Posts in the 'country wedding' Category

Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! A Jim Hjelm Inspired Gown For Under $1,000

Hey BAB’s! It’s that time again, where I, your CAI/GOI guru, help you find a wedding dress you can love as much as the one with the hefty price tag. This week Gloria wrote in trying to help her sister out. She is a busty girl with a petite frame and she has her eye on something strapless. More specifically, a strapless Jim Hjelm gown. He is known for his unique and delicate embroidery. This gown is oh-so lovely. The tulle cascading in the back has beautiful lace, floral embroidery. Did I mention how romantic it is?  The back is truly unique. I look at dresses allllll the time and I haven’t seen many out there with this design. I really lerve this one.  *Sigh* But enough about me, this gal is gettin’ hitched in June! Also, since the wedding is going to be country, rustic and the bride will be wearing her boots (which I love, by the way!) I tried to find gowns that would look kick-ass with some cowgirl boots! I am blessed in the chest region, too, so I know the importance of finding the right fit for your body type. Strapless is actually a great style for the girls. I focused on a sweetheart neckline because something that is dipped is better than something going straight across your bust line. We don’t want the girls looking like a shelf on our wedding day if you know what I mean. Also, as Christen added in the comments, adding a strap isn’t a costly alteration. It’s all about what you feel your best in. You want to feel beautiful but still be comfortable. You’ll definitely need a good, strapless bra although some women do just fine with the built-in cup. Here’s what Gloria wrote in:

“My sister is getting married in June 2015 and has found the dress.  The problem is she is quite endowed in the chest department and the dress is strapless.  What would you suggest for a cheaper alternative that would look great on her petite (large chest) frame?  The dress she has found is Jim Hjelm style 8002.  The dress is gorgeous but the price and the fact that it’s strapless is a concern.

Thank you,


Can't Afford It

jim-hjelm-spring-2010-wedding-dresses-deep-sweetheart-hints-of-lace-flower-applique.fullJim Hjelm (Style:JH8002) $3,700

Get Over ItForHerAndHim410Strapless A-Line Wedding Gown With Layered Skirt (Style: 0113878) $410 at For Her and For Him

BHLDN480A-Line Gown With Scalloped Tiers Swirled Soutache (Style: 30613871) $480 at BHLDN

BHLDN600Floral Lace Gown With Sweetheart Neckline (Style: 32065971) $600 at BHLDN

(This sash is currently sold out but they have plenty of others that would look amaze.)

SimplyBridal640Romantic Gown With Princess Body (Style: 80326) $640 at Simply Bridal

TulleAndChantilly690Mermaid Lace Wedding Dress With V-Neck (Style: TCCMD1006) $690 at Tulle & Chantilly

AnnTaylor795Lace Spaghetti Strap Gown (Style: 358266) $795 at Ann Taylor

BBP799Strapless Tulle & Organza Ball Gown (Style: 4973) $799 at

BBP850Tulle Gown With Lace Appliques (Style: 50315) $850 at

BBP853Tulle Ball Gown With Shimmery Bodice & Lace Motifs (Style: Agatha 13074) $853 at

BBP899Tulle Ball Gown With Crystal Beading (Style: 5302) $899 at

BBP950Tulle Ball Gown With Alencon Lace (Style: 3178) $950 at

So, Gloria, do you think your sister will like some of these alternatives? BestBridalPrices has some REALLY amazing dresses and a HUGE selection. I use them a lot because I know they’re a good company with fantastic ratings/reviews and quality dresses. They have some great prices, too, and a lot of these gowns come with a free veil & shoes! Doesn’t get much better than free!  Has she been to David’s Bridal? They have really been bringing the pretty lately and you can always find something within your budget there. I hope she is able to find something soon because June is right around the corner. We’re here if you have any other questions! 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.

Wedding Inspiration: Calling All Country Cowgirls!


So you’ve roped him in, atta girl! Now it’s time to set up the stables and prepare for the rodeo. Here’s how to skip the mud, the animal droppings and the chewing tobacco without losing that country goodness!

To me, the ultimate dream setting for a country wedding would be a barn; enriched with history, oozing with charm and perched high up in the mountains surrounded by nothing but nature. But for arguments sake, let’s say you can’t afford it or just simply don’t know what to do with the space you have.


I love this barn in Austin, Quebec.


Decor can set the whole mood for your celebration. Do the Pinterester thing – get all the mason jars! Check out your local thrift shops, or Amazon sells them by the dozen. Working on a super tight budget? Then repurpose all those jars from your spaghetti sauce! Paint them and turn them into little vases, candle holders, drinking glasses or a wonderful centerpiece. When it comes to an outdoor/country wedding, take cues from your surroundings and go with in-season flowers in the area to save some skrilla or just get some wheat! If there isn’t enough space inside the barn, set up an area for a dance floor outside (make a Plan B for a tent, in case of bad weather). Place some picnic tables and hay barrels nearby with quilts draped on them for easy and maneuverable seating, and add tiki torches for a little mood lighting (just be careful with hay and open fire). You can use some of those mason jars as lanterns and direct guests to soft patches of grass, away from the wedding raucusness, with a blanket and so they can lay underneath the stars – whoever said that romance was overrated clearly never enjoyed a starry night.

And now that you’ve spent the time making your space look good, it’s time to look in the mirror! Kick up your boot-clad heels in a sweetheart, tea length dress, full of flow and lace. Add add a touch of bling for sparkle, and there’s no takin’ the country out of this girl!








If you’re looking to get them mugs all good ‘n’ stamped with your new hitched name, check out this Etsy shop.



What wedding is complete without twinkly lights?



Don’t judge me, I’m totally having a S’mores bar at my wedding. So I’m biased when I say that this is an idea I absolutely love!





Are any of you BAB’s having yourself a country wedding? How are you ramping up your theme?


{Confession} If I Could Do It All Again

OK. Can I tell you girls a secret? My wedding was perfect, and lovely, an we had a grand old time, and were successfully married. But. As much as I love my wedding, I have to confess… It wasn’t my Dream Wedding Day.

Now, don’t get me wrong… All my dreams came true. And I married the man of my dreams. But cutting our timeline like we did, and taking into consideration that travel capability of the overwhelming majority of our older relatives… The main goal of the day (the getting-married) became the only thing that mattered. The devil in the details that make wedding days Dream Wedding Days, well… we had to make some concessions.

I. I had to make some concessions. The Hubs was one of those amazing grooms that coasted through the whole wedding process in his laid-back, happy-go-lucky, keep-calm-and-carry-on sort of way. He would have been happy with anything (except eloping to City Hall, which I begged him to do on numerous occasions with no success). We had a million reasons to do things the way we did, and I stand by them…

But how would you girls feel about re-planning my Dream Wedding with me? :) Flipping through my blogroll this week, I realized that I’m a country girl at heart– and a summer, country wedding is what I’d put together if I could do it all again.

Image from Tec Petaja Photography

Images from Hilton Pittman Photography

I’d keep it DIY, of course– from the bouquets to the menu to the bar to the lights in the trees. What do you say, ladies? You in?

And how would you do your wedding if you could do it all differently?


Real Wedding: Amanda & Aaron’s Nifty $9k Nuptials

Lydia, from Ever Ours here, with a really neat wedding that showcases the true personality of the couple through their wedding, and includes a budget breakdown!

Many thanks to Amanda and Aaron for sharing some real down-to-earth advice, behind the scenes details, as well as their adorable images by Laura Dye Photography via Two Bright Lights.

What kind of theme were you going for on your wedding day, if any?

We found our location (The Whitehaven Hotel), which is a gorgeous, historic bed and breakfast in a tiny little town near our home, and we ran with the whole look of the hotel itself. We allowed the hotel to shine on it’s own, and the only decorating we did was the centerpieces for the few tables we had outside and a few white paper lanterns hanging from the tent. I guess if we had to put a title on it we’d call it “eclectic country chic“.

While wedding planning, how did you decide what was most important to you?

During the planning process we felt finding a location where we could have both the ceremony and reception, and allowed enough parking for our guests was very important. We also wanted to feel a connection to the location, and since neither of us are religious, we found that connection through the historical and local significance of the Whitehaven Hotel. I have a degree in history so this place holds a very special place in my heart, and Aaron shares that passion with me as well.

We also felt that finding a great photographer was extremely important because we’ll have those images for the rest of our lives, so naturally we wanted great ones. Luckily we found Laura Dye. We moved our budget around so we could afford her and it was our one big splurge (costing us almost as much as the entire venue), but it was definitely worth it. She is so extremely talented, charming and amazing and we couldn’t be happier with the results. I can’t say enough nice things about her and her skill!

Describe any DIY or handmade elements from your wedding.

I love owls… a lot, and my Mom can make almost anything out of fruit and vegetables… so we went online and collected a bunch of images (most of them from cruise ships) of owls made out of fruit and veggies. We took those images and created our own version of the owls, so at our reception we had a bride owl and a groom owl made out of pineapple, kiwi, grapes, carrots, and cantaloupes. My sister made the veil and bouquet for the bride and found a bowtie for the groom.

For the center pieces my sister and I went to our local Goodwill store and bought almost every colorful, cut glass vase and vessel that we could find. I ordered some plain white hydrangeas from Sam’s Club online, and the day of the wedding my brother and brother-in-law arranged them on the tables for us (and they did a fantastic job!!). We even used some antique pieces my Mom already had around her house, so the centerpieces had a very personal touch to them. It was very inexpensive and now we have amazing glass pieces that will always hold a special meaning. :)

I don’t know if this counts as DIY, but I definitely pieced my outfit together from head to toe, and it came together surprisingly well. The veil and my ceremony fascinator were ordered from in Texas, my reception fascinator was from Tousled Dolly on, the dress I found on sale at David’s Bridal in Bowie, MD, and the sandals I found the day before the wedding in Vernon Powell’s clearance section (I love clearance shopping!).

If it’s even possible, what’s one moment that’s significantly your favorite from your wedding day?

Oh gosh, just ONE moment?? The whole day went so perfectly it still feels like a wonderful dream to me. I never felt so beautiful or so loved by so many people. I absolutely loved the ceremony, our officiant (Rod Whisner) was so amazing and was willing to play along with our crazy ideas. The ceremony started off like the ceremony from the movie “The Princess Bride” (which we watch on a weekly basis) and Rod even pronounced “mawwiage” perfectly and totally played the part. And then there were the cowbells, we really had “MORE COWBELL” at our wedding and it was fantastic.

My older brother picking Aaron up and carrying him across the lawn was hilarious. Dancing with my new husband to Dave Matthews’ “You and Me” and dancing with my Dad on the lawn surrounded by the soft glow of torch light was magical. Having my best friend from Wisconsin there with me was an absolute life saver.

I think one of my definite top favorite moments was at the end of the night. Aaron and I went up to our top floor suite, got in our robes and went out on the widows walk. We stood beneath a canopy of stars and looked out on the river while we listened to the last few guests winding down the party below us. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

Any tips on saving money to the newly engaged?

Look local and keep it small! I loved having our wedding at a bed and breakfast since it allowed us to have the outside ceremony we wanted and provided the perfect location for the reception and dancing (on the lawn surrounded by glass cattail torches I found on sale at Food Lion). It was so wonderful to not have to drive anywhere, or worry about people getting lost from one location to the next, and at the end of the night we just went upstairs and went to bed. It was considerably less expensive than paying for a ceremony location, reception location and hotel rooms separately (we compared). There was also a maximum capacity of 60 people so it made telling guests who were not invited a little easier, since the venue simply didn’t allow us to invite every distant relative and acquaintance (which we did not want to do anyway).

We also used a little out of the way deli (called “The Deli“) that my sister really enjoyed, for our caterers. They created an amazing spread for the reception and were very inexpensive. I would definitely advise following any leads or recommendations that friends and family offer, that’s how we found practically all of our vendors.

I would also recommend shopping around for the best deals, checking out sales and clearance sections, and meeting with multiple vendors to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. And don’t let vendors bully you into choosing them, or making you feel like you have to make a decision immediately. We ran into one photographer who harassed us for over a month after we had made it clear that we were not going to choose him, not only for his pretentious attitude and generic pictures, but also for his extremely outrageous pricing.

What advice would you give to the newly engaged while wedding planning?

Try and have fun with it and don’t become an over-obsessed, psychotic chick. Don’t fret about what could go wrong, just assume that things are going to happen however they happen, and all you can do is put everything in place and let the ball roll once the day starts. For example, my brother-in-law was kind enough to set up the straw fans and cow bells on the chairs at the ceremony, as those were our wedding favors. We had custom made stickers to go on the cowbells, and custom tags that we tied on over 50 fans. My brother-in-law thought the tags were price tags (he neglected to read the “Thank You” that was on every tag, haha) so he tore off every single tag. Once I found out all I could do was laugh because it was FUNNY. Silly things like that are definitely going to happen and I thought it added character to our wedding story. :)

Also, accept all the help that you can get because you will need it. And try and get everything done and out of the way as early as possible. I started planning for my August wedding on February 15th of this year (the day after we got engaged). I’m so happy we didn’t have a long engagement because it would have drawn out the whole process and made me second-guess my decisions.

Also try and take at least one day or night each week where you don’t talk about wedding stuff AT ALL. Go out for a date night, or if you can’t afford it, make dinner together or go for a walk. A major stress reliever for us was actually our engagement photo shoot (we went with a man named Aaron Foreman, who had never done a photo shoot before but had taken a workshop with Laura Dye, so we gave him a shot and it turned out beautifully. You can find him and his work on facebook by searching for his name). That day we almost got into a major argument, (which is a big deal for us because we have never fight about anything. Aaron is my best friend and we always seem to find a solution to any issues we have without arguing), and we were both stressed and cranky, but once we got out to the gorgeous location (Cedar Hill Park & Marina in Bivalve, MD) we forgot everything and had a wonderful and stress-free time looking into eachother’s eyes and smiling for pictures.

Amanda + Aaron’s Wedding Budget Breakdown
Wedding Gown $475.00
Suit $300.00
Shirt, Tie etc $100.00
Shoes $100.00
Rings $600.00
Veil & Fascinators $115.00
Caterer: $1,200.00
Buffet Style,BBQ Theme
Flowers: $300.00
2 bouquets, 2 nosegays, 4 boutonnieres
Venue: $2,800.00
First floor rental, tent, all 8 rooms, breakfast
Vases $80.00
Plastic Silverware $30.00
Plates $50.00
Hydrangeas $80.00
Napkins $30.00
Torches $60.00
Photographer: $1,600.00
DJ: $300.00
Officiant: $350.00
Hair & Make-Up: $250.00
Favors: $200.00
Grand Total: $9,020.00
That’s right!  Amanda and Aaron spent less than $10,000 on their wedding!!  So people, it’s so very possible to have a wedding that speaks about you and is affordable!  Huge thanks and belated congratulations to Amanda and Aaron and many thanks to Laura Dye for her wonderful photography.
Here are a few more wedding vendor details:
Ceremony/Reception Venue:  The Whitehaven Hotel
Caterer:  The Deli
Floral Designer:  Benedict The Florist
Cake Designer: Bay Country Bakery
Dress Store:  David’s Bridal; Macy’s Bridal Salon
Heirlooms and extras:  BirdCage Veils, Tousled Dolly
Favors and Gifts:  Rhode Island Novelty

– Lydia

Real Wedding: Penelope & Mikiya’s Charmingly Creative Campground Commitment

Lined up another real sweet intimate DIY real wedding for you all…. this one comes from Emily Takes Photos. I adore the fact that it was outdoors and that the couple’s rustic theme matched so well. Congratulations to Penelope and Mikiya!

Many thanks to Penelope for taking the time to talk a bit about elements of their wedding day. Here’s what she had to share:

“Doing my own hair and makeup (with the help of sisters/friends) was actually my preference not because of the budget, but because I was terrified of giving my face and hair over to someone who might make me unrecognizable to myself. I know my hair’s behavior better than anyone else in the world, so I figured I could do it better than anyone else on that day. Likewise, with makeup, I don’t wear heavy makeup any other day of my life, so why was I going to start on my wedding day?”

“We asked friends with special talents to play instruments and sing in our ceremony. We had a friend of the family officiate. We cobbled together an amazing group of family and friends to help with set up and clean up and everything in between. Friends passed out programs and poured champagne on the train. Thanks to the herculean efforts of our friends and family, we ended up with very few actual paid vendors. Seriously, when the venue supervisor asked for my vendor list so she could be in contact with folks about dropping stuff off, parking onsite, etc., I was like, “um, we have a photographer… and a band.” And that was really about it. We did the rest.”

“As far as wedding venues go, Roaring Camp, together with using their in-house BBQ catering service, was a great deal per head for feeding 150 guests.”

“By not having a color scheme on top of our rustic theme, we were less constrained about our choices, making it easier to bargain hunt. For our flowers, we went the farmers market route, and ended up with lovely arrangements put together by friends and family the morning of the wedding. Throughout the year, my family and I saved pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, jam jars, olive jars… absolutely all shapes and sizes, so long as the label came off easily. We mixed the sizes together, placing 3-4 jars per table. The candles were reused tea lights from my childhood best friend’s wedding the month before.”

“We folded the 1,000 paper cranes out of old magazines and other cast-off paper. The result was colorful, free, and environmentally friendly. Friends and family started contributing to the process; we got cranes folded out of all sorts of creative paper. In the end it was almost like a quilt, where each scrap of fabric has a story from its previous use. “

Other ways that Penelope and Miyika saved and helped with their budget included:

for stationery
“We did an electronic save the date, and I designed and made (with family help) our invitations myself. The best advice I have on that is to shop at the office supply store, not the art store! Half the time you can find exactly the same paper product for half the price at an office supply store. I coffee dyed a bunch of cheap manila tags and stamped them with a personalized rubber stamping kit to make RSVP tags that looked like old luggage tags. I found irregularly sized coin envelopes that fit the invitation size and would feed through my printer so I could print addresses directly on the envelopes in an old fashioned typewriter font, which I downloaded all off the internet for free; there are entire sites devoted to (legitimately) free font downloads!”

for drinks
For wine and champagne, my brother in law recommend several red, white and sparkling options in the $7-$11 range. We went out and bought what was available, swapped in a few alternates where we couldn’t find particular recommendations, and held a series of blind taste testing parties a few weeks ahead of the wedding to choose favorites. The tasting parties with friends were tons of fun, and we ended up with one pretty clear winner in each category. We avoided spending a fortune on expensive wine, while resting assured that we were actually serving something that most guests would find tasty.

for cake (my favorite element for their wedding)
A friend who works at a bakery purchased 12 cakes for us on an employee discount, decorated the cakes with fresh raspberries, and helped us slice everything up at the reception. Serving cake our guests ourselves was our own special twist on the “receiving line” concept, and it was one of my favorite parts of the whole evening.

Penelope and Miyika were also super lucky to have won their photographer through a contest. Huge thanks to Emily Takes Photos for so beautifully capturing their adorable rustic wedding.

More wedding vendor info:

Photographer: Emily Takes Photos

Floral Designer: Flowers bought by bride’s mother at a local farmer’s market in Redwood City

Cakes:  Whole Foods

Reception Venue: Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad

Dress Store:  Recapture Vintage Bridal Designs/  Dress Designer:  Robin Densten

Shoes:  Macy’s Bridal Shoes

Dress Designer:  Recapture

Hair Flower:  Black Dahlia Designs

Jewelry:  from the bride’s great grandmother

Tuxedo and Menswear: Brooks Brothers, La Rosa Vintage Boutique

– Lydia