Broke-Ass Tag: real brides


Spring is upon us, BABs, and you know what that means: wedding season is just around the corner! In honor of this fabulous time of year, I reached out to some of my favorite former BABs to ask them for their tried-and-true wedding planning advice. Every bride’s wants and needs are different, and it really shows in their answers. Needless to say, each one of them gives great advice!

Erin & Eric: Northampton Country Club, 6/14/2014

What is something you splurged on? I was honored and blessed to have an opportunity to wear my mom’s wedding dress. It ended up being the project that never ended, with the small tweaks and additions rapidly adding cost to the bottom line. I would never dream of changing a thing and I truly believe that it turned out perfect, however, it did end up going way over my originally estimated budget. I’m glad its the “something I splurged on.” I hope the dress will be considered a worthy option for future generations in my family.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I wouldn’t qualify this as “skimping,” but I ended up choosing a venue that was all-inclusive. My original vision was a venue that allowed for the selection of my own caterer, decorations, etc. However, I quickly learned that the a la carte wedding can be quite pricey.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish I would have done my own makeup. The makeup artist I hired was lovely, but I ended up wiping off quite a bit of the makeup after she was finished. I read all the articles but for some reason the desire to up the ante for my wedding trumped my common sense. I also spent stupid money on robes for myself and my bridesmaids. It was part of the gift I gave to each of my bridesmaids, but I doubt any of us have ever worn them since my wedding. They sure looked cute in pictures though!

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Take advantage of personal connections. My in-laws had a close friend who was a florist who was just starting to do weddings. Due to her recent entry to the industry and relationship to my husband, she kept mark-ups low and went above and beyond in many ways. I had 180 guests at my wedding. The “display” cakes at my reception only had 60 servings. The rest were in sheet cakes that were kept in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe how much this cuts down on cost!

Any other advice for brides? Don’t skimp on your photographer! I don’t feel like I skimped, but I was definitely cost-conscious.erin

Birds of a Feather Photography

Corrie & Jim: Spring Mill Manor, 10/4/2014

What is something you splurged on? I really splurged on the photographer because of a problem I had early on in planning. I had signed a contract with a company for a photographer and videographer. The package came with free engagement photos, however, the session was rushed and I wasn’t happy with how they came out. And to top it off, the session wasn’t free! I was offered two 8x10s for free and the rest of the package was over $650, a lot for someone who is planning a wedding and did not budget for that extra session. As it turned out, I absolutely loved working with Lynda Berry Photography, who ended up doing my wedding. It was totally worth every cent! I can’t stop looking at these beautiful, Pinterest-worthy pictures.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? We didn’t skimp out on much due to the financial help from my parents. One thing I wanted and wound up turning down was having a calligrapher do my invitations. I’m not sure why people spend money on that.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish we would have spent less money on DIY items. For example, the centerpieces were made up of silk flowers by my mom, my sisters and myself. By the time we had finished with the centerpieces and made many, many runs to the craft store, they ended up costing us way more than if we would have just paid the florist to create our centerpieces.

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? I would say plan far in advance so you have time to save up or pay for things as you go without taking too much of a hit. Also, I would suggest picking the top two or three things that mean the most to you and make sure you have budgeted enough to spend what you want on those items.

Any other advice for brides? I found that when you look back on the day, it’s a blur. You don’t remember the details and it’s probably better that way. There are probably a bunch of little things that went wrong or you would have changed, but on that day, none of it really matters. So don’t drive yourself crazy — you only get to be a first-time bride once, so enjoy every single crazy second! corrie

Lynda Berry Photography

Meridith & Kyle: Fonthill Castle, 10/5/2013

What is something you splurged on? My own personal beauty prep. I really embodied the nature of “treat yo’ self.” I got custom nail art in NYC to match my decor, had a facial and wax, had my makeup/hair done for my shower, had individual eyelash extensions — the works! I felt that it was the only time in my life that I had to be the center of attention and I wanted to be the best “version of myself,” if you will.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I only spent $20 on shoes for two reasons. 1) I was wearing flats because of my height. 2) my dress totally covered my feet so they couldn’t be seen anyway. We also opted out of a cake and had friends and family bake and make various desserts for a sweets table. Our guests were able to grab a cookie here and there and keep dancing! Last, we did not provide transportation for our guest after the wedding. Our ceremony and reception were on the same site and I had it in my head that we needed to be responsible for everyone getting back to their respective hotels when the night was over. I went so far as to price out school busses, but the costs were outrageous. In the end, I has to trust that my guests were responsible adults and that they take care of themselves after taking the time to celebrate with us.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I (via my mom) impulsively spent way too much money on a custom veil. I fell for the famous rookie move where the seamstress put a veil on my head at my fitting and then I just had to have it. It’s still one of my favorite things from my wedding and the photos are beautiful, but I could have been smarter in my choice.

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Despite my aforementioned veil story, my advice would be to avoid snap decisions unless you’re really sure. The first dress I tried on was the one I chose — I just knew and was ready to pull the trigger. I think trusting your gut on things that feel right doing the due-diligence to research and educate yourself on other things creates a good balance in wedding planning. It’s different for everyone. You may have something that you just can’t live without and it could be totally impractical, but it’s your day, and if you can juggle the budget to squeeze it in, I say go for it. Also, if you can, avoid anything custom! Personalization, “made to order,” catered to you = big bucks. There are ways to bring in your wedding theme or your personal touch without adding monograms to everything.

Any other advice for brides? Have the best day. You will probably never again be in one place with literally every person you love most in the world. Everyone is so happy for you and it’s like being wrapped up in a big blanket of happiness. And you will notice things that go wrong or didn’t pan out the way you wanted them to, but you won’t even care. If you have to, spend a few minutes of your honeymoon venting to your new husband about how the champagne was flat and they forgot someone’s vegetarian entree. When you’re wearing the dress, in a circle of all of your favorite people, screaming your lungs out to your favorite song, never stop dancing. mer

Littlewing Studio Photography

  • 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.”

  • 4/1

    Real Bride Peach | I Found The Dress!

    Guess what, y'all?!?!  I found my dress! Wheeeeeee! As you saw from my boutique reviews, I didn't find my dress the first round. Or second. Or third or fourth or fifth!  In actuality, I found my dress on the SIXTH round of trying on.  Good grief, right? I think I stopped counting after 50-something dresses. And let me tell you, for a pretty simple, non-girly-girl, that's…

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    Daniel and I have three goals with our wedding: keep it cheap, keep it from looking cheap, and keep it unique. During these early stages of our planning, we’ve tried to come up with ways to save ourselves money without sacrificing our vision. Thus far, we’ve come up with several ideas that not only cut costs, but also make our wedding even more uniquely suited…

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    One of the first things I did after getting engaged was find my dress. This was purely by accident. It wasn’t on my to-do list to find my dress so early, but I was glad it happened! First, I have to show some love to The White Flower where I found my dress. It was wonderful! I went twice and both times had great associates…

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  • 3/26

    It was winter in Portland, 2007. I was 22 years old, single, working 2 great paying jobs and living a relatively care-free life. I sold my car for a bike and lived off of deli sandwiches and PBR. I had just finished a shift at the vintage store I ran with my two best friends and was getting pumped for an all nighter of Rock…

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    jilly~bean These were the original dresses I picked. For some reason, no one was into them.  I'd like to think that I am a pretty laid-back bride, and don't demand too much from my bridesmaids. I have 6 of them, and the fact that they are all willing to fly to North Carolina to be a part of my wedding is amazing to me. I'm…

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    Ahhh, bridesmaids. Your ladies in waiting. Your personal party planners. Your servants. Your army of skanks. Lucky for me, my mom birthed a bridal party so my decision was relatively easy. Three sisters? Boom. One cousin that is basically like a sister and was your ever-trusted partner in crime growing up? Also, boom. One best friend who would do absolutely anything for you including address all…

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  • 3/20

    We decided we were getting married in Joshua Tree. A wedding in the desert is not exactly desirable because Travis and I are not real fans of the landscape. This is mostly due to the fact that we both spent most of our lives in the “dry heat” of Phoenix, AZ. A desert to beat most deserts. But Joshua Tree is central for almost all…

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