Posts in the 'weddings' Category

Wedding Time: The Big To-Do, Part II


 Photo: EPLove

Last week I said that while you’re planning your wedding — like, the actual planning and choosing and deciding — you shouldn’t focus on when you’re making those decisions or feel pressured to stay on track and not fall behind, whatever that means. You have a list of checkboxes, take them on by one until they’re X’ed out. Timing is not the biggest factor.

Well, not yet.

Your wedding day on the other hand …

It’s all the contracts. How many hours you have your photographer for. How long hair and makeup has to take. When you can set up your ceremony and reception. When you have to shut the doors behind you. There are so many things that have to fit into so many time frames, within time frames. Manage it by managing your expectations:

Swifter, higher, faster? It’s a Wedding dress, not a cape.

Nothing is going to take less time to do. You will not be capable of doing more in that time than you would normally be able to. So, if hair and makeup takes three hours, make sure you have the three hours, even if it means starting earlier. If your photographer needs an hour for first look and wedding party pictures, give it to her.

Create it in order to save it

The easiest way to stay on schedule is to buffer it — Hair and makeup starts at 9, make sure everyone shows up early and ready to go. Take an hour after hair and makeup, or after the last “event” that morning, for everyone to get their stuff before you jump into the limo. If you have two hours to set up your reception, be there before the doors open, prepared and ready to use all of that time. Tell your wedding party to meet at point B 20 minutes before your ceremony. Announce last call 15 minutes before the bar is gong to close. Twirl away the last dance an hour before you have to have everything out of the venue. Lots of people — and there are always a lot of people involved, one way or another — need lots of time.

Making up for lost time

It happens. There are so many moving parts to the day, and so many distractions (most of them fun) that sometimes you fall behind. 8:45pm, photography ends at 9pm, and you haven’t done toasts — yet. Or the cake hasn’t been cut or your bouquet tossed.  Or the music has to stop and you haven’t danced with your Dad — yet.

Jump on it, and get it done, quickest to longest. Cake cutting takes five minutes. And you never have to dance to the entire song. Tell anyone who’s toasting to keep it short and tell them why. And ask your vendors for help and suggestions, okay? That’s what we’re there for.

Do you have any questions about saving time on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,


Five for Friday: The Bubbleista’s Favorite Bubbly on a Budget

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

As of next week, the holidays are officially here. And you know what goes great with the holidays? Bubbly! (#duh) I love, love, love bubbles. Gimme a mimosa bar or even just a cheap bottle of Andre and I’ll be stoked. I live for it. So when my girl Davon over at the soon-to-be-launched and I started chatting about holiday drink options, she jumped right in with an offer to share her top five budget-friendly bottles of sparkling wine and Champagne, which obv. makes the perfect pre-holiday Five for Friday. Or, if you’re dead-set on a Champagne toast at your wedding, but you’re working on a PBR budget, these bottles could be the answer to your issues. Because even broke-asses need a nice bottle of bubbly, amirite?

Five for Friday- The BubbleIsta's Favorite Bubbly on A Budget

Just because a girl is watching her pennies doesn’t mean she should have to deny herself the pleasures of sipping a little bubbly. The problem is, though, that it’s hard to find a sparkler that’s in the Broke-Ass Bride’s budget range that also tastes good. So what’s a girl to do?

Don’t worry, The Bubbleista has got you covered. As a self-proclaimed Champagne and sparkling wine lover and aficionada, it is my duty to drink as much sparkling wine and Champagne as humanly possible, so that I can provide suggestions for you, the bubbly lover, to enjoy. I am so selfless.

But I digress! Without further ado, here are my picks for 5 great sparkling wines for $10 and under. Yep, you read that right. Ten. Dollars. And. Under. Read on!

1. Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut ($8):

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava

This is my go-to for making bubbly cocktails like mimosa and kir royales. It a dry, lemony sparkler which makes it perfect for mixing.

2.) Chateau Ste. Michelle ($10):

An apple-y, citrus-y slightly sweet fizzer that works well with fried appetizers.

3.) Poema Cava Brut ($10):

Poema Brut Cava

This sparkling wine has a wonderful, fruity aroma—think pears and apples and peaches.  This is a dry wine but it’s a really easy-drinking one. A versatile option, you can serve this from appetizers right through dinner.

4.) Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava ($9):

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava

This is a Spanish sparkler made in the French champagne style, so this has great creaminess and bubbles. This one is great for sipping solo as well as pairing with a variety of foods.

5.) Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rose ($9):

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rose Cava

Drink pink! This beautifully colored cava is full of cherry-berry aromas, strawberry flavors, and a touch of sweetness—perfect for lightly sweet dessert, fresh fruit, and even appetizers.

 There you have it! Even babes on a budget can bust open a bottle of bubbly. If any of these sparklers aren’t available at your local liquor store, or you just don’t have time to swing by, have no fear: all of these wines can be found at Cheers, and happy sipping!

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


Winning Wednesday: Get Pumped with a Party Disco Light Kit from Spencer’s!

OMG. YOU GUYS. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am (and clearly, a little jealous) about this giveaway.Spencer's Giveaway Redux.jpg

Images provided by Spencer’s. Collage made on PicMonkey.

Because of my v. steadfast rule opinion that every wedding should have a disco ball, I busted my butt to try to make this happen for one very lucky Broke-Ass Bride. And thanks to our seriously fun and awesome partner, Spencer’s Gifts, it is!

I very firmly believe that life with disco balls is better (bourbon, cats, Champagne, cupcakes, unicorns, glitter and burritos also count) and therefore, everyone should have one. And certainly, every wedding! Because, real talk, disco balls are one of those fun things that harken to prom or that awkward-squirmy 6th-grade dance where you finally got a kiss on the cheek from that dreamy boy in your gym class, and always add a great sense of nostalgia and sparkle. And aren’t weddings always full of nostalgia and sparkle? So, you know, duh. Perfect.

So, as per usual, each option adds an entry — do all the things on the list, get 9 entries! And, we still love you, but this giveaway is open only to residents of the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Ask Liz} Engagement Party Potlucks & Pretty Wedding Dresses

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

(Photography by Alea Moore)

Dear Liz, 

My fiancé and I became engaged in September of last year, and we are getting married this September on our anniversary, which is so awesome! But here’s the thing, we never had an engagement party. I’ve spoken to and read a lot of articles about how you can have an engagement party whenever, but my sister (and maid of honor) is convinced it is much too late for one, now that we are only six months out from the actual wedding. Additionally, because I am a true BAB, we do not have any funds for such an event, which also greatly concerns my sister. But a friend of mine suggested having a potluck in a park somewhere and asking guests to also bring a bottle of wine to help stock the bar for the wedding (something we could really use). Is this too much to ask of people, to bring two items to a party? Is it too late for an engagement party?


Late to the Party

Dear Late,

I don’t believe there’s any such thing as “too late” to have a party, and your idea sounds great. I pinned a couple of examples on my Budget Wedding Tips board, too. Just keep it casual. The only glitch might be with the bottles of wine. If you’re not going to serve the bottles of wine people are bringing, you’re going to have to figure out something else to give them. Sodas, water, a specialty drink (sangria is pretty easy and you can make it beforehand), something like that.  Other than that, go for it.

I can only imagine how pretty it looks on you…

Dear Liz,

So, I purchased my wedding dress this weekend. It was the first place I visited and I tried on about 10 to 15 dresses. I purchased the one that looked amazing on me (Allure 9003) and had the feel of a Pnina Tornai I always liked. I felt very ambushed at the shop, and when I got home I had major anxiety that I should’ve looked elsewhere and that maybe it wasn’t the dress for me (I never ever thought I would be in a ballgown). Do most brides have that second thought panic? Or did I choose wrong?


Dress Second-Guess

Dear Dress,

I wouldn’t say “most” brides, I’d leave it at “a few.” What I can say is that many brides think they want one dress style and end up loving a different design that looks better on them. That happens a lot.

If you really feel that the dress looked amazing on you, than you made the right choice. It sounds like you didn’t like how you were treated at the shop, but that’s a whole other issue.  You only have to deal with them a couple more times until you get your dress, and on one of those occasions, you can talk to the shop manager about your experience.

Any of you thinking about having a potluck engagement party or wedding, even? And how were you treated when you shopped for your dress? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,


Real Wedding: Natalie & Rich’s Sweet Seaside Elopement In Laguna Beach

These are the kind of pictures I think every bride should see before she starts planning a $25K wedding in earnest. Because you know, if this is all you need for your wedding — a beach, a dress, a beautiful bouquet, the person you love most in the world, your pooch and a few BFFs, well then, why not just elope? Natalie and Rich pulled together a gorgeous elopement in Laguna Beach for almost nothing. Natalie’s dress was $200. The flowers were $80.  The officiant was a dear friend, and performed the ceremony for free. The wedding party all went out for dinner afterwards, and of course, no one let the bride and groom pay for their own meal. We’re so pleased to share this celebration with our readers, because BABs, this is what it’s all about.

From the bride: “I’ve always dreamed of a small, intimate and meaningful wedding for as long as I can remember. One that is about the love of two people and where there is no distraction away from that. The stress of extra details and spending thousands didn’t make sense to us because it didn’t feel like us. We just wanted to make the most important day of our lives be about how much we love each other and not about if the napkins match the chair bows. I’m a Yogi and Rich is so laid back so it didn’t make sense to us to have the one day of our lives that is the day we make our love and commitment officially known to the world be a big, fussy event.”

When we talked about our wedding and what it would feel like, it was no discussion- an intimate, oceanside wedding was the right choice for us. With a couple dear friends and the focus on the most important thing; Our Love. A smaller wedding really suited us – I’ve always had a special connection to Laguna so it was the perfect place for our special day. I arranged my flowers myself and my best friend from Canada came down to get ready with me and be there for us.  My dear friend Gigi sang a beautiful song in Sanskrit which I hold dear to my heart. We all joined in as everyone stood in a circle around us. Then our friend Seth said a prayer for us. We wouldn’t change a thing.”

A gajillion thanks to Natalie and Rich for sharing their beautiful day with us! And special thanks to their photographer friend Seth Heringer for sharing these fabulous photos!

{Ask Liz} Rainy Days & Inexpensive Glitz

Do you have a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let me know what’s up!

I am kind of in love with this picture, actually.


Dear Liz,

I am planning an outdoor wedding in April. What do I need to have lined up for a plan B in case of rain?



Dear Bowed,

I’ve had to deal with this more than a couple of times, and tents usually are the best thing, if there is no indoor space to retreat to. You can also get a bunch of umbrellas for people, and hand them out at the beginning of the ceremony. It will look like this pic to the left, but you know, in your colors.

I made a Rainy Day Wedding Pinterest board, which also has a couple of articles in there about how to plan for, and get through the day, and still have fun. Keep the ceremony short, scoop out the area beforehand to see if there are any outdoor shelters you can set the ceremony near or around, and interestingly, place chairs under trees, which will help if the rainfall is light. Hmm.


Ooh. You should see the pins I have with the pearls and the feathers!

Dear Liz,

I am asking for some advice with inspiration. My fiance and I are getting married in September 2013. Ours  is a cross-genre theme, I’m favoring old Hollywood, and he likes the Mobster appeal. We have most of our ideas down-pat, but our venue is going to be outdoors at my dad and step-mom’s home in the country. What ideas could I incorporate to bring that glitzy, glam, but fun side into the reception venue? I really like the idea of using feathers as centerpieces, but I haven’t found any that are affordable. BAB doesn’t even begin to cover how small our budget is. Right now, we’ve only been able to spare about $5000 for everything since my parents are giving us the venue and food.


Bling dreams

Dear Bling,

You know, since you’ve already have your venue and your food, you’re not doing too bad! So, say you’ve got 100 guests, so that’s 10 tables, right? I also put together a Pinterest board for this, too (because I’m obsessed), Hollywood Glitz on a Budget. You could do something as simple as round bowls with fake peals and diamonds in them, and surround the tables with candles. Lots and lots of candles. Feathers aren’t as expensive as you think, especially if you don’t use too many of them. Keep the decorations to less than $50 a table, and you should be fine. Once you’ve got the tables figured out, see how much string lights across the lawn will run you. Make it a treasure hunt and have fun with it. If you can keep the whole thing around $1,000, you’ll have room for stuff like rentals, a DJ, your wedding dress, stuff like that.

So, how are you planning on bling-ing it up on a budget?And is a potentially rainy day getting you down? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,



Dear Liz: Adults Only? And Other Budget Wedding Quandaries

Got a question of your own? Go to the contact page to send it in!

You know. Or not. (Courtesy of Flory Photo)


Dear Liz:

We’ve been engaged for a while, but we’re finally getting married in November. When we gave our guest list to my Mom, she pointed out that we didn’t include any kids on the list! I don’t think we want kids at our wedding, and after figuring out how many we’d have to invite, we definitely don’t want to pay for them. Do we have to invite kids to our wedding?


Rugrat Reluctant

Dear Reluctant,

No, you don’t have to invite kids, and if you don’t want to, then you shouldn’t. BUT – you have to be willing to stick to your guns on this. Sticking to your guns means telling your family and friends that they can’t bring their kids. Making it clear on the invite that you’re not inviting kids. Calling the people that write their kids into the RSVP card and telling them that it’s an adult-only event – Oh yeah, that happens. And FINALLY – anticipating that some people will not be able/willing to come because they can’t bring their kids. And I’m not trying to dissuade you, I’m really not. I’m just giving you fair warning. Socially, it can be a sticky-wickey. If I’m starting to freak you out, send up a test balloon with your Mom and let her know that you really don’t want to invite the young’uns, and why. Use exact numbers. After that conversation, and how you feel about that conversation, make your decision.

You can choose both wisely AND well.

Dear Liz:

I am a bride on a strict budget and I am worried that I have to take less-than-stellar vendors in order to fit everything I want in my budget. My fiance is convinced that this is the way to go and we don’t have a choice, but we just had a tasting with our (really cheap) caterer and I’m soo unhappy with what we’re getting! I’m looking at photographers now, and I’m angry that we’re going to be stuck with pictures that look like my 14-year old nephew took them. Do I really have to settle this much to pull this off?


Less for Less

Dear Less,

Well, I’d really rather that you didn’t! No, but seriously, just because you’re paying less for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get crap, and just because you’re paying more for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get gold. You know what determines the quality of a product or a service? The quality of the product or service. But finding that quality takes a little patience, so start practicing now. You’ve got your price point, right? Start looking at wedding photographer blogs (I google “los angeles wedding photographer” for that, insert your city or state instead), pick a few that you really like and track them down. Bonus points if they list their fees on their websites. Look, if I can find reasonably-priced, fantastic shooters in one of the most expensive wedding markets in the country, you can find one where you are. Patience, young bride!

And before I forget – your caterer! NO. If you’re set with them, go back and tell them that you weren’t thrilled with the tasting and why, and make as many changes to the menu as you need to. If you and your fiance noticed that the food was bad, your guests will notice. Not good.

So, what about you? Were you able to resist the pressure to have kids at your wedding? Were you able to resist the pressure to settle with your vendor choices? Or not? Let me know in the comments below!



{Real Bride: Katie} Celebrating Our Family Ties (& Tying the Knot at the Same Time)

Family Tree!

Greetings BABs! By the time you read this on Sunday, I already will have walked down the aisle to the rousing tunes of the Pipes & Drums of the NYPD Emerald Society. I’ll be stuffed full of mini burgers and candy from our penny candy themed dessert buffet. I’ll have danced my first dance with my new husband, and I’ll be a married woman!

If there’s any theme for our wedding though, it’s definitely family. At the very core, a wedding is most certainly a celebration of two families coming together. For brides and grooms, it’s an opportunity meet everyone and try to find their spot in the wider family dynamic. Families often come with their set of rules of engagement, and their own language. It can take a while to figure out why the Fruit of the Loom jingle is so uproariously hilarious and what balookey means.

For us, our wedding has also served as an attainable goal for many of our family members. Our engagement period has been peppered with quite a few health scares. Various family members have used our wedding as a goal for rehab from broken hips, pacemaker surgeries and chemotherapies. To us, the health of our loved ones is absolutely the very best wedding gift that anyone could possibly give us and we are so excited to celebrate our wedding with some of the people that we never thought would make it to the wedding.

However, we know that after our wedding we are going to get thrown right back into the deep end as life gets back to normal. It’s always difficult to manage the emotional side of family illness, but it can be even more difficult as the newest adult member of a family. It’s a fine line between support, and giving everyone enough space and privacy.

The point was really driven home for us when my Great Aunt died just 2 weeks before the wedding. I hear that she was really disappointed that she wasn’t healthy enough to travel to the wedding, but it means a lot to us that she even wanted to try. I remember her as a bright and loving woman, with a neverending supply of Avon chapstick. When I was a kid, I thought she had the very bizarre name of Sirelen, when in fact people were saying Sara Ellen through a strong Central Pennsylvania accent.

It’s very hard for us to make peace with the realization that our future family may not get to experience some of the great traditions from our childhoods. I don’t know that our family will get to sit at the breakfast bar at my grandparents’ house and sip ginger ale during happy hour, while my grandmother zips around making dinner. However, I can say with certainty that my family will get to sip ginger ale and enjoying snacks at my parents’ house on a Penn State gameday.

And that pretty much sums up what marriage means to me and Mr. Officer….the opportunity to move forward in life together, and make our own family traditions. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us, and we’re really excited to do it together!