Bride On A Budget

Bride On A Budget

Bride or not, finding chic outfit choices at amazing prices is ALWAYS an appealing headline. Here are our picks for great resources when it comes to summer dressing for the Guest and Bride that will make you and your wedding budget very, very happy for years ( or seasons) to come.


Bride On A Budget

Photo Credit: Old Navy

Old Navy: If you are a big blog reader, you know that pairing affordable items from Old Navy with your closet staples is a no-brainer especially for summer. And when they rolled out their summer dress collection full of crisp whites perfect for pre-wedding events, we just about fell over. Whether you are packing maxi dresses for your Honeymoon or simple white minis, they have you covered. Plus, their online summer sales are no joke. Most days of the week you can checkout with a code for 35% off your entire order!

Bride On A Budget

Photo Credit: The Loft

Loft: Best known for their smart wear-to-work pieces, Loft is upping their game for incredibly priced summer wear. Thanks in part to their partnership with the ultra chi line, Lou& Grey, their fun skirts, jumpsuits, and crazy chic beachwear will take your from rehearsal to sipping cocktails oceanside for your Honeymoon.


Bride On A Budget

Photo Credit: Chicwish

Chicwish: A newbie, but a goodie. Chicwish has also become a major name in blogger favorites. Mostly because of their CRAZY good prices and trendy pieces. Full midi skirts in fun florals, and bright prints for wedding guests, they have pretty much every aspect covered. For lace detail that would cost you hundreds at Neiman Marcus, Chicwish lets you explore trends that are within budget and gives you options for all of your upcoming events. Join their email list and get 25% off your order too!

Modern Monogram Guide

SimplyBridal‘s Modern Monogram Guide Inforgraphic

Not all couples are loquacious and able to articulate their joy and happiness adequately on their special day; some are the strong silent type, and prefer more understated, low-profile ways of subtly showing off the deep affection they have for each other. Monograms become their tool of choice, and you can find out how to share in the fun and excitement with this gorgeous infographic!

Modern Monogram Guide

Establishing A Wedding Budget

Establishing a wedding budget you can stick to is one of the biggest challenges of getting married in today’s world. Your budget will determine decisions for every detail from the venue, dress, food, etc. First thing first, is sit with your fiancé and determine what is feasible without sacrificing your current quality of life.

Establishing A Wedding BudgetImage via The Examiner

Things to consider: Will your wedding be paid for by your parents?  Are your fiancé and you solely responsible for paying? Have you saved any money to put towards this event?How many people are you considering inviting to your big day?

These sample questions should be addressed early on in the planning process.  Who will be paying for wedding festivities is the foundation when planning. There are traditional and cultural circumstances to consider. However, every family is different, and thinks differently about money. It is very important to make these decisions together as a joint family rather than assume that under the archaic thought that the bride’s parents will cover everything.

Establishing A Wedding Budget

There are many tools and calculators out there to help guide you. Otherwise, Excel and some basic math skills work just fine too! Some tips to consider when figuring out your budget:

1) What are the most important aspects to the two of you? Are you foodies? Must you have a 10 piece band rather than a DJ? We recommend you splurge on the most important items to the two of you, and save money in other aspects.

2)  Consider incidentals into your budget such as postage for the invitations. Also, remember to add in gratuity, sales tax, parking, and tips, where applicable. If you don’t adhere to your budget, you could end up spending a lot more for all the “incidentals.” Stay posted for some guidelines on tipping in the near future!

3) Brides on a budget look to DIY projects to make customized additions to the event. From making your grandma’s homemade jam as a favor to creating your own invites if you have a knack for graphic design, there are ways to save money by doing it yourself.

4) Finally, remember to have fun! This is supposed to happen once in a lifetime. You want to make sure this is a special time of your life. Sure, there will be stress and some hiccups along the way, but that’s life. Ride with it!

In closing, pay close attention to both fixed and variable costs. Variable costs are contingent on how many wedding guests you have and fixed costs you will have to pay regardless of the size of the guest list. Managing costs means paying attention to both, but recognizing that you will get the biggest impact by lowering variable costs, since they are multiplied by the number of guests and adds up quickly.

Wedding Guest List Tips



Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleVendor Spotlight CarnivaleSpring is right around the corner and Chicago brides are ready for some bright colors. What better way to experience the festive atmosphere of a party than at Jerry Kleiner’s Carnivale. This vibrant and flavorful restaurant in Chicago’s west loop boasts a reception atmosphere that’s “Exciting, colorful and unique” as proclaimed in the website. We love the wide paneled colors on the walls and the pick of seven captivating rooms to choose from! The seating ranges anywhere from a cozy seating of 40 to 1,000. There are the three salons, the Samba room, Flamenco room, Lambada lounge and Tango room (see photos below). Each room is flagged with colorful accessories and brilliant chandeliers. For the fun and quirky bride Carnivale could be the best choice. We think this venue is perfect for those spring brides who want to make sure their reception is a party atmosphere rather than stuffy winter draping’s.

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleSamba Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleFlamenco Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleTango Room

Their menu, prepared by Chef Rudolf Quadros, is bursting with only fresh and seasonal ingredients. The chef uses organic and sometimes home grown ingredients. Brides can choose from tapas style meals or traditional plated meals. The menu is tailored to each bride’s tastes and Carnivale caters exclusively to the bride’s requests.

Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleCarnivale Ceremony via Sweet Chic Events

wedding reality tv

Wedding Reality TV Shows by SimplyBridal

Wedding Reality TV

We are all guilty, all very very guilty for giving into reality shows. Why wouldn’t someone be interested in watching a show that features ordinary people and their actual lives? Whether you’re normally a fan of Keeping up with the Kardashians, Project Runway, or The Bachelor, the moment you get engaged the wedding reality TV shows are on your mind. SimplyBridal has compiled a list of shows for brides to get their daily dose of drama from and to help them gain a bit of inspiration.

Wedding Reality TV

Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine. “April showers, bring May flowers.” We’ve heard it a million times. So what’s the worry when planning a gorgeous outdoor summer wedding? Well, rain…maybe. It’s no doubt that the seasons are changing and the weather is more unpredictable than ever. And for those of us Midwesterners, we value every sunny day we can get, even the ones where it rains a little bit! But never fear, we would never tell you not to plan a summer wedding with outdoor ambitions! But we MUST warn you to always have a backup plan. In this case, we call it PLAN B for outdoor weddings and we have some expert tips on how to turn a little sprinkle on your wedding day to just another chic element of a spectacular day, rain OR shine!

rain weddingAndrew Huth Photography

Parasols are back! And while some heavy duty smaller umbrellas will do the trick for a little rain, they are also perfect for when the sun comes back out and the temperatures sore! They also can add the perfect pop of color (hello, yellow!) to your event. And for those more neutral brides, they are conveniently just as adorable in black, white and tan. Gather a few baskets or decoration ceramic pots as holders and scatter them throughout the grounds, tent, walkways, wherever and you have a prop that is not only super fun and cute but highly functional as well!

yellow parasols

Laura Novak Photography

Having a “Plan B” is also key when accounting for weather.  If for no other reason than peace of mind, designating an alternate space for your outdoor event can save you a lot of heartache and less worry about the upcoming weather.  Should you be hosting an outdoor event under a tent at home, for example, make sure you ask the rental company if your tent can withstand rain and wind. Also, make sure to opt in favor of the tent siding. You may not need it for the whole day, but should a sudden storm sweep through just before guests arrive you can lock in the look and keep things dry inside as if nothing ever happened. In the case of total weather havoc, make sure you can also accommodate your guests inside as a worst -case scenario. Moving around furniture so that hosting an impromptu cocktail hour inside would be a breeze is always a great idea.  Just remember, it’s all about being prepared!

tent weddings

And lastly, another thing to keep in mind when braving the elements is considering your overall look for the day.  Consider bringing a spare pair of shoes to and from the church or venue to keep your fancy wedding footwear dry and clean.  If you are dealing with high winds, also take into account that a practical hairdo is better than a windblown one. Stock up on mini hair spray bottles and a comb to touch up from place to place. And keep in mind that a little wind might just provide that fabulous photo shoot look you were going for! But don’t forget that sometimes those “ messy on purpose” looks take a lot of work!


Either way, we would never say avoid the outdoors all together.  Just be ready for anything and you will be good to go!

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal. Summer is such a popular time for weddings, who wouldn’t love getting a little sunshine on their gorgeous white gown? It’s perfect for the wedding photos, and the greenery is in full bloom. It’s safe to say summer wedding ceremonies are just too much fun, though in some areas the heat can really get to your guests. Being considerate hosts and hostesses don’t forget to take a few precautions to insure your guests stay cool and comfortable. SimplyBridal has helped you brainstorm just a few ways to stay cool!

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

5 Ways to Have a Unique and Beautiful Vintage Wedding

5 Ways to Have a Unique and Beautiful Vintage Wedding

5 Ways to Have a Unique and Beautiful Vintage Wedding. Even though “vintage” has become a popular wedding theme, there are still ways to make your vintage wedding unique and memorable. Here are five vintage inspired ideas to help you create a beautiful wedding.

Ask Guests to Leave a Message

Instead of a traditional guest book, place an old type writer on the table and asks guests to type a message. Type writers are a beautiful piece to add to your vintage décor.

Create an Old Fashioned Sundae Bar

Sundae bars are great no matter what your wedding style. To keep with the vintage feel, let ‘50s style ice cream parlors inspire your sundae bar. Be sure to remember the milkshakes.

Photography by Amy Moss

Have Some Tea

Vintage tea cups and dishware make stunning decorations. Fill with flowers and place on your tables, cake table, and anywhere else you need beautiful decorations.

Offer a Popcorn Bar

A popcorn bar isn’t only fun and delicious but also a perfect way to infuse a vintage feel into your reception. Use old fashioned salt shakers to store different seasonings. You can also include different add ins such as candy and nuts.


Leave in Style

The perfect way to end a vintage wedding is with tin cans dangling from the back from your car. Be sure to include the saying “Just Married.”





pinterest pins of the week

Pinterest Pins of the Week

Pinterest Pins of the Week.
Clothesline Slideshow
. With beautiful Chicago weather upon us, we are loving everything related to the outdoors.  Chicago has so many beautiful green spaces, so we’ve been pinning a lot of outdoor-inspired ideas.  And this pin, well it might be one of our favorites.  Pictures have often been a part of weddings, and many couples choose to play a slideshow at their reception.  But for couples who celebrate with mother nature, a slideshow might prove to be challenging.  However, this gives couples a fabulous way to showcase special memories, while still keeping with the authenticity and vibe of an outdoor celebration.  So give us some twine and photos, and we’ll be on our way!

Photography: The Leekers

Instagram  Your Day.  Speaking of pictures, are you on the Instagram bandwagon yet?  We love this fun photo sharing site, and we are particularly smitten with how couples are integrating it into their day.  This pin gives you a great idea of just how easy this techie idea is.  Choosing a hashtag and letting your guests know the tag gives a great (and hip) way to collect your wedding day memories!  #countusin

Gold + White.  This pin is proof that sometimes simple is best.  Mix and match gold candlesticks with simple white taper candles for a sweet yet refined mood.  Grouped together they make quite the statement, and we can see this idea working for a garden party or an elegant celebration in a grand hall.  Want this look on a budget?  Scour thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales for mismatched candlesticks.

Photography: Julie Cate


3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets

3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets

3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but you’re wedding day will go really fast. When it is all over with, you want to be able to look back and know that you made the most of the day and captured as many memories as possible. While planning the wedding, it is easy to get caught up in the budget and traditional must do’s, but there are some reoccurring things that brides often say they regret. Here is how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Splurge on the videographer

Most couples skip the videographer due to budget restraints. They figure the photographer will capture all the major moments, so there is no need for a videographer. The truth is photos don’t let you relive your tear-filled vows, or re-listen to the speech given by your best man or let you re-watch your best friend’s attempt to do a split on the dance floor. If you can’t afford a videographer, at least ask someone who is good with a video camera to capture some of the most important moments.

REM Video Photography

R.E.M. Video & Photography

Don’t only order a few prints

Photographers offer a variety of packages with the option of prints, a disk with all the photos, or a combination of the two. Even if you decide to have the photographer print and assemble your wedding album, you should splurge on the disk with all the images. It can be overwhelming to choose from all the pictures and you might later wish you could print other images you didn’t originally choose.

whaley picture

Timothy Whaley & Associates

Take plenty of family photos

You may be tempted to rush through photos so you can enjoy the cocktail hour and start the reception, but don’t forget to take plenty of family photos. It isn’t that often that you have the whole family together (with everyone dressed up), so don’t miss the opportunity to get some great pictures.

hazelton photography

Hazelton Photography

These are just a few of the regrets brides often have. The key to avoiding regret is taking the time to enjoy every moment and capturing as many memories as you can so you always remember your special day. While you don’t want to blow your entire life savings on one day, you do want to make sure it is special, so do the things that are most important to you.