Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Get Inspired: Glitzy, Vintagey, Eclectic Backyard Wedding

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Hey, BABs! It’s been a minute since we’ve had a good dose of inspiration around here. And these summer nights sitting under twinkly lights at the local watering hole, kicking back with my favorite people and basking in the love and friendship around me had me majorly inspired to dream up a pretty backyard wedding inspiration board. A beautiful, light gown paired with muted and understated earrings and a simple headband. Eclectic table accents include a sparkly runner and a lacy blue runner to highlight the varied tableware patterns and colorful glassware. A proper amount of gold and color to delight and luxuriate.

Broke-Ass Hacks:

Varied and gorgeous serveware and dishes can often be found for uber cheap at thrift or secondhand stores, and you can re-donate when you’re done. The table runners and paper lanterns easily translate into gorgeous home decor items … or you can pass them on to a bride you know who would enjoy them for her wedding.

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Chinese Lanterns, Luna Bazaar | “Aurelia” Hoop Earrings, Ruche | “Marvelous Maven” Heel in Mint, ModCloth | “Inside Out” Bowl, Anthropologie | Sequin Table Runner in Gold, Koyal Wholesale | “A Lace for Everyone” Table Runner, ModCloth | “Mira” Gown, BHLDN | Brass Flora Indie Headband, Ruche

What do you think of a pretty, intimate wedding under the stars with your nearest and dearest?

Real Bride Tiffany: Giving Props to Pets During the Wedding

Of the 9,000 wedding trends I have discovered in the past year, animals at weddings is one of my favorites. And one that I am most jealous of. Like this one for example …

hedgehog ring bears via wedbook

Via Wedbook

Excuse me though, A HEDGEHOG RINGBEARER? I have all the jealousy in the world.

You see, our beloved cat — JMEOWW — is truly a part of our family. She has grown up with Justin and basically considers him her “boyfriend” although I like to pretend she doesn’t really mean that. They do a lot together.

cats and weddings

Catching bugs and gaming are two of their favorite things to do together!

I have said time and time again that my daily life would not be as entertaining without her. Even though she tries to wound me on a regular basis. So the fact that she will be unable to attend our wedding truly pains my heart. Why won’t she attend? Previous engagement, allegedly. (Some people’s pets. I swear.)

Just kidding, she is an absolute terror and hates people and actually having a cat at a public wedding venue would be absolutely insane. But as our one and only illegitimate child, we want to make sure that our love for her shines through on our wedding day because if we left her out she would never forgive us. Ideas that have not panned out include Skyping her into the ceremony while she is wearing a wedding dress.

Ideas that are slightly more reasonable and will probably happen are:

  • Cardboard JMEOWW cutouts at the photobooth.

photobooth cat

Image via Michael de Pippo
  • Cake topper inclusion.
  • Guest book inclusion (more to come on our guest book!)
  • A proper “slow blink” during the ceremony (I’m only half joking about this. If I forget to do this I will be so pissed).

And really, anything beyond the third bullet point would just get weirder so I will leave it at that.

How are you showing your love for your pets on your wedding day?

Real Bride Peach: The Great (Wedding Planning) Escape

Dear fellow Broke-Ass Brides, have you ever wanted to take a weekend and just get the hell away from everything? Even more importantly, have you made time to do so and will you *actually* go through with it?

We are all learning that this whole wedding planning process? … Well, it can be a bit much. (*coughUNDERSTATEMENTcough*) As such, it’s important to realize that the spreadsheets, the phone calls, the texts, the worry, the stress, the drama, the vendors … it can be shoved aside for a minute so you can catch your breath. And you know what? I feel a wedding planning hiatus should be a mandatory part of the process!

I started daydreaming months ago about a great romantic getaway weekend. One in which I could be with my fiance Jersey, just the two of us, reconnecting on a level that has everything to do with our love and nothing to do with the damn table arrangements or DJ playlist. I had a notion to combine this fictional weekend with one item on my Life List, but wasn’t sure it would be feasible before the wedding. So I thought nothing about the late night phone call with my MOH, in which I confessed this daydream. Until I awoke a few weeks later on my birthday morning to an email from her with the subject line, “#81: Happy 36th Birthday!”. 

Life List Item #81? Visit Savannah (finally), flagged as a Top Five for 2014.

I couldn’t believe it. I scanned down the email and saw the confirmation number for our Savannah hotel stay and explicit instructions to GO and HAVE FUN. That she’d already cleared that weekend with Jersey. And that it was a thank you for planning her bachelorette festivities-slash-birthday present. I swear, y’all … I hit the jackpot in the friend lottery. Love you, Netstr!!



So after months and months of wedding planning, work stress, moving, traveling, and you know … LIFE … our getaway weekend is just days away!  I am beside myself and unable to focus beyond my daydreaming of walking hand-in-hand underneath the moss-covered trees. Of a luxurious spa appointment to knead away all the stress. Of poolside fruity drinks and butter-drenched southern fare that will surely need to be burned off next week. And most importantly, time to JUST BE with my amazing guy, relaxing and enjoying each other. I’m not sure we’ll be able to totally put away the technology (you guys know how much I love Instagram), but I do hope to implement a “no wedding planning talk” rule. That is NOT on the agenda. We’ll most likely check in with family/friends once we’ve arrived, but ask them to please hold all calls/texts until we return.



But I’d like to ask you, my friends: Did you take time to get away from planning? Any advice for us as we prep for our Great Escape? Any Savannah tips if you’ve been?

Till next time,

Real Bride Jess: The Clock Is Ticking and a Guide to Vow Writing

We are almost exactly one month away from our big day. Basically I am in a perpetual state of panic. I wish that I was not working and instead spending every day at thrift stores buying adorable wedding- related things. Unfortunately I am instead working from 8:30-5:30 and spending my evenings making lists of things I don’t have time to do and resisting the urge to drink until I pass out. As much as I would love to spend this post making every reader vastly uncomfortable or typing “everyone elope!” 500 times – instead, let’s focus on vows.

vows emilie rhaupp

By Emilie Rhaupp via Flickr Creative Commons

Vows are hard. You know why you love your almost spouse, but saying it meaningfully in front of everyone you know is a lot of pressure! Not to mention that you have to choose if you’re doing the traditional vows or if you’re writing your own.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted us to write our own vows – they’re more meaningful that way, right? As I looked for inspiration for my vows I started to get scared about Michael’s vows.

What if I put a ton of time and effort into mine and he was just, “Jess –I love you, you’re my best friend. The end”?! Or didn’t write anything at all and then it was just this unrehearsed ramble? Or our vows just didn’t go together?

That said, I decided to give Michael (and myself) a fill-in-the-blank. Now, I know that as a generality Mad Libs are not very romantic, but this seemed like the best option. This way I can make sure that our vow structure is similar, but I’m not telling Michael exactly what to say. He’s still free to tell me (and everyone), in his own words, why he loves me.

Now I know you’re at least a little bit curious what this Mad Lib vow structure looks like so here it is:

- I fell in love with you …

- [Something about you] makes me want to be a better man/ person

- So today I promise that I will be yours in sunshine and in rain

- In times of plenty and times of want

- In sickness and in health.

- And that you will be mine in times of war and in times of peace

- In old age and in youth

- Always

- You are [description] and I want to spend the rest of my life [blank]

(Somewhere in there a quote about love)

And then my vows will be the same (minus the “better man” part).

So ladies – what have you done or decided to do about your vows?

Real Bride Tiffany: A Look Back at My Wedding Planning Process So Far

We’ve been engaged for nearly 13 months now. That is considerably longer than it takes a human to develop and be birthed. Our wedding baby is STILL cooking and it seems to be taking forever. We still have 3.5 months to go. Our wedding baby is basically a whale (because they have really long gestation periods? Get it?) …

open bar

My mom sent me this… #awesomeMOB

Moving on! When I look back 13 months, I don’t see a completely different wedding. There have been some minor changes. The first being when I realized how much these things cost and to have a reasonably sized wedding in San Diego we were going to have to spend more than the $15,000 I had decided on. Okay, I guess that is a pretty major change. And although my wonderful parents are generously footing this bill, it is still painful to see the costs involved. It will all be worth it though, right? RIGHT!

Oh, so those “minor” changes to our wedding vision. My first change came when I was trying on dresses. I had, once again, everything decided in my head. Lace, cap sleeves, keyhole back, you’ve seen — it you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I put on that style of dress and was horrified! That was not ME! And while I was still convinced that I wanted something  non-traditional, I ended up with a very simple and elegant traditional-ish gown. Deep inside of my cynical exterior surface is a princess bride waiting to flourish. Enough of *me* will shine through, but I couldn’t be a bride without being a bride, you know what I mean?


I share these moments with you because they were part of my wedding journey, and also I have no shame. Featuring: Mom’s dress from 1979 and my younger sister’s bedroom.

Our combined wedding vision changed was when we realized, due to family arrival times, that we couldn’t have the super cool rehearsal brunch that I so desperately wanted. I didn’t want a stuffy ol’ dinner! I wanted mimosas. And pancakes. And the obligatory post brunch nap because: hello! NAPS! And Justin wanted the evening to do manly things! That was really the first time we both realized — WHOA — things can change and they can change quickly. And we can either change with it, or we can stomp our feet and shake our fists at the sky. So we changed with it and we are having a stuffy ol’ rehearsal dinner at our favorite neighborhood pub. I’m sure I will have mimosas and a nap at some point that day anyways. {Eds. note: YOU BETTER.}

And part of our wedding vision that is still in progress and probably being modified is the amount of DIY involved. Thirteen months ago, I wanted to do everything all myself. Now, I’d much rather save myself the effort and support a small business on Etsy at the same time by purchasing. Everyone wins! Besides I have much more important things to worry about, like my fiance passing kidney stones …

Thirteen whole months ago we envisioned a laid back, super cool, hip, intimate wedding adventure. And minus one snafu and one bridal epiphany, we are still on track to make that happen. I’d like to thank my lovely groom, my excellent parents and our kick-ass bridal party for not rocking the boat … yet.

snacks gif

This is completely unrelated but incredible.

Ask Heather: Seating Chart Drama and a 3-Hour Wedding

Seating chart

Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Heather,

How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!?


Dear Shelby,

You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute best to cope with various family drama. I will warn you right now: No matter which strategy you choose, you will piss someone off. The key: Don’t let this bother you. Weddings breed craziness. Don’t get sucked into it.

Since you’ve written to me, I’m assuming  you’ve decided to not go with Option 1. My suggestion: Post-It notes in many different colors. Use one color for the drama-free folks. Use different colors for each “warring faction.” Seat like with like and use the non-drama folks as buffers. Do a sweetheart table so you don’t have to deal with offending folks who aren’t seated at the head table. Put as many tables equidistant from the sweetheart table as possible, so you don’t have to deal with Uncle Jack complaining about how Aunt Jane was seated closer to you than he was. And use table names rather than numbers, so Phyllis can’t throw a fit that Margaret’s table number was lower, and therefore better, than hers.

Again, you’ll likely make someone angry. Know that you did the best you could and if they can’t put their differences aside for one meaningful day in your life, they can suck it. So neener.

Dear Heather,

My ceremony and reception are both at the same garden, and I only have three hours to do everything. We’re doing a buffet, and this amount of time doesn’t include set-up or clean-up. How do I fit it all into a few hours?


Dear Tiffany,

That’s a fairly tight amount of time, which will make sticking to a timeline absolutely critical. First off: Make sure you start your ceremony when you’re scheduled to start it. Brace yourself, though, as guests will inevitably be late. Unfortunately, those folks will just end up missing part of the ceremony. I’d also suggest doing a first look, so you can get most (if not all) of the posed pictures out of the way prior to everything starting. This will obviously need to be done offsite, but this isn’t the end of the world. You’ll get plenty of non-posed onsite shots during your shindig.

Twenty to 30 minutes is probably a fair amount of time for a garden ceremony, assuming you aren’t doing a bunch of readings or an elaborate unity ceremony. You’ll likely need to cut the cocktail hour down to a cocktail half-hour. This leaves you with about two hours to go. Appoint someone to emphatically shepherd guests from the cocktail area to the reception, and have your wedding party announced as soon as possible. Trust me: Once you start entering, people will get their butts into their seats. If you can skip toasts, that’s great. Otherwise, do them while folks are in line for the buffet. Ideally, guests would be seated for toasts. Realistically, you’re on a timeline here!

Obviously, you and your spouse should be first in line for the buffet, or someone should have already put your food-laden plates where you’ll be sitting. If you can, have multiple buffet stations, since this will cut down on waiting time for your guests. As soon as you and your spouse are done eating, segue into the cake cutting. Yes, some folks will still be eating while you’re cutting your cake. That’s okay. Right after cutting the cake, move into your first dance and parent dances. After a couple of songs where the dance floor is open, do your bouquet and garter tosses. This will hopefully leave about a half-hour of dancing after the official traditions are done.

I’d also suggest doing some sort of no-host party after the reception is over. My husband and I went to a local bar after our reception had ended, and there’s nothing quite like walking into a bar wearing a wedding dress. This also has the advantage of continuing the party without you having to pay for it. Our guests were thrilled to have somewhere “official” to go, and my husband and I were happy to have somewhere we could go, have one drink, then head back to our hotel and collapse.

How about you? Did you struggle with your seating chart? How did you eventually make it work? And what sort of timeline would you use if you only had your venue for three hours? Let us know in the comments below!

Real Bride Kate: Warning! Parental Advisory

As we all know, when it comes to weddings, parents are typically the biggest supporters and have some of the biggest opinions. This is extremely true in my and Daniel’s case. Our parents have been incredibly supportive of our relationship (at least, ever since I convinced my parents he isn’t a cyber-serial-killer). Seriously, though, their overwhelming love and support has been phenomenal. Of course, sometimes, that overwhelming love and support can manifest in negative forms and be, well, overwhelming. Our parents are making rather large financial and emotional contributions to our wedding. Therefore, as any parents would, they are invested in the wedding and feel entitled to a certain degree of decision-making clout. I would be lying if I said this hadn’t caused some rather heated discussions and quite a few tears. In the end, Daniel and I decided that it wasn’t worth the drama anymore – after all, the wedding is only one day – and we made several concessions to satisfy our parents. Now, pay close attention. Not only will the following warnings explain my and Daniel’s experiences and decisions…they will also be crucial considerations for anyone preparing to tie the knot. parental advisory.jpg

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1. Parents are People with Their Own Perspectives It’s easy to think of your wedding day as belonging solely to you and your partner. Well, sorry, it doesn’t. If your parents (or other family and friends) are involved in your life, likely, they will strongly desire to be involved in your wedding. Keeping in mind their perspectives as your parents can be the difference between seeing a ferocious monster-in-law and a caring mother-in-law. Daniel’s Parents’ Perspective: Daniel is the eldest son and the first to be married. Therefore, his wedding is our first as parents and very special to us. Plus, he is leaving home permanently to live in the United States. This is one of the last big events we will share with him, and we are travelling halfway around the world to be there, so it is a very important occasion to us and needs to accommodate our special needs as out-of-continent guests. My Parents’ Perspective: Kate is our only daughter, and hopefully, this will be the only wedding she’ll ever have. Her whole relationship has been challenging for us, given that she is marrying someone from overseas. Therefore, we want her day to be incredibly special for her, and for us, since this is the only time we’ll be the wedding parents. When Daniel and I really thought about things from our parents’ perspectives, it was easier to see why they felt entitled to make big decisions about our day… and it made us more compassionate to the sacrifices they are making for our relationship, too.

Via Wedding Bee 2. If Parents Pay, They Have Power Many parents choose to contribute financially to their children’s weddings. This is very generous and typically comes with a promise of “no strings attached.” That is a lie. I’m sorry – your parents could be the richest, nicest, most generous people in the world – but if they are putting money down on your wedding, it’s no longer just a party: it’s an investment. An investment in family time, their (and your) reputations and precious memories. One on hand, this viewpoint is so “anti-wedding.” Thinking of a wedding as a product is downright unromantic. However, on the other hand, it makes a lot of sense. A wedding is a day for the whole family, and if people are making contributions, like with any other shared asset, they want it to look how they want it (see point #1). While this wedding-as-product philosophy does make my head spin … it has helped me a lot. Thinking of my wedding as a product helps me think of our family as a business team … each making his or her own contribution to a final product that will reflect everyone who contributes, not just Daniel and me. 2B. Use Parental Payments Wisely Even if your parents are footing the bill, keep the “Broke-Ass” mentality. Be respectful. Be resourceful. And help them get the most out of their investment. Basically … don’t be a jerk. ‘Nuff said. 3. Don’t Make Any Concessions You’ll Regret Later It sounds simple, right? It does … but boy, I screwed this one up from the get-go. Long story short, Daniel’s parents have vacation from work for two weeks, so they had to have the wedding on the weekend in the middle of their vacation. We immediately agreed – no sense in missing work for world travelling when they could use the time they already have off. It’s the least we could do to repay them for their willingness to travel. Coincidentally, the Saturday the wedding has to be on is a day that has deeply upsetting personal meanings for me. Yes, the date was arbitrarily chosen. Yes, the date will be redeemed when the memory of my wedding paints over the bad memories. But … it’s been a tough pill to swallow. A very tough pill. I repeat: don’t make any concessions that you know you’ll regret later.   At least we're not on Game of Thrones...

At least we’re not on “Game of Thrones” …

4. The Catch-22 This may be just our experience, but I thought it was worth warning you all. We have a terrible Catch-22 with our wedding planning. On one hand, our parents want us to have our dream wedding, and they encourage us to make decisions freely. On the other hand, if they do not agree with our decisions, we are guilted or chided. On one hand, they do not want to know every step in the planning process. On the other hand, if we do not tell them the “important” details (which are subjective), they get upset and a repeat of the first Catch-22 happens. The point is: Sometimes, it feels like you can’t win. Instead of stepping on eggshells, plan your wedding how you want it, and if an issue emerges, sit down and address it immediately. Passive-aggressiveness will only waste time and emotional energy. 5. Choose Your Battles Wisely It’s amazing what weddings bring out in people. For instance, I like to go dancing from time to time, but I never knew how insanely important dancing was to me until it was taken out of my reception (don’t worry, I got it back!). You never know what different people will consider to be among the most important aspects of your wedding. Hell, they probably won’t even know what they value until they realize an item’s presence or absence. Therefore, when your parents (or your partner) decide to really push for something wedding-related, ask yourself: Is it worth the fight? Was demanding to change the date based on my own selfish desires worth the logistical nightmare it would cause? No. Was going to the courthouse prior to the wedding (to get the immigration paperwork filed early) worth devastating Daniel’s parents? No. Was adding an extra 10 people to the guest list worth making my mother an emotional wreck? No. To some questions like these, the answers will be a resounding yes. But before you answer, think about what you and your partner value most and weigh that against the fallout of getting what you want. Sometimes, even if something is the best option – emotionally, financially, and logistically – for you and your partner, it just simply isn’t worth the fight or the upset it will cause. Remember: I’m not saying give up complete control. I’m just saying … choose your battles wisely.

Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive!Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive!

Now, after all this serious talk, let me end on a happy note. Daniel and I love our parents. They have made financial and emotional contributions to our long-distance relationship and to our wedding that are beyond the scope of anything a parent should have to give. While making wedding concessions are not always our happiest decisions, we know that this day is very important to our parents, and we are happy to give something back to them after all they have given to us. Our wedding is just one day, a day that we are sharing with our loved ones, and we want it to be meaningful and joyful for everyone. Besides … once we hit the beach at Sandals, I’m pretty sure the ocean will wash the wedding stress away …

Search with Bing, Earn Rewards, Level Up Broke-Ass Badassery

I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.

metro bing.jpg

Metro Kitty judges your search engine.

There’s this thing about wedding planning: When most of us are doing it, we have no freaking clue what we’re doing. I mean, so completely in the dark. There are vague ideas of what’s supposed to happen, but you don’t really know know.

And so you take to the Internetz. And you search your little heart out to figure out what you want and what you’re supposed to be doing: dresses, officiants, venues, budget breakdowns, permit regulations … it goes on. And on. And by the time you get married, you’ve conquered the World Wide Web in all of it’s searching capacity and someone might as well just pay you to find shit on the Interhole. Because now you’re a pro, yo.

Well, as luck would have it, you can get paid, in a way. It’s not quite a big ol’ check, but it’s something and it adds up quickly. Now, I’m on the Internet all. day. long. This is not even close to an exaggeration. I wake up in the morning, check my phone for emails, pour myself the first of potentially many cups of coffee, say good-bye to that handsome guy I date and settle in for hours of Webinating. From Facebook to WordPress to reading other blogs to checking BAB’s analytics to hunting for new post ideas, there’s nary a corner of the Internet I haven’t visited (OK, maybe one or two corners … even these eyes can’t handle everything). Probably knowing that, Bing approached me about testing out Bing Rewards. I’ve always been a Google girl, but far be it from me to turn down free stuff just because of my stubbornness, so I hopped on board.

After signing up, I set Bing as my home page — so I wasn’t tempted by those adorbz doodles to distract from my goal —  and started scouting. The design is pretty rad, with a new original photograph showcased each day as the home page. Each day, Bing will offer up a couple of new ways to snag a extra points, and you can watch your counter go up the more you search (I don’t know about y’all, but I like watching stuff like that. It could be why I have so much fun with BAB’s analytics. Data and shizz.).

As far as the actual rewards, they can rage from stuff that would be great for date night (Dominos and Fandango) to shopping (Amazon) to airline miles and subscription services (Hulu) and usually come in the form of small-increment gift cards, though you can also choose to redeem them in the form of a charitable donation. You can pick which rewards you’d like to set as your goal (I started with Starbucks because I have a coffee addiction) and then start searching to watch your counter meter go up.

As much as regular search engine usage is ingrained in me, I never really think about which one I’m using. But real talk: If I can get stuff for doing stuff that I do on the regs, I’mma do it. There’s no logical reason for me to pass up earning rewards for searching the Internet when I perform an average of 50 searches a day. I mean: come on.

And for you BABs, consider this: If you’re searching for wedding stuff, you can use your rewards for that same wedding stuff. Think about how many times Amazon items have come up in your searches. So, search away and use that Amazon card to get those cute polka dot straws you want so badly. You earned that little wedding extra!



Real Bride Jess: We’re in the Home Stretch of Our Countdown!

Hello fellow BABs! Michael and I are down to the last 50 days before the wedding and I can’t believe it. Time has gone by SO fast –I’m in full-on panic mode basically all the time.


That tiny girl in the hourglass is me. Source

My thoughts look like this:

“I need to build 10000 things and paint wood into adorable signs!”

“Are there any cute thrift stores where I can get vintage frames to put everywhere?”

“Blackboard paint.”

“I need a massage.”

“What are people eating at the cocktail hour?!”

“I need adorable programs. Can I make those?”

“Why is everything in this world not free?!”


Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited too, but everything you have to do for a wedding makes me glad I only have to do it once. (Any thoughts of being a wedding planner have also turned to dust during this planning process.)

When I start to feel overwhelmed I remember how far we’ve come in the few (9) months since we got engaged. When we got engaged:

– We had both recently graduated from college.

– Michael just got hired at his first big boy job out of school.

– I was waiting tables slash for my life to begin.

– We were both living in San Diego.


– I got a job in L.A. and moved.

– Michael is about to transfer up to L.A.

– We rented our first apartment: I’ll be living in it solo up until the wedding (my first and last time ever living alone).

I figure that if that much could happen, all while planning the wedding, without anything going disastrously wrong then I can get through these next 50 days.

How about you ladies –How are dealing with your countdown?