Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

From NYC: Helping People with Weddings

Hey-o! A while back, BAB put out a call for a rad chicky in NYC to help us stay in the know on rockin’ events and killer happenings around the Big Apple. And we got just that in Michelle, who is planning her own wedding. So when she’s not busy being her radtastic self, she’s reppin’ The Broke-Ass Bride at various parties and shows in New York, then sharing her experience with y’all! Here’s Michelle:

Randy! TV Personality! Fabulous Dresser! Wedding Dress Extraordinaire! Bartender?For one night, at least, he most definitely was!  Randy Fenoli, along with other celebrities in the wedding world, volunteered their time and efforts, bartending at a Drinks and Dresses drive at TAJ Lounge in New York City.

Most importantly, this happened:

Randy

Photo credit: Michelle Yee

Even more fabulous than Randi, the event supported the New York Chapter of Wish Upon A Wedding, a wonderful organization that provides services and products to hold beautiful weddings for couples that, due to medical and financial circumstance, would not be able to hold the wedding for which they have wished. The organization works with donations and the generosity of many members in the wedding world to grant the wishes of brides and grooms to hold the wedding of their dreams and to be able to celebrate and say “I do” in the presence of their friends and family despite illness, pain and financial limitations. It puts a whole ‘nother meaning behind “dream wedding.”

Wish Upon A Wedding accepts donations in the form of cash-money and also works with their partner, Brides For A Cause, to receive donated wedding dresses that are then resold. 50% of the profits go to help couples facing terminal illnesses.

So remember when you said “yes” to the dress then you said yes to the love of your life? Save that special and beautiful dress from a boxed fate in the back of your closet and give it the opportunity to make another bride glow.

That dress brought tears to your eyes and to the eyes of your beloved.  What a beautiful legacy to your love knowing that you passed on your joy  to another couple in need.

For more information on Wish Upon a Wedding and to read the inspirational, funny, and wonderful stories about wishes they have granted, please visit their website.  To donate your dress, please visit Brides For a Cause.

Real Bride Peach: Weddings, Too, Take a Village

Real Bride Peach | It Takes A Village

Via Pinterest

I bet a lot of brides out there are like me: self-sufficient, independent, strong and insistent upon handling everything herself. It isn’t a matter of being too stubborn to accept help. In it’s purest form, it all boils down to the fact that we understand our vision better than anyone and it just makes the most sense to take care of everything yourself. And besides, who really wants to be a burden on anyone? Right? Who’s with me in the “I’VE GOT THIS.” mentality?

That all sounds well and good. That is, until we get hit by the Great Wedding Steamroller of planning, organizing, details, bookings, money, photo shoots, appointments, family drama, dress angst, etc. and we find ourselves face-deep in a pint of Häagen-Dazs, trying to cope with the sheer amount of chaos.

Just me? Hope not. Listen up.

Here’s the revelation all brides-to-be should have:

PEOPLE WANT TO HELP YOU. THEY LOVE YOU. SO LET THEM.

Read that again. (Yes, I’m bossy.)

Whether you are planning your own wedding or have already lived to tell the tale, most of you out there understand the massive amount of effort it takes to pull off a wedding (big OR small). And in the same way the saying goes that “It takes a village to raise a child,” we should all remember that it takes a village to plan a wedding. So please, ladies (and gents), do not be ashamed or embarrassed to accept offers for help. Don’t be too stubborn or insistent on your own self-reliance to turn down extra hands or someone’s time and willingness to contribute. Yes, you may need to stand firm with your vision and set your boundaries clearly as you delegate, but let’s face it … we are not superheroes. 

When you first get engaged, everything is very exciting and swirly-love-emotions and happiness. The actual details of the planning seem a million miles away. (Remember this engagement post I did? If not, go read!) But then as time hurtles rapidly toward your big day, you come to realize that even though you CAN handle everything on your own, it doesn’t mean that you should have to. And where at first you were hesitant to delegate any small task, you begin to realize that no one wants to “take over” your vision. It isn’t about you relinquishing control. It IS about allowing those who care about you to help plan this very large, very elaborate party.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of experiencing both sides of the giving coin. You see, I’m currently the Maid of Honor for my friend Nette. Her bachelorette weekend was a few weeks ago and her wedding is very soon, YAY!!! I cannot tell you how much fun it was to spoil her rotten, take her out on the town and yes, embarrass her just a little bit. That’s my job as a MOH, right!?!? But in all honesty, the single thing that has given my heart the most joy is seeing how much our support, love and outpouring of help means to HER, that we would treasure her so much.

Seeing her gratitude and emotion really resonated with me and tripped my heartstrings. Because it made me realize that accepting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s an acceptance of love.

So put your parents to work with the out-of-town guest bags. Ask your siblings to be on airport shuttle duty that weekend. Let your MOH be the ringleader of the bridesmaid dress purchases. Or just let a friend treat you to a mani-pedi as a way to relax for a damn second.

Because I promise you, it doesn’t make you any less of a Broke-Ass Badass Bride to let yourself be loved by your people.  

Five for Friday: Gorgeous Invitations from Marchesa + Wedding Paper Divas

affiliate disclosure

Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! I recently got a hot tip that beautiful, illustrious fashion house Marchesa launched a collaboration with our ever-adored partners Wedding Paper Divas to make some seriously stunning invitations. Here are my five favorite offerings from this killer partnership:

sumptuous_swirls-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-white

 

Sumptuous Swirls, $184 for 100.

night_blooms-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-black

 

Night Blooms, $184 for 100.

breathtaking_blossoms-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-plumberry-purple

 

Breathtaking Blossoms, $184 for 100.

lithe_lace-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-blackLithe Lace, $184 for 100.

beaded_flair-signature_white_wedding_invitations-marchesa-cashmere_pink-pinkBeaded Flair, $184 for 100.

Aren’t these invitations swoonworthy? Which is your favorite?

 

 

There’s No Sinking Feeling with Solemates

affiliate disclosure

You guys, I’m admittedly the worst high-heel wearer on the planet. I live for my flip-flops (no, seriously. If there isn’t snow in my direct walking path, flip-flops are on my feet. And I’m from Wyoming, so that ‘s some serious dedication). I’m 5’2″, so you’d think the opportunity to be just a little bit taller every once in a while would get me going, but really, the only time I’m faced with the prospect of rockin’ a killer pair of stilettos is for a wedding or some other schmancy event. And those are usually in the spring or summer and outside. Since I’m laughingly far from a dainty ballerina who can flit about on her toes, heels + grass = inevitable sinking, which takes me back to my starting height, but adds a splash of comedic relief as I try to unstuck myself.

SM logo_no HH_web

For years, I’d been seeing the Solemates High Heeler around the Internets — but I think my initial introduction was in a wedding magazine, when I was planning my first wedding. And my curiosity has been piqued ever since. Last November, in Florida for my fella’s cousin’s wedding, I was finally in a situation where I could try them out for myself … and nudge right into the good graces of his family by getting a pair for the bride’s mother — who was wearing a pair of killer heels that would have javelined themselves right into the soggy lawn. That’s what I like to call a double-win, if I do say so myself.

I got them, immediately put the Solemates on my go-to black strappy heels and dashed — er, rather, hobbled like a baby giraffe learning to walk, because I’m that graceful — outside to see if they really, truly, actually worked. And they did. Duh.

This is me. For realz. Can’t you tell by the unicorn outfit?

So, what are they and what do they do? Solemates High Heelers are little plastic things that stand about an inch tall, slip onto the bottom of your heel and expand the base size of your heel, keeping you from sinking like a stone or falling through the cracks in the boardwalk. They come in clear, black, silver or gold, and since grass is typically taller than an inch, you can’t see them in your wedding photos. Not that people are closely examining what’s going on with your stiletto anyway, though I guarantee that there will be chicks who note that you and your needle-thin spikes seem to be floating above the grass and will ask you what your secret is. They come in different sizes — narrow, classic and wide — to accommodate different heel fatnesses (making up terminology here, folks) and you can pop them on and off different heels to reuse for each wedding and each different pair of shoes. Bonus for you city slickers: Wear them with your heels on cobblestone to protect your precious kicks and save yourself some skrilla by making your trips to the shoe doctor less frequent.

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If you’re planning on wearing your fanciest shoes for your wedding, or as a bridesmaid, you should probz get some of these. And if you’re the bride, go ahead and get the Wedding Rescue Kit, one for yourself and one for each of your girls. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run. With a huge swath of goodies inside (earplugs, tampons and antacid, just to name a few) any wedding disaster can quickly be averted and the partying can continue.

 

Real Bride Jess: Registries … aka Buy Us Presents

Wedding registries are hard. Everyone’s telling you “don’t forget anything!” “register for more than you need!” “don’t forget China!” “you can always return it!”

Why can’t I just register for the things I want? Neither Michael nor I drink coffee so we really don’t need a coffee maker. My parents have used their wedding China maybe one time, so I probably don’t need wedding China, can’t I just get regular cute dishware? I do see the use of those “things most brides forget to register for” lists, I like to look at those lists! But I don’t think I’m a bad bride for ignoring the item Espresso Machine or Fondue Pot.

What I love about this day and age is you can basically do all of your registering online. The one thing I did want to do in person was register for sheets. I wanted to feel them & make sure that I wasn’t going to receive some thin sheet sized cardboard, but rather cloud-like perfection.

Now I thought this was going to be easy: go in, say you have a registry & would like to add to it, they give you a scan gun, boom. False. You have to sit down, they have to give you paperwork, they discuss your registry & why you don’t have certain things. I felt like I was being interrogated by undercover cops. And THEN (this part was actually the most scarring) someone has to go with you and scan what you want! You’re not even trusted to handle a scanner. The reason for this, I’m sure, is to make suggestions as to what else you should register for and drive up the amount of money guests will hopefully spend. I did succeed in only shopping for bed-related things, but she did win and get me to register not just for sheets but also for fancy pillows,a comforter and a quilt.

Will I be glad to possibly have these items: yes. After I recover from my bitchy resentment will I be glad I went to the store to feel the sheets: yes.

Ok, whining over.

I do have a confession: I am a registery-o-holic. I have four registries. I just like options! I registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Target and Anthropologie. You want to know something else? If four registries is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

 

Real Bride Tiffany: The Photography Saga

The one and only thing that Justin asked to have the most input on (after the venue, naturally) was our wedding photographer. I came from the state of mind that I could edit my own damn photos, all 9,000 of them. And that my friend only paid $300 for hers so we could TOTALLY get something for $1500 or less that would just be absolutely mind-blowing.

What I imagine the bulk of our wedding photos to look like. (For the record, I know these people. I'm actually in there...)

What I imagine the bulk of our wedding photos to look like. (For the record, I know these people. I’m actually in there…)

But once I began browsing, $1500 or less was not even a close possibility. So what did I do? Have a minor mental breakdown and collapse face first into the couch crying, “WE CAN’T AFFORD ANYTHING.” For once I am not exaggerating. You guys, I had NO idea what we were dealing with when it came to photography prices. All I knew was that in 2007 my sister paid close to $3000 and that was expensive for the time. Now? That is average. Hence, the breakdown. Yes, there are photographers that are cheaper. But this was Justin’s one thing and it was going to be a “splurge.”

So, we did what any other normal, obsessive compulsive couple would do: WE MADE A SPREADSHEET. We decided on a price range that we were both comfortable with, and then went to town. I contacted no less than 50 photographers. Again, I wish I was actually exaggerating. San Diego seems to have approximately 2 million wedding photography options.

A SMALL sampling of said spreadsheet.

A SMALL sampling of said spreadsheet.

After falling in and out of love with the first most expensive choice, we found our one true photographer love — Next to Me Studios. You guys, I am not even kidding when I say that we completely stuck gold with this team.

via Next to Me Studios blog

Not only do we get unlimited time, but they also have a totally rad photo booth setup. And I know, just know that they are going to be the *next big thing* in wedding photography in San Diego and we are so incredibly lucky to have snagged them before we would’ve had to take out a loan to pay for their services. Look, just look!

Perfection, like for real. (via Next to Me Studios blog)

Last one, I swear. But can you even handle this? (via Next to Me Studios blog)

I am so overjoyed that we found such an amazing team and stayed within our budget. Research, spreadsheets, and patience are the key to survival. And also accepting the fact that wedding photography is absolutely a huge chunk of your budget (albeit totally worth it). Although I had some pains initially, once you discover your one true wedding photography love you will actually feel like a complete tool for crying hysterically on your couch about it.

Real Bride Kate: Remember Your “Yes”

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.”

Real Bride Jess: Wedding Countdown – 4 months to go!

Our engagement has FLOWN by. Am I the only one who feels this way?  I thought our 11-month engagement was perfect … until seven of those months just disappeared. The problem with wedding planning is that most of us have never done this before. Some people have friends or sisters that they help out, but it isn’t the same. I feel like I need a whole ‘nother year to plan, but I want to be married right now! What I’ve started telling people is, “I understand why people elope.”

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Our adorable Save the Dates.

I know you’re all wondering: Well, what have you actually accomplished? Here’s the answer:

 

And the scarier list- things I still need to do:

  • Actually pick a florist

  • Pick a DJ

  • Get a bartender

  • Tablecloths, cutlery, plates, glasses, etc.

  • Hair and makeup people

  • Rent a dance floor (this seems silly, but is a real thing)

  • Lighting

  • Get Michael a wedding band

  • Outfit my flower girls

  • Outfit the Michael & his groomsmen

  • Venue decorations

  • Buy and send out my invitations

 

I’m sure this is not even the full list, but you get the picture. At the end of the day I’m definitely overwhelmed but more than that I’m excited to be so close to finally marrying the man of my dreams.

 

 

What’s In a Venue? Dana and Paul Find a Wedding Space that Matters to Them

My first wedding was so FUN. It was the best party I’ve ever been to. And a lot of my guests said the same. I danced so hard that I spent the next month on crutches. I mean, that’s a good party.

But… the thing is… I don’t really remember connecting with my guests in a meaningful way. It was lots of passing each other in hallways, all “Heeeeeeeyyyy! Thanks so much for coming! Gotta go over here and do this thing now!” Or bumping up against each other on the dance floor for a few seconds. But, with the exception of the receiving line, I barely got to speak with anyone outside of my bridal party the whole evening. And we had 100+ guests. Don’t get me wrong… it was fun to be able to look to my right, and to my left, and see friends and family all around me. But the night lacked a certain level of intimacy and connection with the crowd, because the frenzy of the party was so high. But, at 31 years old, it was the kind of party that made sense to me.

This time around, I’m 36 years old. I’ve been through a divorce, which cost me a large chunk of my local circle of friends, and taught me a lot about who my real friends are. This time, I crave a more intimate, close-knit event, with our most core group of people. I want to be able to spend time talking with them. To remember, years later, their faces on that day. To feel connected to the group who will bear witness to our commitment and celebrate it with us.

Lucky for me, Paul is totally on board with the same feelings (even though it’s his first wedding). He was much more concerned about us choosing a venue that had special meaning for us, but that made the decision simple. On our second date, he took me to The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel for dinner, and that night, we became a couple. Two months later, he took me and my sister there, and gave the most impromptu, romantic speech about how much he loved me and how he planned to “marry the shit out of me” one day. Ten months later, we took our parents there, to celebrate the day my book released. We went back for Valentine’s Day this year, and again last weekend for our 1-year anniversary. The hotel and restaurant were designed by Philipe Starck, and have a very whimsical but elegant sort of “Alice in Wonderland on acid” kind of aesthetic. It’s quirky, modern, stylish, unexpected and sophisticated. And it’s perfect for us.

The Bazaar at SLS hotel

The Chef du Cuisine for The Bazaar and all SLS properties is José Andrés, a protégé of legendary chef Ferran Adrià, and a darling of the molecular gastronomy movement. If you watch “Iron Chef America,” you’ll recognize him as a semi-regular judge on the show. Paul and I are HUGE foodie nerds, and Chef Andrés’ food is nothing short of spectacular.

In The Bazaar, there’s a private dining room called SAAM. Touted as a “secret oasis of calm with The Bazaar” it seats about 40, and they usually serve an exclusive chef’s tasting menu of delicious, unique, very fancy courses. And it’s the perfect spot for our wedding.

saam at the bazaar

 

And rather than a pants-off-dance-off style reception, we’ll have the kind of party that really reflects who we are as a couple: a fabulous dinner party, featuring 18-20 courses of food by one of America’s most-beloved, progressive chefs, to be enjoyed with an intimate group of our nearest and dearest. Great food, great company, great celebration — our style.

But first, we’ll have a ceremony. In one of their lovely, mirrored, white draped meeting rooms. (Imagine it without the tables, and more set up for a wedding, but you get the drift.)

sls-hotel-at-beverly-hills_meetings_a

And then we’ll whet our collective palates with cocktails in The Bar at Bazaar, which is absolutely fabulous, and features a bad-ass liquid nitrogen Capirinha cocktail that I adore.

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And the best part? This whole shebang, done our way, will cost about 1/3rd of what it would have done to do it more traditionally, with a ballroom reception and 100 guests in the same hotel.

I am so thrilled we were able to follow our hearts and dream up a wedding that felt authentic to us, and mirrors our values, tastes, and personalities. Here’s to the second time around, and hindsight being 20/20!

 

Dana