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Stick to your guns

July 11, 2008
Stay firm on your choices...even in last-minute sitautions

Stay firm on your choices...even in last-minute sitautions

There are so many choices for brides…at least the choice in a husband is taken care of.  Where to get married?  What are my colors? Flowers? Dresses? Jewelry? Food?  Shoes? How many guests? The list goes on.  The thing to remember, and this is especially important for a BBB: make your decision and stick with it. 

After you figure out how much you can spend, figure out how many people you plan on inviting.  Remember, in most cases only half of the people you invite will actually attend.  If you want 50, invite 100.  You get the point.  What this could mean is that some people may be left out.  That is the unfortunate, or fortunate, part about having a beer budget wedding. 

For family this can be hard.  Say you or your husband-to-be has a large family.  There has to be some sort of limit.  For example, setting limits on how extended the family tree can go.  No great aunts/uncles, no cousins, no third cousins twice removed.  Whatever it is, stick to it.  My advice on getting around hurt feelings…have a party (smaller party) for people who couldn’t make it!  Call it a BBQ reception, a holiday wedding party.  Whatever…don’t step on toes because that’s tacky.  But do be firm. Don’t let your almost mother-in-law convince you that her second cousin’s sister’s daughter has to attend your wedding because she went to hers. 

Pick your color for bridesmaids dresses, table cloths and flowers.  Do not change this color, it will make things difficult.  Besides, your first instinct is the right one.

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The Big White Dress

July 8, 2008
Off-the-Rack Dresses Rock

Off-the-Rack Dresses Rock

Your wedding day will likely be the most-planned outfit you will ever wear (Halloween costumes not included).  And if you’re truly beer budget, it’ll also be the most expensive.    The most important piece of this outfit is, of course, the dress.  Stores are dedicated to it, magazines, books, etc.  Major fashion designers end their fashion shows with The Wedding Dress.  The bad news?  You will never, ever afford that dress.

The good news: you CAN afford a designer gown.  Of course, I will devote many posts to The Dress – each post with a tip on how you can buy a dress that’s worth, I hope, less than your car.  Another bit of good news here: it never hurts to try on a dress worth more than your car.  In fact, you might be surprised at how uncomfortable those dresses can be…both on your body and on your beer budget.

Here’s a trick I picked up from a friend.  Buy a dress off the rack.  What this means is that you literally go to the wedding dress store, you try on some dresses and then you take it home.  An off-the-rack dress can be a dress that was on the ‘showroom floor’ that many potential brides have tried on in their quest to get a custom dress for their size.  Or the off-the-rack dress could be a ‘showroom floor’ dress that the shop owner ordered extra.  Off-the-rack can give you deep discounts on an in-season, designer gown (20-60%). 

Don’t forget, just because a dress is cheap doesn’t mean it should look cheap…don’t forget that champagne taste.

Off-the-rack dresses are a standard Size 10.  That equals about a size 6/size 8 for most other clothes. FYI. 

The only potential drawbacks of the off-rack dress are that they may need cleaning and/or altering.  It’s all a judgement call.  If you can pick up a dress for $250 and it costs $250 to alter/clean it…it’s still ‘only’ $500.

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It’s all about the presentation

June 27, 2008

Mashed potato martini = Beer budget + champagne tasteAh, the reception.  There are many moving parts to this.  But like a meal, let’s start with the appetizers.  (We’ll get into caterers much more in future posts – promise.)  Do you want cold? Hot? Serve yourself? Hand-passed?  None at all?  First of all, for the champagne taste for a BBB, you have to have appetizers.  Remember now – you can have very simple appetizers…just make them look really nice.

Here’s a tip I love that was passed on to me from a friend.  Have a mashed potato martini bar for part of your appetizers.  Now, this may sound weird, but I promise – your guests will love it.  Either work with your caterer, or find a nice volunteer, to whip up some potatoes (no flakes!).  Display them in a chrome/stainless steel chafer (which you can either buy or rent…we’ll go into renting vs. buying soon).  In a smaller chafer, have gravy. 

Then in bowls, display grated cheese, ham, sour cream, chives – you get the point.  And here’s the kicker – have martini glasses as the serving dish.  The martini glass is the fun twist that makes the packaging of this very simple dish work.  There’s something very fun – almost childlike – about making your own mashed potato martini creation.  Chances are, they’ll have more than one!

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Let them eat (free) cake

June 24, 2008

Free Cake = GoodCutting the Free CakeAs a part of my ongoing promise to answer – to the best of my ability – questions from readers of BBB, I’m taking on the first question: “So how do I get some free cake?” 

There are many options when it comes to an affordable cake.  First – do not DO NOT go to any cake-maker where you have to make an appointment.  There’s no way making that choice will help keep you within your beer budget.  Like I said, there are options…all of which I promise to talk about on this website. 

But we want to know how to get a free wedding cake.  It’s easy.  You poll your friends and family to see who knows how to bake a cake – and is willing to make that their wedding present to you.  A cake, even at a grocery store, can run up a pretty high price tag…but if your friend deals with it, it’s no problem!

This isn’t just about the budget – let’s think about how to add a touch of class to this.  So your relative/friend is going to stand in a hot kitchen mixing and pouring and baking your wedding cake to perfection.  If you’re a really good person, they’ll even ice it.  They’re doing all this work – what can you do to make their life easier?  You buy the supplies.  You buy the decorations that will make the cake look fancy.  They do the work. 

Attached is a real-life example of a friend-made cake.  The bride purchased the pans, the flour, sugar, icing, etc.  The bride purchased the crystals and the stand and all of the pretty stuff.  What did the friend do?  Spend 8 hours baking a very special wedding present that every one could enjoy.

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Beer Budget Bride Beginnings

June 23, 2008

So why build a Beer Budget Bride site?  First of all – how many resources do brides planning a wedding have?  Too many.  All of that mumble jumble can be confusing, overwhelming and expensive.  My job is to make sure you can see through that mess and still pull off an event folks will talk about for years.  I’ll include advice on everything from the tiny details of how to buy jewelry to the big picture of keeping your special day in perspective and what it all should mean.  I was a bride.  I’ve been to dozens of weddings.  I currently shoot video for weddings in a major metropolitan area on the East Coast – so I can tell you what the vendors think (and charge).  My name is Katie.  I’ll be your Beer Budget Bride Guide – please enjoy the tour.