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#TBT ~ Bitchless Bride Video #11 - Meet My Parents & Learn About Managing Your Wedding Budget

Brideys, back in 2012, before I comfortable spouting the truth, openly, I used to wear a hot pink wig and sunglasses to hide my identity. And, in this video, (one of my absolute FAVORITES) I somehow, I got my Dad + stepmom to wear hot pink wigs, sunglasses and rock the camera with some advice on your wedding budget. This originally posted in August of 2012, but is still SUPER relevant today. Oh! and Don't forget to check out the OUTTAKES! My dad had some trouble with his "part", gets frustrated, and swears like a lunatic... Totally priceless!

An Online Wedding Dress "Shop" with Tons of Imagination, Tons of Spunk and No Bullshit

Soooo.... I must say, that I not only am OB SES SED with these stunning wedding dresses, but I am truly amazed at the idea behind the gown! Bridey, allow me to introduce you to Lyra Vega Bridal, an exquisite online wedding dress "shop" with non-exquisite prices. Lyra Vega allows you to try on your wedding dress in the comfort of your own home, eliminating the stress and illuminating everything you love about being a bride. Honestly? It's fucking genius. It's fucking smart. It's fucking awesome. Totally wish I thought of it... Here's a few words from the boss lady (and a pretty FAB coupon!!!):

Lyra Vega Makes Finding the Perfect Dress Oh-So-Simple!

Be honest: how many bridal stores have you been to and how many dresses have you tried on only to hate everything you put on your body? Oh and let's not forget the price tag! You're going to wear this dress for one day and yet pay a whole months' salary, where’s the rational in that? 

As modern day women, we work hard and play hard, we make smart choices, we break glass ceilings, and we do it all with style and grace – so when it comes to shopping for our wedding dress, why are we settling for painful visits to bridal stores and trying on a million dresses you don’t like, unrealistic pricing, or waiting in line to fight 50 other women at sample sales to score a deal? It is time that our wedding dress shopping experience reflected how far we’ve come.

Lyra Vega wants to change up the wedding conversation. By combining online shopping with the wedding dress search, they’re bringing convenience and transparency to the wedding dress shopping experience, while offering elegant, beautiful dresses with modern details.

Started by women who have gone through the every day grind, the Lyra Vega team understands how hard it can be to save up the cash to pay for a wedding, and they believe that every bride should feel as beautiful as they look on their special day, while preserving resources for more future chapters to come in life. 

Shipping is always free with Lyra Vega, and right now, Bitchless readers get to enjoy an exclusive discount ! Enter promo code “BITCHLESS” at check out for a 10% off your order!

Bridey, two words: You're Welcome!!!! 

Don’t Force a Square Peg in a Round Hole! 5 Ways to Hire the Right Wedding Vendors for You!

Every now and then I get an opportunity to "go corporate" or work with corporate clients instead of brides. Usually this means that I'll do some event consulting, or plan a large meeting/event/gala, etc., and it's while it's definitely a nice break from wedding planning, it's still a lot of work (sometimes in a super concentrated amount of time). And, if you're not a good fit with their internal team, life can be totally brutal. I mean… No matter what you do for work, bridey, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been in a situation that sucked the life out of us from the get-go because the team was doomed from the beginning. It’s funny, I’ve been around the block enough to know that when the fit is wrong, everything else becomes difficult. Even the things that should be fun or simple are trying and painful. 

So, when the last company I almost worked with said they had some concerns regarding my chatty and gregarious personality (how could they?!!), but still wanted to pursue my services, (something I found to be completely ass backwards, but anyway…) it got me thinking about why hiring the right wedding vendors is so important when you’re planning your wedding. I mean, I could have worked with this client, but if I can't feel free to be myself, then inevitably it would have been a rotten fit and awful experience. That said, I turned down the “opportunity”, but gained great insight into my strength and then reflected on times when I should have turned down working with certain brides and vendors alike. 

So, how do you know when you have found “the one” or the right vendor? Here are 5 ways to weed out the best wedding vendors for you! 

1. Bridey, you have to trust your gut! It seems painfully obvious, right? Well, for some, it’s not when it comes to hiring the right person to DJ, photograph, cater, etc. your wedding. We are wired in a way that usually steers us in the right direction, and you should absolutely trust your intuition. Don’t overanalyze. I know, you’re a bride, that’s what you tend to do, but don’t. Don’t ruin it if it’s right or feels too easy. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Ease of conversation… How’d the meeting go? Did you feel comfortable? Were immediately drawn in? Awesome! Then fast forward to your wedding day, a day when feeling comfortable with the people in your immediate circle is of the utmost importance. Is this somebody you want to see and communicate with on your wedding day? Or, perhaps this is that last person you want to see on your wedding day or ever again for that matter. Either way, don’t overanalyze it. Just go with it.

3. How do they fit in your budget? Bridey, this is a tough one. Because your gut will likely push you towards the most experienced, most celebrated and most award winning vendor, and sometimes that means that they are also the most expensive. So, what’s a bride to do? Determine which service is most important to you, and spend accordingly. For instance, if you LOVE music, and want your guests on the dance floor the whole night, then decide to hire the best band or DJ, and then make monetary cuts elsewhere. Those of you with a big ol’ budget can have it all, but most of you will need to prioritize where you spend your money. So be fucking smart.

4. Still not sure? Then ask for referrals from other brides/couples or even other vendors they’ve worked with. I’d say go to Yelp!, but I because I feel like that kind of review site is totally one-sided, I’d much rather have you speak to somebody who experienced their services first-hand. 

5. Trust the timing of your life. Wow! That sounds so trite, but things really do happen for a reason. And, as I approach 40 fucking years old, I can honestly say that I should have trusted myself and my situation more than I did. So, if you know that you found the right wedding vendor for your needs, don’t question it, go with it. Trust the way found each other and trust your own judgement.

Bridey, I can’t tell you how fucking important it is to have a strong group of vendors that you trust on your wedding day. These people can literally make or break your event, so, trust yourself, trust your gut and trust the timing of your life. Got it?

Image via Toothpaste for Dinner

***FLASHBACK*** Does Hiring a Wedding Planner Really Save You Money? The Real Answer to That Burning Question...

"Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Bridey, this is probably one of the most asked questions in the entire wedding industry. "Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Well, and this one, "Why are wedding planners so expensive?" And, you know what? There really isn't a "clean" answer to these burning questions. Just a bunch of industry professionals feeling like they have to justify why they are 100% necessary in the grand scheme of your wedding. So, I thought I would jump in and explain it. No bullshit. No smoke and mirrors. Just plain ol' facts. Ready?

Quite honestly, asking if a wedding planner will save you money is somewhat of a loaded question. Do wedding planners know all the right people in a world that you don't? Yes. Will that save you tons of time, and anguish as you narrow down your wedding vendors? Absolutely! Think about it... We have spent years cultivating relationships with our vendors, which should make you (bridey) more comfortable with our referrals. Because not only do "our" vendors not want to disappoint you, but they definitely don't want to disappoint us. Sounds so badass, right? But, it’s true. Personally, I have vendors who I LOVE LOVE LOVE, and who LOVE LOVE LOVE me back. And it’s not because of the money, it’s because of our history and relationship.

Think about it like this… A wedding planner will bring the right vendors, to you, as opposed to you having to do extensive research, and find them on your own. You will choose from a short, tried and true, list of vendors, instead of a long, quite possibly, shitty, list of vendors that you found from several different websites. Right there? That's time back in your life. Time that you didn't waste looking for the right fit because it was delivered to you. Plus, your planner will then sweat the nitty gritty and make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride. Ted Bauer said perfectly, "It's no longer 'time is money.' Now time is literally the new money." I couldn't have said it better myself (so I didn't!).

But, here's the thing that really gets me upset. Accountants, realtors, and even used car dealers do shit for people all of the time without justification. But, wedding planners? We always seem to have to justify our professional existence. What the fuck? Right? I mean, for years, I did my taxes myself, and you know what? For years, I fucked them up! (Seriously, I don't know who I thought I was to be responsible for my taxes!!) And, that was something that was annual, not a once in a lifetime event!! But, when I hired an accountant, not only did he fix all of my previous mistakes, he showed me where else I could be doing better. Same goes for realtors... I could sell my house by myself, but why would I, when I could pay somebody who knows what the hell they're doing, to do it for me? And you know what? No justification necessary. Just get 'er done! Sell it!

So, will a wedding planner save you money? Yes! But, probably not the total cost of their fee. But, they will save you a tremendous amount of time (the new money), and all of your sanity… How can you put a price tag on that?

Image via The Context Of Things

Recently Engaged? Congratulations! 5 Steps to Take Before Falling Down the Wedding Planning Rabbit Hole

It’s that time of year again… It’s what I like to call “engagement season”. Yup! ’Tis the season when several million happy couples take the next glorious step in their relationship, and decide to tie the knot, take the plunge, buy the cow, get hitched, plight one’s troth (I think this is probably my fave), walk down the aisle, become husband and wife, lead to the altar, etc., I really could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you get the point! No matter what you call it, you’ve decided to get married, and that’s fantastic… But, the thing is, most of you are embarking on a completely new and somewhat scary endeavor together. I mean, what should be amongst the greatest time and experience in your life is also one in which you’re about to spend a ton of money, fight about stupid shit (um, like linens and flowers), and open many of pandora’s boxes. Sounds fun, right? So, how do you keep your sanity and preserve the sanctity of your relationship before falling down the wedding planning rabbit hole? Try these 5 steps:

1. Enjoy being engaged! Live it up! Right? It seems so obvious, and yet so many brides (and grooms) rush into the wedding planning with hopeless abandon! Bridey, don’t rush it… Take some time to show off your beautiful ring and simply be engaged. You don’t have to know the details right away. Seriously, there’s no trophy for who can plan their wedding the fastest. So, chill the fuck out. Take this time to really be with your fiancé and embrace why you want to get married to him (or her)! Because marriage is much more than just a wedding, right? It literally symbolizes the first day of the rest of your lives together. And, if that’s not what it means to you, then run away… Fast, and NOW! 

2. Get the BIG discussions out of the way before you even think about planning your wedding. Look beyond your wedding day, and discuss your life after the honeymoon. Bridey, have you talked about having kids? Have you talked about what each of you want out of your career(s)? What do your finances look like? The sooner you tackle these big talks and determine if you two are on the same page, the better. I’ve seen couples deteriorate shortly after they get married simply because they got so wrapped up planning one fucking day, that they forgot to plan the rest of their lives! Focus on what matters, and remember that 99% of the time, people don’t change. For example, if one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, then put the planning on hold… Probably forever… 

3. The wedding budget! AHHHHHH!!! Bridey, set your budget early, and then fight like a lunatic to stick to it. Oh, and add 20% in miscellaneous bullshit to that total. YUP! 20 fucking percent! I really can’t explain it, I just need you to do it! Listen, the budget has the potential to ruin everything; even your relationship. So, start doing your homework to get a feel for what wedding-y things cost where you live, and prioritize. How? What do I mean? See number four.

4. Determine what is most important to you two as a couple, and incorporate it into your wedding. For some of you, it is an open bar and music, and for others it is impeccable décor and food. Whatever it is, own it and filter out the rest… Spend your money and your time planning the things that will make your wedding day awesome, and then politely decline free advice from those eager to give it. Remember that this is the one day in your life where you get to call the shots, and make it all about who you are as a couple. So, fuck the peanut gallery and focus on what you want!

5. Take a vacation. Have a lot vacation sex (But, use protection… Nothing speeds up wedding planning like an impending birth!). Have fun! Enjoy each other! Come home strong and unified before the reality of wedding planning sinks in, and times get a bit strenuous. 

Some advice as you make your way through the planning? Make a pact and limit the wedding conversation to once or twice a week. Talk about other stuff… Like you used to before you got engaged. Don’t make every conversation and date night a planning session. Got it? Good! Then bitch less!!! 

Image via MARATHON

Two Engaged Couples Planning a Joint Wedding? Sound Crazy? Think Again!!

Bridey, although I am asked quite frequently, I don't usually post/promote shit like this because oftentimes, I find TV shows in the wedding space to be a complete and utter abomination of an industry I love (and love to hate). Usually these shows are an over the top celebration of bad bridal behavior, and it pisses me off. But, this concept struck me. What if there are brides/couples out there looking to save some money, and have a joint wedding? OMG! How awesome is that? It's a fresh concept that doesn't damn the industry and celebrate shit behavior, but actually promotes saving money and having fun!

Sooooo... Here are the deets: They are looking for couples from all over the United States, and these couples can be best friends, relatives etc., gay, straight or whatever... But, they must be looking to join forces and join weddings. Oh! And the company behind this idea? An Emmy Award winning TV & Film Production Company based out of Los Angeles, CA. #Justsayin'

Bridey, if you're super FAB and looking to plan a joint wedding then email Casting@TFCasting.com with the following info to be considered:
Full Names:
Ages:
Location:
Relation to Each Other:
Recent Couple Photos:
Brief Description of Where You're at in the Planning Process:

Good luck! And, don't forget to keep me posted!

XO,
BB
 

Does Hiring a Wedding Planner Save You Money? The Real Answer to That Burning Question...

"Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Bridey, this is probably one of the most asked questions in the entire wedding industry. "Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Well, and this one, "Why are wedding planners so expensive?" And, you know what? There really isn't a "clean" answer to these burning questions. Just a bunch of industry professionals feeling like they have to justify why they are 100% necessary in the grand scheme of your wedding. So, I thought I would jump in and explain it. No bullshit. No smoke and mirrors. Just plain ol' facts. Ready?

Quite honestly, asking if a wedding planner will save you money is somewhat of a loaded question. Do wedding planners know all the right people in a world that you don't? Yes. Will that save you tons of time, and anguish as you narrow down your wedding vendors? Absolutely! Think about it... We have spent years cultivating relationships with our vendors, which should make you (bridey) more comfortable with our referrals. Because not only do "our" vendors not want to disappoint you, but they definitely don't want to disappoint us. Sounds so badass, right? But, it’s true. Personally, I have vendors who I LOVE LOVE LOVE, and who LOVE LOVE LOVE me back. And it’s not because of the money, it’s because of our history and relationship.

Think about it like this… A wedding planner will bring the right vendors, to you, as opposed to you having to do extensive research, and find them on your own. You will choose from a short, tried and true, list of vendors, instead of a long, quite possibly, shitty, list of vendors that you found from several different websites. Right there? That's time back in your life. Time that you didn't waste looking for the right fit because it was delivered to you. Plus, your planner will then sweat the nitty gritty and make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride. Ted Bauer said perfectly, "It's no longer 'time is money.' Now time is literally the new money." I couldn't have said it better myself (so I didn't!).

But, here's the thing that really gets me upset. Accountants, realtors, and even used car dealers do shit for people all of the time without justification. But, wedding planners? We always seem to have to justify our professional existence. What the fuck? Right? I mean, for years, I did my taxes myself, and you know what? For years, I fucked them up! (Seriously, I don't know who I thought I was to be responsible for my taxes!!) And, that was something that was annual, not a once in a lifetime event!! But, when I hired an accountant, not only did he fix all of my previous mistakes, he showed me where else I could be doing better. Same goes for realtors... I could sell my house by myself, but why would I, when I could pay somebody who knows what the hell they're doing, to do it for me? And you know what? No justification necessary. Just get 'er done! Sell it!

So, will a wedding planner save you money? Yes! But, probably not the total cost of their fee. But, they will save you a tremendous amount of time (the new money), and all of your sanity… How can you put a price tag on that?

Image via The Context Of Things

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Why Finding the Right Venue Can be as Difficult as Finding the Right Sig Other... 5 Ways to Overcome Venue Finding Hell

Bridey, one of the most difficult parts of planning your wedding is choosing the right venue. I mean, there are so many factors to consider, and people to please that what used to be a fun experience has turned into more of a daunting task. Sorry, but true story! So, rather than let it get the best of you (and quickly), get your shit together before you start your journey so that you don't end up wasting a ton of your time, and that of those trying to help you. How? Well, let me help you get started before you lose your mind!

First of all, bridey, do your homework. I know that it's super exciting to start the process of searching for the right venue, but before you can even begin researching potential venue sites, you and your sig other need to sit down and determine a few important factors. Do your homework! Because, now is not the time to be impulsive. Outside of the down payment for your house, this is going to be the next biggest expense of your life. So, don't fuck it up by being impulsive and reckless. Determine your budget (give or take). Determine an approximate number of guests so that you know which venues will work, and which ones won't. Determine reasonable accommodations and concessions for your guests... Etc. Etc. Etc.

1. Budget: I know that this is difficult, but bridey, it's the most important factor when choosing your venue. At the very least, try to figure out what you have to spend overall (wedding venue, wedding dress, flowers, transportation, etc.), and what you have to spend on your venue (where you'll spend approximately 50-60% of your total budget). Have a 'worst case scenario', and a 'best case scenario' mapped out, and be honest. Better to overshoot than undershoot when it comes to your budget.

2. Number of Guests: While there is no way to know the exact number of guests this early in the game, at the very least try to figure out an approximate number. Why? Well, if you begin visiting sites without knowing how many people you're going to have at your wedding, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You'll fall in love with a place that will either be too cavernous or too small, and ultimately, you will need to start your search over. Why put yourself through that, bridey? So, chat with your sig other, poll your parents, and set some boundaries (based on budget)... Then go look!

3. Aesthetic + Reality: Really pretty basic, no? Are you an ocean side bride or a hotel bride? Are you a rustic bride or modern bride? What do you see when you daydream? Narrow it down. Start where you think you will end. Got something brewing? Great! Well, now compare what you know about your aestheic against your budget (aka, reality). For example, I know I like modern furniture, but I also know that it tends to cost a shitload more than "normal" furniture. Ohhhhh..... yeah......

Okay, it's your turn, bridey. Want an outdoor wedding at a your parent's house? Sounds lovely! But, stop and think for a sec... Think about renting every.single.item. from forks to bathrooms to power generators (for the DJ, caterer, lighting, etc.)... Yup! Your guests will need to pee,

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Bridey, It's Not What it's Worth to You, It's What it's Actually Worth!

Show me the money, bridey! Seriously, I kinda can't believe we have to cover this. I mean... You've been doing so well, so to have to have this convo with you feels like somewhat of a regression. Look, I am all for saving money (especially as you plan your wedding), but sometimes I think you are borderline insulting when you push your wedding vendors too hard. Particularly if you haven't even hired them yet! Huh? Allow me to explain.

I was shooting the shit with one of my fave hair people as I was getting my locks cut, and as we were chatting, she told me about a bride who had reached out to her, inquiring about the cost for wedding updos, etc., and before my friend could even get a word out, this bride immediately asked if she could do "bridal hair" for $25 per person at the venue site. Now, before I go on, bridey, I just want you to answer a simple math equation. Let's say, this bride had six bridesmaids, okay? So, a total of seven girls (including the bride) getting their hair done on the most important day of this chick's life (just sayin'), and she thinks it's completely acceptable to ask a total stranger to do hair for seven girls for $175 TOTAL? REALLY? I mean... Most of us can't even get our hair cut for less than $50 (I say very generously), and this girl wants to pay $25/pp for wedding hair? Fuckin' lame.

I know I am not making myself very popular with this post, but bridey, surprisingly, this has nothing to do with your wedding budget. I could give a shit about your budget. But, let's face reality, shall we? If my hair person were to accept this job, she would lose money. A lot of money... Simply by being absent from the salon. Not to mention her travel expenses... I've said previously, that I am a huge fan of "if you don't ask, you don't get". But, perhaps some of you need to do your research before you ask (and ultimately waste your time and the time of the vendor).

This is not limited to your the vendor you are selecting for your hair, bridey. All of your wedding vendors field these kind of questions, and it gets pretty tiresome. Not because you can't afford us, but because you haven't done your due diligence. I know that you don't know what things cost in "the industry", in the same way that I don't know what things cost in your industry. But, before I were to throw a number out there (which could be insulting), I would have done the appropriate research and ask about pricing shortly after pleasantries are exchanged. See what I mean? Then you can see if there is a happy medium between the two of you, and if not, then move on; find a vendor that fits your budget.

Image via Taranaki Weddings

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Five Habits of a Successful Bride

If you do a little browsing, bridey, you'll find that there is a ton of advice out there on pretty much anything you can plug into Google, Pinterest... you name it. Hell, yesterday I poached two perfect eggs in the microwave (in 75 seconds) because I searched "eggs" while procrastinating on Pinterest! And you know what? My eggs? Fucking awesome! Perfectly poached and delicious! But, when I searched "habits of successful brides" via Google? Nada. Zilch. Zero. Now, obviously I found a TON of articles on brides, weddings, bridesmaids, wedding shows, etc., but nothing that really satisfied my itch. So, what's a girl to do? Write it herself! I mean... I am a professional after all! So, bridey, based on my experience as a planner and recalling several of my "got their shit together brides", here's what I came up with... Ready?

Five Habits of a Successful Bride:

1. Become a time management guru. Start outlining "due by" dates. Set yourself up for success. Bridey, I hate to say this, but the second that rock landed on your finger, you became the proud owner of another full time job. And when you start a new job, it's important to begin with a bang! Right? So, take it on like one... Get organized and prove your worth! To yourself!!! Get your shit together, and the rest will fall into place!

2. Set a realistic budget. Seriously, you wouldn't buy a car or a house that you couldn't afford (because the banks wouldn't let you!), and this shouldn't be any different, bridey. Except this time, there isn't a bank standing in the way of your dream, squashing your credit score and preventing you from moving forward. Right? So proceed with caution. How much do you have to spend on your wedding? What's most important to you? Decor? Flowers? Food? Booze? Figure this piece out first and then work backwards. If food is super important to you, then set a lower budget for flowers and decor. Is music important to you? Then allocate a fair amount to the band/DJ. If you are on a tight budget, then I'm sorry to say, but you can't have it all, so plan accordingly.

3. Get in touch with your internal noise canceller. Remember, while weddings are a happy time in your life, all of the skeletons and bullshit that you thought was behind you, have a tendancy to rear it's ugly head. Honestly, you need to filter that shit, bridey. Filter out the noise. Filter out the negativity. And if necessary, talk to a therapist. Because, based on my experience, family dynamics are probably the biggest stressor for my clients. And you know what's crazy?

Go Get It Girls... Broke-Ass Bride's Wedding Guide!!

So... who likes to save money? I do! I do!! Bridey's, if you are planning a wedding, then I bet you need some help sticking to and creating your wedding budget, right? RIGHT. Then do yourself a favor, go get Dana's book! She'll tell you how to have the wedding you want without tapping into your 401K!

Take it from me, Dana is a no bullshit, truth telling, kickass girl... If you haven't visited her site, check it out, but if your budget is taking a beating, then get the book! Got it?

Super Stylish Sunday ~ Why Finding the RIGHT Photographer is SO Important!

I have to be honest, I LOVE Super Stylish Sunday! I feel like it gives me the opportunity to really educate you, bridey, through pictures and today, with a great story of love, committment and an awful photographer (from 14 years ago)... Bridey, I cannot even begin to stress the importance of hiring the right photographer for your wedding. Allow me to be blunt. Ready? You get what you pay for. PERIOD. If you hire a cheap photographer, odds are your wedding photographs will look cheap too... So bridey, a little tough love? Don't fuck up your wedding photographs because you are cheap. It's the wrong place to cut corners...

So, I encourage all of you brideys to browse this amazingly lovely photo shoot, and read Helena & Gabe's beautiful story. Although, as beautiful as a story as it is, it's incredibly frustating for those of us in the wedding industry to hear about a bad photographer! Apparently, the wedding photographs taken by their photographer were so bad that they didn’t want to put them up in their home!

I love a good shoulder kiss...

 

{I am FREAKING out over the details! That bouquet, and her makeup? DYING!!}