Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Designer Dresses on the Cheap, Bass-Thumpin’ Beats and Giving the Boobies Support

You might know — or maybz you don’t — that The Broke-Ass Bride is a national partner of Brides Against Breast Cancer. Because we love the boobies, we love a good cause and their Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a great source for BABs to support a good cause and find their coveted wedding frock for a great price.

And this past weekend, the Nationwide Tour of Gowns set up shop in Fort Worth, Texas. So, with Funkytown only being a hop-skip-and-a-jump away (er, 45-ish minute drive thanks to my lovely friend Liz), I figured it would be a good time for me to go check it out live and in person, and holler at some of y’all by helping with any questions you may have and offering up a signed copy of “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide” as a raffle prize.

BAB's Christen sets up shop at Brides Against Breast Cancer's Fort Worth event

I got this ModCloth dress for the conference I spoke at in NYC a couple of weeks ago, but it’s pretty much my favorite right now … y’all, it has pockets. And it fits like a glove, even on my 5’2″ frame.

The Fort Worth event, held at the Worthington Renaissance (OMG, guys. It’s so pretty. And they have salt scrubs in the bathroom) was a two-day event, with Friday being a VIP deal (pricier tickets but with food, booze, bigger prizes and you get the first pick of the gowns) and Saturday playing host to the regular shebang.

cake babc

The food was good, the bubbles and cake were ridiculously good. I don’t normally dig fruit-flavored grub, but that champagne-and-strawberry cake on the right was so delightful.

A number of brides were able to find their dresses on the first night, and the very first gal who did find her dress was gifted a bottle of bubbly by the hotel, had a mini-makeover by the gals at Mary Kay and of course was fawned all over by everyone. Which, natch, when she came by the BAB table, I had to get a pic, too.

Bride with dress picked at BABC's Fort Worth stop

She has a face. I promise. But for privacy sake, I blurred it out.

Over the weekend, the Fort Worth show sold 27 dresses, which is pretty decent! I snuck into the dress showroom at one point to have a look around and see what kind of gorgeous goods were being offered up (there was a gorgeous one-shoulder Grecian-style Nicole Miller that was marked for around $730 — and retailed over $2,000). It’s a little chaotic, because brides are vying to get to the dresses before one-another, but BABC volunteers maintain a decent modicum of order.

The Dress room at BABC Fort Worth


The quality of this photo sucks. I apologize. But look at the gowns!

And gals don’t just come for the dresses — there was a DJ, who is available for weddings, set up (with a disco ball!) to hold a dance-off and keep the energy high the whole weekend. The aforementioned ladies from Mary Kay were on hand for makeup tips and tricks and a host of local vendors were set up to offer up their services and provide giveaways. I, personally, talked to probably around 200 brides the whole weekend (theres a girl who is planning a wedding in the DFW area for around $5000 and I made her PROMISE she’d email me all the goods when it’s over).

Proceeds of the dress purchases and tickets for entry go toward support and education services for those who have been impacted by cancer.

If you’re still gown shopping, the BABC’s Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a great source for finding that gorgeous dress for a BAB-friendly price, and if you’ve already gotten married, please consider donating your gown (or time!) to this awesome cause — and give the boobies some extra support!


Real Bride Emma: With Wedding Booze, There’s Trouble Brewing …

Let’s talk about booze. Because over here in the continuously tipsy British Isles, weddings and booze go together like birds of an inebriated feather. Weddings are often judged on just how much free-flowing alcohol there was, and whether anyone got so drunk as to not be able to remember the entire day. Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 19.47.35

Just your average booze-filled English wedding.

When we booked our wedding venue, we first thought we’d just let them provide drinks and be done with it. But the more we investigated, the more we felt that by doing it this way we’d have less control over what was served, and also that we might not be able to afford the volume of drinks that we would like to offer people. Most venues offer “packages” and ours was no different. Reducing the provision to a number of drinks per head just felt a bit, well, scroogey. So we decided to provide the booze ourselves. Michael, being the hands-on and generally practical man that he is, has decreed that he will brew us Elderflower Champagne for the reception drinks. (Here is a link to a recipe if you don’t know what it is … That’s right, I linked to the BBC, because I am THAT English.) He has already done one batch as a trial, which worked reasonably well (although you have to add a bit of extra flavour to it). He promises that next year will be even better, and at a cost of around 50p (~$1) a bottle, it’ll be absolutely broke-ass to the core. Next stop is a local wine fair to bulk buy an awful lot of wine, and perhaps a few other little treats. Marvell- *hic* -ous Amdram Bride – out.

Dana’s Wedding 2.0: What I’ve Done Differently This Time Around

Less than 7 weeks out from my wedding to Paul, and I’m struck with how very different this time around has been, in every possible way.

Dana's Wedding 2.0 What I've Done Differently This Time Around

Illustration by Astrid Mueller

Let’s recap the last wedding:

  • 31 years old
  • Together nearly 7 years by the time we wed
  • Engaged after 5 years
  • 20 months of planning
  • 100 guests
  • Well-defined theme
  • Location we had no connection to
  • Family-style dinner
  • Epic dance party
  • Week-long honeymoon

And now let’s have a gander at this one:

  • 36 years old
  • Together 1.5 years by the time we’ll wed
  • Engaged after 7 months
  • 11 months of planning
  • 38 guests
  • No defined theme
  • Location with a lot of meaning to us
  • 20-course tasting menu
  • Epic dinner party
  • 3-week honeymoon

So much can happen in the span of 5 years! My priorities have definitely shifted, and many were as a direct consequence of the experience of planning my first wedding. For instance, our larger guest list the first time around made for a very lively, crowded dance floor. But there were people in attendance that day whom I don’t even remember seeing, much less having any sort of meaningful moment with. So, when it came time to decide on a size this time around, I lobbied for a smaller, more intimate party, in which I could connect with and enjoy the company of every person in attendance.

And being in my mid-thirties means I’ve had more than my fair share of booze-fueled epic dance parties and wild exhibitionism. Now I tend to crave a bit more of a civilised type of fun. Since Paul and I are criminally serious foodies, treating our nearest and dearest to a multicourse molecular gastronomy meal by one of the top chefs in the country made perfect sense. In keeping with my tenet that your wedding should be an extension and expression of yourselves, this kind of dinner party suited Paul and me perfectly … and tells our guests a lot about who were are.

Our reception space — SAAM at The Bazaar

Our venue, the SLS Hotel, was designed by Philippe Starck — so it’s dripping with style at every turn, which makes things easier for us, as it requires little to no decor efforts on our part. Only some flowers to dress up the ceremony space, maybe a backdrop at the altar, and that’s about it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The months and days leading up to Wedding No. 1 were a marathon of last-second design, shopping, organizing, and panic. This time will definitely be a much smoother ride.

Having had nearly two years to plan the first wedding, I was free to go down just about every twisty rabbit hole of possibilities, details, possibilities, hacks and DIY project around. And believe me, I considered them all. It was great, because we had more time to save money and find the thriftiest deals … but it was definitely dangerous in terms of becoming overwhelmed by options. This time, we’re less concerned with every little detail —  partly due to time constraints and partly because of a fundamental shift in my priorities. It’s allowed a much more wabi-sabi or zen-like approach to the process — allowing for a few choice design elements, but letting the venue and food make more lasting an impression than highly-customized, tiny details ever could.

bazaar-122609-9737 (1)


And the SLS has been a very meaningful location in our relationship — home to some of our most sentimental, romantic memories. From our second date, on which he told me I was the one for him; to the time we took my sister there a month later and he made a big romantic speech, declaring that he planned to “marry the shit outta me” and leaving us both in sappy, happy tears; to celebrating the release of my book with our parents; Valentine’s Day; and our 1-year anniversary … and on and on. All of these memories happened at The Bazaar, and thus it is the perfect place to make our lifelong vows.


Another reason a smaller wedding was the right choice for us is because it freed up our budget to make the honeymoon large and in charge! We’re hoping to have kids as soon as possible after we’re married, so we’re viewing the honeymoon as our “last blast” before kids. We’re spending seven nights in Paris and 16 nights in Seoul — traveling around the world in pursuit of romance and some of the best food in the world!


From here …


 To here!

Having been through planning a wedding once before has afforded me the luxuries of knowing what really matters and what doesn’t. What details are worth the expense and trouble, and which one’s we’d never miss. I certainly don’t advocate divorce … but having the hindsight in this case has really worked in my favor. And I’m not gonna lie, it feels right that this wedding is so very different than the first. It frees me of any complicated feelings I have about how I got where I am, and allows me to experience my re-bridalization as something completely new, fresh and unlike anything I’ve done before. Most importantly, it gives Paul and me a platform on which to build our future that is distinctly us, and for that, I am entirely grateful.

Let the final countdown begin!!!


Happily Invites You to Its Crazy Cat Party + Mega Giveaway!

Guys, I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled Five for Friday because our friends over at Happily are stirring up some major awesomeness re: wedding planning. And they’ve been doing some pretty baller giveaways, but today’s is by far the mostest bestest. I’mma let them explain, but first, there’s this:

You good? Good. OK, now we’re going to let them tell you allllllll about the fluffy goodness that’s in store!

Happily’s in the midst of developing a top secret wedding planning app — and one that’s being powered by the largest collective of top wedding planner professionals. Ever. (As far as we know.) So instead of getting a pretty-but-not-quite-pragmatic app designed by an established wedding empire looking to expand into tech, it’s being designed by wedding planners for anyone is in need of planning his or her wedding.

The result: a powerful app that’s pragmatic, super easy to use and even a little on the addictive side. And guess what? They’ve just hit a major milestone and are celebrating with a crazy cat party, giving out a slew of glamorous and cute objects featured in their recently released Ultimate Cat Wedding Video. {You watched it above. Because I would never make you wait for that.}


But they’ve saved the best for last.

Today, Friday, they are are offering a $3,000 wedding planner package for brides and grooms alike.

Friday happily - 01

What it includes:

• 12 monthly planner meetings with an experienced, top Happily wedding planner

• 12-Hour Day of Coordination Team on your wedding day

• Customized Wedding Planning Templates

• Rehearsal Coordination (one of the few things brides think they don’t need until it ACTUALLY HAPPENS)

• Vendor Concierge

• Venue Concierge

• Personal Assistant (4 hours/month)


Give them some love! Socially. No, really, freak them out. Every like, regram + @happilywedding tag, follow, re-pin, #HappilyFreakOut comment and subscribe counts as an entry into the contest. Contest runs until midnight 8/15/14.

Happily Wedding Feeds

Twitter: follows and comments #HappilyFreakOut EACH count as an entry into the contest

Instagram: follows, regrams + tag @happilywedding and comments #HappilyFreakOut EACH count as separate entries for the contest

Pinterest: follows, re-pins and comments with #HappilyFreakOut

YouTube: subscribe and comments with #HappilyFreakOut

Facebook:  likes and comments with #HappilyFreakOut — each count as an entry!

Want to sign up to become an alpha tester for their new app? Go HERE.

Go forth, ye Broke-Asses, and comment/follow/like/pin/repin until your heart’s content!

Our Readers Spill What They Wish They Knew On Their Big Day

While I never, ever want someone to regret their wedding day, like many other events in your life, there will be takeaways that you wish you had been able to implement. And, doing what we do here at The Broke-Ass Bride, we try to help — help with shopping, inspiration, tutorials, ideas and, of course, advice. Because we’ve been doing this for a minute (or, you know, since 2008), we know one of our most valuable resources is you, darlings. So, of course, we hollered out on our social media platforms to see what y’all had to offer up to our BABs-to-be.

What's the No. 1 thing you wish you had known before your wedding day

Timing is Everything:

 I wish I’d known just how fast the time would go by! I would have made the ceremony earlier so I could breathe!

- Ashleigh

[I] wish I knew I wouldn’t have time to speak to everyone “naturally”. I wish we had gotten up and walked around to each table during dinner and thanked everyone for coming.

- Tricia

That I really needed a timeline! Because of delays caused by other people, I was an hour late to my own wedding!

- Kimberly

Communication is Key:

I wish I would have known how to better communicate to my husband all of the things he needed to get done, without feeling like I was being a nag. I’d been telling him the whole time, but about three days before the wedding, he totally freaked out about how much he had to accomplish.

- Heather

Family First: 

I wish I’d better planned a moment with my dad before he walked me down the aisle.

- Stacie

Your family will expect certain things of you, but they won’t tell you directly. Make sure you communicate as well and concisely with them as possible to be clear about your intentions, and — especially to family — send thank-you notes. Your friends may be cool with less formality, but your family may not be.

- Christen

Make Good Choices:

Do not serve asparagus at your wedding…your bridesmaids will thank you later…. Lol

- Shane

[I wish I knew] How much actual work goes into the details. I’m not very detail oriented, and without a lot of help, things would have gone bad very quickly. … Realize that weddings make people planning/helping with them crazy, and try not to hold this craziness against them when all is said and done.

- Elizabeth

Remember What It’s All Really About: 

Every day since would be better and more important than the wedding day.

- Tyke

Despite what goes wrong, if you end up married to the person you love at the end of the day, the wedding was a success.

- Elizabeth

What about you, married BABs? Anything to add?

Winning Wednesday: Glam Up Your Wedding withThe Rustic Wedding Handbook

Rustic weddings are gorgeous. Duh. There’s a pretty whimsical feel to them that helps make your wedding day a little extra special and romantical. And they tend to be pretty DIY-heavy, which adds a great personalized touch.

Maggie Lord, the schamazing mastermind behind Rustic Wedding Chic is kinda sorta the guru of rustic weddings. Remember when she did this rockin’ tutorial for us? Welp, that’s just one of many many beautiful how-tos. In her book, “The Rustic Wedding Handbook,” she shares even more how-to goodness, plus she gives some great tips and ideas on how to style your own rustic wedding.

Winning Wednesday Glam Up Your Wedding with The Rustic Wedding Handbook

And, of course, she wants to share with you, BABs! Get yourself in on the game by completing each task below to earn entries to win “The Rustic Wedding Handbook!”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On Marriage: 15 Things I Would Go Back and Tell Myself Before Getting Married

A funny thing tends to happen, even if just momentarily (you know, before you snap back into real life) once that big ol’ sparkler lands on your finger: The party becomes the goal and we forget about what it all really means. I did. So when I read this piece on The Huffington Post and found myself nodding along in agreement, I knew that it might be something worth sharing. Guys, No. 6 is SUPER ESPECIALLY important. Trust me, OK?

On Marriage 15 Things I Would Go Back and Tell Myself Before Getting Married

Some of my children are getting to the age where they are beginning to think about marriage. Of course, I always try to project a few words of wisdom where they seem appropriate without saying too much. Even so, I think that as parents, we almost always say too much. I try to keep it to the point where though I might be irritating, I’m not damaging our relationship. If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would make sure that I understood 15 different things about getting married.

  1. Marriage, if it’s done right, is for a long time. Make sure you’re doing something that will make you happy for a long time.
  2. Find someone who is accustomed to dealing with the same types of situations you are. If that’s where to go on your next cruise, so be it. If your history has been trying to figure out how to keep the utilities turned on, marry someone who can relate.
  3. As your relationship began to get serious, you were probably amazed that someone so awesome really cared about you. Marry someone who feels just as lucky because you care about them.
  4. Marry someone who believes in being fair. Be wary of those who claim to want things that aren’t very important to them, so they can give up inconsequential things when it comes down to compromising. Don’t expect your spouse to do things you aren’t willing to do and avoid anyone who expects you to do things that they wouldn’t do.
  5. It’s great if you can both get along with each other’s friends and family, but make sure you are both more committed to your own relationship than to other friends and family. (That includes children when and if they come.)
  6. Choose to spend your life with someone that you get along with. Arguments should be infrequent, and even if serious, they need to reach resolutions rather be ignored. You won’t get along with each other better simply because you get married. In fact, you probably won’t get along as well as you did before you got the certificate.

To continue reading the rest of the 15 Things, click on over to HuffPo.

Boob Love: The Gown Tour is Cruising Through Memphis, Miami, L.A. and Fort Worth

The Broke-Ass Bride is proud to partner with Brides Against Breast Cancer, turning gently used designer gowns into a beacon of hope in the worldwide fight against breast cancer. If you’d like to donate your gown, here’s how. If you’re in need of a gown, Brides Against Breast Cancer runs a nationwide tour of gowns, and you should most definitely check it out when it rolls into your town! And if you’re in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, be sure to come to the show and meet Christen, BAB’s very own Unicorn Wrangler!


Cordova, TN – Memphis Area August 9, 2014 Esplanade Banquet & Conference Center
Whittier, CA – LA Area August 15 – 16, 2014 Radisson Hotel Whittier
Miami, FL August 15 – 16, 2014 Intercontinental at Doral Miami
Fort Worth, TX August 22 – 23, 2014 Renaissance Worthington Hotel
Dayton, OH August 23, 2014 Dayton Marriott
Houston, TX August 24, 2014 Hilton Houston Post Oak
Mayfield Village, OH September 12 – 13, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn
Aurora, IL September 12-13, 2014 Westfield Fox Valley
Welches, OR – Mount Hood Area September 13 – 14, 2014 The Resort at the Mountain
Skokie, IL September 14, 2014 Westfield Old Orchard
Annapolis, MD September 19 – 20, 2014 Westfield Annapolis
Atlanta, GA September 20 – 21, 2014 The Westin Buckhead Atlanta
Denver, CO September 20 – 21, 2014 DoubleTree by Hilton Denver Stapleton North
Jacksonville, FL September 21, 2014 Sheraton Jacksonville


Get Inspired: Glitzy, Vintagey, Eclectic Backyard Wedding

backyard wedding inspiration.jpg


Made with PicMonkey

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.

outdoor wedding inspo.jpg

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?