Monday, December 28, 2009

holy moly it's been a while!

As usual, I have slipped on the blog front. The holidays have been crazy! But don't worry - I'm back and full of bargains! Just a little note to get us back in the swing of things...

j.crew is running 20% off their final sale stuff. This sort of sale is how my bridesmaids got their dresses for such steals! So take a look, and if you see what you like, tell those girls to get on it asap!

Also, for those of you having winter/holiday weddings at this time next year...get out there and start clearance shopping!! It's okay if you have to store it for a little while.... think of all the money you'll be saving! Even if you are having an autumn wedding, get out there. Alot of decorations this year were nature inspired and a little on the woodsy side!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The leaves are beautiful at this time of year...

...and so are Autumn brides!

A co-worker of mine just had a beautiful fall wedding. I don't have the rights to his images, but it was full of gorgeous leaves, huge acorns, and a cake that looked like a real tree! The cake even had their initials "carved" into the bark. I have never seen anything like it... perhaps because most of my research was in Summer weddings, but it's time to branch out!

When (or if) I can get some photos, I will share them.

His bride used huge acorns as decorations on guest chairs and used smaller ones for the boutonnieres. Acorns adorned the tables and they used pumpkins as decorations too. They also had acorns with their names hand-painted on them as favors.

All of these things can be found fairly cheap. Another thing you could use is mums in really nice pots. Mums are about $5 a piece at this time of year and the colors are incredible. If you are planning a fall wedding for next year, you could go to the craft store, or any other store for that matter, and look for fall stuff going on clearance and get it now on sale and just keep it until next year. (gotta' keep the bargains coming!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remember this moment....

Or at least capture it on film!

Choosing a
photographer was a somewhat easy task for me. I did my research and knew who everyone else thought was "the best." But all of the "best" were incredibly expensive! And who is to say the best is always the most expensive?! The photographer we worked with was absolutely incredible! She was hands down the best person I have ever worked with before. She was incredibly professional, fun, and talented! I recommend Rebecca Ward to anyone who asks for a photographer. She did our wedding photos, my bridal portraits and our engagement ones. I enjoy working with her so much that I am also working with her next month to work on some portraits for my newly developing website!

Rebecca made everything comfortable and fun for us. Her work is incredible and if you check out her site you will see what I mean!

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures she has done of us:

My bridal portrait

Our favorite engagement photo

Our wedding party

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bridesmaids across America

A bride recently emailed me and asked me "What should I do if my bridesmaids are all over the country? And what to do if they all have different body types? I don't really want to do the normal David's Bridal stuff."

That's a great question! One that I am sure more brides have asked themselves. David's Bridal is certainly a great option. They are all over the country and it's easy to pick your color/fabric.

But my biggest suggestion would be to check out J.Crew. They have a variety of styles, colors, and fabrics. You, as the bride, should pick the color and fabric you like the best, and then if you are worried about body types, let each girl pick her own style. This will ensure she gets something she is comfortable in! J.Crew stores are all over the country so it should be easy for a bridesmaid to get to one and try the dresses on. If there isn't a store nearby, their special occasion consultants are incredible!! Mine was the best guy ever! He helped me get everything ordered for everyone (even the groomsmen!!) He made sure if something I needed wasn't in the warehouse, he would check all of the stores nation-wide and have it shipped to me.

The prices at J.Crew aren't bad either. Because remember, if you are being a bargain bride, you need to look for bargains for everyone in your wedding part too!

Friday, October 16, 2009

What's a wedding without cake?

Cake is obviously a must at a wedding, but it doesn't have to be a 5-tier castle of a cake! Cupcakes are becoming a big trend at weddings...and why not? They are less expensive, easy to transport, and even easier to serve/eat! Not to mention they are adorable!

In the Richmond, VA area, I did a lot
of research when it came to my wedding cake. Who made the best cake...who had the best price?

We decided to use cupcakes instead of a cake. For our wedding, it just seemed to fit. Our wedding was pretty informal and fun (as you can see from the pictures throughout my blog). So why shouldn't our cake be any different?

I finally decided to go to our local grocery store, Ukrop's. Their prices were unbeatable and nothing is better than a Ukrop's cake with their signature butter cream icing. The folks at Ukrop's were a pleasure to work with and made sure I was the happiest bride ever.

They don't have a ton of options to choose from at a first glance, but if you talk to them, they will make it happen. My cake topper was pictured as a white iced cake with opalescent dots on it. As you can see, I changed it all up and made it work for my wedding. We ordered 100 cupcakes to ensure each of our guests could have up two cupcakes if they wanted. To make sure the cupcakes looked professional and nice, we ordered a cupcake tree. My wonderful MOH took the time to glue the ribbon I used throughout my wedding onto the structure to it matched prefectly!

All in all, my wedding cupcakes and topper cost us less than $200! You can't beat that!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More flowers

When I posted a few months ago, I didn't have photos of my wedding bouquet. I finally have a gorgeous photo of it and wanted to share with everyone. Just goes to show you that real flowers are not always the best choice!

This photo is by Rebecca Ward Photography (don't worry... you will hear all about how awesome she is sometime soon!)

Always good to help a friend

A friend of mine is getting married in just a few months. She has asked for a little of my help. This is definitely going to keep me motivated to blog a little more about the wedding bargains I suggest to her and the ones we find along the way! Stay tuned for some new adventures that are coming up.

Friday, October 9, 2009

testing as a new author

One last post of the morning. I just removed my maiden name e-mail address and added my new one so I just want to make sure I can still post correctly! Thanks for being awesome and patient!!

Calling all beach brides

Have you already decided you are getting married at the beach next summer?

If so, check out J.Crew's web site today! All of the final sale stuff has gone an additional 20% off! Their embossed beach dress is the perfect wedding dress! I wore a short version of it, but it's usually available in a gown too!

I just checked, but I didn't see the gown version on the site. The short version is only $40 right now!

It's a great beach wedding dress! The extra detailing of the pleats, make this embossed beach dress one of J.Crew's fanciest. It's comfy and casual - everything a beach wedding should be! It even has pockets!!! What more could you ask for?

Another flower tip

Another tip for inexpensive flowers is to use the pre-made bouquets from the grocery store! Who needs a fancy florist?! Flowers at the grocery are usually gorgeous and they're way cheaper than a florist. Of course, you have to pray that your local grocery will have flowers you like the day or two before your wedding. At my wedding, my MOH accidentally forgot all of those beautiful flowers that she had assembled a few months earlier! (slight crisis? yes!!!)

But I wasn't about to let her drive all the way home to get them. We went to the grocery down the street and got some flowers for about $30 and made new bouquets! They actually were even prettier than the ones we made. I was incredibly pleased with how they turned out.

A horrible blogger, am I

I am in training this week and the girl next to me is a blogging fanatic. She writes a cooking blog, that I am looking forward to following. Check her out!

I apologize for being MIA lately. But don't worry... I will be posting some more awesome tricks for being a bargain bride. :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Flowers can be a very large expense when it comes to weddings, but they don't really have to be...

For my wedding, we chose to use artificial flowers since being out in the sun and heat of the beach may cause real ones to wilt too quickly. At my local craft store, I found small bundles of flowers and wrapped them with ribbon. Each of my bridesmaid bouquets cost only $10 each after all was said and done. And they look incredible!! No one will ever know how much money I saved on them!!

For my bouquet, I used artificial ones as well. Although, the flowers I used were a little more pricy. I found some at a craft show that looked and felt just like real daisies. I spent about $35 on flowers and just bought some inexpensive ribbon to wrap around the stems.

We won't be having flowers for centerpieces, so that is saving a ton of money too. Get creative with your centerpieces and see what you come up. I will post about mine next time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don't Be Afraid to Mix it Up a Little

Who says everything has to be matchy matchy? It's more fun to make things "go together" than it is for it all to be exactly the same thing!

If you are being a bargain bride, remember "beggers can't be choosers." Now that's not to say you can't choose everything you want - after all, you are the bride - what you say goes! But just keep an open mind about it.

For example, our groomsmen are wearing the same ties, shirts, and shorts... but unfortunately, I couldn't get everyone the same flip flops on sale.

So to improvise, I switched it up. Half of the guys are wearing flip flops and the other half are wearing boat shoes. They all have the same madras plaid accents, but are different styles - just like the bridesmaids' dresses are all the same, but different!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Set your expectations ahead of time

It is so much easier said than done, but really? How could you not? If you set an expectation and an idea of what you really want, then you can start bargain hunting...and the bargains will just appear!

You won't know it until it happens, but you will be out one day and see something that makes you say, "wouldn't this be good as ____ ."

for example, when i was at the outlets with my MOH, we were in a store and I found a cute headband. I jokingly put it on and said, "What do you think of this?" Her response was "I think that'd be perfect for your hair at the wedding!!"

Of course, she was right and I had to purchase it. The best part, it was only $13!!

Wedding hair piece - done!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

early bridesmaid shopping

Shop early! Try buying things like bridesmaid dresses and shoes in the off-season or at an end of season clearance.

I knew last summer that I was getting married on the beach this summer. I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear embossed beach dresses from jcrew. So I waited until they went on sale and picked my color that way. I told the girls "You pick the style as long as it's this color and fabric." Most of them waited until final sale at jcrew went to an additional 30% discount and ended up with their dresses for under $40.

The scary thing about doing this is "What do I do if someone gains weight between now and then?!" Well the best suggestion I can give is -- order up one size bigger than what they wear today. This way, if they gain any weight, it will still fit. And if it's a little big at wedding time, it won't cost much to have it taken in at a tailor.

Another good tip for outfitting bridesmaids on a budget is to check out Saxon Shoes' end of summer sales. We ended up getting all the girls shoes for $25 a pair. And they are definitely a style shoe they can wear all summer long after the wedding.

Try and make sure everything you pick out is something your girls can wear again. No one wants to spend money on something they are only going to wear once.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I should have been doing this the whole time i was planning this wedding (which is 62 days away) but you live and learn... so starts the bargrain bride memoirs.