Broke-Ass Tag: New York Bride

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Free notebook from Cornell Catering

I love shows and conventions; there is always swag, raffles, and free snacks. All things right up my alley. Good news my fellow brides and bros, bridal shows are huge and plentiful. Now, I’m essentially done planning my wedding, but I still like going to shows for inspiration and a few last minute vendors I need. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of any bridal show you might be headed to.

Bring a wing man

Shows are easier when you have a partner in crime. You can tag team vendors you want to avoid, stay organized, and mostly importantly, snag double snacks. Two is fine, three is plenty. Bringing your entire bride tribe might become a little overwhelming, so try to keep your crew to just one or two.

Be prepared

Keep your teeth and ambition bared y’all. Usually the vendors that will be attending the show are listed somewhere. Have a battle plan. Do you need a photographer and a DJ, but already have a venue? Avoid visiting the venue tables (unless they have cupcakes) to save yourself time and aggravation. If you can find a map of where everyone will be, you can even build a plan of attack beforehand. There is also usually a schedule of events that will let you know when fashion shows, raffles or demonstrations are taking place. Be sure to check this and plan accordingly. Also, bring a bottle of water — talking and elbowing your way through the masses is thirsty work.

Be Bold

Remember, you are the bride, a queen, nay, a Khaleesi in your own right! There are hundreds of vendors; they need you, but you don’t necessarily need them. If a vendor is overly pushy and in your face, WALK AWAY! You don’t need to waste your time on the rude peasants. There will be a much friendlier vendor of the same variety two tables down. But also, please be polite. This is how these people put food on their tables. If someone offers you a brochure and is polite and earnest, smile, thank them and shove it in the bag of other stuff you will sort through later.

Walk against the tide

We got to the show right around when it started. Most shows are set up in aisles. The first aisle will always be really crowded because that’s where most traffic will head first. If it looks like everyone is going right, go left. Try to walk to the opposite end of the room and start working backwards. There is usually less traffic this way and the vendors can give you a little more attention.

Set up a separate email address

If you haven’t already done so, make an email address that is just for wedding things. My regular email is my first and last name, my wedding email is my first name and my eventual married name. It makes your life so much easier to funnel all the wedding spam into one place. You can use this email to sign up for all of the raffles, mailing lists and promos a vendor might have to dazzle you. Make sure you check it just in case you win something. You can also totally use this one for vendor conversations and put it on your wedding website for any questions guests may have.

Enter the raffles

You’re here because your ass is just as broke as mine. Free stuff is what makes my heart sing. Bridal shows are a great chance to snag free things, including services. One of my tribe won a DJ for her wedding. The show I went to even raffled off a complete wedding package with venue, vendors, catering and the whole nine yards. I’ve already put down hefty deposits on all my stuff and sent out invitations, so I didn’t enter, but it’s a great chance and you should enter as many as you can. Just remember to wear your lucky underoos when you go!

Have a system

I was hunting down someone to do hair for my bridal tribe, leads on an officiant and maybe a nice venue for the bridal shower. If I spoke to a vendor I definitely wanted to follow up with, I folded their card/flyer in half or on a corner. A quick motion, and into the swag bag it went, but it helped when I sorted everything later on.

Don’t get sold

A lot of vendors will have “show specials” where if you book with them right at the show, you get certain discounts or perks. I highly discourage booking at the show unless you’ve already done your research and know this is the vendor you are definitely going to go with. Remember, you are Khaleesi of all you see, do not be pressured to make a quick decision. Chances are you can mention meeting them at the show and they will still honor their “show special.” Also, most “specials” really aren’t all that special, so be sure to compare and do your homework.

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My badge of honor from the show

My MOH and I had a total blast scooping up all the free snacks and getting lucky with finding cool vendors. I live in a fairly rural area, so it’s really hard to find salons that can do black hair. My regular gal is an hour in the opposite direction from my venue, so I won’t be using her for the wedding. I found three traveling salons that have black stylists on their team. UBER SCORE! I’ve called and set up an appointment with the one I liked best at the show already. We also wandered past an Alfred Angelo table and just happened to glance down and saw THE necklace. I got both the necklace and matching earrings for $80. I definitely did a victory booty dance and spiked my imaginary ball in the middle of a crowd of people.

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THE necklace

Grab a friend and head out to your local bridal show ladies, tis the season. I hope these tips help you achieve your own victory booty dance and spiked balls.

Do you have any bridal show advice? What are some of your best tips and tricks?

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    Danielle's bridal party invitations

    “Will you be my bridesmaid” card I made

    Bridesmaids. This single word can hold so many emotions, meanings, joys, and nightmares. I have a whole gang of important women in my life that I want to stand by me on my special day. My fiance, Michael, has a lot fewer friends than I, so I’ve always known that the number of bridesmaids I had would be dictated by how many brothers he could rally to his side. Even numbers are a must in my book.

    After Michael popped the question, I asked my sweetie to go out and find himself five groomsmen. We had already discussed making his older brother his Best Man and my little brother one of his groomsmen, that left him three gents to hunt down. Needless to say, I was a tiny bit peeved when Michael called me and happily declared that he had rallied all six of the groomsmen. Six … that number doesn’t at all sound like five. They don’t even start with the same sounds … how could you not underst- … *SIGH* yes, thank you dear. *Quietly grinding teeth*. Yeah, it’s a bit tacky to “unask” a guy to be one of your groomsmen so, I had to go rally another bridesmaid.

    I had taken pains to ask all of them individually in a unique way to be my bridesmaid. I had a lass in mind, but it was legit MONTHS after I had asked all the other girls to be my bros. How do you ask a lass to be your wingman without making it look crazy obvious that you need her to fill a quota? Then, how do you tactfully drop the, oh by the way, we have an appointment this weekend to go look at bridesmaid dresses, I hope your Sunday is open?

    A huge smile, a tiny bit of groveling, and a really nice card (with a killer presentation) help along your case if you land yourself in the same spot. She took it well, didn’t even blink or bat an eye when I gave her the card I’d made. Panic levels? Dropping back to manageable levels. Oh yeah, and thanks for saying you’d be a bridesmaid Ashlee, did I mention that we are going dress shopping in four days? Got plans this Sunday? *Panic-meter jumps* What? No plans you say? Great, meet you at David’s Bridal at 10am then.

    Danielle's troupe goes bridesmaid dress shopping

    My junior bridesmaid begging for a dress

    For the complete trainwreck asking my girls to stand with me was, I’m surprised at how well they all got along while we went dress shopping. We hit David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo that day with a lunch break in between. I had asked them all to look at some dresses beforehand so we had some ideas of what they wanted. I secretly wanted everyone to pick the same dress, but as long as it was the same fabric and color, it didn’t matter. They all have vastly different body shapes, especially my just recently flowered junior bridesmaid who’s only 11. After at least 20 dresses and two stores, they were all leaning towards one dress that I pretty much hated but they all seemed rabid over … or so I thought.

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    The dress we all apparently hated

    We decided to order that dress in March to give some of them a chance to finish their weight loss plans. Weeks crawl into months and one by one they casually mention to me how much they also hate the dress. Seriously y’all, why didn’t anyone say something in the store? One of my ‘maids is a bit more … outspoken, than the others and must have led them down that path of least resistance. So … we find ourselves back at square one again. My sister, Angela, and I went out over Christmas break and picked a fabric, color and two designers. I think this time I will just pick a handful of dresses that I don’t think suck and just ask them to pick one from that selection instead. This way, if they hate the dress, they are the ones who picked it. I made it super clear that if all the ones I picked suck, to let me know and I can hunt out another dress they’ll like. I love all of them, but picking a dress is apparently like herding cats.

    What about you, any bridesmaid moments that make you want to scream and pull out your hair?

  • 11/16

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    I have always planned on having different centerpieces at each table. I saw a photo of another bride’s wedding that had her escort cards as little ticket stubs with each person’s name on one side and the name of their table on each. I completely fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the Etsy seller who made her cards no longer makes them. I found…

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    9/21

    Danielle Invites 2

    As a DIY, oh-so-poor bride, I have always planned on making my own invitations. I have been fussing with designs, envelopes, and patterns for about two years solid. I even went through a phase where I planned on having an Etsy shop to give brides invitations on the cheap. Then I realized I have no artistic ability. Sadly, that’s kind of a prerequisite for being a…

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    8/24

    Real Bride Danielle...and Mike

    Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!” Confession time: We only got to share…

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  • 8/8

    Real Bride Danielle and the Michael

    Greeting all my fellow Broke-Ass brides and bros! I’m Danielle, everyone calls me Dee. My guy (finally) popped the question and I’m green for go on releasing the wedding kraken! WOOT WOOT! Michael and I will be getting married in Central New York in September 2017. We have a budget of $10,000, although we are pinching our pennies to have a $2000 emergency fund. Our…

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    7/4

    Real Wedding: Elizabeth & Bryce's Traditional, Romantic North Carolina Nuptials || Photo: Jon Black Photography

    Credit: Jon Black Photography Last week I got an email with "exciting news" from my bridal store that my gown had arrived! I wasn't expecting it until next month, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was ahead of schedule! I didn't take my mom along during the dress shopping phase, so I brought her with me to pick it up. We headed to the bridal…

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    6/20

    Etsy MyLittleShopofWonder Thanks for Holding My Dress Card

    Card available from Etsy seller MyLittleShopofWonder Although I'm not having a formal bridal party, or a formal wedding, I still have some great friends that are helping me celebrate. Some of my closest friends have come together to throw a shower for me. Sometimes it seems weddings become an exchange of gifts: Your bridesmaids do something for you, you buy them gifts. You feed your…

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  • 8/31

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    After trying on the gray-toned dress at David's, I became obsessed with finding other gray dresses! I started searching Pinterest and Google, screen-shotting and pinning pictures left and right. In my search, gray led to blue. I was hooked. Of course, everything I was finding was a one-of-a-kind or couture, high-end -- aka pricey and hard to find. I thought it would be good to look at…

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