Broke-Ass Category: Real Weddings


Affiliate Disclaimer NewInvitations are just one of those things on my list that are not super important. At least they weren’t important in the beginning. Of course, slowly but surely as I started to confirm my wedding vision my thoughts started to shift. I naturally began to consider foil cut designs, envelope liners and beautiful calligraphy until I realized that these extras were costly and time was required to schedule and meet with a stationer. Back to my original thought: Invitations are just not that important, for me.

I Googled a million different websites on the best way to DIY invitations. I downloaded fancy fonts and prepared to try different versions until I mastered the perfect wedding invitation. Then I had a lightbulb moment: The time invested in trying to figure it all out was the same amount of time that I would have invested in working with a stationer. With my schedule, I reminded myself that time is money and decided that my invitations would not be one of my DIY projects.

So my google search shifted to online designs. I looked into Vistaprint, Wedding Paper Divas, Etsy and decided to move forward with Shutterfly. They had a coupon for 50% off so it was an easy decision, Travis was 100% on board with the cost savings.

Real Bride Ciji's Shutterfly

I couldn’t wait to see my designs!

I sat down the day after Christmas and immersed myself in pages and pages of templates, colors, etc …  It was the perfect investment of time for me and here’s how I saved a ton of money:

  • K.I.S.S: Keep it simple silly! I narrowed my search on Shutterfly by filtering the results based on my wedding colors. I wasn’t hellbent on only doing my wedding colors, but it seemed like an easy way to narrow the search and find a design that I liked.
  • Less paper = less postage: based on research, I knew that if I created a “book” of information for my guests that it would be a million dollars in postage to send each invitation. I decided to reduce paper and deep down I also wanted to save trees, so I only made an invitation card with all of the pertinent details, a smaller card with travel details and the website information and a handful of RSVP cards for our family and friends that aren’t website savvy so that they can RSVP. Everyone else will need to visit our website to RSVP.
  • Double whammy on postage savings: Because we only did a handful of RSVP cards, we also will only pay double postage for a handful of invitations. One stamp on the outer envelope and one stamp on the inner envelope
  • Embellishments are OK!: Even though we didn’t create a custom traditional fancy invitation, we still decided to add our own flair. Originally I wanted to add a belly band, however after a late night run to Michaels and a couple of printing trials the decision was made to simply add a ribbon bow and just like that I was in love with my invitation design!
  • Address labels are your friend: I definitely want the hand address look, just not with the hand address price tag. So I revisited the fonts that I downloaded when I had the great idea to design my own invites and decided to use them to spruce up clear address labels. Trust me it’s OK, everyone tosses the envelope.

Real Bride Ciji's Invitation

The finished product

No engraving, embossing, calligraphy for me and I don’t regret it!  I stayed in the traditional lane by mailing invitations vs emailing however added in a mix of DIY and modern flair, i.e. website RSVPs to accomplish my goal!

How are you saving on your wedding invitations?


  • 2/1

    The time has finally come to see Real Bride Amy’s intimate Chittendon, Vt., wedding. Amy and Rick escaped to a gorgeous lakeside lodge with a few of their nearest and dearest to tie the knot. They did away with all the extras and prioritized their dollars on what made sense for them — the true broke-ass way. Boucher Visuals did a wonderful job of capturing the love and details from their big day.
    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Lakeside Portrait || Boucher VisualsName: Amy & Rick

    Occupation: Public Health Professional

    Wedding location: Chittenden, VT

    Wedding Date: September 25, 2016

    Budget: $10,000

    Number of Guests: 15

    How would you describe your wedding (civil? Traditions? Write your own vows? Etc.): Simple. No frills. Just the important stuff.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ring Shot || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Venue View || Boucher Visuals

    What was your favorite part of your wedding? When the ceremony was over, we walked to the car and had a few minutes before we went to join our guests. It was nice to have a few minutes to breath and just be together in the midst of a hectic day.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Couple Portrait || Boucher Visuals
    What did you splurge on?
    Photography! This was my #1 priority so it was worth it. I also unintentionally splurged on my dress, but I found one I loved and just went with it.  

    What did you save on? We kept it small and did not do a full reception, which saved us on food, flowers and decor.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake || Boucher VisualsWas there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have savored the day more. It all went by so fast!  

    What was your biggest challenge in planning? Making decisions about what I wanted to do, while trying to consider everyone else’s wishes.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Reception Dinner || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Bouquet|| Boucher VisualsWhat lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Although it’s a special day, it really is only just a day, and real life starts again right after, so don’t stress about it too much!

    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

    Our pictures.

    My dress.

    The cake.

    My bouquet.

    Sharing it with our closest family and friends.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Accessories || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Shoes || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Dress Shot || Boucher VisualsTop 5 least favorite?

    Choosing vendors.

    Getting ready the morning of the ceremony. Stressful!

    The money. Seeing the bank balance dwindle away was hard.

    Pinterest pressure. DIY is not always worth it.

    How fast it all went by.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Cutting || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Smash || Boucher VisualsWhat was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? Everyone had their own story about what they did at their own wedding that they of course thought was best, “you should use this vendor,” etc.  They meant well, of course, but each wedding and each couple is unique. Weddings are not one size fits all, and you have to do what is best for the two of you.

    The best? Go with your gut. Don’t get swayed, but what your friend did or the popular social media trends, or what your mother thinks you should do. Do whatever will make you look back on your day and smile.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Portrait with Dogs || Boucher VisualsAny other bits of wisdom? I can see the value in hiring at least a day-of coordinator. We didn’t, but much of the week before was spent trying to coordinate with vendors about schedules and payments, and that day I was worried about where everyone was going and when, and we were running around the envelopes trying to be sure everyone got paid. It would have been nice to know that was being handled so I could have focused more attention on my guests.

    Budget breakdown?

    Save the Dates and Invitations: $500

    Venue and food: $1,000

    Accommodations: $1,000

    Cake: $100

    Bouquet and boutonniere: $125

    Dress and alterations: $3,000

    Groom’s suit: $400

    Photography: $3,000

    Hair & Makeup: Free! I did my own makeup and my friend did my hair.

    Officiant: $400

    Total: $9,525


    Venue: Mountaintop Inn & Resort 

    Photography: Boucher Visuals

    Cake: Trillium Fine Desserts

    Dress: True North Bridal  Designer: Rebecca Schoneveld 

    Custom Save the Dates & Invitations: Written in Detail 

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ceremony Exit || Boucher Visuals

    Congratulations, Amy and Rick!


  • 1/16

    My fiancé and I are social and at times private people. We enjoy both quiet and unpublicized time with loved ones as well as social media engagement and interactions. It's a healthy balance. With that being said, our wedding website needed to reflect both sides. We desired to create an informative and functional wedding website to share our love story with visitors and inform our…

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    Real Bride Lucinda married Chris under sunny skies and amidst a gorgeous northern Massachusetts backdrop in a classic wedding celebration. After DIYing some seriously huge aspects of her wedding -- including her wedding dress, veil, signage and paper flowers for decor -- the couple celebrated with family and friends while the talented Maria Burton Photography captured their day. In a typically super expensive wedding market (about $40K on…

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    Longtime Broke-Ass Bride friend Georgia Hardstark emailed us recently about sharing her fun, funky, tradition-eschewing, $16,000 wedding. In the true spirit of The Broke-Ass Bride, Georgia and her husband had the wedding they wanted -- at the venue they loved, in the clothes they adored, with the decorations they actually gave a shit about -- and all within their budget and paid for the wholeshebang…

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    Name: Katie and Andrew Occupation: Attorney (K), Warehousing Associate (A) Wedding location: Chanhassen, MN Wedding Date: 10/10/15 Budget: $12k (fuzzy) Number of Guests: 100 How would you describe your wedding? For our wedding, we took a lot of traditional influences and added our own personal creative touches.   What was your favorite part of your wedding? Holding hands during our ceremony, feeling each other’s nervousness and excitement.…

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    Name: Elissa and Nick Occupation: College Advisor + Medical Tech Wedding Location: Pasadena, California Wedding Date: June 20, 2015 Number of Guests: 80ish Budget: Less than $15,000 How would you describe your wedding? Pretty traditional in structure, though we wrote our service with the help of a Unitarian Universalist minister so that people of all faiths would feel welcome. Overall, we wanted it to feel like a fun backyard party,…

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    Guys, I can't even tell you how stoked I am to share this wedding with you. I've known Marcus and Myndi for, like, ever. We all grew up together in Jackson, Wyo., and I have so much love for these two. There are few things more fun than watching old friends cultivate an amazingly strong relationship and grow a family later in life. Myndi and…

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    Name: Diana C. Vasquez and Tom McGovern Occupation: Renaissance Man Wedding Location: Ceremony: Central Park Conservancy Reception: Liederkranz Foundation Wedding Date: May 9, 2015 Budget: $14,000 Number of Guests: 80 How would you describe your wedding? Our wedding was a creative application of traditional concepts. What was your favorite part? My favorite part was having an unofficial first dance. I am an incredibly shy and…

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