Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Real Bride Meg: An Introduction to a Whole New Broke-Ass Bride

Hello, fellow brides! I could not be happier to join The Broke-Ass Bride team as a Real Bride blogger to share my wedding planning stories, advice and tips — and starting conversations with you along the way! I’m fairly far into the planning process, but I still have a ways to go. I’m thrilled to have you on this journey with me!

A (very) brief history of us: My knight in shining armor, Steve, and I met at Temple University 7 years ago. I have yet to get him to fully admit it, but what drew us together was our common passion — Philadelphia sports teams, of course! We currently reside in the City of Brotherly Love.

Steve and I also love to travel, which led us to our engagement night. Long story short, Steve’s proposal plan A was impossible, and his plan B didn’t work out either, so he proposed in the rain on a rooftop in London at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. We had a long flight home back to Philadelphia, so we started to brainstorm about how we envision our wedding. We decided to take our oversees engagement and work it into our wedding theme — time and travel!

Meg's engagement

Meg showing off her princess cut bling in their London flat on New Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy of Steve’s iPhone.

Steve and I are getting married on June 20, 2015, at the Pearl S. Buck Estate in Bucks County, PA. We both come from VERY large families (seriously, I have about 25 first cousins on just one side of the family), so our headcount is around 230. And now for the big reveal (drumroll …)

Our budget is $25,000. I know, I know, not really what you want to hear. Trust me when I say that I’m under the average budget for Pennsylvania — and especially the Philadelphia area.

State wedding costs- HuffPo

Chart courtesy of The Huffington Post
Numbers don’t lie!

Still don’t believe me? Check out this article from CNN– and pay close attention to the chart on the left-hand side.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the elephant in the room, I’m so excited to start sharing my otherwise thrifty and frugal wedding planning adventure with fellow brides! Here are some things I can’t wait to share with you:

- Where to start the planning process: figuring out your style and finding a venue to match it

- When to splurge and when to cut corners: what means most to you and using your resources

- Pinterest: Your best friend and your worst nightmare

Until then …

keepcalmmarryon

Courtesy of Etsy

Real Bride Peach: 18 Days Left in Our Engagement!

I’ve been a busy Peach since my last ohmygodthisisgettingreal post! It really is true that no matter HOW long your engagement, the last month is straight up bonkers. Here’s what we have been up to:

We got our marriage license!

Courthouse Kiss

Booked our honeymoon: We are going to Costa Rica! I. CANNOT. WAIT. to get all toes-in-the-sand, coconut-drink, do-nothing-for-a-week. Remember how stressed I was about booking this late? Well, after pricing out many options with agents, we found that our best bet was to use my fiance’s hotel points for an all-inclusive resort. We managed to get 6 nights … FOR FREE. The only expense to us for our honeymoon will be our flights (booked!) and our rental car (booked!). All said? We will be honeymooning for under 2K. I’ll take it!

 

Via

Programs: Our final draft of our programs has been sent to the printer. I LOVE my Maid Of Honor for her serious design skillz and for using her printer hookup to get me a great rate on our tea-length, badass, peach & pewter programs. They’re going to look so great!

Guest book: Our retouched engagement pictures came in! We did have to pay extra to retouch about 50 of them from that sweaty, sticky day, but it was worth it! With our pics in hand, I immediately ran to some photo book sites for pricing options. I went with Shutterfly for their awesome classic guest book design, plus I had a $20.00 off coupon for them from David’s Bridal (we ordered the Mother of the Groom dress from there). As phenomenal luck would have it, Shutterfly had a 50% off of hard cover photo books promo going, too! So a book that should have cost me $115.00 only cost me $54.00 … but I had to pay $15.99 for expedited shipping.  Oh, well.

You guys, I had SO MUCH FUN designing the guest book with our pictures. Like, I forgot to eat dinner last night. *oops*  I’ve no doubt I’ll probably create our wedding album from them, too.

 

Yay! Funnnn!!!

Because I was so caught up, I also designed our thank you photo cards from MagnetStreet. I fell completely in love with this design, because it gives us the option to use many of our engagement pictures. Plus, MagnetStreet sends crazy-good promos via email {Eds Note: And the deals are usually in our Five for Friday columns}! So with their latest, I’ll be able to order 50 awesome thank yous for just one dollar a card. With that many pictures involved? Amazing deal!

 

Via MagnetStreet

And if that wasn’t enough picture goodness, I was also the lucky winner of a giveaway from PosterBlitz. YAY! I’m super happy for this, because our budget unfortunately couldn’t be stretched to include a bridal portrait session with our photographer. But I’m glad we’ll have a great big photo of the both of us to display for our guests on the day of.

And lastly, we met for the final time with our venue and our DJ. Everything is coming together nicely and I know I’m in good hands with both of them.

So what’s left?

  • We are awaiting the arrival of a bunch of bridal party gift purchases we made. That was definitely a chunk of our budget that we didn’t account for … at least not that much money. But thanking your people for standing up next to you as you commit your life to someone? Not to be taken lightly. It’s the least we can do for all the expenses they are taking on just to be a part of our day! So once the gifts arrive, I need to package them up in a way that is travel-AND-budget-friendly. Michaels … look out.
  • Pick up my dress when the final alterations are done
  • Final haircut/color — this weekend!
  • Welcome bags — my parents are handling, whew. I just have to print our thank you notes and our WeddingMix app instructions for them.
  • Final seating decisions and make my collage display for the day of
  • Try not to freak out as things start to go sideways
  • That, up there. ^^^ Yeah.

Till next time,

Lemme Ask Y’all A Question: What Do You Want?

Guys, as we see a new crop of brides move into the wedination stage (cue: Empty Nest Syndrome), the team here at The Broke-Ass Bride is conjuring up new and awesome ideas for you. But! Since it’s for YOU, then we’d be remiss if we didn’t actually ask you the question of what you want. So, darlings, there are three categories: Hair & Makeup, Ceremony Readings and Flowers.

The Broke-Ass Bride Wants to Hear from You!

Hair & Makeup:

Girl, I get it. You don’t want to (or can’t!) plunk down some serious skrilla on trials, site visits and day-of beautification. And since you’ve spent all that time on Pinterest, you know exactly what you want (#duh), but how do you actually make it happen? We’ll work with a couple rockin’ peeps to make step-by-step tutorials to make it as easy-peasy as possible … and will totes be open your own how-to quandaries!

Ceremony Readings:

Y’all, your ceremony doesn’t have to be by the book. But it can be super tough finding passages that work with your wedding scheme and dream. So, we’ll spend our time scouring the Interwebz and real actual books to find great readings that would work during your ceremony.

Flowers:

I’ll admit it: I’m a little flower dumb. I know the basics, but I don’t know what’s in season or when, how much they cost, what a more affordable substitute would be or how best to pair them with other blooms for your decor. And if I don’t know that after many years in Weddingland, I figure some darling souls out there must be in the same boat.

So, chickens! Cast your vote! Which of these ideas pique your interest

Got an idea that’s didn’t make the list? Sound off in the comments below!

Ask Heather: How Do I Even Start Planning a Wedding?

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.14.38 PM

Image courtesy of Larry Donoso

Dear Heather,

Is, “where the heck do we even start?” a sufficient question?

Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Absolutely! I suggest starting with the trifecta of guest list, venue, and budget, as all of them directly impact the other in non-negotiable ways. The absolute first thing I recommend doing is making an all-inclusive, “if we get to invite absolutely everyone we want,” all-out guest list. Have your parents contribute, if they desire. This is basically your dream guest list, and your actual list will likely end up being smaller.

Once you have your dream guest list, pare it down as much as you can, to those you truly would love to have in attendance. You might end up having to cut it down further, but at least this gives you a ballpark. After all, there’s no sense even looking at venues that have a maximum of 75 guests if your realistic guest list is 150. The opposite is also true — if you and your partner want a very small wedding, don’t bother with venues that have ballrooms for 300 people.

Now that you have your list, talk to everyone who might be contributing financially to figure out a budget. There are all sorts of pieces of advice out there when it comes to choosing a budget, but I suggest simply calculating what you can afford to spend and doing your absolute best to work within those constraints.

At last, you’re at the point where you get to consider venues. Depending on how many people you want to invite and how much you have to spend, you might need to be flexible in regards to dates. In general, Fridays and Sundays are less expensive than Saturdays, and off-season rates are obviously cheaper than more popular times. When it comes to off-season, though, that’s definitely a local preference. For instance, July in a northern state might be lovely, but in a southern state, it could be a sweltering hell.

And now, my lovely readers — where did you start with your planning process? Did you take the “trifecta approach”? Let us know in the comments below!

Real Bride Tiffany: When to BUY, not DIY

Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I often convince myself that I can create ANYTHING. Even though my brain and my severe lack of patience tell me otherwise. Even so, my wedding crafting to-do list reached about 10 items too many. To resolve this problem, I turned to my best Internet friend, Etsy.

BABs, if you are unfamiliar with Etsy, get outta town! But keep reading first. Etsy is like that one friend that can do anything and everything and oh, how you envy her skills. And every now and then you find such a well-priced handmade item on Etsy that you just simply can’t turn it down. Because the cost of supplies and patience to create it yourself are outweighed by the joy in making that little click to buy a homemade, handmade item from a small business. Here are some of the items I purchased for our wedding:

etsy

1. flower girl bracelet from Stargazing Lily | 2. cake topper from The Path Less Traveled | 3. clipart from Shh Maker Design | 4. garland from Funky Frills UK

Etsy browsing has become one of my many online hobbies, and I’ve purchased from quite a few different sellers. These ones in particular (with the exception of the clipart because you get to download it immediately and there is no interaction) feature great customer service and fast shipping. And trust me, I’ve had my bad Etsy experiences. We’ll talk flower girl dresses at a later date, maybe. But you guys already know my … ahem … skills as far as DIY is concerned, so for me it sometimes just made sense to throw money at it rather than try for the potential headache.

So BABs, my advice to you would be to take the time to browse a variety of Etsy sellers {Eds note: Aftcra is also a fabulous resource, and its wedding section is schamazing} before making a decision. Create lists of your favorites shops and items (within Etsy, not like actually on real paper). Check shipping costs and speeds. And if that cost is low enough, why not spend a little dough to check one of those many DIY projects off your list? Just click “buy” and let the Etsy pros do it for ya!

Real Bride Tiffany: First Comes Love, Then Marriage, Then …

There comes a time in a woman’s relationship when others begin to question her desire to reproduce. For some, this comes with the ring. For others, much before that. I don’t remember when my questioning began. All I know is that is pisses me right off.

Real Bride Tiffany First Comes Love, Then Marriage, Then ...

In my 20s I was in the “supposed to” relationship. The one that I was supposed to be in after graduating college. The one where I moved in with him (and his mom — don’t even get me started on that poor decision) because I was supposed to. And I pressured him to propose to me because he was supposed to. The entire time not realizing how incompatible we were and how unhappy I was. Because I was doing all of these things as society dictated. Back then, I answered “yes” to the children question because … why wouldn’t I? I never considered the alternative. I didn’t realize I had such a choice.

For some women, having children is their dream and priority and that is fine. For them. When I get asked if we are going to have children, I usually respond quickly and firmly or just giggle it off like I don’t know any better. LOLZ yes we are just having cats! Which would also be an acceptable choice. My real answers would offend people, which to me is offensive in return.

No, we are not going to have children. Not right away at least. We may change our minds, we may not. Either way, why does that have to be the natural progression? We would rather take these years to enjoy each other, and the relationship we have worked so hard to build. We want to work on ourselves and our careers and building a comfortable life. Because if you don’t take the time to build a strong foundation, why would you keep building up? And then maaaaybe possibly we will one day consider bringing another human into our world. MAYBE POSSIBLY. In the words of one of my dearest friends, “CAN I LIVE?!?”

So rather than asking your newly engaged friend or newlywed couple about their reproductive goals, a better question might be, “What’s next?” I bet they might have a better answer for you anyways.

FYIz: Make a Speech Worthy of the Best Man Title

This is for all the best homies out there (and could easily apply to you maids of awesome or anyone else in a posish of honor / being handed the mic at a wedding). Because giving speeches isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not really sure how to do the whole “Knock ‘em dead because that’s what the Best Man does” deal. But remember: Be yourself, because yourself is who the bride / groom chose for this awesome job on their wedding day, so your speech should echo that. Hope this helps!

5 steps to making the perfect best man speech

 

Source

What about you, BABs? Do you have a foolproof way to prepare and get through a speech? Tell us in the comments below!

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

via 
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.