Posts in the 'Wedding Inspiration' Category

Feeling Inspired? The Broke-Ass Bride Wants You to Join the Team!

Hey you!

Yeah, you!

Do you spend your days thinking about weddings, dreaming up different themes, schemes and gorgeous details? Can you easily get lost in the pages of gorgeous bridal magazines or scrolling through wedding blogs? Do you have a Pinterest board(s) dedicated to various ideas and styles for the big day?

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Fantastic! We need that head-in-the-clouds kinda gal as The Broke-Ass Bride’s new Wedding Inspiration Guru!

This gal will:

  • Know her way around WordPress
  • Easily toss one post per week into the ring, with a healthy respect toward deadlines
  • Have some serious style skill, or at least knows how to write about it
  • Know how awesome weddings and parties are, and be inspired by them in all facets – glam get-togethers, rustic soirees, geek chic galas, backyard bashes … the possibilities can’t stop, won’t stop
  • Get what it is to be a Broke-Ass, and can bring ideas into the realm of broke-assery
  • Be keen to contribute to a rockin’ blog with amazing readers, great tips and a kick-ass mission
  • Know that e-hugs and e-high fives are the best kind of payment, since this is an unpaying gig. However, there is a possibility to earn some skrilla down the road, and we’re always happy to dole out love, schamazing recommendations and even the occasional freebie.

Do you or someone you know fit the bill?

Email info@brokeassbride.com with an intro (we wanna know who you are!), a sample of your writing, and a link to any Pinterest boards that show off your knack for wedding themes/style.

 

 

Real Bride Tiffany: Our Budget-Friendly Wedding Website

Ah, the wedding website. A necessary thing in this day and age. And a necessary thing for someone like me who hates answering questions. It is on the Internet, I say! I do actually always say that … don’t ask me, puh-lease just Google that shizz.

We wanted traditional paper invitations because: #1 I love me some paper and some graphic design and; #2 not all of our guests are completely Internet savvy and would prefer the snail mail version anyways. But we did also want a website for more information that wouldn’t be included anywhere else … the entire point of a wedding website.

The thing about those websites though, well, some of them can be QUITE cheese-tastic. I appreciate the free templates that a variety of wedding sites offer. They just felt very much so not us and not actually as customizeable as they claim. But paying for one? Out of the question. Paying $15-$30 a month or $75-$100 a year was just not something we were interested in.

Our solution was simple. We both have experience with blogging platforms, which are typically free. We both have remedial to not-so-remedial design abilities. We can DIY this website!

Step 1: Use a blogging platform to build your site layout and customize away. We used Blogger because that is what we were both comfortable with at the time. I used dafont to search through about one billion (free!) font options and nearly went blind. And the I used Photoshop to create the header and buttons {Eds. note: If you don’t have Photoshop, try PicMonkey}.

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Step 2: Fill in the blanks! We left out the traditional wedding website sections such as “our story” and crap like that because, honestly, if you don’t know our story you probably won’t be invited in the first place. We chose to include: wedding details (duh), accommodations (featuring a map and all of the details needed to book), around town (for the out-of-towners to explores during their visit), registry links and our email addresses for contact information (featuring a picture of that cat because she needs to be included everywhere). Oh AND an open letter to Bill Murray which we will get to at some point during this journey …

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Because LOOK AT THAT INNOCENT FACE.

Step 3 (optional, but no one likes clunky URLs and grandma isn’t going to remember that whole “blogspot” inclusion so help a sister out): Purchase a domain name from somewhere like GoDaddy (we paid about $15 for one year).

Now, I must warn you. Our website is nowhere near as awesome as this one, but it is still pretty dang awesome AND hopefully will meet the needs of all of our guests. And at the end of the day, it cost us only $15. Done and DONE.

Wedding Inspiration: Something Blue with Doctor Who!

It’s no surprise that we have a little geek side over here at BAB. I mean, let’s be real. You don’t get this cool by not having a daily dose of geekery in your diet. And what better way to celebrate your inner fangirl than adding bits and bobs to your wedding day?

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When you first glance over at my group of friends, I’m the Phoebe to their Chandler, Joey and Ross. But what you don’t see on the outside is that this edgy, bubbly chick can definitely get her nerd on, especially when it comes to Doctor Who (and minions!).

Kevin and I recently decided to revisit the series, starting from our dear Mr. Christopher Eccleston and suddenly I was overwhelmed with the desire to have a Doctor Who themed wedding (again)! Just picture it, a touch of color in every direction – you don’t even need to be a Whovian to enjoy some good, ol’ blue!

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Bring a bit of classic art to the table with a cake mimicking the famous work by Vincent van Gogh!

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Pinterest has some amazing recipes for drinks – ask if your venue allows you to do a customized cocktail and serve up some Killer Kool-aid (adult style!).

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Now there’s the standard TARDIS or “Timelord” and “Companion” ring sets, but this little beauty completely sold me. Simple and classy with a touch of inner-geek!

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“Nine hundred years of time and space, and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.” So why not lock their memory into this customizable TARDIS guest book!

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Between you and me, I could not be more thrilled that I came across this! I had an idea to use the sonic screwdriver to hold up my bouquet but could not find someone else who had done it. Until now! I can guarantee I’ll be holding this on my day – nerd moment all the way!

 

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Now we just need a bouquet to give away!

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What a sweet, little addition to your aisle. Dress up your flower girl with a blue tutu and your ring bearer with a bow tie (because they’re cool) and not only do you have an adorable picture but a little Matt Smith to drive the girls crazy.

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Sapphires are such a beautiful accessory to have. They’re classic and timeless, but can be used in the most unexpected ways.

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And lastly, a touch of navy blue on your dress, how could you go wrong? Or if you want to go all the way, perhaps add a small TARDIS on the inside of your dress for your “Something Borrowed” and “Something Blue”!

 

Are you incorporating any TARDIS blue into your wedding? Or do you have something else subtle and sneaky that’s a must-have?

Five for Friday: May the Force Be with Your Wedding Day

Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! Since this weekend holds a v. special holiday for the geek in me, I figured celebrating Star Wars Day with a roundup of my five favorite ways to incorporate that oh-so wonderful of trilogies (the originals, duh) into your wedding day. You could always go with the obvious Star Wars-themed cake or Leia’s signature buns, but in case you already have plans for your sweet concoction or follicles that don’t involve geekery, here are five easy and fairly subtle accessories to pay homage to your inner Jedi:

R2 Afraid of the Dark? Lights from ModCloth, $34.99

R2D2 Afraid of the Dark String Lights from ModCloth, $34.99

These little droids would be pretty rockin’ strung up around the bar or cake. or use them to light up centerpieces on all the tables!Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 4.21.37 PM

Star Wars Yoda Green and Grey Skinny Tie from Cufflinks.com, $55

The subtle print makes it easy for your dude to use the force and not disrupt your carefully planned color palette. Chose wisely, he did!


Sterling Silver Ring Pair – I Love You / I Know, Amazon,com, $79.95

Show your love the Han and Leia way with these sterling rings.

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Millenium Falcon Blue Print Cufflinks from Cufflinks.com, $60

Wearing these cufflinks would be a super easy and inconspicuous way to smuggle Star Wars into your nuptials.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 4.37.47 PMSaber the Flavor Shaker Set from ModCloth, $21.99

Put these great shakers on the table so your guests can flavor up their grub with a little bit of the dark side!

Are you planning on including your favorite pieces of geekery into your wedding day? Tell how me in the comments below!

 

Wedding Inspiration: Calling All Country Cowgirls!

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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.

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I love this barn in Austin, Quebec.

LET’S GET FABULOUS:

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!

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

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What wedding is complete without twinkly lights?

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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!

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

Kaykisses!

Wedding Inspiration: Introducing Kristy + Que Sera Sera Themes

Hey Broke-Asses! It’s been a hot second since we’ve had a Wedding Inspiration Guru around these here parts, and Kristy was uber excited to step into the shoes of some rockin’ chicks before her. So if you’re struggling with ideas to fit in your theme, need a little extra push to realize your vision or just want to ogle some gorgeousness, come play as she helps provide the pretty! Welcome, Kristy! 

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Let’s skip the casual ice breakers and get right down to it, shall we? Kevin proposed to me a year and a half after we started dating but as a 19 year old, I didn’t have much of a plan. We knew we wanted something fun and simple after a long engagement and now, 4 years later that is still exactly what we are doing. Seeing as we are all looking for the best deals and ways to cut corners without sucking the life out of our wedding, I will be serving up my most unconventional and over-the-top ideas on a silver platter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll give you all the glitz and glamour, but for now … *insert Toby Keith’s “I Want To Talk About Me” here*. I’ll go into further detail later down the line but today, I’d like to talk to you about themes to give you a general idea of who I am behind this keyboard and maybe spark some interest of your own.

Between our itsy-bitty-teeny-weeny budget and our lack of traditional values, our theme has mostly been left up to venues. It took (I kid you not) approximately 150 different quotes and six visits before we found our destined location. However, before that, our wedding has seen themes from a destination wedding, to vintage, modern, over-the-top-fancy, country and now to simply “Love.”

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Every wedding day is filled with love (dur) so although it may not seem like a thing – or maybe I just made it one, whatever, it’s a thing now, okay? – it works for what we wanted out of our wedding. All we truly wanted at the end of the day was for our guests to have a blast singing karaoke (oh yes, there will be karaoke), dancing all night and laughing until they pee their pants. Alright … not literally, but you get the idea. Kevin and I have many passions and aside from a shared love of music, most of them are polar opposites. Settling on one idea to represent both of our laid-back and easygoing attitudes seemed much more difficult than we anticipated. I like bling, he likes gaming. I like country, he likes medieval. I love twinkly lights and he likes alcohol.

When we found our location, everything just simply fit together like puzzle.

OUR VENUEThis is it!

Twinkly lights surround ¾ of the seating area, you can sing your heart out on a stage with a city horizon backdrop and dance with your glasses of alcohol from the bar to the side. They have given us complete free range to go wild with the added bonus of being a turn-key venue. There will be a candle tree on each table, dessert will be served on a vinyl record-looking plate and we are allowed to bring in a gamer’s dream of a wedding cake. So yes, without giving too much away (since some of our guests may read this), you will walk in to see a little bit of everything and it may look cluttered but … Kev and I don’t live in a box, so why constrict our wedding to one? Our wedding will allow all the little stars that we love to shine, including our guests. So love … love the theme to my big day.

After bouncing back and forth from A to Z myself, I’ve gathered a ton of ideas from all different genres which I hope will either tickle your fancy or inspire your creativity.

How do you envision your big day? What is it that inspired you to choose the theme to your wedding? 

Kaykisses!

Real Wedding: Jessica and Andrew’s Most Unique, Eclectic and Fun Arkansas Wedding

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I was over the moon when Jessica emailed me to say that she’d won free wedding photography from Beyond the Ordinary Photography’s contest because she’d read about it in our newsletter, because it’s always exciting when the work I’ve done has helped to make a real difference in someone’s life. If you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, you know that Beyond the Ordinary Photography is running another contest this year, and if you aren’t subscribed, you can change that now! Congratulations, Jessica and Andrew, your wedding was amazing and it was an honor to have played a tiny role in it.

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Names: Jessica Keahey and Andrew Beekman

Occupations: Civil Engineers

Wedding location: Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wedding date: 10/20/12

Approximate guest count: 210

How would you describe your wedding? Eclectic and fun. We didn’t have a theme; we just made individual decisions on what made us happy or what we found to be really enjoyable or interesting. We decided that we wanted our wedding reception to be a very fun party that everyone attending would enjoy. Up to a year later, we have had people tell us that ours was the best wedding that they have ever attended and how much fun it was.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Andrew and I both agree – our favorite moment was dancing with our very best friends and the catering staff from Geraldi’s, (best lasagna in Northwest Arkansas), at the tail end of the night. I’m sure this will seem very strange to your readers, but it was an incredibly happy and carefree moment in time that stands out so clearly to us both. With the night winding down, I walked into the kitchen at the back of the reception location to find the caterers all lined up in a row like well-dressed soldiers awaiting orders to do food battle. Juxtaposed against the revelry on the other side of the kitchen door, it seemed pretty surreal to me – so I invited them to come drink and dance. The young staff literally cheered when their boss relented, and we had a total blast boogie-ing and tapping the kegs with them.

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What did you splurge on? The food, the booze and the reception venue. Andrew and I believe there are 3 things that are vital elements to a great wedding reception: good food, good booze, and good music. I’m a vegetarian while Andrew is a carnivore, so we wound up picking each of our favorite local restaurants to cater a buffet-style dinner. We also had a candy bar, popcorn machine, and a huge tower of cheese in addition to a mouth-watering cake. Feeding and providing an open bar to over 200 people was our biggest expense, but it was really important to us. Early in the planning process, we struggled with finding a local venue that was 1) large enough (and had enough room for dancing), 2) open late enough, 3) allowed alcohol or otherwise had booze available, 4) permitted outside food to be catered in, and 5) was within our price range. The UARK Bowl, Fayetteville’s first bowling alley and iconic local landmark, fit the bill and was within walking distance of the ceremony. The venue rental also included tables, chairs, linens, place settings, use of their kitchen, our name in lights on their outdoor marquee, a stage and sound system, bar and 2 bartenders for the evening, clean-up, and the help of an event coordinator during the day-of the wedding — which kept us from having to coordinate with a bunch of other vendors and rental agencies.

What did you save on? The decorations – We made almost all of the decorations and favors. All the DIY projects were incredibly time consuming but very rewarding, and our amazing friends really pulled together during the day-of to help us get it all put in place. (See below for more details on our DIY projects.) Our rings – We both decided that we wanted something unique and didn’t want to support the diamond industry, so we each picked a handmade ring from artists on Etsy. Our attire – My dress was simple and really incredibly affordable. Andrew got his suit on Black Friday when we were visiting a friend in New York. And while $850 may seem like a lot for our duds and accessories, Andrew got a really nice suit out of the deal that he still wears (along with a badass tie, pocketwatch, and cufflinks), and I got some fantastic shoes to add to my closet. We really tried to think about long-term use rather than spending a chunk on something that would get worn once. The photographers – Beyond the Ordinary photographers Charity and Nicole honored us by choosing our wedding as “the most unique” entry in their 2012-2013 contest for free photography. I had enough airline miles and hotel points to fly them to Fayetteville from Chicago and put them up for free. The ceremony venue – We had our ceremony at the Greek Theater on the University of Arkansas campus (where we met). It was free! Bonus: it’s an amphitheater, so no expensive chair rentals required! The honeymoon – Andrew had accrued enough airline miles to snag free tickets to Japan for our honeymoon. While there, we used airbnb to save a ton on lodging by staying with locals and, in the process, got to meet some really incredible families during our stay.

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Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would forego buying disposable cameras. We really thought they would capture some great candid shots, but they were relatively expensive to develop, the picture quality was quite grainy, and the shots were overall pretty underwhelming.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? I’m really not very good at delegating and didn’t have to, as we forewent a traditional wedding party. Our close friends joked that we had built up a lot of wedding karma by helping them at their events over the years because we were able to call in a lot of favors from these very talented and generous people who helped us out of love.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Everyone has their own opinion about what the perfect wedding should look like and consist of (some of whom may be quite vocal with these opinions), so it’s definitely tricky navigating through it all – especially for a non-traditional, secular wedding. We had a fairly long engagement period, so that helped give us the time we needed to consider all the options available and make our own decisions.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding? 1) Having so many of our loved ones attend and celebrate our love. A good friend serving in the Peace Corps in Yerevan, Armenia, at the time even flew back to officiate. We had such support for our friends and family and so much help through it all.

2) Our vows – It was important to us that the ceremony truly focused on us as individuals and our love, so we wrote our own vows. I’m a former slam poet, and Andrew writes the sweetest love letters/poems on the planet. Let’s just say there was a lot of laughing and crying. A friend was actually so inspired that she wrote a song based on a line from Andrew’s vows which has been put to song by a local artist.

3) Our unity cocktail – A few months before our wedding, Andrew and I made nocino, an Italian walnut liquor, from green walnuts on a tree behind our house. Another friend made an accompanying liquor that he presented and which our parents assisted in blending together into a quaff during the ceremony. It was a distinctly unique and meaningful moment for us.

4) The reception as a whole and all the revelry – The reception was really unique in that we showcased the talents of our fantastic friends, from singing and instrument playing to juggling and dancing with giant silk fans. And there was so much dancing – A rock-n-roll professor of ours agreed to get his band together to play a set. They unexpectedly jammed out the whole night and got everybody on their feet dancing. Afterwards, Andrew’s band played a set before we put on our digital playlist of hand-picked dance jams for the late-night crowd.

5) The before and after events – Prior to the wedding, I convinced the lady who did henna at a kiosk in our mall to come to my house for a mehndi party with my best girlfriends. It was tremendous fun, and I got to have beautiful wedding henna. Then the day after the wedding, some very dear friends threw us a brunch. The day of the wedding itself was so hectic that it was nice to get to spend more quality time with friends and family after the big day.

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Top five least favorite?  1) The expense – We saved quite a bit of money on some elements so that we could splurge on the food and drinks. But overall, weddings with a large number of attendees just cost a goodly amount of money.

2) The sheer amount of time and energy spent – It took a long time and a lot of planning and energy to pull it all off. I definitely had “wedding brain” for a while and then a bit of wedding PTSD afterwards.

3) A no-show vendor – We booked a caricature artist who didn’t show up. It was a bit of an annoyance, but at least we didn’t lose any money on a deposit.

4) The hotel that night – A total disaster. It was really a sour ending to a beautiful day. But now we can kind of laugh at how terrible the experience was.

5) A missed toast – I found out later that my dad had written a toast that he didn’t give. I really wish that we could go back in time and hear it.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? That we “had” to do any one thing in a specific way because of tradition or expectations. It’s one of the biggest and most memorable days in a person’s life, so we decided we would make it exactly what we wanted it to be. We rejected a lot of “traditions” like the garter and bouquet tosses or standard wedding registries because they just didn’t have any significance or meaning to us.

The best? Looking back at the outpouring of love and written/spoken words of advice, it’s really hard to pinpoint one voice above all others. We received much advice on the theme of how to maintain love and respect for a lifelong marriage. I think there’s probably no one single piece of advice that’s the magical key to a happy union.

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Any other bits of wisdom? My childhood BFF was driving me to the venue, stopped the car and very seriously looked at me and said, “Ok, this is it. Are you ready to do this? Or do you want to drive to Mexico?” I about died from laughter, but with all the craziness of the day it was a snap back to the true core of what the day was all about – being ready for a lifetime of commitment with someone. The meaning of it all can easily get lost in the planning and hubbub, so my last bit of wisdom is to keep the reason for your union in sight at all times. And make sure you have a really, really good friend willing to drive you to Mexico, if need be.

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Vendors

Jessica’s ring: Adzias
Andrew’s ring: Jewelry by Johan
Wedding reception: UARK Bowl
Ceremony location: Chi Epsilon Greek Theater
Dress: Unique Vintage
Photographers: Beyond the Ordinary
Caterers: Geraldi’s and Lucky Luke’s BBQ
Cake: Meridienne (very sadly now closed, I believe)
Ring Dish: Crystal Peace Studio
DIY projects: I learned how to make paper roses from blog tutorials and made my own “flower” bouquet and boutonnieres for our friends and family out of old sheet music. Similarly, I learned how to make dahlias out of felt for corsages for the moms. I also made my own hair fascinator from scraps of my altered dress and butterflies from the craft-store. In lieu of a traditional guestbook, we went with a thumbprint canvas. A friend painted a whimsical leafless tree and our guests filled in the “leaves” with their inked thumbprints and names. Now we have a nice piece of art (rather than a book that gets hidden away) that reminds us of our special day and our friends/family. We also designed and printed our own invitations with the help of (again) some amazingly talented friends. It was also worth every penny of the $20 we spent at Office Depot for them to do the folding!!! Other DIY projects included hand sewn felt heart pins for all our guests, whimsical military medals for the dads and gents, huge bunches of balloons, colorful banners of flag pennants, handmade signs aplenty, cootie catchers, large table mats of sheet music, pinwheels, and more. We set up all the decorations, including long bolts of colorful fabric and an arch (we owned and refurbished) at the Greek Theater, with the help of friends and family. We also borrowed and set up PA equipment for the ceremony to save some money.

Budget breakdown

Photographers: $0
Rings: $1,000
Ceremony Venue: $0
Reception Venue (and parking): $3,000
Food and booze: $4,500
Attire: $850
DIY Projects: $125
Other Decorations and Disposable Cameras: $150
Flowers: $0
Band: $500
Cake: $650
Invitations (including postage): $250
Hair, Makeup, and Henna: $200
Dance Lessons: $300

Real Wedding: Angela and Jay’s $5000 Laid-Back Family-Powered Semi-Traditional Arizona Fete

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Angela and Jay had their beautiful wedding in January of this year, incorporating meaningful locations, the support of their community, and some Arizona flair. Seriously, how cute are these cactus favors? It goes to show that you don’t need to spend $30,000 to have a beautiful, memorable wedding day…and since their family and friends were involved throughout, they were able to start their married lives feeling truly loved and blessed.

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Names:  Angela and Jay

Occupations: Angela- PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, Jay: Video Game QA Lead, Red5 Studios

Wedding location: Phoenix, AZ (Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and the Science and Heritage Park)

Wedding date: 01-04-14

Wedding budget: Original $3000…..Actual $5000

Approximate guest count: 100

How would you describe your wedding? Laid-back, informal, with traditional aspects

What was your favorite part of your wedding? I loved getting to talk with all of my friends and family during the reception. I just wanted it to last forever.

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What did you splurge on? The reception venue. We met on NYE 4 years ago at a bar owned by my husband’s friend. The venue is RIGHT behind it, so we both wanted to celebrate our marriage there, even though it was pretty expensive for our budget. It didn’t include much. It had a small catering kitchen and tables and chairs we could use. I also spent $444.00 on my wedding gown. I felt guilty for this, since Jay was wearing a suit he already owned. I REALLY wanted a simple white dress, off the rack. But I couldn’t find anything I liked. My mom made me go to a David’s Bridal one day and I found something that wasn’t too shiny and fancy for me. I hoped to sell it…but, then a friend burned a cigarette hole in it, and I spilled my beer on myself. I’m sure someone would still buy it…

What did you save on?  Everything else!! The cake/cupcakes were made by my best friend from high school. I won a few bottles of champagne in an online contest. I cut out all the paper flag decorations with my mom. My brother bought decorations off Craigslist from a woman who had similar colors for her wedding (candles, cake plates, lights, lanterns). I bought all the servingware (bowls, trays, and tongs) at a dollar store. I didn’t want flowers at first, but my mom wasn’t having that. So I found 10 bouquets at Costco for $100. They doubled as bouquets for the bridespeople and table decorations. We gave small cacti as favors (only 50 of them) and my friend purchased them for me at cost ($1 per cactus) from his cousin who runs a nursery. We decided a build your own sandwich bar would be good instead of a caterer. It was very simple. We had sliced cheese, turkey and roast beef with condiments. We bought bolillo rolls from a Mexican bakery which was cheaper than the same rolls at Costco. I made three grain/pasta salads that were very very inexpensive. One was quinoa, one was a pasta salad, and one was Israeli couscous. The biggest saving was the alcohol. My husband’s friends who own the bar gave us free beer and wine! We also received free coffee due to a mixup at the coffee house. That was a nice surprise!

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Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have done two things differently. First I would have managed time better. We were married in a church service and since my husband is not Catholic, we didn’t have the full ceremony. In fact it only took 30 minutes. We had no idea it would be that quick! This meant that our guests had to wait about 2 hours between our ceremony and the reception. Since our reception was only a block from the church, most of our guests just headed to our friends’ bar for food and drinks. We had to set up the wedding while they did this. We decided to set up our own wedding to save money (of course!). Since we were early, the young men we had hired to set up the tables hadn’t gotten started yet. Everyone was stressed out and working hard. They wouldn’t let my husband or I do much, which was nice, but also frustrating.

The second thing I would have done differently is I would have hired a day-of coordinator. I would have just asked an old friend and paid her $50 or something. That way she could have fielded the 10,000 questions everyone had for me that day. The questions freaked me out because I really wasn’t very picky about how everything looked, but of course no one believed that. Most of the questions were related to the decorations.

What was your biggest challenge in planning?  We had a few challenges. The biggest challenge was money. We don’t have a lot and everything really added up.  I was in Washington teaching for the Summer and Fall semesters right before the wedding. So not only did Jay and I not get to see each other, but all of my planning was done through email and phone calls. I didn’t even see the church until the rehearsal dinner. Luckily we were familiar with the reception venue.

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What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?

1.Our families really care for us. When we needed help purchasing something they always came through and just gave us money. We didn’t abuse this privilege, however.

2. I wouldn’t have bought so much food. Lots of our friends who said they were coming didn’t show, so there were too many sandwiches. Also, we had made sure to tell people that we were only serving light food, and during that 2 hr break between wedding and reception, lots of our guests ate dinner. My mom ended up donating bread to a soup kitchen which was great, but it would have been better for us not to spend the money in the first place.

3.I also learned that dancing is not as important to other people as it is to me. I spend what seemed like weeks and weeks creating our playlist. It was nuts. I went from slower dancing at the beginning to all out party music at the end when everyone would have been drunk. Well, The only dances that happened were our first dance and the father/daughter dance. Everyone else just used the wedding as a way to catch up with old friends and family, which was lovely, but not what I had envisioned. I wish I’d not cared about the music so much.

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What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? 

1. Seeing friends and family that I hadn’t seen for years. I have lived in CA and WA for the last 4 years, so I’m out of touch with a lot of my Phoenix peeps. My husband is the same way. It was nice to have everyone together.

2. The cake and decorations! I really loved what I did. Yes it was simple, but it reflected us. We aren’t flashy people. I was really proud about the money I saved.

3. The help we received from friends and family. They worked so hard and the night of the reception I felt really very guilty for it. I saw my mom running around putting lunch meat on platters and making a veggie tray. My bridespeople and other friends all helped immensely with various food and decorations. It made me feel awful at the time, but everyone says it wasn’t a problem and that they had a good time. Also, it made me feel very loved.

4. Wine and beer! Not only was it free, but it helped both me and my fiance loosen up a bit.

5. Getting to celebrate our commitment to each other in front of all our friends and family. Although Jay and I have been committed to our relationship for a while, it felt good to share that with everyone else. Everyone was really happy for us, and that felt great!

Top 5 least favorite?

1. I didn’t like the music at the wedding ceremony, but it wasn’t a big deal. It was just boring church music that didn’t really fit the wedding.

2. My fiance was nervous and I didn’t know how to cheer him up. He didn’t smile once during the service and his hand was sweaty when I met him at the altar. I felt like I was failing him by not creating a happy wedding. He finally loosened up at the reception after we cut the cake….. about 3 hrs in…

3. I don’t have a picture of my parents walking me down the aisle.

4. Friends and Family who said they were coming that did not show up.

6. We only paid for a 3 hour reception. I wanted it to last at least 2 hours longer into the evening. We did all move over to the bar, but my fiance and I didn’t stay as late as our guests. I guess that was probably a good thing!

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What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I didn’t have any bad advice, just a LOT of judgement from others. When you tell people that you are getting married, suddenly everyone has an opinion on things. (tablecloths, flowers, food, “You HAVE to have the Chicken Dance!”, etc.) That was a little annoying at first, then a lot annoying. Also, I really thought that our relationship would somehow grow deeper at a profound level after getting married. It didn’t. I still feel the same love for him that I felt before the wedding. Although there are times when I think “Wow, that was a whole fiasco, wasn’t it? Getting married in a church when neither of us are religious, having a fancy white dress, registering for gifts, etc. I can’t believe he loves me SO much that he would do it all and not complain once.”

The best? A few friends told me “Do what you want and try not to listen to other people.” and “This is about a marriage, not about a wedding.”

Any other bits of wisdom? Just have fun on your wedding day! Soak it all in and try to remember everything. Smile and say thank you as much as possible. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Budget breakdown?

Venue (4 hour rental, includes a $500 refundable deposit): $1645.00

Security (We had to hire an off-duty cop for the venue.): $120

Marriage License: $107.00

City Fees (sound permit, alcohol permit): $38.00

Food,cups/napkins (Costco, regular supermarket, Mexican Bakery): $423.00

Sparkbooth (only 5-6 guests used this…I could have skipped it.): $55.00

Stereo speaker rental (we borrowed a few from friends too): $80.00

Vistaprint invitations w/postage(we emailed most people but sent out 60): $61.50

Photography (elizabethbatesphotography.com): $500.00

Decorations: flowers ( Costco ) Tablecloths ( TableclothsFactory ): $406.87

Dress (David’s Bridal): $444.99

Shoes/Veil (DSW Outlet and Claire’s Workshop ): $52.30

Church marriage prep: $350.00

Hair (The Root Salon)$65.00

Bouquet (made by a friend who does this as a small side business): $100.00

Rings (I used my grandmother’s but it needed a few prong repairs. I traded in some gold to help pay for that. We bought a stainless steel one onAmazon for Jay for the ceremony. He got a tattoo of his ring because he doesn’t like jewelry): $210.00

Hotel room for wedding night ( Sheraton Phoenix Downtown ): $112.00

Total: $4770.66

Free items: Cake/cupcakes, alcohol, tables/chairs were included with rental, extra help setting up was a gift from BIL’s girlfriend, Church fees were paid by my parents (because they wanted the church wedding), Coffee (there was a mix-up at the coffeeshop, so we got it for free!), and FIL paid for the rehearsal dinner.

DIY With Jenny Doh: The Hollywood Glam Frame + Win Jenny Doh’s Book, Stylish Weddings!

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Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon was inspired by the famous premier signs of old Hollywood  movies for this project. There’s something so glamorous and exciting about big flashing  twinkle lights! For the inside of the frame, you could have a photograph, or follow Tiffany’s lead and create a chalkboard. It’s the perfect canvas for adding your own creative stamp to the wedding décor.

What You’ll Need:
Large vintage frame, with sides at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide
Tape measure
Strand of umbrella lights with globe bulbs
Black permanent marker
Wire cutters
Drill bit and drill
Scrap wood block
Staple gun and staples

What You Do:
1.  To arrange the lights evenly around the frame, measure the length and width of the frame, and then count the sockets on the strand. Measure and mark out the bulb spacing with a permanent marker.

2. If the sockets have umbrella clips, use wire cutters with a cutting edge to remove them.

3. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than the socket width, so that when you drill the frame, the socket can slide into the hole. Using a scrap wood block as backing for the frame, center the drill tip in each mark and carefully drill a hole from the front side of the frame through to the back. You may need an assistant to hold the frame to keep it from moving while drilling.

4. Remove the bulbs from the sockets and, starting at the bottom corner of the frame, push the socket closest to the cord end through the back of the frame. Carefully centering the staples over the cord (you do NOT want to puncture the cord), staple the cord to the frame on either side of the socket. Repeat with each socket.

5. Secure excess cord with more staples, or use tie wraps to tie excess cord together.

6. Screw in the bulbs and plug in the lights.

To make a chalkboard similar to the one pictured, cut a piece of Masonite board to the dimensions of the frame.  Spray the Masonite with several coats of black chalkboard spray paint. Let dry. Place the  painted board into the frame and use chalk to write a message for the guests.

Jenny Doh’s book, Stylish Weddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers, takes all of the frustration out of the home creation of fifty different beautiful wedding details, spanning six different themes, so you’re sure to find something that will fit in with your wedding’s style. This week, we’re giving away one copy of Stylish Wedddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers to one lucky blog reader! Want it bad? Get an easy free entry by subscribing to our newsletter. It’s packed with the best steals, deals, and wedding giveaways on the web, and we’ll never spam ya!

 
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