When shopping on a budget it can be difficult to find the perfect dress. Sammydress.com is a popular discount clothing site that carries a wide selection of wedding dresses and wedding accessories to choose from. The dresses come in a variety of different styles and lengths. These dresses are gorgeous and yet very elegant. They also have prices to fit just about any budget. There is a style to fit even the pickiest of brides needs and wants.
A lot of brides worry about alterations being correct for the dress on their big day. Many of the discount sites have tailor made dresses. Izidresses is another great site to look for that perfect dress. They have many of the latest wedding dress styles. They have a very large selection of wedding dresses to choose from. This site is great for shopping on a budget with most of their wedding dresses priced under 200 dollars.
Davids Bridal has an excellent, well priced selection as well, with many of the latest styles availible. This company has their website where you can browse all the options as well as many stores nationwide. This makes it easy and convienient for the bride to be to have alterations made to her amazing dress and give it a personal touch. It also makes it easy to go in for a fitting and see what style will fit your needs the best.
When ordering on line many brides worry about a return policy. What if you find that perfect dress when browsing a website and when it gets to your door it just doesn’t look and fit the way you expected it to. Simplybridal has a risk free return policy. So if you are not satisfied with the dress you have recieved you can send it back with no questions asked. This site has beautiful gowns starting as cheap as 99 dollars. Many of their wedding dresses and accessories are marked down by as much as 70 percent off.
Another great options when looking for a wedding dress is second hand stores and thrift stores. You never know what you may find in these places. After all a wedding dress is something that is only worn once. Then after that it is just taking up space and collecting dust. Thats when many people donate them. Check places such as the salvation army and goodwill. This way you are shopping on a budget and what money you do spend goes to a good cause.
Be sure to shop around. What you may find on one site for 300 dollars you may find on another for half the price.]]>
Just this morning I felt myself compelled to read an article at Gal Time about the ‘new rules’ for who pays for what.
The author of the piece, Analorena Zeldon, consulted two experts, Andria Lewis (wedding planner with fifteen years’ experience) and Jodi RR Smith (author and etiquette expert) about how couples should broach the divvying up of expenses between themselves and their parents.
On the upside, the article not only assumes the couple will take some responsibility for some expenses themselves (and has a convenient breakdown of who pays for what when the two of you are paying for it all), but also that the bride’s parents might choose for a variety of reasons to opt out entirely.
In fact, I like Lewis’ most basic advice, which is essentially that once you know who is giving what, you sit down and work out a plan everyone can live with, pay attention to your budget, and keep your plans reasonable.
Where she loses me is the specific list of what parents pay for as opposed to what the happy couple pay for, should the parents choose to involve themselves financially. Still, she does note that this is just a f’rinstance and open to negotiation/variation.
I also think it’s a Very Bad Idea to tell each family what specifically the other family is paying for. People will figure out quickly whose contribution is less dollars and that leads to hurt feelings, bad blood, and potential life-long family feuds.
Still, this is better than Smith’s advice. Her plan is that the couple figure out what they want, then discuss with each other what each is willing to contribute. Then they go to her parents and ask “diplomatically and tactfully” what they will pony up. At this point, they head off to the groom’s parents (and note that there are no same-sex marriages happening here, or perhaps Smith believes that there is no such thing as a same-sex marriage with familial support) and – approaching them carefully and thoughtfully – ask the same question.
At this point, Smith figures it goes one of three ways: either the bride’s parents pick up the entire tab, the happy couple pays for everything themselves, or the groom’s parents pay part of the costs. Huh. Bride’s parents give all or nothing. Groom’s parents might pay up to half. Bride’s parents can’t (it would seem) give a portion or pay for a specific item and groom’s parents cannot ever cover the entire party.
But this whole thing of setting the budget and then asking the parents (no matter whose, in what order, or expecting what degree of return on the demand) how much they’re going to give you… yeah, that’s a situation I’ve gone on record before as considering a Very Bad and Very Tacky idea unlikely to end in anything but badness.
My take? Unless one or both sets of parents choose to make an offer of funds for your wedding, it’s better to assume you’re the ones holding the ball. Set your budget based on what you can afford and consider further money a windfall rather than a birthright. If and when you are offered financial aid from parents, mentors, or random folks in the street, find out what strings may be attached before accepting and make your decision according to whether you can live with them.
Oh, and if one side can offer a lot more money than the other side, do your best to avoid specific discussion of who paid for what. It’s the tactful thing to do.]]>
Okay, if you wait until that point, chances are there’s nothing you can do but pay all those wedding bills or declare bankruptcy.
If, on the other hand, you decide a bit earlier in the proceedings that things just aren’t going to work out, there is a way to recoup some of the expense you’ve been to and help another couple have the nice wedding of your dreams.
Bridal Brokerage is there to help you pick up the financial pieces and get you on your feet again.
You enter your details in a handy online form, and Bridal Brokerage does the rest. They contact the vendors and find another couple who are in need of a wedding much like yours. You receive a percentage of your wedding expenditures already made, cope with your own broken heart, and contact your own guests, but after that you don’t have to deal with the details of canceling your wedding beyond that.
On the buyer’s side, well, you fill out a similar form telling Bridal Brokerage when you’re hoping to tie the knot, how many guests you plan to have, etc. and they’ll contact you with weddings that might suit your needs. You choose the one that best fits your preferences, and buy it at a deep discount.
Again, Bridal Brokerage steps in to the rescue with the details. They’ll send out save-the-dates and invitations to your entire guest list and prepare programs, too.
I’m wondering, is there anyone out there who has used this service or one like it? What were your experiences like? Is this a service any of you out there would consider using on either end?]]>
Or even this:
Frankly, it’s not easy to find a balance, and the tighter your budget the smaller the window you have to try to fit through.
Still there are things you can do, both in allocating your funds well and in vendor negotiation, that will help you wriggle through with a minimum of misery, embarrassment, and red ink. Read on to find out what to do… and what not to do.
The first thing you need to do is prioritize. Figure out what you need no matter what, and where you can let go of an expense or three. Decide what’s most important to you and figure on spending your money there.
For Mr. Twistie and me, the things that got top priority were the venue, the music, and the food. After that, we figured everything could take a hit to the budget and we wouldn’t worry that much. But I was completely in love with the space, we’re both all about the live music, and we didn’t want anyone at all going home hungry.
After that, we looked for extra-good deals on things that didn’t matter as much to us, like flowers, decorations, invitations, and favors.
Your priorities may (and quite possibly will) be different from ours, but that gives you a good idea of the number of priorities you can safely have while working on a nearly nonexistent budget. We. Were. Broke.
Once you know what your priorities are, it’s time to figure out what you don’t need at all. If you don’t care about chair covers, frankly, that’s not something that’s going to make or break your wedding for most guests. If they don’t fit in the budget, forget that they exist. This one is really hard for a lot of couples. They get pressure to have the chair covers, give out favors, have fifteen different printed items for guests to take at the big event, and do a lot of other little touches that add up to a lot of bucks. Fail to bow to the pressure or find less expensive ways of compromising with your friends and families.
For instance, your parents may think everyone needs their own individual menu at the reception before dinner comes around. You may think this is a waste of your precious bridal bucks. But maybe you can save most of that money and your parents can still be satisfied if you have one menu per table, or have one large menu printed up and displayed nicely somewhere instead. Where possible, find middle ground everyone can live with… especially if you want a good relationship with those on the other side after the wedding is over.
While sourcing wedding items, remember that just because you are dealing with a particular aspect at the moment, that doesn’t make it an overall priority. It’s easy to think that since you’re dealing with invitations right now, they are the priority and so you should get the most expensive ones because they’re the nicest. And yes, nice invitations are great. But are they a priority in the wedding or merely in the moment? The priority of the moment is what you’re working on right now, but if it’s not a priority for the entire wedding, stick to your budget guns and don’t get sucked into how pretty the more expensive one is. Choose something you can afford. Nobody’s wedding was destroyed because they had the carnations they could fit in the budget rather than the roses others expected.
Get creative in your sourcing. Remember, you don’t have to shop somewhere that includes ‘wedding’ or ‘bridal’ in the name just because it’s for your wedding. Think carefully about whether there are other places you can get what you need for less. Now is the time to figure out if a couple well-considered DIY projects will save you cash while adding to the individuality of your wedding.
When it comes to vendors, there’s only so much you can do. The first thing to do is your research. Ask friends or co-workers who’ve recently married who they used and what their experience was like. Check out reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to see what other recent customers have to say. Take a look at the vendor’s website to make sure you like the general direction of the work beforehand and see if you can get a sense of the pricing. Remember, the better the vendor, the more likely you are to have to pay top dollar to get them.
Once you’ve whittled your list down to two or three candidates to interview, make a list of the questions you want to ask in advance. Really think about what you want and how much you’re willing to pay. And remember, the price of the raw materials will not be the entire cost of the finished product. You are also paying for time, talent, any other staff members, and the convenience of having someone else do the work. Don’t just look up what hydrangeas cost at the wholesale warehouse and expect the bouquet to cost that. Recognize the difference between a grocery store bakery and one that’s run by an individual pastry chef and cake artist.
During the interview, don’t be afraid to ask if there’s anything that can be done to sweeten the pot… but don’t let it phase you if the answer is no. If you don’t ask about possible discounts and extra goodies, they won’t happen, but asking for them does not guarantee that they will be forthcoming, either. If you buy the more expensive gown, the salon might throw in an inexpensive veil for free… and they might not. If you go for the higher priced fish dish, the caterer may or may not add an extra appetizer for your cocktail hour.
Oh, and that’s the other thing: these extras and freebies generally come only when you agree to something that spirals your budget higher or when you take something off the vendor’s hands they really need to move. When the stars align properly, it’s a beautiful thing. Thing is, it doesn’t happen automatically just because you showed up.
Most of all, when you ask about pot sweeteners be as nice as possible about it. There’s nothing that makes discounts and freebies go away faster than asking for them like you are entitled to them… unless it’s making an active threat. Don’t do that. Not that any of you would. It’s just I’ve seen it so often on Bridezillas that part of me is getting slowly brainwashed by the dominant cultural paradigm about getting married. I’m fighting it, really I am.
In the longrun, the goal is to have the nicest celebration you can on the budget you have. It doesn’t matter whether that celebration is going to cost a hundred dollars or a hundred thousand. What you have is what you have, and spending it thoughtfully is always a good idea.
Do it right, and the result will be relationships that look like this:
Today, well, it’s all about the details. In actual dollars, most couples don’t have more money to spend, but there are more things to spend the dollars on and more social disgrace for doing it ‘wrong.’
So what is a bride on a budget to do?
Very simply, figure out where you get the most bang for your buck, set your priorities accordingly, and plan from there. Where does that bang come from? Well, if you ask me, it goes to things that improve the comfort of your guests.
If it feeds, waters, entertains, or relaxes your guests, that’s the best place to spend more money. For all the effort you put into them, I guarantee your guests will forget the flowers in the centerpieces and the cut of your gown and the cleverness of your invitations in a matter of days or weeks. What they will remember is whether or not they could get enough to eat and drink. They’ll remember whether there was music they could dance to. They’ll remember whether there was a long line for one, insufficiently clean bathroom. They’ll remember a lack of chairs longer than whether or not they were pretty.
So consider saving a buck or two on make up technicians, special jewelry, upgraded chairs, and elaborate centerpieces. Put those dollars into a more generous meal, better music, and a venue with adequate facilities for your guests.
Details are great, but sometimes you have to step back and take a good long look at the big picture, too.]]>
And I believe that in most cases the majority of brides assume they’ll hire a limo to get them around on the big day. That’s hardly universal, of course. There are women who would consider their wedding day incomplete without arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. Others can’t imagine spending the money on just getting from point A to point B and take their own or a family member’s car. Yeah, that would be me. I wasn’t making a grand entrance. I helped set up the site in my wedding gown. Arriving in my father’s trusty Nissan was plenty good enough for me. Mr. Twistie and I left in his classic Mustang that he drove every day back then. It was a nice car, but nothing specially worked out for the day.
But there are practicalities to be considered that may make the family car a bad idea. You may have dreams of making a spectacular entrance that won’t be satisfied by a mere limousine.
And of course we’re never against fabulous around here… so long as taste, budget, and legal issues have been considered properly.
Is the family car for you? Well, that depends. Are you making an entrance, or are you making an ENTRANCE? If nobody is going to see you arrive, it doesn’t matter much what style of car you show up in. If you’re having the wedding and the reception in the same space, it matters even less because then you aren’t even dealing with how the getaway car looks until you leave the reception. This makes a great case for saving the money on renting an expensive vehicle… but there’s still an exception to the rule that ought to be considered: How big is your gown compared to the car?
On a recent episode of Bridezillas, much comic gold was mined from the efforts of the bride to get into the family car on her way to the wedding. You see, it wasn’t a very large car, but her gown and veil were both sizable, to say the least. She was trying to cram a large hoopskirt and cathedral length train into a compact car, and it just didn’t fit. Then she had to reel in miles of veil.
See, I fit in my father’s compact car because I wore a dress with a fairly narrow skirt, no train, and no veil. I still would have fit with a fuller skirt or with a short veil, but no way would a hoop have ever fit in that car. So if you plan to wear a very large skirt, a long train, or a very long or very pouffy veil, do consider renting a limo. Otherwise, consider dressing on site, if that’s a practical choice.
Another thing to consider is your nerve level. If your dress isn’t big, your nerves are calm, and you’re a good driver, the family car could suit you just fine. If, on the other hand, you expect to be a bundle of nerves… even if you’re wearing a mini shift dress and no veil, it still might not be a bad idea to leave the driving to a professional. You don’t want to get into an accident on the way to your wedding.
Of course, a car is far from your only option for wedding day transportation. There’s the aforementioned horse-drawn carriage. There are other motorized vehicles, such as a bus for the whole wedding party, a rented classic car such as a Model T or a fifties convertible. There are boats, if your wedding is on or very close to the water. There are motorcycles, if you ride. I even saw an episode of Four Weddings Canada recently where the bride and groom arrived at their reception via vintage plane. There are traditions in some countries that dictate how one or both parties ought to arrive. In India, for instance, it’s traditional for the groom to arrive riding a small, white horse… though I have also seen (on television, not in person) a variation where the groom decided that horse wasn’t grand enough and he rented an elephant for the occasion.
Or you could go green. Bicycles can make for a fun entrance, though I would definitely recommend a short gown in that case!
I love this pair on their bicycle built for two found at Green Wedding Shoes.
Not a bike rider? Consider a tradition that’s popular from France to Japan, Korea to New Orleans, and have a wedding parade on foot.
(Illustration via A City Wedding)
If you have a convenient place to meet up, a short walk either to the ceremony venue, to the reception, or the both the ceremony and the reception, and a little help on hand for guests or wedding party members with mobility issues, this can be a fun way to share the joy of your wedding with anyone who happens to be passing by. It doesn’t cost anything, it’s easy on the earth, and chances are it will lead to both great photographs and great memories.
How you get where you’re going is limited mostly by your imagination. Chances are that if you can imagine it, there’s a way to make it happen.
Besides, isn’t getting there half the fun?]]>
So when I ran across a fun and informative infographic on averages concerning bridesmaids over on Visual.ly, I had to take a closer look and share the contents with all of you.
Seems I got a couple of things in the average range when I got married. Five bridesmaids is apparently the average, and that’s exactly what I had. Oh, that includes the junior bridesmaid who, at twelve, slotted nicely into the national average of being aged nine to fourteen. I had a matron rather than maid of honor, though, unlike some 97% of brides.
I’m not sure where to put myself in the question of the 64% of brides who have their maids wear identical outfits. See, they all wore the same skirt and blouse made from the same patterns and the same fabric… but then I asked them to trim and accessorize according to personal whim rather than a specific blueprint. So there were trims ranging from pink pearl piping to a grand fall of lace over the bosom to an added Batterburg lace collar with little blue ribbon roses, an equally broad range of jewelry styles, and flat shoes that ran the gamut from ballet flats to low, slouchy boots. So they all started in the same place with the same stuff, but they weren’t identical when they got done.
As for travel, well, prices have gone way up, but I’m betting that travel to the wedding did wind up averaging close to the $300 in the infographic, because while I had two bridesmaids living in the same town with me and my junior bridesmaid lived about an hour’s drive away… I did have two bridesmaids who lived on the opposite coast from mine and who brought their husbands with them. Hey, one of them was also in the wedding party.
But just as I have to adjust for nearly twenty years, hence changes over time in both prices and custom (the bachelorette party was a pretty rare beast when I was getting married), it’s important to remember geography and culture when looking at the numbers in the infographic. With the cost of the average wedding in New York City hovering close to seventy grand, you can assume that bridesmaids will also probably wind up spending more there than, say, in Yuma, AZ. And it’s always important to keep in mind that when these averages are calculated, there are always plenty of outliers whose wedding costs were either astonishingly huge or amazingly tiny. Averages tell us about everyone and nobody in particular.
So when you choose the dress your bridesmaids will wear, remember that while the average bridesmaid today spends $150 on a dress, $50 on alterations for that dress, $50 for lingerie, $60 for jewelry, and $100 for hair and make up… it’s best to talk frankly with your proposed attendants about their specific budgets before assuming they’ll shell out $410 to look good in your wedding album. I’m just saying. And seriously, I did not ever consider for one moment making my bridesmaids get new undies for my wedding. I figured what they wore under those outfits was between them and their gods, and therefore very firmly Not My Business.
As for the price tags of the gifts the bridesmaids give you for your engagement and wedding… it’s really best not to think too hard about that. They’re already giving you support, possibly DIY as well as emotional, and they’re letting you tell them what to wear. If they choose to give more, that’s a lovely gesture, whether it’s a potato peeler or that big screen TV you’ve been hankering after.
In short, there are averages in the world of bridesmaids, and you may or may not hit some of them firmly on the head. But your bridesmaids are individual people, your relationships with them will be unique, and anyway, why would you want to aim for average? Aim for what will make you – and hopefully your bridesmaids, too – happy.
Today they are running an infographic on what else you could spend that much money on.
Taking the average cost of a wedding in eleven major cities across the country, they tell you what else that money could buy. For instance, the $65,824 for a traditional wedding in New York City could get you two year’s rent on a one-bedroom apartment in the East Village. In Dallas the $28,717 could get you 164 pairs of cowboy boots, just in case it’s your ambition in life to be the Texan Imelda Marcos.
Now you all know that I’m foursquare in favor of bridal budget sanity. I believe strongly in not spending more money on a wedding than you have to spend. I’m big on making the day personal to you rather than a set of traditions followed for the purpose of not upsetting people who aren’t the ones getting married, and in favor of dumping the trappings that don’t matter much to you personally. So if you would truly rather buy 32,715 beignets from Cafe du Monde than hold a traditional wedding, I will be the first person to have your back… and help you dispose of your beignet surplus.
But really? If you’ve got the money and want to spend it on a wedding, I will also be the first person in your corner. Your money, your priorities. Your choice.
It is my firm belief that a wedding will cost precisely what you are willing to spend on it. Whether you have a potluck backyard gathering for ten or a million dollar extravaganza in an exotic location where you fly in four hundred of your nearest and dearest, if you can pay for it and it makes you happy, then that’s what you should do.
The value of your wedding isn’t something that can be measured entirely in cold dollars and cents or comparison of how many hands of blackjack the same money would buy.
Base your budget decisions on your value system. And don’t let anyone else tell you what that is.]]>
When you’re the one getting married, you do have a certain amount of power. For instance, if you want to dress up small boys like this:
… or small girls like this:
(via Landy Wedding Dress)
… well, that is your right and you can make them do it. But it behooves us to keep in mind that Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s son never, ever forgave his mother for making him dress like her fictional hero, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and that was nearly a hundred and thirty years ago. Imagine the horror of being an eight year old boy today and having the school bully find a picture of you in satin knickers!
Do you really want to do that to a child?
And I imagine that while many a little girl would be pretty swept away when that gown first arrived, they would quickly and painfully learn why it is that strapless is for girls who are old enough to have developed secondary sexual characteristics. I’ll just leave it at that.
The key to using the power you have is to exercise it in such a way that you are considered a benevolent despot rather than the jack-booted offspring of a raging bull and a weasel.
Dressing small children in ways that keep them comfortable and don’t entirely empty their parents’ pocketbooks is one of those smart ways of exercising power. I’ll show you some ideas for that.
This dress from Pretty Flower Girl comes in sizes 2 – 14, and really fits the bill. The cut is built for a young child, the color is attractive and popular, and the sequins on the bodice add a touch of sparkle for a formal event. And at $41.99, it’s easy on the budget, which will make parents happy, too.
On the brighter side of Pegeen, there’s this lovely silk dress. It comes in sizes from 2T – 16 and starts at $145.00. Starts? That’s because there are a variety of alterations that can be to both the cut and decoration of the dress. A matching bolero or American Girl doll dress can also be added for a fee. Oh, and there are even extended sizes available. I can see my seven-year-old self twirling happily in this dress now.
But what about the boys?
Sometimes the best thing for a little boy is a good accessory rather than a whole suit. If that’s the case for your wedding and your ring bearer, why not head over to Etsy and get a custom version of this grey vest from Angelica Atelier? At $75.00 it’s a good deal for something a boy can get multiple uses from. Just pair it up with a nice shirt and a clean pair of pants or shorts, and he’ll look great on the day.
Another thing to consider for children of any gender is a quick look through the clothes they already own. It just might be that your ring bearer or flower girl could wear something that’s already in the closet. No fuss, no muss, no extra expense… your benevolent despotism will become legendary!]]>
Chris C. Anderson shares his wedding plans and the finished results in a lovely slide show on HuffPo’s wedding page today, and it’s a delight. Of course not everyone has a family walnut ranch to use as a setting, and not everyone is willing to accept basic folding chairs to sit in. But then everyone knows someone who can do something free as a gift or at low cost, and everyone is willing to cut some generally acknowledged ‘necessity’ in order to have things they care more about.
There’s a nice break down of the expenses incurred, and some charmingly phrased prose, but most of all there are gorgeous photos of a wedding that looks like it was a lot of fun.
With most experts telling us every day that a wedding can’t be done for less than twenty grand – and that only if you’re willing to look shabby and pathetic to the world – it’s refreshing to see a couple demonstrate just how much wedding it’s possible to have for less than half that number.
Go take a look. You’ll be happy you did.]]>