The Budget Savvy Bride » Leah helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 04 May 2015 19:23:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Down to the wire! Fri, 01 Jul 2011 14:55:23 +0000 The wedding is upon us! Which means my apartment basically looks like a wedding threw up in it.

These are our cake stands, lined up like soldiers.

We have boxes of frames for table card holders and family picture displays from a recent roadtrip to Ikea (which was originally taken for vases that were not in stock). These are a few of our table cards and place cards, made using the most advanced of technology: Microsoft Word.

Then there is our guestbook poster, designed by the amazing graphic designer that I work with, who also has a stationery store on Etsy, so check out geldesign,,  to see some of our products!

We also have quilted jelly jars which will hang on shepherd’s hooks for the ceremony decoration. The jelly jars are a combo of canning supplies I already had and canning supplies I received for my shower. The shepherd’s hooks were a  Jo-Anns clearance item which are going to be re-purposed as yard decor for several family members after the wedding is over. (I feel much better about spending when I can use it for something else later – i figure if it was something I was buying anyway, it’s cost neutral.) And of course, there are ribbons and flowers and various other wedding related things laying around pretty much everywhere…

And THIS…this is my veil. Which I tricked out because I thought it was too small… and totally not thinking about it I forgot to take step by step pictures. BUT it was EXTREMELY easy! I started out with a pre-made veil which I got with my wedding dress (if I got the veil, I got that much off my dress, so it saved me some time and supplies and was basically free). However, you could definitely start out with any type of flower clip or make one yourself for the base. Just make sure it i has the type of clip that will work well to go in your hair on the back of it.

Now, for the extra “tricked out-ness” I started with a half yard of white tulle which had a good weight to it, and a half yard of blue fine net tulle. You’ll also need some white thread that has some strength to it for the gathering, and a small needle (and a needle threader if you are like me and are completely unable to thread a needle without one – seriously, it was a 20 minute process trying to get the thing threaded that resulted in a broken needle threader and every sewing kit in my house drug out looking for one.)

Figure out how wide you want your added rosette to be. I totally used a business envelope to measure and act as a cutting guide for myself. Cut a strip along the long side of the fabric in your desired width. You want enough fabric that it will go around your foundation piece about two times.

Now, pin together the two pieces of fabric with some straight pins and start long stitching down the long side of the strips. This is just typical old “up-through, down through” stitching. After you have made it about 2-3 inches, pull on the thread to gather the portion you just stitched (believe me, this is easier than just waiting until the end and trying to pull all the way through.) Be careful your thread doesn’t break though!

Continue doing this along the side of the fabric strip, alternating sewing and gathering as you go along. Once you get to the end and have finished gathering, tie off the stitching with a knot at the end.

Now, simply wrap your rosette around the base of your foundation. Use a few stitches to anchor the rosette to the bottom of your foundation, and then sew a few tight stitches where the two edges of the rosette meet to hold it together.

And last.. Today I did something that is almost unbelievable.. I unsubscribed from many of the wedding blogs on my reader (but not this one of course…and a few others I could not bear to part with.). See, I have this idea that if I continue to look at them right now, when we are so close to the wedding, I will get envy and regret over projects not finished or ideas I did not think of. The truth of the matter is, our wedding is going to be beautiful and lovely and so much more – even without the latest and trendiest of paper crafts, floral vessels, or other fun. At this point, there are still details to be accomplished, but, they aren’t important. What’s important is that in just a few days, we will become one family, a Mr & Mrs., and that will happen whether or not I finish making the handcrafted ribbon rosettes on all the mason jars vases.

See you on the Mrs. side BSB readers!!

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Park Setting Engagement Photos! Thu, 02 Jun 2011 19:00:30 +0000 Huzzah! The long awaited engagement pictures are here! (Delayed totally by my fault, because I neglected to give the photographer our new address..oops.) Our photographer was Maria Hall of IQFoto. She is AMAZING and is so awesomely budget savvy you cannot believe it. We found her because she has a great “name your price” option, where you fill out what you want in a photography package, and what you want to pay. She then tries to work with you to give you an affordable package that can meet your needs. We are SO glad we found her! (PS. this is not a sponsored post, all my gushing is 100% the real deal).


We took our engagement pictures at Heritage Park in Hilliard, OH. It’s a great little park that had a lot of farm related things to it that went well for us, including one of Ohio’s Bicentennial Barns, a John Deere tractor, an orchard, and lots of white wooden fence. Bonus for the covered bridge and a caboose! And since we have our little Derby theme, I had to wear a hat. Enjoy!

All photos by IQFoto

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Tips for Registering Thu, 12 May 2011 13:00:13 +0000 If you read all the articles and checklists out there, it will tell you to register at least 6 months before your wedding. Well, that’s great. And I had every intention of meeting that deadline but, honestly, things got in the way. At the sixth month mark, I was the holidays and then I was traveling every night for work and every weekend we were busy with other things. So, 6 months slipped away, as did 5 and 4 months. But, finally, at 3 months we went for the “fun” of registering.


Honestly, it is fun but, do not get fooled by everyone telling you how great it is – it can get a little tedious. I mean, how long can you stay intrigued and enthusiastic about kitchen appliances, sheets, and silverware? It’s fun at first, but after the first hour of going through only three “departments,” you start to get a little irritated. Plus, the consultant is telling you how much it is NECESSARY that you have ALL of these things. Honestly, I do not know what I’m going to do with a glass gallon jar beverage dispenser. I suppose it will be handy for entertaining, what we’ll do with it the other 90% of the time we aren’t entertaining I have no idea. But, it will be nice to have for those times I suppose.

So, some quick tips for registering:

  1. Beg, cajole and downright force your fiance to go with you. He will LOVE it. Seriously, my beloved took over the scanner gun about 10 seconds into it.
  2. WATCH HIM LIKE A HAWK! Or you will end up with random stuff, like an “As Seen On TV!” Chef Basket Steamer (which you will later have to spend the time removing from the registry).
  3. Make sure the consultant is going to assist you in a way that is actually helpful. For instance, ours registered for all the various kitchen utensils (pizza cutter, spatulas, etc.) instead of us spending an hour scanning each one.
  4. Put a LOT on there. Even if you decide later it wasn’t your thing, you can return it. People want to buy you gifts. Even though a lot of times plain old cash or gift cards are more convenient, people like to have a package to give instead of just a card.
  5. Even if you have something already, consider whether its time to upgrade it or get a new version. This is the only time in your life that people other than your immediate family want to lavish you with gifts, so let them do it.
  6. Check the registry when you get home. Sometimes the consultant will put things on for you that you really don’t want (ours was shower curtain rings – we registered for ones we actually liked somewhere else – and I cannot believe I just admitted that I “liked” shower curtain rings.).
  7. Register several places that represent different price points and availability. For us, we registered four places (technically for the showers only three). Three are your typical registry places, and last was a place for tools for my dear – which brings me to my last point:
  8. Let your future husband register for things HE actually wants. I would bet $10 he doesn’t care THAT much about your towels or kitchen appliances as long as they are there for his use. If he is a tool guy, register somewhere for those. If he’s into outdoorsy stuff, register for a tent and camping supplies. Whatever, just make sure there is something for BOTH of you on there (and know the Kitchenaid doesn’t count.).

Honestly, we only registered one place  in person. We did the others online. I didn’t think I could justify spending another huge block of my time to register, yay for convenience! Almost every major store will provide a way to register online (although they will most certainly encourage you to go to the store.).

Happy Planning!

P.S. Engagement pictures should be in soon, can’t WAIT to share them!

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Non-Traditional Ceremony Music Tue, 12 Apr 2011 13:00:33 +0000 In what seems now like a past life, I was a classically trained opera singer. Ok, so not really. I sang opera, and I was majoring in Voice at a small liberal arts school and was being trained by someone who once was an opera singer. I have also taken 9+ years of piano lessons and so, from all these piano lessons and opera singing comes a severe appreciation and love of music. All types of music. Especially a love of classical music. Deciding what music to use in our ceremony, therefore is very hard for me. Because, I love some pieces so much and want to use them, but they are not “traditional” ceremony music.

But, as Ryan just said to me, “Nothing else is normal about our wedding.” Yes, he did just tell me that. Boy really knows how to make a girl crazy, right? So, throwing caution to the wind, and saying who cares if everyone thinks our music choices are strange, if we like it, it’s gonna be right!

We decided long ago we did not really want to have anyone sing at our wedding, and would prefer to use mostly instrumental music. Being a “wedding singer” myself, I know how hard it is for brides to pick a song. I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, “I want you to sing but I do not know what. You can just pick some songs for us right?” Plus, total confession, I am picky about vocalists. REAL picky. Annoyingly so. So, I would rather not deal with (1) finding someone to sing that lives up to my very high standards and (2) picking an actual song for them to sing. So, some choices. (Bless Youtube for making all this so available to us – I imagine once upon a time, brides had to go get CD’s to actually test out all this music!)

I LOVE Debussy. LOVE. I remember the first time I heard “Clair de Lune” played by an accomplished pianist live. I melted. It’s just the most romantic and emotional piece there ever was. Again, though, not a typical “wedding” song.

I’m not sure if this can be a “processional” song. I suppose if nothing else it can be pre-ceremony music, but I may try to sneak it in as processional or use it DURING the ceremony at some point. I just don’t think it “moves” enough for processional. And, it’s not really “GRAND” enough for a bridal processional…

But can I sneak in Debussy otherwise? Maybe some “Arabesque”?

I think this could work QUITE lovely for a bridesmaids processional. It’s romantic but is also has some major movement to it also and a little bit of grandeur. But is it TOO Fast?!

Bach is another favorite, and this is just gorgeous.

I think this would be LOVELY for our late afternoon wedding. It’s not as fast as the Arabesque but it still has some subtle movement to it as well, so I think I may go with it for the Bridesmaids.

So, Bridal processional. It needs to be something romantic. And, I’d prefer something with a little grandeur.

This is big on Romance, but not so high on the Grandeur… aahhh Liszt.

Then there is this.. I mean, you have to love the name, “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.” Thank you, Mr. Handel.

Upbeat. Grand. Not so romantic. hmm… But I do love it, it’s so peppy.

I still haven’t decided exactly how the ceremony will “go” – meaning, whether we will do a unity candle, what readings, etc. so other ceremony music and its necessity is up in the air. We also plan on using something fun and different for our recessional, but we haven’t exactly picked that yet either. Although I’m going the traditional “classical’ music route, what other fun or different music are you using in your ceremonies?

Happy planning!

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Who is Our Officiant?! Thu, 03 Mar 2011 14:00:37 +0000 So lately, people ask me, “How is the wedding planning going?” and I always reply, “Oh really good, we got all the big stuff done.” Except, then I have this little panic attack, and start to hyperventilate a little because I realize we DO NOT have everything BIG done. We have this teensy little issue of um…not having anyone to marry us. Ya know, minor detail right?

Here’s the scoop, I grew up in a family that was very involved in the Presbyterian Church. I’m sure my minister would marry us, however, since we are getting married 3 hours away from my church, logistically it’s not so swell. Getting to our church for counseling sessions and such would just be nearly impossible. Plus, I do not want my minister and his wife to feel obligated to make a three hour trip and probably stay over night if it is not feasible for them. The other minister that I grew up with in my church is rather old and not in the best of health, so I know its pretty much impossible for him to come even as a guest, let alone as an officiant.

And now you’re thinking, what about that future husband of yours? Yes, well, Ryan grew up in the Catholic church and is not very involved with his church. Add to it that we will not be getting married in a church (of any denomination because our wedding is all at one “event space”), and it sort of unnerves me to go through any sort of counseling with a priest when I am not going to be worshiping in his church in the future. (*Disclaimer: I mean no offense to anyone, I’m just stating OUR situation!). We also have not found a church to join where we live now, and I also kind of don’t want to get attached to one church when we are probably not going to live here after the wedding.

And then everyone says, OH Just have someone you’re friends with get ordained! OH YES wonderful idea, unless you live in OHIO. Ohio apparently really cares about the people bringing together marriages because you are required to either ordained by a legit church, be the mayor of the city where the wedding takes place, or be a judge or the probate judge of the county where the wedding takes place.

We do not know anyone else that is ordained. We know nothing of the mayor of the city where we are getting married, nor whether he would even consider doing it. I’m a lawyer, which has potential to cause conflicts with most judges. I wanted to write one of the justices of the Ohio Supreme Court to see if they would consider it, because I saw in one of the Ohio bridal magazines that one of the Justices had officiated at a wedding. However, I abandoned the idea because I have an appearance filed in a case currently under review by the Ohio Supreme Court. I could call the ethics hotline I guess and figure out if its really an issue, but we often file support briefs in Supreme Court cases and since there are only three lawyers in my office, I have to be able to sign onto them.

Then we got this option of a county judge. But, the same issue arises should I ever need to make an appearance in his courtroom. Would he have to recuse? Would I have to be cordoned off the case because this man for one day, let me repeat after him with some really important words? Maybe I am being overly cautious about all of this because I am a new attorney, but I do not want to take any chances people!! I’d rather just avoid the whole issue.

I also heard that a dean at my former law school is ordained, and Ryan is pushing for me to ask him. I had a good relationship with this administrator – I did not work with him a lot but I met with him on several occasions for different things and seemed to have a good rapport with him. I guess its a possibility still but it just seems STRANGE to me. Like, “Hey, so ya, I was a student and… I hear your a minister.. and I’m in this pickle of needing a minister so…how bout it?” I KNOW the worst thing he could do would be to say no, but it still just seems a little strange to me!!

We could hire an officiant too, but the ones I have seen around Columbus cost like $200 and I just don’t feel very comfortable with that for some reason….. maybe I’m just cheap though?

Last, we have an option of going to the Justice of the Peace (JOP) the day before or something and having a short and quick civil ceremony, with someone that is not ordained but whom we know and love, reading the ceremony the next day at our actual wedding. We’ve thought about this for awhile. Two of my bridesmaids have fathers that are elders in my church and one was my Sunday School teacher for years. I really feel they would do a wonderful job and they are like second fathers to me, so it would be very meaningful.

BUT I also have this fear that by going the JOP route, I would feel like it was just all..anti-climatic.

One part of me says, that for me, the wedding is when I declare before my family and the Lord that I am committed to this one man. The religious aspect is important to me, and although I would prefer a minister, these two guys I have in mind are definitely men of God, even if they didn’t go to a seminary to have it declared so. I also have a thought that maybe some of the anxiety and pressure will be off, becuase HEY we are LEGALLY already married, no worries about signing a license or w/e. On the other hand, I fear that … I don’t know… the excitement and waiting for the “…and I know pronounce you husband and wife” might be missing or that it will feel like just we’re just going through a play or something…

Bless the dear heart of a featured Bride on Snippet and Ink who did the same thing, check it out here: (also, are those pictures NOT gorgeous!!). After I commented on the post that I had thought about the same thing, a fellow reader was sweet enough to email me that she had gone through with a courthouse ceremony beforehand, and it had actually turned out to be something very intimate and special and there was still the same excitement and anticipation at their real ceremony.

I’m still trying to decide.. I have a little bit of time but not much since we are past the 6 month mark now. Did you have issues with finding an officiant or do the whole JOP ceremony w/ a non-officiant at the actual wedding?

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A Cookie Table for the Masses Thu, 03 Feb 2011 13:00:38 +0000 Hello bridal beauties! Is anyone else ready for spring yet? I’ve spent the day working from home due to the ice-pocalypse that is currently upon the lucky of us in the Midwest. Since I didn’t have the 2+ hours of commute time today, I got to spend the evening doing a little extra fun research. First, of course was honeymoon planning (because I so desperately want it to be summer.) But, thats for another day. What I also was thinking about was my COOKIE TABLE!

Of course we are having cake. And, as you probably remember, we’re also having cupcakes. But cookie tables… Cookie tables are a tradition in my neck of the woods. Some say it is an immigrant tradition that took hold in the Depression-era, when people did not have money for big elaborate weddings and cakes. Wikipedia says “cookie table” is an Italian/Catholic tradition, (however I am neither, I guess I fall into that “industrial center” category they discuss). In that case, guests would bring cookies to share with others as the dessert for the nuptials. Check it out, the NYT even wrote about it, it’s legit.

Until I came to college, I did not know this was not normal. I thought everyone had a cookie table. Actually, I can remember one wedding from within our church that didn’t have a cookie table and what talk it was! “Did you hear they aren’t having a cookie table?” “What will we snack on after dinner?” “I offered to make cookies but she said they aren’t having a table?!” I’m not kidding. These are all real comments I can remember. Now, they are in vogue, and people call them “dessert bars,” or “sweets tables.” But, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this, and it will always be a cookie table.

See a cookie table is great because nothing can hit the spot when you want a little something late in the evening like a cookie. I also want to set out some bags for people to take a few with them. The main complaint with cookie tables is that there are always a lot left over at the end of the night. I’m thinking that I will include some plain old inexpensive brown paper lunch sacks for cookie “doggie bags.”

If you looked at the NYT article, you will now know that a lot of planning goes into the cookie table scene. You have to make sure you have an adequate array of flavors – which will please a large amount of people. You also want some variety in texture, shape and size to be visually appealing. MOST important is the inclusion of particular family favorites or cookies with special meaning. The best part: cookies can be made ahead and frozen! Granted you shouldn’t start until about 3 months before ( so for me, I’m way early), but if you figure 3 months before your wedding, you probably have about 12 weekends, spend one day a weekend baking, you can get a LOT done. Another great thing about cookie table: you don’t need to worry so much about having “enough.” You have what you have, and that’s all you have!

So for my cookie table, I must include family favorites including:

  • Great Great Aunt Nan’s Sugar Cookies (this is the “family secret” recipe which cannot be divulged).
  • Mom’s Chocolate Chip (gotta have the originals)
  • NanNan’s Date Pinwheels (my favorite christmas cookie that ever was made).

I also desperately want to attempt tackling French Macarons. That blessed angel of domesticity, Martha, has a recipe that looks SOMEWHAT manageable (as opposed to most of the others that use weight instead of volume measure, which just makes me look at the recipe and say… nothanks). Check out Martha’s recipe.

I love these Macaron Trees that people make, and I think with a styrofoam cone and some royal icing, this is totally tackle-able. A fairly easy to follow How-To is available from Project Wedding

(P.S. Is it “macaron” or “macaroon”? I’ve seen it both ways, who knows?: you people know what I’m talking about.) If you live anywhere near Columbus, OH and you haven’t had a Macaroon (macaron?), get thee to a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream near you and get a delicious ice cream sandwich, and you too will fall in love with the wonder of french macaroons.

{Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream}

And if you aren’t lucky enough to live in Columbus, go get some of their ice cream through mail order at their website. I’m serious, it is that good and that worth it. If not for my dedication to my fitness for the wedding, I would stop everyday and get one!

Then, I want to do some “theme-y” cookies. So, I have some news. we are having a cool Derby theme yes, but…not mint juleps. See Mint Juleps are pretty expensive (not only are they liquor but it takes a LOT of liquor to make them!) and honestly, they aren’t the best “drink” to serve. They are heavy and HARD, man. So, since we aren’t having the DRINK, I want to make some mint julep cookies!

Thank you Maker’s Mark for this lovely CHOCOLATE mint julep cookie. Hell ya.

Bourbon Balls are also a necessity. I think I like this recipe for Coconut Ganache ones which will be a little more unique than just plain old chocolate Kentucky Bourbon Balls.

Martha also had these wedding cake sugar cookies, which are adorable…

However they look a little labor intensive for cookie buffet material. Whoopie Pies are a necessity though, despite their labor intensive-ness, or maybe I will just send Ryan a box for a little wedding day present since they are his favorites. This recipe uses a box cake mix, so its fairly easy AND cheap (because box cake mix is on sale a lot of times for $10/10).

I’m sure I will think of lots more that need to be included before the day actually comes around. I probably need to find a few bar cookies (because obviously they are the easiest/least labor intensive to make) so that I have some squares in with all these round cookies. Cookie table, Dessert Bar, whatever you call it, it’s one of my favorite parts!!

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On the Shoe Hunt Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:00:31 +0000 The dress was easy to find. The bridesmaids dresses were easy too. But I cannot find a pair of shoes that suit me to save my life!!

Yes I am one of “those” girls who loves and lives for shoes. Although, I have done a stupendous job, if do say so myself, selling and donating all the old shoes I have that I do not wear anymore. This means, however, I have plenty of room to collect new shoes for all wedding related events.

So first, my favorite places to score amazing shoes for less moolah:

  • : ah, the original. The first love. Free returns, so no issues if you end up not liking them as much when they arrive!
  • : very good deals, probably even better than zappos many times. However, no free return shipping, so be aware of that when you are ordering.
  • : somehow connected with Amazon so I feel like its pretty legit. Prices are often not as good as the other two, but they often have free shipping and I believe free returns also. You also typically get overnight shipping free for new stuff, and sometimes 2 day shipping on the normal stock, so if you need it quick this is a good place to go.
  • : always a good source, although the store sort of overwhelms me. I swear someday I’m going to end up looking like a Cathy comic in that place with like 20 pairs of shoes in my hands and wigging out in the middle of an aisle.

You will find all the great designer brands on these sites and they run daily deals and sales a lot too on specific brands. My strategy is when I see a specific brand I like, I try to go back and check on that brand every couple weeks to see what is new and available. What I find normally happens is, if I find the brands I like even if the specific SHOE I wanted doesn’t come available, I find something else I like better in that brand anyway.

My lovely bridesmaids and I are taking a little trip to the Bluegrass Stakes for a bachelorette party in April (cheaper than the Derby and very close to us too!). I’m thinking I might want to get some seychelles like these:

(no i have no idea what I’m wearing but I can build around these.) Luckily, Seychelles are available fairly often on all the discount sites. I have seen these a LOT on different wedding blogs as actual wedding shoes, and they appear to be fairly comfortable.

Now for rehearsal dinner night, I think I will want to wear something very understated and innocent. I’m thinking maybe a nude heel like these vintage FRYE Mayas. SO CUTE (also still holy expensive on endless, gotta keep watching these.)

Of course, all depends on what I decide to wear, probably something I own already since I have way more cocktail dresses than The Grove before an Ole Miss game.

NOW. THE day. I have had it in my head that I definitely want to follow the bright shoe trend. Looks like this:

Photos by Dixie Pixel from blog feature on The Budget Savvy Bride

and this:

Photo by Rochelle Mort from feature on The Budget Savvy Bride

just TOO hot! (Although, I have heard some people say its strange to wear a colored shoe and not a white/beige/blah blah blah. Whatever, it’s our party and I’ll wear what shoes I want too! haha!) Since my dress is going to be stark white, I really want BRIGHT BLUE. Cobalt. Royal. Pantherette (if you went to my high school).

I covet these so much that every time I see them, I just die a little inside:

Pour La Victoire Pump via

The problem is that they have a 3 3/4″ heel! I’m already 5’8″ people, and my future hubby is 5’10”. Granted he does not care one BIT that I wear heels that make me taller than him, and honestly it’s not the being taller than him that will bother me, its the being taller than EVERYONE that will bother me. I will be taller than my dad, my brother, his dad, most of the males in my family, and be towering over everyone in general except for my two incredibly tall grandmothers from which I got my height. Plus, 3 3/4″ does not sound that comfortable for a night to boogie down (as I fully plan to do.). Even more unfortunate, it does not appear Pour La Victoire makes anything with a small heel. Learn to let go, Leah, learn to let go.

I kind of want peep toe anyway. (I’m rationalizing, because I would give up peep toe for those pour la victoire’s anyday!)

These are cute…but there is just something about them that I have misgivings about…I’m not sure why…

Me Too – via

I also like these alot:

Seychelles via

AND only $35

Although I’m usually not fond of a rounded toe. I have stumpy legs so I usually like a pointy shoe to elongate my leg. However, I guess no one will really SEE  my legs but still, I don’t think so.

So, finding royal blue/cobalt/pantherette colored shoes without a very high heel, that I am happy with, seems to be pretty impossible. I decided to also consider red or pink heels. Pink has been my favorite color since about age 4. And, I just love red shoes, and I figure they will go with the red roses that will be in my bouquet.

I really like these, and I think they are a good color of red and not a HUGELY high heel.

Nina via

So I’m thinking about getting these. They aren’t so “special occasion” that I could not wear them for something else if I wanted too. AND if I buy them at Zappos and keep the slips, I can always return them if I find something else I like better (and blue!)

I am also planning on checking out some sales around Easter when I figure it is likely there will be more bright colored shoes available. Note, if you want a bright shoe, look in the spring or summer don’t want until you are in the throes of planning mid-January or you will be as frustrated as I!

I think at this point Ryan is on to me that I am multi-tasking blog writing and shoe shopping (the football games are over so he is finally realizing it!). 😉

Thoughts? What are your favorites? Weigh in below!

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Derby Style Save The Dates Fri, 21 Jan 2011 14:00:00 +0000 Is anyone else shocked by the audacity of the price people will charge for wedding paper goods? I mean, besides the fact that when you put “wedding” on a label it usually ups the cost 10% anyway, the invitation and save the date market seems to have taken this to a little extreme. Fortunately for all of us, unless you really have your heart set on that letterpress, calligraphy invitation with the four envelopes, wax seal and hand pressed flowers on front, you can find VERY good options for VERY affordable prices.

There are SO many affordable stationery places online, and from most of what I hear, they are well respected. Places like and offer great prices on pre-designed paper goods. If you are not afraid to be a little unconventional, this could be quite the savings. For instance, I am thinking I may use business cards as registry and hotel info cards and Vistaprint will do 250 business cards for FREE + shipping. I can upload my own design and add my own text. score! Although the invitations options may not be engraved, they have a lot of great classic and fun options and font choices that will look just as elegant. Also check out pre-created and printable invitations available at places like Target, Walmart, Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, etc. They have a lot of cute options that will can save you a lot of time and money. Although I would suggest, if you go this route, make a decision, commit to it and buy ALL you will need at one time. Nothing would me more irritating that needing 10 more invitations and spending your weekend going to every store in your area trying to find ONE more box of the elusive blue invitations you bought four months ago. Also, buy extra so you have some replacements should you run out of ink or mess up the formatting.

If your heart is set on those calligraphy or embossed invitations, consider using two invitations. Face it, probably 90% of the wedding invitations you send out are going to end up thrown out after your wedding. Consider buying the pricey invitations for the people who will save them (parents, grandparents, etc.) and have some less-expensive and less detailed invitations for the rest of your guests. More than likely, you can find coordinating invitations that will be much more budget friendly and still look great!

I hate to boast, but my own paper goods situation is probably the best. I have a degree in communications complete with graphic design training. Because of this, I was able to draw up pretty much what I wanted to have and write up the text of it without any issue myself. My BFF is a graphic designer and does a lot of freelance work while she is getting her PhD. Due to her student status and love for me, she is willing to design my Save the Dates and Invitations for a very cheap price (i.e. basically free, payment given in love, affection, compliments and homemade pies). The Save the dates are in and they look AMAZINNNNG. To go with our theme, I used a picture of an old betting slip as inspiration, wrote up some kitchsy text, and we got this:

You’ll notice these are postcards, another saver because postcard stamps are cheaper than the typical letter stamps! Finishing this trifecta of luck, my company has its own print shop which contracts for outside work as an additional revenue booster. Printing your own invitations at a place like Kinko’s or any other print shop is going to be fairly reasonable, and this is no exception. This also means that I save on time in picking up the boxes and such because I can just grab them over my lunch at work from the print shop. YES!

Another great save the date option is of course, using your local Walmart/CVS/Walgreens type store with the ability to print picture cards. Many people usually use this service for Christmas cards. But, Christmas is over and I’m willing to bet the slowdown in that business is going to be your gain! Take an engagement picture, or just a cute picture of yourselves, and slap it into one of those layouts with your wedding date information and you’re good as gold.

One helpful hint if you are going the route of having invitations printed in any way, make sure the size you are getting fits into a standard envelope size. If not, you will spend all your savings from the printing option in procuring some sort of wacky sized envelope. Even colored and special occasion envelopes in standard sizes will be cheaper than the most utilitarian of odd-shaped ones.

I also have made the decision not to send Save the Dates to everyone. Many people want to send out their Save the Dates to everyone. But the bastion of wedding advice, Carly of the knot, is with me on this one. You’re sending the save the dates out REALLY early (that’s the whole point.) There is quite the possibility that situations and relationships will change in the time between sending save the dates and invitations. Not being a negative Nancy here, but it’s always a possibility. In addition, you do not know what might happen with your invited number between this time. Yes, now you are planning on 200 people, but say you notice the cost and decide you’d like to cut it to 150. Too late, if you sent everyone a save the date. So, my save the dates are only going out to people who I know, no matter what, will still be of that status. These are close family and friends of the type that have attended every other milestone in my life like graduations and such. Again, I know many might think this is poor form. But, I feel pretty good about the decision knowing Carly agreed with me. Also, frankly, the area I grew up in, Save the Dates aren’t that common and have only recently come in to popularity, no one will be shocked or mystified. Here’s another option, skip save the dates altogether.

The big killer for paper goods is most likely postage. It seems like it wont be a big deal, only 44 cents a piece, but it adds up QUICKLY. At least now, the post office has been so smart to decide that ALL postage stamps will be forever stamps, so you can buy early and not worry about them changing the amount. Also, consider skipping the specialty stamps. They are really expensive and honestly, people probably don’t even notice them. Consider finding an interesting stamp that is the standard stamp price instead that will go along with your invitations or wedding theme. Things like postcards can use cheaper stamps, but odd sized envelopes (like squares) often require more postage, so be aware when choosing. Always consider hand-delivery for any of those guests who you see on such a regular basis, and for some of those very important family that are nearby. I will be taking invitations directly to my grandmother who lives in the area, because it will be so much more fun to give it to her and see her open it, than to send it and wait for her to call me letting me know she got it…

(and saving the 44 cents isn’t too bad either!)

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Budget Friendly Health + Fitness Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:00:58 +0000 Happy New Year ladies, sorry I have been MIA, but I hope this lengthy update will make up for my absence. :)

Because our wedding is still 6 months away, and because we luckily got a lot of things booked and done early, we haven’t had a lot of wedding activities going on. Of course there is the day to day thoughts, suggestions and ideas, but no big appointments or decisions like we had in the first few months. With the lag time that often happens when planning a wedding, it is easy to kind of set it to the back burner. I know for myself, the immediacy of so many other things – namely my job, and of course until this month, the holidays – take a step above the wedding issues that a couple months ago were all I could think of.

Until New Years Day. We took a very very short trip to Tennessee to see some friends over the New Years weekend. I woke up on the first morning of 2011, looked at my future husband and said, “hunny…we’re getting married THIS year!” So, now as I’m putting away the christmas presents and trying to get through some busy times at work, I’m also trying to do something wedding related at least a couple times a week. Another great inspiration was wedding talk from a very close friend who is now on my engagement ring watch.

One major thing I did, in relation to the new year, was start working out more regularly and… I bit the bullet and shelled out for a personal trainer. My old roommate calls it the bride syndrome. We all think, once a ring is on our finger, that we should (1) grow out our hair and (2) lose weight. It’s inevitable, I mean you are one of two people who will be stared at for a very long period of time. You will also, if you are a traditionalist, be wearing all white – not the friendliest color to anyone. Despite the cost, I did it. Being healthy, working out and trying to lose weight is just plain hard, and that is just a fact that I need to face. I do need to lose some weight to be healthy, and the challenges for me are: I have an hour and 15 minute commute to work everyday, which limits my extra time, and I am not often in complete control of what I am eating being that I work for an organization where we have a LOT of catered meetings or lunch meetings (and its an agricultural organization so, we’re talking farm minded people who expect meat, potatoes, pie and LOTS of it.)

I figure this is still a budget friendly move though for a few reasons:

First, when my future mother in law kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas, I couldn’t think of anything. I eventually told dear fiancee that what I really wanted but hated to pay for was the gym membership. So for Christmas, Future mother in law* paid for the initial membership fee for a gym that is conveniently located on my way home. Because it is on my way home, it is easy to get to, doesn’t take me any extra trips, and it is hard for me to justify driving right past it.

(** I know most people use the FMIL abbreviation for this but.. I just can’t do it. Does anyone else notice that FMIL looks a HECK of a lot like FML? Which we all know is not necessarily a good thing..I can’t stand to call my lovely future mother in law something that resembles so closely what I say when I drop a carton of eggs on the floor or something like that!)

anyway…Second, this gym happens to be a commercial chain of gyms but it is a studio. The studio means it doesn’t have ALL the things the chain gym typically does (no pool, not a large amount of classes) but it has all the cardio and strength equipment and a good staff. The size means it is cheaper for both a monthly membership and for personal training than at a typical gym, where PT can often cost somewhere around $50 a session.

Third, being healthy is cheaper in the long run. I know my dress will still fit – don’t worry I wasn’t one of those people who orders their wedding dress too small vowing to lose weight. I ordered the dress at the appropriate size that would fit at the time I ordered it. I figure it may cost me extra to alter it but it will fit or be able to easily be made to fit no matter what. And honestly, your dress has to be altered no matter what anyway, so if I’m paying for the alterations it might as well be alterations that also make me feel good about myself. But besides that superficial reason, being healthy – as we all know – typically results in less need for medical care and can prevent a lot of bad things happening to your body.

Fourth, they had great BUDGET FRIENDLY options!! The training package that I actually bought is a graduated package. So, it is about $40 a month but gives me one session a week for the first few months, one session every other week for the next couple, and the last couple months of the year I have one session a month. This way, I am getting the most attention before the wedding, and after the wedding I remain motivated to staying at it, but with less supervision.

Fifth, I am cooking more often again. I love to cook, but with the long commute and getting home so late, it is easy for fiance to suggest (and me to agree) to just pick something up for dinner a couple times a week. Eating out costs you a lot, even just getting takeout is so much more expensive than making things yourself. But eating healthy and cooking your own meals just goes together, because you actually control what you eat and what goes into it. And, despite what the news tells you, healthy food is cheap. Frozen vegetables are on sale ALL the time, and produce in its most whole form is usually pretty cheap to. (For instance, buy the bunch of spinach instead of the bag. Yes you will have to rinse the bunch and may have to chop off some stems, but the bunch is often half the price of the bag!). Lean cuts of meat like chicken breast, flank steak and lean pork chops are also often on sale or fairly cheap as well, and VERY easy to prepare!

Last, think of all the money spent on exercise and weight loss related products in preparation of a wedding. Some people go to a service like Weight Watches or Jenny Craig, others buy lots of home DVDs or home equipment. I know for myself and my schedule these things will not work. I need accountability, and having someone I have to check in with and who emails me once a week to remind me of my goals, gives me that. And frankly, I hit the personal trainer jackpot because she is also a nutritionist and a part of my training is also talking about how I am eating. It’s amazing and is about the same I would spend on a service like Jenny Craig or Weight watchers with the added benefits. As far as I have found, this is fairly common with most personal trainers as well.

I guess many people who read this may not see this as a budget friendly choice. And for many it may not be affordable, I know for me it was a stretch but I also know it is something that I think is worthwhile because frankly, nothing is more important than health. Having a lot of family history of health problems like diabetes and other weight-complicated conditions, I know this is a good choice for me for the long run and not just for the wedding.

I hope to all of you that are in the same bride syndrome as me (yes, I am growing out the hair too – another budget friendly choice, no paying for haircuts!) that you find your own way to remain motivated, stick with it and really achieve. It is definitely not an easy task. I also want to say though, not to be entirely corny, but you’re gorgeous just the way you are, obviously, because someone loves you and put a ring on that finger and wants to have you on their arm. Please just remember that always too.

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My Wedding Thankful List Thu, 25 Nov 2010 14:00:22 +0000 Because it is Thanksgiving week, and I only have to work three days this week, and I REALLY want to procrastinate and not start on making the orange marmalade or myriad of pies that are awaiting me, I want to use this week to give Budget WEDDING thanks. So, here they are, in no particular order and off the top of my head (which means I’m certainly going to forget something and remember it later and probably add it in the comments..) My wedding thankful list:

1. Obviously, my wonderful fiancee.

Without him, I wouldn’t be doing all of this, and without him none of it would be worth it. I am thankful that he understands that some days, I’m REALLY concerned about some minute detail that means absolutely nothing but to me it is a HUGE deal. And, that other days, something that should matter a lot, I really just want him to pick something for me and go with it because I cannot stand to make another decision that day.

2. My momma

She keeps me grounded, she’s completely willing to indulge me in the things she knows really matters but is not afraid to tell me that something is extremely overpriced, no matter how much I rationalize it.

3. Future In-Laws who care, but are not overbearing.

My fiancee’s family is so helpful and considerate, but I also do not feel like they try to take over my wedding or that they don’t hear my feelings and opinions.

4. Bridesmaids who are AWESOME.

See a couple weeks ago. You know why they are amazing. We picked a dress while shopping for my wedding dress, there was no drama about it, and they all got it ordered within a month of each other and got a discount on them. They rock!

5. A photographer who takes phenomenal pictures, but is willing to negotiate prices.

Our photographer gave us a great deal because we are having our wedding on a Friday. A package that usually costs around $2500, she is willing to give us for about $1700.

6. A venue and wedding coordinator who are willing to listen.

It hasn’t been sunshine and roses all the way with the venue for me. I had some very serious concerns and I was VERY upset. Luckily, the wedding coordinator was very professional and responded to all my questions and concerns promptly. Hallelujah for her.

7. Goodwill Stores!

Ok, so that is a little odd but Goodwill is a treasure trove of supplies for wedding crafts, the stuff is cheap, and you get the feel good bonus that your wedding purchases are actually going to a non-profit that does great work to help the disadvantage in your community.

8. Friends not involved in the wedding but who are willing to be a soundboard.

Sometimes, you just need to talk about this darn wedding business with someone who can be completely snarky and realistic about it. Though bridesmaids are amazing, they may feel sometimes they cannot tell you how silly something is because they know you want it. Non involved friends don’t have that commitment and you need them sometimes to say, “Um.. seriously?” in that tone that says, OMG THATS CRAZY, before they know how much you actually believed in it until that moment.

9. Coupons – from Michaels, Joanns, and other assorted retailers.

For obvious reasons (PS any great black friday sales that can benefit all of us? Let us know if you know of any!)


(shameless, aren’t i?) We all love them. They allow all of us brides, from all over the place to get together and sound off and join together. I’m so thankful for all of the readers of this blog, and thankful for the myriad of other blogs that I patronize almost daily for the ideas, inspiration, and sometimes the simple entertainment they afford.

Let us know what you are “wedding thankful” for!

I hope everyone has a blessed and enjoyable holiday this week and eats a lot. I command you all to go off your “wedding diets” for at least Thursday. You can work it off on Friday shopping! (See how I did that? Two indulgences are excuses for each other. YES!)

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