Broke-Ass Tag: vintage wedding

6/15

Affiliate Disclaimer NewHey, Broke-Asses! I’m way too excited about becoming a contributor to this awesome project. I found “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide” through a simple Amazon search, and could not have been happier with Dana’s approach to planning. I was honestly never sure if I would marry at all (my mother is extremely anti-marriage, and I grew up rejecting the idea!), but here I am — lost in a sea of Pinterest boards and unending questions from family and friends.

The questions came literally days after we got engaged this past February:

“When’s the big day!?”

“What’s your theme?”

“Have you chosen a venue?”

Don’t get me wrong — I was thrilled that so many of my loved ones were eager to know details and get involved. But all these questions really freaked me out. They freaked me out so badly that I refused to start planning until about a month ago. Luckily the date isn’t until May 13, 2017, and now that I’ve done some research and was graced by The Broke-Ass Bride’s wisdom, I actually think I can do this whole wedding thing.

But before I suffocate you with wedding details, I’ll let you know a little more about myself. I’m a 23-year-old college dropout and soon-to-be licensed cosmetologist. I enrolled and began cosmetology school in September last year and in just seven short weeks I’ll be finished! The past year of my life has honestly felt like one single day. I have grown so much as an artist and really settled into who I am. Plus, I’ve already scored my dream job at a salon two blocks away from our apartment!

My super handsome fiance, Josh, is due most of the credit in helping me become who I am today. In August we will have met one year ago. We had both just escaped (wish I were exaggerating when I use the word “escaped”) pretty horribly manipulative relationships and neither of us planned on dating anytime soon. But when we met, we just could not get enough of one another. I have never felt so loved and have never loved the way I love him. I know I’m young, but I have a lot of dating experience under my belt — and I truly did not think I would ever find the type of partnership I wanted with someone.

After just seven months of dating, Josh and I took a vacation to Charleston (our first date was a day trip to Sullivan’s Island!), where he proposed on the steps of the Customs building. It was awkward and cute and nothing short of perfect.

 

Real Bride BreAnna's now-fiance on their first date

BreAnna and Josh at the beach

We are now five months into our engagement and growing more and more excited about marriage every day.

Our personal styles are mixtures of minimalist, vintage, indie, with a splash of hippie. (I grew up in a weird artsy town in the mountains, what can I say?) And we definitely want our wedding to reflect that.

So far my vision for the wedding is sort of a big, fun BBQ with tons of friends and family, yard games and dancing — all decorated in a thrifty, vintage style. We’ll be renting a large tent and having the wedding on Josh’s grandfather’s farm. Our budget is going to fall somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. I have plenty of faith that I can pull off a pretty ballin’ wedding with the help of the Broke-Ass Bride’s book, as well as the generosity of friends and family. I have already had FOUR photographer friends offer free engagement sessions and my super sweet graphic designer friend is designing our save the dates and invites as a wedding gift. It is so amazing to realize the amount of love and support we will have throughout this process. And now I’m ready to share my process with you!

Welcome to the team, BreAnna!

 

  • 2/10

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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, but in fancy clothes. Our priorities were an outdoor ceremony, delicious food, quality drinks and good music that everyone knew and could enjoy.

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    What was your favorite part of your wedding?

    Having all of our far-flung friends and family in the same place. People traveled from all over the country to be with us on our big day, and it meant more than words can express.

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    What did you splurge on?

    We were pretty good about balancing the costs of all the pieces, so I don’t feel like we really broke the budget on any one aspect. I was originally planning on walking down the aisle to a Simon & Garfunkel song, but Nick had the idea to find a harpist to play before and during the ceremony. She played a Beatles medley as our guests were seated, and the bridal party all entered to Elvis’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” The harp was such a unique and beautiful touch, and I am SO glad I let Nick talk me into it.

    What did you save on?

    So many things! Nick’s dad is a videographer, so a friend of his did the filming, and he did the editing as our wedding gift. We also bought a lot of supplies from Costco and antique stores, and made all of the decorations ourselves, including the ceremony backdrop, the centerpieces, the table runners and even the bar! We hired college students to help with set-up and serving, and hired our harpist through a local music school. We also decided to do a small cake to cut and a table full of assorted desserts, in lieu of a big expensive wedding cake.

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    Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?

    1. Hired a day-of coordinator. I almost hired an awesome one, Events by Holly Gray, but a friend volunteered to be my day-of point person at the last minute. A professional day-of coordinator would have taken all the stress off of my friends and let them relax and have fun.
    2. Planned a grand exit at the end of the night. We wanted to stay and say goodbye to all our guests, so we ended up being the last ones to leave the venue. It was pretty hectic trying to get everything cleaned up and out of the venue on time, and weird to see all our hard work getting disassembled.
    3. Invited more people! Life happens, and many guests whom we thought would come couldn’t. We had lots of extra spaces left over, and there were many friends I would have loved to have invited if I hadn’t been so conservative/nervous about the headcount.

    What was your biggest challenge in planning?

    Finding a venue! I had a couple of freak outs during the first few months of our engagement, as I couldn’t find ANY venues that coordinated both budget and style. In total desperation I ended up revisiting the first place I ever liked, but had rejected because of their availability. It turns out I had misread their website the first time around, and it ended up being absolutely perfect for us.

    What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?

    I ended up throwing all my pre-engagement ideas about my wedding out the window once I actually started planning. My fiancé had some awesome ideas and perspectives, and it was fun building our big day together – I didn’t realize when we started how much he wanted to be a part of the planning! And decorations and cool details are great and all, but as long as you have food and music, everyone’s going to have a great time – so don’t stress about the little things. Most of all though, it really does take a village to do anything big in life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be gracious when you receive it.

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    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

    1. The ceremony. It was over 100 degrees on the day of our outdoor wedding, but shade from the trees fell just right across the ceremony site so that it was still warm, but pleasant. Sunbeams streamed through the trees, birds sang and a butterfly flew around us at the beginning. It was an incredibly surreal moment in time, but there was so much laughter, love, and excitement.
    2. The food. We had our favorite taco place, MexiCali in downtown L.A., set up a taco bar with your choice of freshly grilled meat and veggies. Our appetizers and wedding cake were from our favorite Cuban restaurant, Porto’s, and we had a variety of homemade cupcakes on the dessert table. I only wish I’d been able to eat more!
    3. The music. I gave our DJ a list of songs I’d collected from the MoTown and Seventies Hits Pandora channels, and he filled in the rest with some killer oldies and party favorites. I can’t remember a single song being played that I didn’t love! I danced so hard that I ripped both a strap and the train off my dress.
    4. How authentic it was. We had lots of guests tell us afterward that it was one of the best weddings they’d been to, because it was inclusive, low-key, and … tacos.
    5. A family member Skyped my grandma during the ceremony, and at one point I was able to turn around and see her grinning from ear-to-ear on the phone screen.
    6. Bonus: Nick and I met when we lived in a three-unit apartment complex, all rented by 20-somethings. There was a core group of about 10 or 12 friends who either lived there or hung out there during that time, and were there for the beginning of Nick and my relationship. At one point we all came together on the dance floor for a giant group hug, singing our hearts out. It had been years since we were all together in one place (minus one couple who moved out of the country), so it was an incredibly moving and memorable moment.

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    Top 5 least favorite?

    1. I didn’t budget enough time in the days leading up to the wedding to get our DIY projects set up, so we were running late on the morning of. Because of this, we didn’t get a chance to take many pictures before the ceremony.
    2. I’m still on the fence about this, but I kind of wish we had done a seating chart! I’ve been to so many weddings where guests moved chairs around and sat where they wanted to despite the chart, so I figured we’d just let our guests choose. But I’ve also enjoyed going to weddings where all the various friends and family got to mingle more with each other over dinner, instead of just out on the dance floor.
    3. Things that were out of our control, like the hot, humid weather and traffic woes (e.g. President Obama’s surprise visit to Pasadena on the day of our rehearsal dinner).
    4. The wedding had to end and everyone had to go home.
    5. We only get to have one wedding. I have so many more ideas!

    What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?

    I can’t remember any bad advice, but I had to learn to shrug off all the people who only had negative things to say about wedding planning, like “Oh, you’re about to be so miserable!”

    The best?

    I got so much good advice from friends, family, and of course The Broke-Ass Bride, but I think my favorite was a reminder to take a few moments alone together as a couple during the reception, to be in the moment and be thankful for everything that’s happening.

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    Any other bits of wisdom?

    • I highly recommend pre-martial counseling. It led us to much deeper conversations than usual about important topics, and reminded us that the wedding is ultimately about the start of a marriage, not just an evening of partying.
    • I’m also really glad we have the ceremony on video, because I can’t remember much about it except how excited I felt. It was so nice to listen to the words again, and see details that I’d missed in the moment.
    • Despite my best efforts to be careful while eating, I spilled a big dollop of guacamole on my lap during dinner. Right after, an excited guest accidentally spilled their drink on Nick’s shirt. My wonderful mom saved the day both times with club soda, a Tide pen and a clean towel. Have all of these things at easy access during the reception!

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    Budget breakdown

    All prices are approximate, and just for the main categories. Even with all the little miscellaneous costs here and there, we ended up sticking pretty darn close to our original budget thanks to extensive research and negotiating.

    • Venue $2,500
    • Food (buffet dinner + appetizers) $2,200
    • Photographer $2,000
    • Bride and Groom’s outfits $1,000
    • Alcohol $800
    • Rentals (tablecloths + dishes + glasses) $700
    • DJ (friend of a friend) $600
    • Decorations $600
    • Flowers $500
    • Minister + Counseling sessions $400
    • Harpist $300
    • Paper goods (PaperSource) + Printing $250
    • Cake $150
    • Event Insurance $100
    • Hair + Makeup: Free courtesy of a wonderful friend, plus about $100 in products from Sephora.

    Vendors

    Our vendors were all incredible to work with, and I’d recommend each of them in a heartbeat for being kind, flexible, and responsive.

    Venue: The Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church

    Appetizers and Desserts: Porto’s Bakery

    Catering: MexiCali Taco

    Photographer: A Sight of Love Photography

    Rentals: Ace Party Rentals, North Hollywood

    DJ: Cee Brown

    Harpist: Jacqueline Marshall

    Florist: PoppyHill Flowers

    Print shop: Color Images Copy and Print

    Hair and Makeup: Sarah Rocksdale

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    Congratulations, Elissa and Nick!

    Elissa Stooker
  • 3/23

    You guys. I officially have my dress, and I am so. excited. I actually bought my dress in August of last year. I’d finally found a day that two of my besties were available, and had scheduled a few appointments at L.A.-area salons. My BAB strategy was to find a really gorgeous floor-length bridesmaids dress, and order it in ivory or Champagne. I had picked…

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    2/27

    Your "I dos" are a moment of gravitas, a quiet but weighty culmination of your decision to spend your lives together. In honor of their serious decision to make this commitment, Destry and Lanny decided on a similarly intimate wedding ceremony and reception: 40 invited guests, immediate family and the closest of friends. By this decision, they were able to spend more time with the…

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    8/7

    We have one more set of wedding printables to roll out from Felicia of Acrassy Marketing – she's already hooked us up with adorable chalkboard style thank you cards and matching save the dates!  Her final gift to BABS is this slew of adorable weding signage!! To get the most profesh look possible, follow these tips from Felicia: For best results, take the printable to…

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    4/18

    You guys ever run into someone that you feel could be your wedding twin? Well, here's mine. Erica and her partner, Eric (E-squared, yo!!!), had a retro-cool, Blues Brothers-styled rock fest. They found a nifty way to DIY their stationery (Ticketmaster?!?), they spent money in all the places deemed right to them (brooch bouquet instead of flowers, booze, pictures), they chose some rad photographers (same…

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    2/3

    This week our wedding inspiration board is all about Theresa D. She just got engaged (congrats!) to her military fiance and already, her friend's wedding is turning out to look a lot like hers. She wants to know how she can set her vintage inspired periwinkle, sage, and red wedding apart from her friend. I have to say, Theresa, I L-O-V-E your choice of colors.…

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    10/19

    I thought I had scoured every inch of the Internet... found every wallet-friendly gown that bears similarity to the big time expensive wedding dresses we all know and love ($$$$ to $$$$$)... but I was wrong!  Apparently the universe loves our broke asses too much to let us lust over gowns we can't afford but desperately want.  So to continue the "Can't Afford it/Get Over…

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    9/23

    In honor of summer coming to an end, I decided to make this inspiration post very summery! A reader wrote in and said they were having a beach/1950's themed wedding, so I decided to make an inspiration board for that. I adore this theme. It made me picture Vargas pin up girls in cute little polka dot bikinis cradling beach balls in their arms. Its…

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