Finally, an update!

Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

I first want to thank each and every one of you who have stopped by to read this blog. For the subscribers,a HUGE thanks for hanging in there even though it’s been a year and half since my last post (eek!). But I have exciting news! Almost a year ago, I started a wedding planning business, here in Portland, and have been putting tons of time and effort into developing it and helping to create weddings of my clients’ dreams! I have a blog associated with my new business that I’ve been (sort of) updating, so I kind of (ok, totally) let this blog go on the back burner. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that people were still visiting, commenting, and subscribing to Weddings Chic and Cheap! And I don’t want to leave you hanging!

So I want to re-direct all of you to my new website and new blog over at www.first-comes-love-events.com. While there isn’t a whole lot of content on the blog (YET) related to planning weddings on the cheap, I have a plan in the works for a weekly post dedicated to budget wedding planning (maybe “Frugal Fridays?” “Money Saving Mondays?”…I’m gonna have to work on these haha).

But the point is, I appreciate all of you who come to my site to look for ways to save some money on your big day. I know I appreciated all the help I could get when planning my own wedding, and I want to continue to pay it forward! So please check out my new website, subscribe if you’d like, and if you’re a Portland bride looking for a wedding planner, by all means, please contact me!

Thanks again for all of your support and I’ll see you over at www.first-comes-love-events.com!


DIY blue mason jars

Nothing says shabby chic like blue mason jars filled with flowers or tea lights. They add that charming look that almost every bride is after. But darn can they be expensive/hard to find! Well no more, I say! You can find clear mason jars anywhere (and for cheap). Add in the some transparent glass paint for around $4 and you’ve got some new and blue jars for about $1.50 each. Saweeeeet.

Pie pops revisited

Hey folks,

remember those adorable pie pop favors that I blogged about here?? Well, I can now vouch for these babies as a recent bride (and wonderful friend) and I made these for her wedding! What started as a cute idea definitely turned into a labor of love as we spent 3 days prepping and another 3 baking over 300 pie pops, but I can confidently say that they were well worth the effort!!

Check them out in all their professional photo glory (photos by VeLvet OwL Photography):

And the final cost? hard to say exactly because we had to run out for a few more apples and lollipop sticks (we made half apple and half strawberry rhubarb), but they definitely came out no more than .50 cents a piece…and there were NONE left on the tables. Cheap + delicious + something people actually enjoyed = HUGE SUCCESS.

If you’re planning on tackling these favors and you have a huge guest list like my friend, you’ll need lots of time and determination (….and probably a couple bridesmaids). But stick it out and you’ll have amazing, homemade favors that are sure to be a hit. 🙂

If you have any questions about the supplies we used or how we made them, don’t hesitate to ask!

p.s. how cute do the fabric flowers  look (from my last tutorial) on the bridesmaids dresses?!

Happy planning! 🙂

I’ve been MIA for a good while…and I’m so sorry! But I promise I have good excuses!! As you all know, it’s wedding season! And I’ve had two very good friends get married this summer, and both weddings I’ve been a bridesmaid in as well as had a rather large hand in helping to plan. But that’s not even the best reason I’ve been gone…I’m starting a wedding planning business! So exciting! My future mother-in-law, who lives in Hawaii, and I are teaming up to start a local and destination wedding planning company, called Weddings Here & Away. It’s all still in the works, but I can’t wait to get into this crazy (and crazy fun) industry professionally. The website will be up soon so I’ll definitely be keeping everyone posted on that. In the meantime, if you’re planning a wedding in the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii, don’t hesitate to contact me at andreaskaar@gmail.com!

Alright, so since I’ve been gone for so very long, I come bearing gifts…in the form of an awesomely easy and fabulous fabric flower tutorial. One of my friends, whose wedding I mentioned above, asked me to create these to jazz up our bridesmaids dresses and now I’m addicted to these things. They’re so easy and one yard of fabric will get you about 7-9 flowers, depending on how big you make them…and at about $7.00/yard (depending on your fabric), that’s less than a dollar each! Fabulous indeed! Now, onto the tutorial:

First, materials. You’ll need 1 yard of fabric, thread, pins, and scissors.

Next, cut out a strip about 1.5-2″ wide along the longest side of the fabric.

Then fold the strip in half “hot dog style,” pinning every few inches to keep it together.

Then sew the rough edges together. If you have a “basting” setting on your
sewing machine, this step will go super fast. Alas, I do not, so hand-
sewing it was for me.

When you get to the end, start to pull the thread so the fabric bunches up.

The results of your bunching should look about like this.

Beginning with the end you started sewing with, start to roll the fabric
into a flower shape, securing it with stitches every few “rolls.”
This is super important- you don’t want it to fall apart! Make
sure the stitches go through every layer of the fabric.

When you get to the end, the back should look something like
this. Secure it with lots and lots of stitches…and don’t
worry about how it looks, no one will see this side.

Turn it over and you have a flower!

Attach a pin to the back and you’re done-zo!

These flowers are ridiculously easy and I can’t wait to see how they look on the dresses. The wedding is the 28th, so I’ll post pictures as soon as I have them! Let me know if you have any questions!

Promise to keep you posted more often-


Lessons learned…

For anyone who is knee-deep in planning and starting to enter a deep depression over how many times you’ve gotten out your checkbook in the last few months (days? hours?), this post from Meg on her blog “A Practical Wedding” is definitely for you. In this world where the expectations for weddings have gone completely nuts (what happened to good old cake and punch?), sometimes we just need a little perspective from other budget brides who have been there and understand…AND have gotten through it…AND planned a completely successful and beautiful wedding…cherish the thought.

I hope you enjoy!:

First of all, I have to say that one of the reasons that I started my blog is because I felt like the only bride in the world with a sensible approach to money when I read wedding media. It sucked. While my partner and I are no longer broke (though, *boy* have we been) we still are fairly cautious with our money. Add to that the fact that we’re a one bread-winner household at the moment (my husband is in law school) and, well, we don’t have a money tree in the backyard. So we figured we’d throw together a nice wedding on a oh-dear-god-it-feels-expensive-to-us-but-I-guess-we-can-do-this kind of budget. Ha. Well, about two seconds into wedding planning I started to feel like the poorest and saddest bride on the planet.

I finally hit the wall when I read about a ‘budget’ wedding on one of those big-shiny-wedding-blogs. It read something like this: “Well, since we were doing a wedding on a budget, we obviously had to be very selective in our choices, and limit what we spent money on. That’s why we decided to really limit things when it came to our music choices. In the end, we decided to only hire a string quartet, a gospel choir, and a rock band, to keep things simple and affordable.”

After I finished slamming my head against the table, I think I sent my then-fiance a link to this wedding with an email along these lines, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? If this couple HADN’T been on a budget were they planning on also hiring a 100 PERSON OPERA CHORUS? WHAT THE MOTHER F*CKING F*CK? I. Hate. Wedding. Planning.”

Right. So I started my blog. Turns out I wasn’t so alone after all.

What I mean to say is this: when you do not have unlimited resources and you are planning a wedding, sometimes every moment feels like a painful negotiation. You can’t afford the things that it seems like everyone else has, shopping for a wedding dress can feel like h*ll, and finding a venue can become you’re worst nightmare. If you’re at all like me, planning a wedding can feel like you are thinking about money all the time, and learning to hate it.

So here are my very best wedding graduate tips about money and weddings. Here is what I learned, and what I wished I known at the beginning:

  • Weddings are not about money. They feel like they are about money when you’re planning, for effing sure, but in the end, money is not going to matter. At all. Weddings are are about love, plain and simple. On your wedding day you could be getting married in your backyard with not a single pretty detail to be found, and you wouldn’t care. The hugeness of getting married, and making this huge commitment in front of family and friends will surpass every single thing around it, and what you spent will disappear.
  • As one of my wedding graduates said, “You don’t have to spend money in ways that does not feel right to you, or that makes you feel financially uncomfortable.” There were many times that I started feeling backed into a corner “But that is just what getting my hair done is going to cost, no matter how crazy it seems!” And I thought back to this advice and just said, “Nope. Not going to do it.” Every time, that ended up being one of the best decisions we made.
  • Forget DIY. The wedding blog world can make you feel like you have to be a crafty, crafty goddess if you want to save money, and that’s enough to drive anyone over the edge. Start thinking about DIT – doing-it-together. Each time we asked a loved one to contribute to our day – from the girlfriend that did my hair to the girlfriend that managed the weekend – it added a depth of joy to our celebration that no money could have bought. On top of that, it gave each friend a way to show their love and feel like they really contributed to this monumentally important moment of our lives, and that turned out to be a gift in and of itself.
  • Once you make a financial decision that feels right to you – stick to your guns. Wedding planning can be a constant pattern of second guessing – “Well, so and so self-catered, maybe we should do that?” This. Will. Drive. You. Mad. If your choice was right for you, that’s it. You’re done, and you’re fine.
  • Your budget is your business. Make sure you’re spending an amount of money that feels good to you. Then ignore what other people think. Big-wedding-media can consume you with guilt about not spending enough. Indie-web-media can consume you with guilt that you are spending too much. You know what? If you feel good about it, what you are spending is just right.
  • Spend your money on things you care about. We didn’t have lots of ‘must haves.’ We didn’t have a DJ, a florist, favors, or matching bridesmaids dresses. And we didn’t miss them. But you know what we did have? Amazing gourmet food, that we splurged on. We’re foodies, we cared about food. The food at our wedding was staggeringly good, and to us, it was worth every penny.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. If you don’t care? Don’t buy it. If someone is making you sign a contract that doesn’t feel right? Don’t sign it. If it doesn’t feel right? Put away your wallet. If you do this, things will somehow fall into place. I could not find a single wedding dress that felt right, even if I was willing to spend $1,000. In the end, I said no to all the options that felt awful, and I found the worlds best dress for me, buried in the corner of a vintage shop, for $250, just a few months before the wedding.
  • Sometimes it is worth it to pay full price. As a bride on a limited budget, people will tell you to bargain, to barter, to do anything to pay less. Sometimes this is the right thing to do, and it will all work out. But there are other times when you don’t want to think about something anymore, and you’re willing to throw money at the problem to make it go away. Do it. Sometimes bartering will make your relationship with a vendor so complicated that you’re uncomfortable. Pay full price. It may be worth it.
  • Try not to become obsessed with your target budget. Pay what feels right to you, and what you feel like you can afford. If you end up a little under or a little over budget? Its fine. Because guess what? You don’t have to report your budget to anyone. So be kind to yourself, and remember that you did your best.
  • And finally: Remember, one day the spending will all be behind you. The best part about spending money on your wedding? It happens once, and then you NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN. The last months before our wedding, I felt like I was taking out my checkbook every two seconds, and I hated it. But on the morning after the wedding I realized it was done, it was over, and I never had to spend that money every again. And that, my friends, felt like freedom.

From one practical bride to another – I wish you thoughtful careful spending, and the nerve to say no. But more than anything, my wish for you is that you learn as much about your relationship to money as I did planning my wedding. Because that was priceless.

Do check out the rest of Meg’s blog. It’s that breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for amongst the wedding claustrophia, I promise. 🙂

After the venue is the booked, the menu is set, the dress is bought, and the flowers are picked out, budgets can tend to shrink FAST. So then how are you supposed to get invitations, table numbers, banners, programs, favors, etc. with big ideas and a swindling budget? From websites and blogs by people who understand…and then subsequently post FREE templates for you to use and enjoy. below are some of my favorite sites to find fabulous and free wedding goodies. 🙂

From DIY project tutorials to pages of templates, this site is a great resource for brides who love a little vintage glam.

Candy buffet sign template

Welcome Guest Bags template

The Wedding Chicks
Another great site for inspiration and free stuff, the wedding chicks have everything from free monograms to invitation suite templates for you to swoop up for free and look like you paid a million bucks for.

custom monogram

Save the Date postcard template

The Blah Blah Blahg
Not solely a wedding blog, this blog has some great freebies that would certainly make for some good wedding use, like stationary templates, envelope wrap labels, photoshop brushes, and more!

envelope wrap labels template

Marriage Motif Photoshop brushes

Candy bar labels template

So when the to-do list is long and the budget is coming up short, definitely take some time to head over to these site and check out the free goods! Has anyone else found great sites for free stuff? Do share! 🙂

Happy planning!

Let’s face it- we all want to be the best versions of ourselves on our wedding day…and most of the time, our “best versions” include glowing tans. But in today’s world, we know very well the risks of obtaining the perfect tan- sunspots, early aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. And I don’t know about you, but but having a killer tan on my wedding day is not worth malignant melanoma.

DuWop Clear Revolution

So what’s a pale bride to do? We turn to sunless tanning options, of course! But just like tanning beds, these options have their drawbacks too- namely, the mess. From mystic tanning, to airbrushing, to at-home tanning lotions, the mess these leave behind on our clothes (and the palms of our hands!) is a less than desirable effect. And when you’re about to put on a white wedding gown, the last thing you want to worry about getting on your dress is orangey residue. Well fear no more, ladies! DuWop has come out with a clear sunless tanning lotion that develops overnight, leaving no orange mess behind.  AND it is scented with essential oils including lavender, lemon, lime, and ylang ylang, so you can avoid that self-tanning smell that we all know and don’t love. And if it couldn’t get any better, this miracle-tanner can be found at Sephora for only $30, which equates to LESS than a tanning package, LESS than an airbrushing session, and totally WORTH IT to avoid both the harmful effects of UV rays AND the oompa-loompa effect that most self-tanners so graciously deliver. This is what we call a win-win.

Happy tanning 🙂