Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Real Bride Meg: The Search For “The One”

There are few things in your (wedding planning) life that are are more important than finding “the one”– your wedding venue, that is. What did you think I meant? Let me explain.

Steve and I had been together for almost six years by the time we got engaged, so the topic of marriage had been a popular one for at least a year prior. Every now and then, Steve would ask me who I would have as bridesmaids (and then name 13 of his friends as groomsmen), what kind of ceremony I’d like and what songs we would need on our reception playlist. Needless to say, we definitely had an idea of what we wanted for our wedding day, including our venue. We based our decision on these four things:

- What time of year we wanted to get married

- How many people we would have on our guest list

- What area would work best for our families AND our budgets

- Whether we wanted an indoor or outdoor ceremony/reception

Neither one of us wanted to wait more than a year to get married, but we also didn’t want to rush things. We wanted to be able to take time to enjoy our engagement (or “The Victory Tour” as Steve called it) with wedding planning on the side. That’s when we decided a 18-month engagement was much more doable than a nine-month engagement, which brought us to settle on June 20, 2015, as our date, but it took more than snapping our fingers for it all to fall into place.

Being just another couple who got engaged over the holidays, we were eager to book a venue ASAP — and I mean weeks after he put a ring on it in order to get what we wanted when we wanted it.

First, we thought about our style and the kind of place we wanted to represent it. In my ideal world, I would be getting married in the middle of the woods with a huge dance floor lit up by only market lights, but it just isn’t realistic. While we were able to find a few places that gave us a similar vision, not all of them could accommodate our guests or our budget.


We chose this historic home as our venue in February. Photo courtesy of Meg
The flowers around our reception tent started to pop up in early April. Photo courtesy of Meg
The gardens around our ceremony were in full bloom exactly a year before “I do!” Photo courtesy of Meg

Once you’re able to identify when you want to get married, guest list numbers, location and budget, the rest is fairly simple. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding in late spring, we’d have at least 225 people attending, and we did our research as far as reasonable prices for venues in the Philadelphia area. It made more sense for us to look outside the city after hearing from a handful of venues we simply couldn’t afford.

Steve and I absolutely fell in love with our venue just from looking at photos of the place — a historic stone house perfect for our vintage theme, a colorful garden backdrop and a reception tent lit by market lights. We went for a tour when there was eight inches of snow on the ground, and I became a bit discouraged by it. We sat on it for about a week before Steve convinced me that our day would be even more beautiful than the photos on Google. It also helped to know that some of our deposit went to charity!


Steve and Meg touring the ground of their venue. Photo courtesy of MOH, Mandy Douress

So, when it comes to wedding planning checklists, I highly recommend checking off your venue first (after settling on your budget and guest list numbers, because those will determine a lot about your venue). It sets the tone of your entire day. It gives you a visual when it comes to the rest of your wedding planning — from dress shopping to cocktail set-up to all of your money-saving DIY projects! Just be sure to find a place that fits your personalities as a couple and a place where you can see yourselves throwing the first party of your life together!

And one last word of advice for Philly brides: Partyspace is your best friend when looking for your venue! You’ll be able to search by category (outdoors, country club, museum, etc.) and county. Once you find a place that fits your vision, that’s when it becomes really helpful! Each venue will give you its contact information, how many guests it can accommodate, if you can bring in your own food and beverages and it will even tell you if your ideal date is available! The tricky part is that every one of them will make you contact them to get any sense of pricing, which is why I also recommend doing a Google search of each place to see the different photos and reviews before contacting them. I even Googled photos of our venue in June!

How did you go about finding your venue, BABs?

Words to Wed By: Blessings and Prayers

It’s come to our attention that while we talk a lot about smart ways to save money on your wedding day, we haven’t really addressed the wedding itself — more specifically the ceremony. And y’all, while the words you speak have very little to do with your budget, they are still a vitally important part of the day, because they help set the tone for your marriage … you know, the whole reason you’re doing this damn thing in the first place. So we’re kicking off the Words to Wed By series with a more traditional bent, specifically blessing and prayers for your marriage.

Words to Wed By Blessings and Prayers

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV) Bible

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow

May the soft winds freshen your spirit

May the sunshine brighten your heart

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you

And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

and the rain fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again my friend

May God hold you in the palm of his hand

May God be with you and bless you

May you see your children’s children

May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in Blessings

May you know nothing but happiness

from this day forward

May green be the grass you walk on

May blue be the skies above you,

And from this day forward.

May the joys of today

Be those of tomorrow.

Armenian Wedding Blessing

May you grow old on one pillow.

Blessing of the Hands

by Unknown

These are the hands of your partner, young and strong and full of love, holding your hands as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. These are the hands that will hold you and comfort you in grief and uncertainty. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and joy. These are the hands that will hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength. And these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Ecclesiastes: 4:9-12

King James Version Bible

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
 11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
 12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

BABs, what traditional readings are you using in your ceremony? Tell us in the comments below, and we’ll add them to this list!

Real Bride Tiffany: The FINAL Countdown Until I am a Wife

Sixteen-ish months later and here we are. WE MADE IT. In just a few seemingly endlessly long days, I will marry that Justin of mine and become an actual adult wife. And guess what? We are not technically losing our minds! YAY!

The to-do list is incredibly short (see: write on chalkboards, wrap bridal party gifts, keep your shit together, etc. etc. etc.). So logistically, we are in an excellent position. AND SO READY TO DO THIS.

The problem comes from my (and our) level of excitement. Which leads to anxiety which means my body is like, WHAT YOU WANT A HEART ATTACK OKAY! I can’t calm down and have basically turned into a child waiting for Christmas morning.

PicMonkey Collage

I don’t know why I made that face, although it was the day I over-caffeinated myself and thought I had an ulcer.

I have come to desperately rely on a few things to get me through these few final days. All things which I would highly recommend to help you keep your sanity as you approach the days in which both of your entire families will be uniting to watch you devote yourself to your loved one forever.

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash: Because my skin is acting like I just celebrated my 13th birthday and am beginning puberty again. Thanks again, ANXIETY. But also, this face wash just feels delightful and relaxing.

Blue Diamond flavored almonds: Salted caramel, more specifically. Because if you are like me, under stress you want to eat all the things. And that is incredibly dangerous considering I already needed a Spanx to fit into a very expensive dress. So my go-to for a sweet treat that won’t bust my seams is a handful of these delicious nuts.

Access to email at all times: Because if your print vendor emails you about bleeds on your programs at 7 a.m. EST you want to see it first thing when you wake up to remedy the situation.

Reminders of your honeymoon destination: Pinterest, in my case. Because once the party is over we have an entire dream vacation to experience!

Wine: Because, obviously.

Downtime with your soon-to-be husband: Because after all, this madness is a product of the extreme love we have for one another and our desire to show it off to the world. Needless to say we’ve been watching a lot of TV and yes, playing a lot of video games.

We are so close, you guys. And I can’t wait to report back when all is said and done. Thank you for reading my ramblings throughout this journey and for all of your support! Next time you hear from me, I will be someone’s WIFE!

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 …


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!



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.


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?


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:


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.