Posts in the 'Budget Wedding' Category
The second I got engaged, I got down to business. I started watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” (All 1,000 seasons. Atlanta too. Also, there’s spin-off called “Randy to the Rescue.” Research is hard.) My pin pinning on Pinterest increased by 600% and I created a secret board to share with only my bridesmaids and an even more super-secret board for my eyes only. I created an account on The Knot, I researched venues, flowers, cakes, shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses, photographers, DJ’s, etc! The list goes on. All things wedding related bring me joy and I spend hours fantasizing how amazing mine will be. It seems extreme, but it’s only natural, right? Wedding planning is so fun!
Photo by Smileham
Until you realize that, since it is all you think about, it is ALL you have to talk about. I went out with one of my bridesmaids and her new boyfriend the other night. She was just back in to town from an interview in Austin, Texas and her new dude was just back from 3 months on a ranch in (only coincidentally) Texas, so I was really excited to hang with them both and catch up with my girl. This was the first time I would really get to hang out with her boyfriend. She really likes him, and if he’s gonna be around for a while, I want to like him and for him to like me, too! I invited them to a new, cool, swanky joint that opened up right behind my apartment. It’s one of those foodie-type burger joints with signature cocktails. I was sure to impress both my bridesmaid and the boyfriend with my taste and awesome personality! As they arrived, we greeted each other with hugs and grabbed a spot at the bar. Pleasantries were exchanged but as soon as my bridesmaid asked, “So, what’s new?” I immediately replied with, “Well, I think I’m going to do a long-sleeved wedding gown because I think it’s so different and…” and continued with, “and I think we’re going to do signature cocktails named after our cats and…” and continued with, “and each centerpiece will have a succulent because it goes with the desert theme and…” I went on and on. I looked and noticed the boyfriend’s eyes completely glazed over after several minutes of this and I began to have an out-of-body experience. It was like I could watch myself as I droned on about vows and shoes, and I could hear how awful and boring I sounded. There was a time and a place for this and it was NOT while you’re trying to get to know someone. So, I tried to stop. I tried. ‘Change the subject, Andrea’ I thought. ‘Think of something else! Let’s see, current events?? You haven’t read the news in weeks! New music? What was the name of that band? Politics?!?! DAMMIT!’ I could not think of a single thing to talk about that was not wedding related.
At home with Travis, I realized that I was probably doing the same exact thing. Weddings can really suck you in and take you out of real life! NOW I understand why couples have to cut the wedding talk down to once-a-week. But, with my wedding over a year out, I need to cut my own wedding thoughts down to once-a-week. Otherwise, I might be unbearable to be around! Now, I do think that those who are your good friends will be understanding of this and most will want to talk wedding with you. But I would also like to remain a good friend. Also, I used to be a really interesting person….
So I pledge:
* For every book or article I read about weddings, I will read a real life book or article.
* For every show I watch about weddings, I will watch a real life show.
* And finally, for every blog I write about weddings, I will write a real life blog. (To make this applicable to you, the reader, change “blog” to whatever it is that you create or think about that makes you feel good.)
I can’t believe I still have over a year until this wedding and I’m already wrangling in the crazy?? I feel a Bridezilla brewing inside of me and I’m scared.
Here’s to hoping the pledge works,
As a blogger and overall blog enthusiast, upon our engagement I made sure to add every single wedding related blog I could find to my reader. Every. Single. One. I had more than 100 posts to gaze at each day, and while it was fun at first it quickly because tiresome and then just flat out annoying. And the thing that annoyed me the most? The overused wedding theme adjectives. You’ve heard them, you have!
Rustic Handmade Traditional.
Vintage DIY OMG PLEASE STOP.
The theeeeeeemes. The adjectives. That is the second question that people ask. When is your wedding and what is the theme? At one point during my extreme frustration with the theme-machine, I created my very own: Whimsical Sharknado.
No, that isn’t really our theme.
I understand that an overall style is important for planning decor. It just gets taken too far and with many of the weddings and couples featured in the posts, it becomes very clear that the theme doesn’t resonate through their entire life. Do you typically wear cowboy boots every day? THEN WHY ARE YOU WEARING ONE WITH YOUR EXPENSIVE AND GORGEOUS WEDDING DRESS? And because of these themes, weddings look less and less personal because brides begin to think that their decor needs to fit a certain expectation. We are getting married in a barn? Then we HAVE to have burlap and mason jars. And OMG don’t even get me started on mason jars. YOU GUYS THERE ARE OTHER JARS TO USE, I PROMISE.
So what is our non-theme theme? I call it “sh*t we like.” While it is mildly brewery influenced, the decorations will just be what makes us happy. We didn’t pick set colors. I just saw some flowers I liked at Trader Joe’s and said, “THAT COLOR!” We don’t have a singular adjective to describe our wedding. Well, besides awesome. It will just be us and things that make us smile (okay, mostly me because I don’t think that garlands make Justin quite as giddy as they make me).
Whoa, hello rant post! But really, I find this to be one of the biggest conundrums with the wedding industry. Don’t let yourself get stuck in one theme…just do what makes you happiest, even if it can’t be described in one word.
Many of my 50Peach.com readers have asked me what Atlanta bridal boutiques I’ve visited and/or especially “Did you go to the one on TV???”. It’s worth mentioning that there are TONS of bridal boutiques in Atlanta and that these are the five that I personally chose to visit. And of course, that all opinions expressed here are my own.
Alfred Angelo - Dunwoody, GA – Big selection, reasonable prices and a very helpful consultant who was quick to throw on the veil, bling sash, etc to spice up the dress or evoke a reaction. This location had a very pressured-to-buy feel, in my opinion. Based on my descriptions/pictures I brought in, they picked the dresses for me. Photographs of the dresses were allowed. Everything was in my budget. It was a bit of a shock to have a male consultant, but I was asked in advance if I was comfortable with that. And for the record, I was covered in a bustier and a petticoat slip the whole time and he left the room as I transitioned in and out of those underthings. It was all very professional and discreet. I tried on about 8 dresses here, but in the end, I just didn’t find one there that wowed me. This was also my first ever dress shopping experience, so I’m glad it allowed me to get a feel for the process and the types of styles I do/don’t like. It really got the kinks out!
Follow up? I received one canned email from the store/consultant + a personal email from the consultant a week afterward, but both were still a bit on the pushy side. For example, from the personal one, “As you know your gown is the most important part of the wedding and will set the tone for everything else.” Way to make me reach for the Xanax, dude. And how about no?!?… The fact that I’m marrying my PERSON is the most important part of the wedding. Grrrr.
David’s Bridal - Atlanta, GA (Buckhead) – DB Buckhead also had a great selection, including the Vera Wang WHITE line, very reasonable prices and a super fun male consultant who was not as pushy with the sales pitch or with slapping a veil on my head. I was given a description of their dresses by designer and was allowed to pick my own top dress choices, which he then pulled in my size and brought to me. Based on those, he brought me similar designs that he thought may work. He was fun, understood what I was looking for and made it a very pleasant experience. Pictures were allowed. Everything was in my budget. I tried about 7-8 dresses here too, but nothing popped for me. In the end with David’s, as my fabulous consultant said, “Well then, your dress is not here. And that is okay.”. WOW, that was refreshing! Surprisingly, there was no pushing for a sale and no hard feelings or annoyance because I didn’t buy. Which makes me more than willing to somehow utilize David’s Bridal for something else – accessories, invites, bridesmaid dresses, etc. in the future. Classy of them.
Follow up? My consultant called me personally a few days later, asked if the stories were true about Bridals by Lori, asked if we had any luck with bridesmaid dresses and expressed his willingness to help with anything else I may need. Very sweet. I will certainly reach out to him first if I go with David’s Bridal for anything else wedding-related!
LaRaine’s Bridal - Atlanta, GA (Highlands) Hand down, my favorite boutique. From the renovated house filled with dresses and nooks and chandeliers and fireplaces to the overall warmth of their atmosphere, LaRaine’s made us feel at home and happy. Pictures were not only allowed, they were encouraged and even taken by their staff if requested. The owner LaRaine herself dropped by during my appointment, made me feel welcomed and pretty, and shared a Long Island connection with my MOH. The majority of dresses in LaRaine’s are hung in the top floor of the house, arranged by designer. I was allowed to choose my first round of 5-6 dresses and it was easy to stay in the budget – all dresses were clearly marked and there were plenty of options in my range. My consultant loved how dorky/down to earth we were and soon we had her cracking up and having fun with us. There was even a moment when I stood alone behind the curtain (practically naked) trying to cool off after trying on a particularly heavy gown and when I poked just my head out, she fanned my face with her clipboard. Bless her, because damn, it’s crazy how hot you get under all that material!
Follow up? I received a personal email from my consultant the next day, complete with little pieces of info I’d told her during my visit. Not canned. (Appreciated!) She asked if my dress was still the front runner out of all I tried on, expressed willingness to help with a 2nd appointment if needed and echoed our funny humor. The friendly, personal followup made it easy to reply back and fill her in on my findings from elsewhere. I will 100% work with this consultant at LaRaine’s Bridal if I return there for a second look.
Bridals by Lori - Atlanta, GA (Sandy Springs) Yes, THE Bridals by Lori of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta”. Sadly, this boutique was my only disappointing experience of the four I visited. If you would like to read my full, no-holds-barred review, you may find it here. But for the purposes of this post, I will only say that I would recommend Bridals by Lori only if your budget is above $3,500.00 – 4,000.00. If your budget is below that range, expect to encounter severely limited options of inferior quality samples. I don’t say this lightly. But it is the truth. Pictures were firmly and absolutely not allowed. (???) And see also, bringing me dresses above my budget. Not cool, yo. In summary, I’ll quote myself and say “in my humble opinion, no bride should be made to feel inferior because her budget cannot stretch to meet the price of fame.”
Follow up? It took WEEKS to hear from them, but my consultant did finally call to ask if I’d be scheduling another visit with them. I politely deferred with a promise to let her know if I needed anything else.
New Natalie’s - Norcross, GA. This place was highly recommended not only by my wedded friends but also numerous Atlanta bridal blogs (The Little Canopy has a great summary!) The difference with New Natalie’s is that they stock over 800 gowns at lower prices. Though some reviews have said it has more of a factory/department store feel, I didn’t find the experience to be any less intimate. I still had a one-on-one with a very kind consultant who bent over backwards to find what I was looking for. It was also great that they carry samples in many sizes; it’s so much easier to see the final product when the dress isn’t cinched to death or you’re popping out of it. I did this visit solo but had some friends on text-standby to weigh in on pictures. FYI, photos are not technically allowed there, but my consultant felt for me since I was alone. I tried on another 6-7 dresses at New Natalie’s, but struck out. The two that were the closest to my style were either too plain or way over the top. Nothing hit the sweet spot, unfortunately, but I do recommend New Natalie’s for Atlanta brides on a modest budget who are willing to venture outside the box a little. They have TONS of beautiful options, in all sizes, styles and budgets!
Follow up? Nothing to date.
There you have it. In summary, I was (mostly) delighted by my Atlanta dress shopping experience and learned a great deal about how the bridal gown industry operates. There are differing techniques of selling, trying on, and overall feels of appointments. In the end, it all comes down to what gives you enough warm and fuzzies to buy your dress with them. But damn, it sure helps if the boutique hits the right balance of personal, fun, professional and quality.
I’ll have another (BIG) post on the dress I actually went with soon!
Till the next wedding adventure,
Your “I dos” are a moment of gravitas, a quiet but weighty culmination of your decision to spend your lives together. In honor of their serious decision to make this commitment, Destry and Lanny decided on a similarly intimate wedding ceremony and reception: 40 invited guests, immediate family and the closest of friends. By this decision, they were able to spend more time with the community that has watched them sow the seeds of their relationship, helped them nurture it, and witnessed it flourish.
Names: Destry & Lanny
Occupations: Destry is a design drafter, Lanny was an administrator for a private travel company but currently attends business school full-time
Wedding location: Kingston, Idaho
Wedding date: July 27, 2013
Wedding budget: My crazyperson spreadsheet tells me our final total was $4,300-ish. We didn’t give ourselves a hard maximum. Instead, we decided to spend by priority. Neither of us gave two hoots about centerpieces or expensive favors; instead we cared about food and photos and got INCREDIBLY lucky on both counts. While we spent a lot less than the national average, we still feel like we spent an enormous amount of money for one day.
Approximate guest count: We limited our invited guests to 40, but counted on 35 attending for sure. We only invited our immediate family members and very close friends. Destry is the oldest of five, so you can imagine that it adds up quickly.
How would you describe your wedding? At the risk of sounding cliché and ridiculous, I’d describe it as a balance of country, rustic and vintage. We kept it subtle though. We didn’t want guests to feel like we were beating them over the head with kitschy crap. We didn’t have time or energy to invest in kitschy crap either.
What was your favorite part of your wedding? It’s a cliché, but it’s so true: It’s really hard to choose one favorite. I would say that driving from our hotel to the venue together was so special and important to me. We both had a chance to be alone together, in our own car, just being together, quietly. Because we knew it was going to be such an emotional day, that short drive was so important to both of us.
We were lucky to have an equally-meaningful moment alone at the end of the night after everyone had left. The sky was inky black with bright stars and the barn was lit up with twinkling lights woven throughout the Virginia creeper that covered its entire frame; we stood silently at the top of the hill wrapped in a blanket, looking down upon the scenery and reflected on the deluge of pure love we’d experienced that day.
What did you splurge on? Without a doubt, the food and furniture were our most costly expenses. Our wedding was held over 60 miles from our home in Spokane. So, we felt it was important that we provide a really solid meal to our nearest and dearest if we were going to drag them to a mountain farm in the middle of the woods. Have you ever been to a wedding on a Saturday at 6:30 pm, only to find that it’s a cake and punch reception in the church gym/basement/lobby? Those are basically the worst (in my opinion) and we were against that at all costs.
Additionally, we really scored with a venue that embodied everything we hoped for and wanted to provide some aesthetic continuity by using furniture that didn’t clash. We found an up-and-coming furniture rental company out of North Idaho who provided some stunning pieces for us.
Also, I know it’s silly, but I totally went all out with my hair as well. I was pretty close with my hairdresser at that time, but after her two previous attempts at formal styles left me crying in the car we decided to go another direction. My hair is fairly long, but I wanted it longer for the wedding, so she offered to pick me up some extensions with her discount and color them to match my hair. After several unanswered texts and voicemails left me feeling like a jealous ex-girlfriend, I bought the hair myself and scheduled an appointment with someone else. I ended up spending a small fortune on the whole ordeal, but it felt worth it: $200 for the hair, $70 to color it, $50 for the trial and $100 for the wedding day style. (I feel compelled to note that I’m still pissed that I spent as much as I did on the day of the wedding because the salon’s active price list shows the trial hair as included in the total price.)
So, what became of my former stylist? Well, I finally heard from her three days before the wedding letting me know that she had blocked out the entire day and we could go get hair, color and style it starting at 9 AM. A note about that – the wedding took place on a Saturday, and the hair extension shop isn’t open on weekends, so despite the sketchy billing practices, I am glad I opted out.
What did you save on? Ev-er-y thing. We saved by doing our own flower arrangements – actually, we didn’t use flowers at all. We bought raw cotton online and put everything together. The allergic reaction was totally worth it. Picture, if you will, my then-fiancé and I in our non-air-conditioned kitchen, trimming and cleaning raw cotton bolls. We spent countless hours picking dried leaves out of the cotton so we could spend ADDITIONAL countless hours stringing each one just-so on jute twine and arranging them into our respective bouquet and boutonniere.
I had intended to splurge a little and treat myself to a morning of girly pampering, however that never materialized. I scheduled a makeup trial a few weeks prior to the wedding, but I didn’t feel that this woman was listening to me. I’m 30, and I don’t think it’s in my best interest to try out a new personal style on my wedding day. I’m old enough to understand what looks good and what works for me. Since I’m a jeans and hoodie kind of girl, you can imagine how hard it was to mask my disappointment when she revealed my potential makeup. Winged eyeliner and I are never going to be best friends, nor do I have aspirations of acquainting myself with berry lip-stain. Adding insult to injury, I paid $75 (after tipping, because I’m a doormat) for a look I couldn’t wait to wash off my face.
Ultimately, I didn’t feel that she was especially honest or talented so I lied and canceled my appointment about a week before the wedding, citing something about the cost being budget-prohibitive. The (supposedly) agreed-upon rate was $100 for both sessions, but I had already effectively paid the bulk of it after listening to her talk shit about everyone else in town while she applied makeup that didn’t match me or my coloring. After the rage-tears subsided, I went to Nordstrom (alone) and met with the only kind of makeup artist I can trust with utmost confidence – a gay man. I showed him a photo and he whipped my look into shape, directing me to all the right products and showed me how to recreate his work at home. I hugged him, and practiced nearly a dozen times before the wedding and I’m thrilled with my choice to do my own.
The piece-de-resistance, though, were our photographers. We happened to have two very close friends who are, not only incredibly talented, but provided their services for free. Without their generosity, as every bride knows, we would have EASILY doubled our expenses.
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Looking back, I would have asked more people to help. We would have had a little more fun during the planning stages if we’d allowed more folks help us out from the beginning. Instead, we stubbornly refused offers for help until much closer to the wedding date. That cotton-stringing party I mentioned above? Ultimately, my in-laws came to the rescue with four additional hands for stringing.
I can’t quite remember why we were so secretive about planning, but I suspect part of it had to do with a bizarre idea that someone might steal our ideas? Weddings make people crazy. Like, crazy-crazy.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? 1.) Hurt feelings. If I had known beforehand, how personally other people would take our wedding choices, we might have eloped. We received unsolicited suggestions, advice, and requests for invitations for people we’d never conceive of including in our celebration. It was an ongoing challenge of (and testament to) our patience, kindness, and ability to tolerate other people.
2.) Money. It would be so much easier to throw everything on a credit card, but that’s not our style for anything we do in life. We felt incredibly fortunate to have been in such a position that allowed us to do everything we needed and wanted to do on our own terms. Still, having more money might have abbreviated our timeline considerably but we don’t regret any of it.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) have a contingency plan. ALWAYS. For good measure, have three or four backups. We picked out a favorite restaurant to host our rehearsal dinner and made reservations to hold the date (I can’t remember if we paid a fee or not). A month before our wedding, my best friend drove up from Portland, Oregon for a bridal shower hosted by my mother-in-law and I had hoped to take her to dinner there … as we were walking up to the building, it dawned on me that they weren’t just not open, they were closed. Like, for good.
Obviously, we ate elsewhere, but I was determined to keep from getting ruffled by the situation. Later in the week, my fiancé and I ate at another restaurant that had recently undergone a major renovation and appeared to be a great place to host our rehearsal – so we booked it on the spot.
By sheer bad luck, we were forced to resume our search on June 17 (about a month before our wedding) because our second choice BURNED DOWN. I crowdsourced suggestions on Facebook and had friends beg me to stop ruining Spokane with our wedding. It was about this point that I stopped giving a shit about it but it turned out to be better than I ever could’ve imagined. A family-owned bar/café where we spend Saturday nights playing trivia stepped up to bat and hit a grand slam (those are the same sport, right?) with how they handled our dinner. We told them how much we could spend, the headcount, and offered a vague suggestion of the kind of food we liked. It was such a success that our families are still raving about it to this day.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? It was a day full of love and laughter and ridiculously delicious food. Because we chose to invite literally nobody outside our immediate families and our closest friends it made the day so ridiculously special, I still struggle to elucidate my feelings.
Top 5 least favorite? We had a lot of people offer to help or provide something (mostly food) and we were far more comfortable hiring people to do that job for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) sanitation. Remember, if you will, the comment above where I mention that the venue and our hometown are sixty miles apart – now imagine chicken salad, pasta salad, potato salad, and basically mayonnaise-based anything in someone’s back seat for nigh on two hours. Sounds like fun, right? Sorry to let the booster club down, but I’m not trying to battle diarrhea on my wedding night. For the sake of feelings, let’s just say it’s because I want everyone to have a good time and avoid being unfairly labeled bridezilla, okay?
One of my photographers is married to a former marine and bodyguard. Why on earth is that even remotely of consequence? Because my husband’s ex-girlfriend (one he’d broken up with before we even met; IN 2002.) has a super-adorable habit of making her presence known. Neither of us expected anything especially dramatic, but he studied photos as a precaution and kept her out of sight when she did, in fact, show up.
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “Just relax! It’ll all come together” – Everyone who ever planned a wedding but experienced a subsequently immediate Telenovela-style bout with amnesia. Nothing ever just “comes together” and anyone who suggests otherwise probably didn’t have a DIY wedding if you know what I mean. Are you fucking kidding me? RELAX? I am relaxed (sort of), but I am still allowed to give like, ONE shit about how this day goes down. Will I remember all of it, not likely; but I don’t expect to.
The best? From my older sister, more than ten years ago: “Wedding planning is so stupid. It is literally the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever done.” Having done it, I can confirm that she’s right. The wedding itself wasn’t stupid, but the kinds of things that consumed my thoughts throughout the planning process were so cosmically insignificant; but they felt so god damned essential in the moment.
Second best was between my husband and me – it became kind of a mantra between the two of us: “This is our party; our wedding is not our marriage.”
Any other bits of wisdom? Just Relaaaaax! Okay, I’m kidding … kind of. It’s easy to get upset and overwhelmed when people overstep boundaries, but standing up for yourself is the best thing you can do when you’re planning your wedding. I desperately wish I had just told a few vendors to piss off directly instead of skirting the issue as if their feelings were supposed to take precedent above mine. I wish I had been more assertive and direct when people acted in a way that made me feel like they were taking advantage of an emotionally charged event. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. (Except write some passive-aggressive Yelp! reviews.)
Oh, and don’t you dare listen to anyone who has the nerve to tell you that you must spend more or else your wedding won’t be “everything you ever dreamed of.” Your wedding will be everything you dreamed of because you’re marrying someone you love. Anyone who suggests otherwise is presumptuous, snide and condescending.
Wedding vendors and links:
Venue: French Gulch Farm and Garden, Kingston, ID
Furniture Rental: The Attic, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Catering: Couple of Chefs, Spokane, WA
Bride’s Makeup: BRIDE!
Flowers, bouquet and decor: Bride and Groom designed all decor using dried wildflowers and cotton purchased online. Tabletop arrangements were styled by Groom’s brother and sister in law. (Bride made bouquet, Groom made his own boutonniere)
Rings: Bride (same ring, except blue) Groom
DJ: iTunes, operated by Groom’s brother
Invitations: Designed Online, Printed at Home (We purchased the full suite; including save the dates, thank you cards, and custom map)
Photographers: Andrew Callaci (Portland) and Nicole Varnell (Spokane)
In the short time I’ve been engaged, I feel like I’ve got a lot of the big stuff done. I’ve booked my venue (an awesome 1920′s theatre in downtown Greensboro), secured my photographer, found a DJ, my dress is hanging safely in my parent’s spare bedroom, and I’ve sent out my save-the-dates. My mom recommended I assemble a spreadsheet as to track my expenses. Now, to be honest with you, math and financial responsibility have never been my strong suits, so I was a little apprehensive.
She walked me through all the columns and rows, and everything looked good. I was well under budget and feeling pretty good about it. Then, today, I remembered the caterers (Apparently its in good taste to feed people when they’re coming 1,000 miles for your wedding). We’re having Carolina barbecue for our meal, which is damn tasty (and cheap). Since I don’t have to give them the final head count until 3 days before the wedding, I calculated as if every single one of our guests RSVP’d yes.
YIKES. If everyone shows up, I will officially have approximately $250 left for the following:
- Flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, etc)
- Any decorations
- Bridesmaid gifts
- Hair/make-up for myself
Now, I know every single person we invite will likely not show up, but it’s still enough to skyrocket my anxiety through the roof, and start freaking out a little about my budget. Before today, I was fairly confident that I wasn’t going to have too many problems staying in the lines.
It looks like it’s time to get creative, and I would love to enlist my fellow broke-ass brides in any tips, tricks, or things I can do to get my life together. Please help me!
Choosing a venue can be one of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning. And in San Diego, the options are endless. You can get married at the beach, on the bay, at the beach, at a winery, at the beach, on a ranch, at the beach, in the city, and also the beach. Did I mention THE BEACH? If you are sensing snark, your snark-sense is working. We are the furthest from beach-loving people as we could possibly be. Why? SAND. Also, sand fleas. I will not elaborate, lest you spend the rest of the day inadvertently scratching phantom itches.
After our engagement (and maybe a little before because at the end of the day, I am woman) we started browsing venue options. Our search continued until I said, “How about a brewery?” and Justin replied, “This is why I am marrying you.” I searched the most popular brewery site in San Diego – I won’t give it a name but I will tell you that it rhymes with “phone.” The food and beverage minimum for this site was literally more than I ever dreamed one would spend on a wedding which led to yet another WE CANNOT AFFORD ANYTHING emotional breakdown. Actually more like, “I would NEVER spend that much on a wedding WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE” breakdown.
Which led us to look up Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens. We were both very familiar with this site because it is down the street from where we live. One point for convenience! Beyond the uniqueness of the grounds, a few things really set KSBG apart from other venue options – most notably that it is all inclusive. There are no separate charges for parking, cake cutting, chairs, table setups, linens, you name it. Many of the other venues I glanced at made me appalled at the nitpicky, nickel-and-dime charges they come up with. And the bonus? They have their own bakery and DJ contracted already. Which means less work/decision making for us to do. Total score.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. The grounds and gardens are GORGEOUS. Hello, you are going to give me all of your beer and do half of the work for me AND be completely gorgeous? SOLD. Really, it was a no-brainer. And in the end we are proud to say that we looked at ONE venue. One singular venue that met every single one of our wedding desires. KSBG, our one true wedding venue love. Am I bragging? Yes, yes I am. Because this was a huge decision that we made incredibly simple and are more than confident in our choice. And I also just spent a good two hours looking at return address stamps so I needed to remind myself when the important decisions happened…
The one person who is not happy with our decision is my father. My Bud Light Lime loving father, whom we are forcing to drink “that fancy shit beer,” because obviously they only offer Karl Strauss products (which are a DELIGHT). We are trying to acclimate him; so far, we have not succeeded. Stay tuned for updates on our quest to teach my father the ways of fancy beer!
Y’all, I love me some ModCloth. Like, it’s a little ridic. And when I found out they were rolling out vintage-inspired wedding styles, I straight swooned. While there are some short dresses, some long dresses and some dresses that aren’t white at all, there are also glorious accessories and enough glittery, sparkly goodness to last me a lifetime … or at least this wedding season. Here are my five favorites:
The last one MURDERS me. It’s the cutest ever. EVER. Which item from ModCloth’s vintage-inspired wedding styles is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
Who are we?
We are T n’ A!
(“T n’ A.” That’s how we sign our Christmas cards because I know it bugs my mom.)
My name is Andrea Chesley. I’m an actor, writer, dancer, and comedian living in Los Angeles, CA and most recently, I’ve become a Broke-ass Bride-to-be! This is all because my boyfriend/annoying roommate/father to my 2 cats, Travis Spencer, finally asked me to make it official! In addition to also being a writer and comedian, Travis hosts a podcast here in LA and he is our resident tech genius. I say he “finally asked me” because our adventures began over 9 (ish) years ago. We met working in the same restaurant while attending Arizona State University. The first day 21-year-old-me walked into the Macaroni Grill in Mesa, AZ, Travis, then 22, began to tirelessly pursue me. His efforts were futile for only a few months until our connection became undeniable. (Alcohol had nothing to do with it.) We were young and because of that, the first 2-3 years of our relationship can best be described as… volatile. I think we have college friends that are STILL afraid to go out with us for fear it will turn into a screaming, cage match resulting in tears and more often than not, an ejection from a bar. Looking back, it was probably pretty embarrassing for everyone involved but, hey, we were in college! We were finding ourselves! We were drunk! I think the real problem was that Travis and I knew we had found a life-long love in each other, but we both felt we had found it waaaaay too young. Over the past 9 years, we’ve had many adventures that included some epic break-ups and some even more epic make-ups and having accepted the inevitable, we now reside happily and freshly engaged in Los Angeles. We still have adventures, they’re just not as…. explosive.
Travis’ sister says we look like cardboard cutouts, but this is the only picture I have where Travis is smiling and his eyes are open. Also, don’t let this give you the impression that I ski. I don’t. I’m terrible at it.
Travis and I moved to Los Angeles 3 years ago to pursue our dream careers. LA is exciting. Its people are diverse, beautiful, talented, and insatiably competitive. I love it. I really do. But it can be downright exhausting. There’s this expectation that one must sacrifice everything if they really want to make it. The time I might spend planning a wedding should be spent on auditions, classes, networking, writing, open mics, performing, meetings at coffee shops, etc.! The money I might spend on a wedding should be spent on classes, or workshops, or headshots, etc! Travis and I just never talked about getting married. Our friends and families even stopped asking about it. I think they gave up hope.
Our careers are very important to us. After a while though, you start to realize what’s really important. We’ve learned that a personal life and career don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, no matter what anyone tells you. A career in the entertainment industry is ALWAYS going to be hard work and there might NEVER be a perfect time to have a wedding. So, what the hell! We might as well do it right friggin’ now! Sure, we could go down to a courthouse and get it done real quick, but where’s the fun in that? (The answer is “nowhere.”)
How did he propose? As I mentioned earlier, Travis hosts a podcast that is normally a comedic forum for discussing the impending apocalypse and current events and he usually has a guest that is a comedian, actor, writer, artist, etc. About a month ago, the final episode of ‘APodcalyptic Times,’ (See what he did there?) became the forum for Travis to propose to me. After almost a decade together, I didn’t think Travis could surprise me, but boy, did he get me with this proposal. It went something like this:
I was scheduled to make an appearance on the podcast to promote a new webseries in which I co-star. My other co-star and I were going to do an interview with Travis in character. So we sat down in our studio to record the interview. I was playing ‘Myra,’ a happily clueless, self-proclaimed fashionista that’s just moved to LA from a small town in England to pursue her dreams of stardom. In the middle of the interview, Travis stops suddenly and asks ‘Myra’ to marry him. I thought he was playing out some weird fantasy on air by hitting on my character, but he was insistent! It all was very strange for me, Andrea, because I couldn’t tell who he was talking to or whether or not he was serious! So, with a few close friends in the room, (who had no idea what was going on either,) Travis surprised us all by clarifying that he actually did want to marry me, Andrea and this wasn’t some perverse, meta-proposal to my alter-ego, ‘Myra.’ Confusing? Yes. But it was beautiful and weird and perfect for us, and most importantly, it was a complete and total surprise. AND we have the entire thing recorded so we can bore/torture our posterity! You can actually watch it here. (Fast-forward to about 29:30.)
The only real wedding request we’ve received is from Travis’ mother, who, after a night of Captain Morgan, drunkenly exclaimed, “When you guys get married, you better have a big f*&$ing party!”
So, with future-mother-in-law’s request in mind, I have only three requirements for my wedding:
1. Kick-ass dress
2. Kick-ass party
3. Kick-ass Presents! (Don’t judge me.)
Travis and I are getting married in March or April of 2015 in Joshua Tree, CA. We have approximately 125 guests that are coming almost exclusively and equally from 3 cities: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. My only hope is that we have a wedding that best represents us. A wedding worthy of “T n’ A!” To us, that means equal parts: Hip, big city and small town charm. Over the next year and 2-3 months, I can’t wait to figure out what the hell that means! Here’s to the wild ride that is planning a wedding!
The future Mrs. Spencer
Hi everyone! I’m super excited to introduce myself as a contributor to the Broke-Ass Bride team!
My name is Jess & I’m getting married in August at the Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, CA. My fiance, Michael, and I have been together for three and a half years; we got engaged at the end of September.
As far as the proposal goes, I ruined it for myself a little bit. Michael was in LA for two weeks for job training & asked me (on like, Wednesday) to come up for the weekend, to which I of course replied: no. I had to work that weekend, weekends were when I made the most money anyway (I was waiting tables), plus, what a waste of time and money to drive two and a half hours each way for just one day!
To which he replied: it would mean A LOT to me if you would come.
…Which kind of gave it away.
The proposal itself was super fun: we went to Santa Barbara, did some wine tasting, had dinner on the pier & then went down to the beach where he proposed!
Let’s talk wedding! What’s my wedding inspiration? I would call it “laid-back vintage” (you can check out my Pinterest to really understand). My color palette is lavender, mint, and yellow and the whole thing is at the botanical gardens- I basically want it to be the most kick-ass garden party ever.
I’m super duper excited to be blogging for Broke-Ass Bride & can’t wait to plan my wedding with you!