The Budget Savvy Bride » Laura W helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 04 May 2015 12:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Went Wedding Dress Shopping Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:00:40 +0000 Source:


Recently I was reflecting on my wedding dress experience. I felt extremely uncomfortable because I don’t like having the attention on me, and I was a bit at a loss of all the details involved. I am sure there are brides out there just like I was, so as a product of my reflection, I give you 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Went Wedding Dress Shopping…


1. Keep your personal info on lock.

Chances are, they WILL contact you. I am a bit of hermit when it comes to my phone. I don’t like talking on it, and I certainly won’t answer it if I don’t know the number. So if you’re the same way I am, watch yourself when it comes to filling out the initial paperwork. Sure, they might need your phone number to call you about alterations, etc. But if you go with a big chain, they will call you weekly to ask about your wedding planning and your dress experience, etc. etc. Just be aware.


2. There’s no such thing as ‘browsing’.

Girlfriends are out to make a sale. I had good customer service both times I went dress shopping, but the first time I was a year out from my wedding and the girl was packing in the slip I tried on and asking if it’d be cash or credit. I looked at my mother in horror because we hadn’t discussed actually buying it that day. Ultimately, I had to speak up and say, “I’m not ready.” I’m glad I did, but I got the impression that most brides don’t “just browse” when it comes to their wedding dress. But if you are, just say so. You’re the bride, and they should respect that.


3. Try on underthings and accessories BUT don’t purchase them.

Like I said, that slip I tried on…was about $60. You can go on eBay and purchase it for much cheaper. I bought my crinoline slip on eBay from a bride who had worn it once. I paid half price, and I plan on reselling it too. Don’t waste your time on stuff in the store (this includes veils, jewelry, and shoes) unless you are 100% completely in love with it.


4. You may not need alterations.

I’m a snot about alterations. I don’t go to a seamstress or a tailor ever, so I didn’t see the point in getting alterations on my wedding dress. I’m wearing this thing exactly once, so why do I even need alterations? Thankfully, my mom is a sewer by hobby, and we made sure before we bought it that it fit in all the right places. The most I would have needed is it to be hemmed. Ultimately, I’m ecstatic I didn’t need alterations because I hated dress shopping (sorry y’all!), and I didn’t want to go into the bridal boutique any more than I had to. If you don’t have someone who sews, you could probably get your parent or friend eye it for you. Anyone can see if it’s a good fit or not (IMHO), and you should be able to chime in about it being comfortable.


5. Buy the preservation kit.

My mom paid $99 when we bought my dress, and it’s basically just a box to stuff your dress in. Now I haven’t sent mine off  yet, and yes, I was skeptical. However, it has pretty good reviews from other brides, and you’re going to want it cleaned somehow. A friend of mine plans on stuffing hers in a shadow box, but I’d rather cut my labor out of it completely and just sent it in. My dad wasn’t sure about this process and thought you had to pay for shipping, but that’s already covered for you when you buy it. So if you plan on keeping your dress, I recommend buying it.


Any pieces of advice you’d give brides going wedding dress shopping for the first time? Share here!

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Where to Buy Your Canvas Prints Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:13:42 +0000 Source:

As a bride-to-be or newly-married lady, you’ve probably thought about getting some of your photos printed especially in canvas form! This is all the rage with brides and newlyweds, and there are so many places to choose from along with countless options of sizes, number of pictures, captions, etc. Today I’m taking all the guesswork out of your query and doing the research for you. Here’s what I found:

Where to Buy Your Canvas Prints

  • Shutterfly. The giant itself has many photo ideas to choose from and chances are you have probably received a coupon or two in the mail for a free photo book (these make me SO happy…I love anything FREE!). However, their canvas prints can be pricey. Starting at $59.99, there are many styles to choose from, and a standard 16 by 20 print is $89. Use them for their free photo books and move on.
  • CanvasPop. Don’t let this site fool you. I initially got excited because a 16 by 20 was priced at only $55! However, the thin (.75″) wrap is an additional $25 making it about $80. Still not the best price around…
  • Canvas On Demand. I’ve seen these folks all over Facebook. Many brides (and recent brides) I know have liked their page; however, upon taking a look at their prices, they are similar to Shutterfly (again a 16 by 20 is $89).
  • Easy Canvas Prints. Here’s your winner! I have a 12 by 12 canvas print on my wall, and I couldn’t remember where I got it from…Easy Canvas Prints is the answer. I found these people right here on Budget Savvy Bride. It seems they are always running a sale, and at $67 (25% off + free shipping) for a 16 by 20, I’m sold. Of course, I’m going to log in to Ebates and check RetailMeNot before I check out as well… 


Are there any other places we should know about to buy photo or canvas prints?

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Help! Reselling Your Wedding Decor Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:00:39 +0000 Source: Carolyn Scott Photography
Source: Carolyn Scott Photography

One thing I plan to do this summer is to resell the wedding decor I bought that I can’t repurpose. During wedding planning, I was careful to select pieces that I could reuse as home decor like the wooden lantern we used for cards and the purple candle holder we had on the head table. However, things like rose garlands and aisle markers will not be used again by me.

With all these is on the Internet, I’ve been doing some research on what sites are the best for reselling your wedding stuff. Plus, we are planning on moving at the end of the summer, and I’ve been using Craigslist for that venture. Sure it can be a little shady at times, but it’s an easy way to go through lots of listings at once. Yet I’m not getting many responses to my inquiries, which made me wonder if selling my decor on Craigslist is a good idea…not to mention that Lifetime movie The Craigslist Killer that scared me to no end.

I’ve glanced at sites like Recycle Your Wedding and Weddingbee, but I’m not too satisfied with their methods (and things seem overpriced). Then there’s eBay of course, but I’d much prefer to hand the box over to a bride than have to ship it. And with colors varying from bride to bride, I’m at a loss.

Have you had any luck reselling your wedding decor? What site did you use? Let us know!

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Happily Married Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:00:04 +0000 So it’s been awhile… I’ve joked with my friends and family that after I got married I just threw everything else to the wind. After 15 months of planning, I had to take a break. I actually found it highly therapeutic to go through social media and unlike and unfollow wedding and bridal things…with the exception of Budget Savvy Bride, of course.

All of that being said, Josh and I are finally married! We were both pleased with the result, and I can’t wait to show you all the details.Here’s a sneak peek from our fab photog (I wrote about them here).

Walker-Andrews Wedding 4.26.14_Color

But for now, I want to share the things I did that I am SO happy I did. This isn’t an exclusive list-just the highlights, but I hope this gives you some direction in your own wedding planning. So without further ado…

I’m glad I…

  • Had a long engagement. We originally thought 15 months was a LONG time, but it definitely wasn’t! We took 3 months to enjoy being engaged, then jumped right in and booked our venue. It was full-speed ahead from there! Over the past month, I’ve wondered if I took too long, then I remember all that’s happened in my life over the past year (it’s been rough!), and I’m so grateful we waited!
  • Didn’t listen to other people. People will tell you that you can’t plan a wedding on a budget. It’s lies! Don’t listen!!! You’re obviously set on an awesome wedding on a budget if you’re reading this, and trust me, you can do it. Plus, we budget savvy brides got you.
  • Kept it small and intimate. We had around 50 people at our wedding, and I still went nutty over invites and RSVPs so I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I had invited 200. A small guest list allows you to do so much more, plus Josh reminded me on the regular not to stress about the small stuff because the people we invited were those who wouldn’t hate over stuff like decorations. We were able to treat our guests well since there weren’t that many of them. (Note: I didn’t get married in my hometown which I believed helped immensely!)
  • Made it about me and Josh. At the beginning of planning our wedding, Josh and I had a conversation about who would plan it all. We decided that it would be just the two of us. My bridesmaids were both far away, as well as my mom, but we wanted it to be all about us. Everything we did had “Josh and Laura written all over it”, and people have noticed. All of our guests have complimented us on how personal everything was, so make it about YOU (not just you…your groom too!).
  • Got over it in time for ‘I do’. The day before the wedding was crazy. We were late leaving our nail appointment. We forgot the iPod at home. I thought I was going to be late to rehearsal. I lost it when they couldn’t find my sister’s dress (had it pressed as soon as she arrived in NC). I was furious because I was 30 minutes late to my rehearsal dinner. But when I woke up the next morning, in the words of my mother, I forced myself to “get over it!” My friends apparently had a talk before the wedding about whether I was calm or crazy, and they told me they were pleased when they saw me before the ceremony…I was cool as a cucumber. It’s true when they say something will go wrong…the plans didn’t go exactly as planned. But at the end of the day, I was married and so happy I couldn’t sleep.

Our wedding was one of the funnest times I’ve ever had, and it’s all because of who I was around-my lovely husband, amazing family, and fabulous friends. I’ll be sharing more soon!

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It Takes Two Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:00:21 +0000 Source:

Our wedding planning is coming to a close, and I couldn’t be happier. Not because I hated planning my wedding but because I finally get to marry the man who has made the last 15 months of my life A TON easier. I dedicate this post to him, but I also want to focus on you gals and your partners.

My modern outlook on wedding planning isn’t a secret (take a look back at my posts here). I recently shared that my two amazing bridesmaids are hours and hours away, and the same goes for my mom. Ultimately, planning our wedding has been just me and him. I’m a big fan of the groom being just as hands-on as the bride. Though I often felt like I was carrying it all myself (a small price to pay without a wedding planner), my groom quickly brought me back to reality. It takes two…you’re in this together.

I hope that many of you will have an active groom; however, if he isn’t into it, it’s still about you two at the end of the day. So take this time, enjoy it, and rest assured that all of your hard work will pay off and you WILL have the wedding of your dreams.


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Making a Wedding Timeline Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:00:30 +0000 Source:

It’s no secret that I’m an extreme planner and may be a little OCD, but it has served me well in my life. When it came to wedding planning, I felt pretty confident throughout most of the process that I’d covered all my bases, but a task I found daunting was the making of a wedding timeline. Luckily, with a little help from some wedding resources, I was able to plan a timeline that is efficient and relatively stress-free. Here’s what you need to know and where to find help.

  • Go by the ceremony and reception times. This is pretty obvi. These two things dictate the rest of the stuff so use these as your baseline.
  • Keep your contracts in mind. Your contracts will give you helpful hints into how long you’ll have the day of. For example, we are contracted for 9 hours at our venue and have our photographers for 8 hours. We wanted to maximize that time as much as possible.
  • Remember the time of day. With most other wedding details, keep in mind the time of day your wedding takes place. Your timeline will look different for a brunch than it would for a dinner.
  • Research! Thank goodness for the Internet, y’all. I found a great blog called A Practical Wedding that did a three part post series on wedding timelines.. The first part has a lot of great tips-check it out here. (I also found part three helpful with its in-depth sample timeline.) Also, there’s a great article in the August/September 2013 of Brides entitled “How to Plan Your Reception Like A Pro”. It gives an outline for a wedding timeline along with other help regarding floor plan and music. (Unfortunately I can’t find a link for it, but I thought I’d mention it just in case.
  • Overdo it. Like I said, I’m a little OCD (just a little!), and the timeline is the place to go psycho. My fab mother-in-law is coordinating this mamma-jamma, and I wanted her to have as much info as possible. I also have a separate timeline for my ‘maids that I’ll email a few days before so they know what to expect. Furthermore, my fam is coming from about 6 hours away, and I’ve typed up an entire wedding weekend itinerary with addresses since they won’t exactly know where they’re going. May sound a bit much, but it’s eased my mind regarding many things.

What other things should brides consider in constructing a wedding timeline?

Here’s hoping this task goes smoothly for you!

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The New Breed of Bridesmaid Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:00:20 +0000 Source:

My best friend in college got engaged just before we graduated. I remember how excited I was for her, and I remember how she squealed when she told me and held her hand out to show me the ring. Flash forward six months later: I had been in grad school for three months in a city almost two hours away. She told me that she didn’t want me to be her Maid of Honor because I was “too far away to help”.


After that moment, I swore that I would NEVER be like that when I got engaged. Turns out, I didn’t have much to worry about because that’s not me at all (at least that’s what my bridesmaids tell me). When choosing my bridesmaids, I wanted to make absolutely sure that I asked my besties who are true blue and who I could rely on throughout the whole process. Unfortunately, that meant sacrificing proximity…


Both of my bridesmaids live 5+ hours from me; however, I knew that they’d be there when I needed them which would more than likely be when I was wigging out about (insert wedding task here). I don’t need to be fussed over. I don’t need a million parties for me. I don’t even need them assisting with making centerpieces, etc. (Thankfully, my groom is THE BOMB about helping with wedding stuff).

This whole experience led to a discussion with my best friend (and Maid of Honor Extraordinaire). None of us live in our hometowns. None of us live in the town we went to college. We live in completely different places, and I could probably count on one hand the friends I have where I live now. This is where we are in life right now. Bridesmaids used to be your sisters, your friends, the people you grew up with…and all were in your hometown, and you had the opportunity to throw parties and do wedding stuff together. Nowadays, it’s not like that. We’re just living life, but that doesn’t mean that the support we have for each other is any less.

I can’t wait for them to stand by me in a few short weeks, and I am so blessed I have two people I can turn to with anything. So I am encouraging you, BSBs, to choose your ‘maids wisely…regardless of proximity.


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Traditions I’m Skipping Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:00:17 +0000 Source:

I consider myself a more modern, unconventional bride. There are so many traditions out there that just didn’t resonate with me at all. I believe a bride should feel comfortable enough to have a choice and that can feel so empowering to make these decisions on your own. This being said, I wanted to share some of the things I decided to forego at my wedding.

  • The bouquet toss: Part of this decision was due to my budget-savvyness (getting rid of a bouquet I paid for; throwing it to someone who would do who knows what with), but I also don’t like the undertone: the implying that the woman who catches it will be the next to be married. Personally, I feel like it’s a part of that “women should want to get married” mentality that I don’t go for.
  • The garter retrieval: Alright, so…this grosses me out. I actually don’t know why this is a tradition. IMHO I think it’s too sexual and awkward, and thankfully, J could careless too.
  • Not seeing each other ’til the ceremony: I’m by no means superstitious, so this one was easy to get over. I really love the First Look trend, and that’s what we decided to do. Not only does it make for a great photo opp, but I kept thinking I’d need to see J before we exchange vows. He calms me down, and I want to feel peaceful when I make that walk down the aisle.
  • “Giving away” the bride: This one’s a biggie for me. I just can’t ignore the patriarchal roots of this tradition. I know this one means a lot to many brides, and I think it’s wonderful when you see a bride coming down the aisle with her father. However, I am choosing to walk down with both my mother and my father. I feel I am a part of my mother as much as I am my father, and I wanted them both to experience this with me. I was shocked when my mom actually went for this; we had discussed me going it alone or walking down with J also; she wasn’t pleased with those options. I found out after I made this decision that it’s actually a Jewish wedding tradition which I think is pretty cool.
  • Ring bearer & Flower girl: I love kids, but I don’t want some little kids stealin’ my spotlight. JUST KIDDING!!! Really though-skipping this tradition saved us time and money (no dresses or suits needed; no organizing with the ‘rents), and in both of our families, we really don’t have any kids to choose from. I think it can be a cute thing, but I don’t mind that I’m not doing it.
  • Seating: Our ceremony seating will probably consist of a center aisle and two sides of seating, but I’m not for the “Bride or groom?” thing. I also am not doing a seating chart for the reception (Haven’t we learned from movies and tv that those are just a headache?). I’m very much a fan of the “sit where you want” mentality.
  • Our music: I love me some classical music, but I think something that defines J and me as a couple is that we both enjoy newgrass/folksy music, and we’ve spent many afternoons listening to it. So in choosing our music, our selections are all songs that hold meaning and/or are by our favorite artists. I am thoroughly excited about the song I’m walking down the aisle to which I will not mention just in case J reads this! I think this is a simply way to make your wedding “you”, so if you’re a classic kind of girl, use that Beethoven.
  • Tying the knot: We’ve seen liquid or sand ceremonies, lighting of the candle, etc. Nothing seemed to fit for us. Enter: Pinterest. I found this pin that shows a bride and groom ‘tying the knot’, and I was sold. I think it’s adorable, and it fits in perfectly with our modern wedding day.

So brides, this post was to encourage you to make your wedding day personal. No matter what you decide on the traditions, your wedding will be uniquely you because you chose how it’ll all go. Best wishes to you all!

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DIY Bridal Sash for Less than $20 Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:00:51 +0000  

photo 4 Alright, brides. I am bringing you yet another DIY project today! You should know that a lot of these DIYs I have shared with you have come about on a whim.

Here’s how I decided to make my own bridal sash: I was first introduced to bridal sashes when I tried on dresses (about a year out from my wedding). I found a halter dress I LOVED, and the consultant paired it with this bridal sash. Ultimately, I wasn’t ready to commit, and in July, I chose my dress. I LOVE it TONS more, but we didn’t pair it with a sash at my appointment. For a curvy girl like me, I like the idea of having a sash to help cinch my waist and give some extra pizzazz. However, have you seen the prices of some bridal sashes? Up to $200 or more! 

So I thought, “Hey, I could make that!” So let me show you how.

photo 2

Here’s what you’ll need:

-A pencil

-Measuring tape

-White DMC Floss or thread and a sewing needle (optional)

-3 yards of white (or desired color) double faced satin ribbon, 2-inches (or desired) width

-Brooch of your choosing

How To:

1. First, choose your brooch. eBay has a TON to choose from, and many can be had for less than $20 a piece. You want to make sure it has your desired bling, as well as make sure it’s big enough (mine is about 4 inches in width and 2 inches in height).

2. Take your ribbon off the spool. Cut the edges (diagonally or v-shaped). Now fold the ribbon in half, and mark the midpoint with your pencil.

photo 1

3. Position your brooch. Mine has a hook back, so I had to play around with it until I positioned it perfectly. If you’re going for applique, check out The Craft Queen’s blog for how she did it.

4. I used white DMC floss and a sewing needle to secure the sides of the brooch onto the ribbon (very similar to sewing a button on an article of clothing).

That’s it! I spent a total of about $16 on this project, making it wonderfully budget savvy.









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10 Bridal Beauty Faves Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:00:48 +0000 Source:
Source: OneWed


Around that six month mark, bridal magazines and websites tell you to start your beauty regimen stat! I was six months away from my wedding back in November, and I was befuddled. Admittedly, I’ve gotten lazy in “my old age”, and I eventually found myself keeping with my same routine. That “same routine” is actually one my friends have always envied. I was the girl at slumber parties that insisted I wash my face before bed. In college, I made sure to take off my eye make-up even if I had been out most of the night. Along the way, I’ve found some tried and true beauty products. I’m a self-proclaimed beauty junkie (see my Pinterest board for faves!) along with my MOH (it’s how we bond). So ladies, I’ve come up with a list of my 10 bridal beauty faves.

My Top 10 Bridal Beauty Products

1. Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser, $8.99   Not only is this bottle HUGE, but it works wonders. One bottle can last you a year, and it gives you that beautiful glow.

2. Mary Kay TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer, $24  Mary Kay has been in my family for years, and honestly, I love ALL of their moisturizers. This one’s a fave because it just ‘hugs’ your skin. It feels great, and it even comes with SPF…always needed even when you say ‘I do’.

3. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, $5.99  This one’s essential if you’re wearing a strapless dress. It works amazing, and it’s available in different scents (pink grapefruit!) and different formulas (I favor the scrub).

4. CoverGirl BB Cream, $6.29  I love a good BB Cream, and I’ve tried out many. This one’s my fave because you get more bang for your buck (1.35 oz.), and it’s easy to apply and has a nice consistency. It’s not heavy but has great coverage-just what I want for my nuptials.

5. Neutrogena Redness-Soothing Oil-Free Acne Wash, $6.99  So…I don’t use this on my face. I have keratosis pilaris on my upper arms (redness that is not cute), and I have looked high and low for something that helps. Well, this does! After I exfoliate, I rub this on, and it gets rid of that redness. A new fave of mine that will leave your skin looking radiant.

6. Dermablend Leg and Body Cover, $30  It’s a little pricey, but I tried this out when my mom invested in it. It covers up all those imperfections that you want to hide on your wedding day. My only disclaimer: be careful when applying. Once it’s set, it doesn’t blend well and can leave some cakeyness.

7. Up & Up Eye Make-up Remover, $4.19 at  This is the Target version of Neutrogena, and it rocks. You’ve heard it time and again: always take your eye make-up off! Don’t neglect your eyes; it’s the first thing to make you look haggard, and we don’t want to look that way ever let alone when we get married.

8. Mary Kay Firming Eye Cream, $32  Here again, a little pricey BUT it works wonders. I’ve tried a lot of eye creams, and this one is by far the winner. Those little lines I had under my eye? Gone. Invest in this, and your eyes will be breathtaking.

9. Maybelline Full and Soft Mascara, $7.49  Thank you, Lauren Conrad, for telling the world your secret. Many mascaras I’ve tried are clumpy, cakey, and weird. LC has changed my life for the better. I plan on buying it in Waterproof for the big day…it makes those eyes POP!

10. Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter, $7.99  I’m a lip balm kind of girl (Burt’s Bees if you must know), so I don’t necessarily want to wear a heavy lipstick on my wedding day. Enter Revlon lip butter. So smooth and creamy with tons of pretty colors…a real winner for those of us who prefer simplicity on our lips.


And there you have it, beautiful brides!

What are your bridal beauty must-haves?

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