own vows.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Exchanging our vows and drinking lots of fancy Champagne afterward.



What did you splurge on? Champagne, dinner, rental houses, limo.


What did you save on? We lived in India for two years before we got married and we saved a lot by getting our rings, my dress and Steve’s suit made there.


Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Skipped the limo that we hired to take us to and from dinner. When we picked up our rental cars for the weekend Hertz gave us two awesome convertibles and those would have been more fun. We initially hired a small wedding planning firm but found them disorganized and the whole process of working with a planner more stressful than just doing everything ourselves. We ended up canceling the contract with the wedding planner.



What was your biggest challenge in planning? Designing a wedding from so far away — we live in DC.


What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? A fabulous wedding really doesn’t need much. And you can still feel all the wedding love and specialness with only your immediate family there.



What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? Our vows, the toasts that friends and family sent, which were read at dinner, the Palm Springs weather and setting, the houses we rented and my dress (modeled on a Monique Lhuillier design).


Top 5 least favorite? The limo, that’s really it.


What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? We didn’t receive any bad advice, but we ignored most traditional wedding suggestions in favor of our own style.


The best? To write our own vows.


If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges? We were together for 11 years before we were married so the challenges are essentially the same.



Any other bits of wisdom? Make a really strong effort to thank your partner for everything they do that you like and appreciate. Sometimes we can fall into a trap of letting our partner know what we don’t like, and when we’re upset, and we forget to compliment and thank. It feels so good to have even small things acknowledged. Also — compliment your partner in public and in front of family and friends — it makes it even better.


Budget breakdown?

Dress: $350, Made by a tailor while we were living in India

Steve’s suit: $300, made by a tailor while we were living in India, J. Crew tie

Rings: $2,000, made by Genesis Jeweler in India

Photographer: $1,500, Roger & Lyndzee Ellsworth from EPLove

Limo: $600

Honeymoon: $820 for 3 nights in Borrego Springs, Borrego Valley Inn

House rental for ceremony and lodging for most of family: $3,366, VRBO 262201

Cocktail hour catering: $385, Jennifer’s Kitchen and Catering

Private dinner for 13: $1,940, Villa Royale Restaurant 

Decorations: done by my mom

Bidal bouquet: David Madison / Madison Workshop West