Broke-Ass Tag: engagement


Hey there, fellow brides! I’m super excited to join The Broke-Ass Bride team to share my experiences as a Real Bride Blogger, specifically about how I’m creating a wedding dress to wear for the big day. That’s right — I’m sewing my wedding dress from scratch.

A little bit about me: I met my one and only, Chris, about four years ago when I started work at a new job in Boston. He has the thickest Boston accent I ever heard, at least to my Pennsylvania ears, and dating him went against all of my “rules” about dating people you work with. But I’m glad I ignored those rules, because I never would have met and fallen for the love of my life! We share a wacky sense of humor and we can just be ourselves around each other. Plus, he taught me all about baseball and I actually enjoy watching baseball games, a sport that I thought was the most yawn-inducing of all sports. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

Fiances at Fenway

Chris and I at Fenway Park

Our wedding is coming up on June 4, 2016, and is going to be at the Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, Mass., literally right down the street from where we live. He comes from a large Scotch-Irish family, and mine is on the small side, thank goodness, which helps when it comes to creating a budget-friendly guest list. If I had as many people to invite on my side as he does on his, we’d be in trouble! We’re targeting a guest list of about 60 people, which covers all of our close friends and family. Making our guest list small is the biggest factor in keeping our budget close to our target of $10,000-$15,000.

The average Massachusetts wedding in 2014 cost $34k — that’s a nice down-payment on a house, not something we want to spend in one day!  We’re looking to cut costs wherever we can in order to come in at what we feel OK paying for out of our pockets. Our venue was a bargain compared to most in the greater Boston area, a big help in our overall budget. We’re also taking a laid-back approach to planning our wedding and not getting hung up on details like finding the “perfect” photographer, DJ, etc.  If we like their work, and they come in at what we’ve allocated our budget towards, then we’re good to go.

lace dress

Lace dress I made for a friend’s wedding last year

When I first started researching what kind of dress I wanted to wear on my wedding day, I was shocked at how much companies think we’re willing to shell out for a 100% polyester dress. After doing some careful thinking, I decided that I wanted to continue a tradition my mom started and make my own wedding dress, just like she did when she married my dad in the ’70’s. I learned to sew when I was 9 and make a lot of the clothes I wear on a daily basis, and feel that my skills are finely at a level that I can confidently make a wedding dress. Some of the things that are going through my mind lately are:

  • Research!  Gathering all of the appropriate resources and tools to make my dress
  • Finding the right pattern that fits my style … and is it really what I want to wear?
  • Sourcing fabric and how to work with tricky, slippery bridal fabric
  • Sewing a mock-up (aka a “muslin”) to get the fit right

… and many other things that come along with making a wedding dress.  I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!

  • 4/10

    Up to this point, my and Daniel’s wedding planning has revolved around proposed dates, hypothetical decorations, and just plain uncertainty. However, this is all about to end. Right now, we are elbow-deep in paperwork, but in just a few weeks, on April 8th, Daniel will have his interview with the U.S. Consulate in Sydney, Australia. He will either leave that interview with an approval, at which point we can begin the official planning, or he’ll walk away with a denial, at which point I’ll drink way too much red wine and start back at square one.

    As you can imagine, with our entire future on the line, this is a very stressful time for us. The visa process is going smoothly, but we never know what may pop up and make us reevaluate our situation. The only way I have gotten through it is remembering one thing: why we’re putting ourselves through this.

    In that spirit, I was thinking about the night we got engaged, and I realized, I had neglected to share our story with The Broke-Ass Bride community! So sit back, relax, and let me send some happy, gushy, love vibes your way.

    Captain America Shirt

    Fortunately/unfortunately, I knew Daniel was proposing during his visit in November. After all, the whole immigration process doesn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity. Therefore, since surprise would not be part of the equation, I made two requests: don’t tell anyone else your plan and make it private.

    Given the fact that he was not in his native territory, could not drive and was sworn to secrecy, Daniel nailed it.

    On November 21st, Daniel and I went on a double date with two of our best friends, Teresa and Bryce. While Teresa and I were in class, Bryce and Daniel were hanging out in another town. We drove separately to the restaurant, Teresa and me in one car, the boys in another, and the guys were about an hour late to arrive. I was so angry. We had told them a specific time, and they weren’t there. After a long day of class, I was stressed and starving and just wanted to go home to bed. Of course, little did I know, Daniel was late because he was putting together a night I would never forget.

    Teresa talked me down from my irritation, and the four of us ended up having a lovely dinner together. On the way home, Daniel and I drove by the hotel where we stayed during his first visit to me. As we neared, Daniel sighed, “Ah, there it is.” I laughed and replied, “You say that every time we pass here.”

    Daniel smiled and pulled out a set of keys, “That’s because we’re staying here tonight.”

    I knew what was happening. But my hands still started shaking, I almost missed the turn into the hotel parking lot, and I could not come up with an intelligible response.

    Daniel led me up to our suite and made me close my eyes. He walked me into the room and finally allowed me to look. In front of me was a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, and this piece of artwork that he commissioned to commemorate our engagement.

    Art by Pearce Hoskinson. Art by Pearce Hoskinson.

    I turned around to see Daniel on one knee. At the time, I expected a speech or some other romantic oration. But he simply said, “There’s nothing else to say. Kate, will you make me the happiest man alive and be my wife?”

    I had a million snarky, cute retorts rattling around in my brain. But he was right: there was nothing else to say that we hadn’t said to each other already. So I just said, “Yes.”

    Was it the proposal I had always dreamed of? In all honesty, no. But the one element I had never been able to fully imagine, my fiancé, is better than any dream ever could be. After all, when you love someone more than anything, when that person knows you better than anyone, when you have shared nearly everything two people can share … you don’t need a fancy proposal. All you need is commitment, love, “yes.”

    As we sludge through visa paperwork, as we have nightmares about rejections, as we hand over hundreds of dollars to the government, people ask us, is it really worth it? And there’s nothing else to say but “yes.”

    If there is one piece of advice I can give to my fellow brides- and grooms-to-be at this point in my wedding planning, it is this – even when the planning is overwhelming, when the bills are stacking up, when you are ripping your hair out with uncertainty and frustration – remember why you are doing all this.

    Always remember your “yes.”

  • 2/17

    You know how sometimes in life you make decisions that you believe are the right decisions and whether or not they are actually the right decisions, you MADE a decision and that is what is important?  And you know how sometimes those decisions don’t work out for some reason or another and that can make you feel like that decision you made was wrong? But…

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    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT..... On October 17th, this happened... SO. MUCH. CHEESE. YESSSSSSSSSSSS. ALL THE CHEESE PLEASE! ...and then this happened... (pardon the blur, but you get the idea.) ...because this happened... ...and then this happened. Paul's 10 best friends walked in. Then my mom, sisters, and best friend, (all from out of state) walked in too. And I couldn't be any happier to…

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    You think you know how it will all go down. You've dreamed about this moment since you were a little girl. Notice I said you. Not me. But whatever you have envisioned for the moment you become engaged, rest assured it won't happen exactly as you hoped or dreamed. (SPOILER: It's actually better.) Lemme s'plain how it has gone down for me by sharing what's…

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  • 1/21

    Heeeyyyoooo!!! Now that you're rockin' that sparkler and all you newbie Broke-Ass Brides are starting to look ahead to your big day, I think it's important to sit you down and talk about that horrible monster that is sure to rear its ugly head at some point during your planning process ... BRIDE BRAIN. *cue suspenseful music* But Christen!, you're saying, I'm totes rational and there's no…

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    Hey there, BABs! Back in the days when I was debating where we should get married, I mentioned our plan to move to San Diego, California, from Ohio.  Well, I'm happy to announce that we turned that plan into action and... HERE WE ARE! Honestly, now that I'm here, I'm really glad we decided to have our wedding in Arizona.  Trying to find a place…

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    Does anyone else ever wish their family could just shape up and be as happy as the Cleavers or other perfect sitcom families?  I know I do. To be fair, I want to make it perfectly clear that Zach and I both love our entire families dearly and are so, overwhelmingly grateful for all the love we received growing up and the countless opportunities we…

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  • 6/18

    This is how much life has reinforced to me that my plans don’t mean anything.  I distinctly remember being 18-years-old, sitting at a pizza joint with two high school friends, our departures for various colleges imminent on the horizon.  We were talking about the exciting possibilities of college guys, of course.  I remember saying something almost exactly like this: “You’re not going to meet any…

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