Archive for the ‘Budget Friendly’ Category

Signing Off

May 27, 2010

Ok, so obviously I am the worst blogger in the history of blogs.

This seemed like the best idea when I first got engaged.  I was spending hours a day looking at all things wedding.  I had such grand plans to neatly compile everything here in a charming, entertaining way.  It so totally did not happen.

About half way through the engagement, I got completely sick of looking at photos of other people’s perfect weddings; dreading the inevitable imperfection of my own.  I thought wedding blogs were the solution to the over-the-top, completely unattainable image bridal magazines promote, but in fact, it was quite the opposite for me.  I was way more jealous about some fabulous hipster bride’s DIY save-the-dates than I was about a designer wedding dress I could never afford.  I stopped reading blogs (with the sole exception of the lovely and real Cupcake Wedding) and stopped writing my own.  Instead, I focused on planning my wedding without the influence of way-too-pretty pictures and way-too-perfect projects.

So here I am, about two weeks away from the big day.  I randomly checked good old Whoa Wedding to see that I still had a decent number of people dropping in here, and even a few comments to keep it up.  I figured I should at least explain myself.

In conclusion (unless I become overwhelmed with the desire to post recaps), here are all of the location details that I strangely never revealed.  I hope they might be helpful to some other budget-minded Boston bride.

Rehearsal/Welcome Party (night before): private event room at Tavern in the Square, Central Square
Ceremony: MIT Chapel (mid-century awesomeness pictured above)
Lunch Reception (family only): Oleana
Party that night (friends only): Gallery 263

The decision to split our celebration into two separate events was a big one, and I hope everyone understands.  It saved us GOBS of money, which was a very important factor.

So far we’ve spent just under $7000, and when all is said and done, I hope we’ll be under $15,000.  That includes all four events listed above.  My original budget of $10,000 was only for the ceremony/lunch reception, so I can deal with this.

If I’m ambitious, I’ll tell you how it all goes.

| photo from Viejito’s Flickr |


Color Collages

February 8, 2010

** As always, please excuse my crap photography **

I have always been crazy about the little color cards brides make for their bridesmaids.  Any excuse to craft something lovely out of paper and I’m there.  Sadly, I didn’t think this project was necessary for my wedding since my sister is my only bridesmaid and she’s choosing her own dress.  But, as my DIY list continues to grow, I’ve slowly started to enlist the help of my mom and sister (MOH) on a variety of projects.  I live far from home and have made most wedding decisions – like the final color palette – independently, so it turns out these little color guides were appropriate for my wedding afterall!  Now my gracious helpers are up to speed.

I sealed the color swatches (yellow, blue, ivory, and two shades of gray) in a little vellum envelope and attached it to a card that showcases other wedding details (vintage book pages, vintage buttons, Etsy calligraphy, and my lovely leaf-shape hole punch).

So happy I found an excuse to make these!

Save the Dates revealed!

October 15, 2009

Despite my lackluster photography, I am thrilled to show off our handmade save-the-dates!

The cards – which have already been mistaken as store bought! – were a total collaboration.  We sat in front of the computer for a couple hours before getting them just right.  The project also forced us to pin down our final color scheme – dusty blue, yellow, and gray.  (I would absolutely recommend stationary design as an essential exercise for all couples about to tie the knot.)  And! — When all was said and done, the pre-postage cards/envelopes came in at only 60 cents a piece!

SaveTheDate_blueCompare our file to our inspiration below…

The Wedding Dress Search Begins – Nordstrom

September 8, 2009

Nordstom_2$178 of casual lovliness.

The search for my wedding gown has officially begun.

This was not an aspect of my wedding that I was looking forward to.  Though it might seem contrary to the very idea of blogging, I generally do not like to be in the spotlight.  I avoid drawing attention to myself at all costs.  So, standing on a pedestal while my entourage of loved ones ooh and ahh over my appearance did not sound like the stuff of happy memories.  And beyond the feeling self-conscience part, it didn’t seem as if a traditional bridal gown was going to jive with my budget.

In attempt to appease my wallet and avoid the fashion show, I ordered five dresses from Nordstom’s online bridal boutique and had them delivered to my mother’s house.  They were beautifully packed and ready to try on in the comfort of my childhood bedroom when I went home to visit a few weeks ago.

Nordstrom’s return policy is almost too good to be true – I actually called customer service to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding something.  (I even told the operator that I was planning to order multiple dresses in the hopes that one would be my wedding dress.)  Basically, as long as the garment has not been worn, you can return it for a full refund at any time.  The exchange period does not expire!

I did not end up keeping any of the dresses, but I wanted to share my options (and their AWESOME prices) here.  One of the dresses (a lovely Grecian frock with pewter beading) is no longer for sale, so that one is left up to your imagination.

If you’re a bride on a budget, definitely check this amazing dress shopping alternative out!

nordstrom_1The back on this dress was stunning.  $178.

nordstrom_4$180.  Pretty details, but a little too evening gown-ish.

nordstrom_3The most expensive at $360, but perfect for a summer afternoon wedding.

| All photos from |


August 5, 2009

voge1663_once wed

Once Wed recently posted the completely dreamy and stylish wedding of Paul and Cassie (photographed by Jonas Peterson).  I love love love the hearts on the wall!  It got me thinking of all of the fun vinyl wall decals I’ve seen on Etsy (the ones that I can’t wait to plaster all over the bedroom walls of my future children).  Seems like there would be countless ways to incorporate these relatively inexpensive and unexpected decorations into a wedding… photobooth, maybe?  Here are some lovely selections from studiojk:


Up and Away!

August 3, 2009


Ah!  So clever and cute – I can hardly stand it!  I discovered Beverly and Neil’s fantastic engagement photos via Mint.  Everything about their stylish, budget-minded wedding is amazing.  Check it out!

Lovely Budget Swizzle Sticks

July 31, 2009


I go nuts over unique drink stirrers and other decorative flourishes in my beverages.  Handmade swizzle sticks would be an inexpensive and unique detail at a reception.  Makes me want to go pretty paper shopping!

drink stirrers

| “B”: Wedding Project, PomPoms: Martha Stewart, “J&A”: Young House Love |

Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods

July 24, 2009

Just had to highlight my favorite vendor at Brimfield: Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods.  I spent an hour in this vintage sewing notions heaven.  The dealer definitely had one of the most attractive and temping displays at the show – hundreds of exquisite buttons, lace pieces, and ribbons arranged by color.

There is a website, but to really experience the breadth of vintage treasures you’ll have to track Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods down at a show.  Her 2009 schedule is posted here.  Love.


| Images from Nifty Thrifty |

Brimfield Antique Show

July 22, 2009


Last Sunday me and my beloved made our virgin trek to the Brimfield Antique Show.  The experience wasn’t quite as overwhelming or frenzied as I had imagined, but we were told by several dealers that the July show is extremely tame in comparison to May.  That being said, we exited our Zip Car at 8:30 AM and did not return until 4:00 PM.  With only a few short food and bathroom breaks, we managed to visit all but one field (a sneaky field we didn’t even see until driving away, at which point my fiancé – clearly on a mission to conquer this mammoth event – pulled off the road in search of parking.  But parking was not free and it was obvious that the dealers were already packing up.  With quite a bit of regret, we accepted that we had not seen everything there was to see and vowed to return next spring).

As I expected, Brimfield turned out to be heaven for a bride-to-be, with quirky inspiration at every turn.  I purchased a few wedding surprises, but it was difficult since our colors are not set in stone.  We are also the proud new owners of a vintage Christmas ornament and a creepy turn-of-the-century glass negative.

The items that got away?  A mid-19th century plantation chair in fabulous shape with newly restored caning.  The price – $200 – seemed like a deal, but there was no conceivable way we could fit the beast in our tiny apartment without sacrificing another piece of furniture.  And – the one that will really haunt us – a vintage Bertoia diamond chair, also $200.  We could probably find a home for this one, but it was in sad shape.  The combination of rust and too many bad paint jobs created countless sharp edges – I feared for my dress when I did a test-sit.  And upon closer inspection, it was obvious that someone had taken it apart at some point in time and the base didn’t quite match up with the seat on the left side.  Finally, it was sans cushion.  It was still hard to walk away!


Needless to say, I was too busy treasure hunting to photographically document our day, so I’ve found some fabulous pictures online that really capture the essence of the show.


|Colored Pots: Apartment Therapy, Plantation Chair: Ralph Lauren Home, Bertoia Chair: Retro Home Decor, Snow Shoes: Apartment Therapy, Trombones: Negative Space, Letterpress Letters: Working Class Magazine, Sexy Tiles: Tasting Life Twice, Utensils: In-Vision, Vintage Gags: Rotating Corpse |

SoWa Open Market

July 14, 2009

I finally made it to the SoWa Open Market this past Sunday.  The open air event featuring artisans, antiques, and organic produce did not disappoint.  I found some great local stationers and jewelers, and the old trolley barn full of antiques offered tons of wedding décor inspiration.

If you live in the Boston area make sure to check it out.  The market is open every Sunday 10am – 4pm,  May through October.

| Image via ChromaLab |