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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Budget (30)


Throwing Down the Wedding Gauntlet

There was a moment I had in our wedding planning. It was a moment that I don’t often have, particularly in all manners of The Budget.

It was a “Fuck It” moment. It was a Financial “Fuck It” Moment (FFIM).

We (and by “we” I am mean “I”) had determined based on our salaries, some pre-wedding estimates and a lot guesses on my part,  a budget $16K for a wedding in Nashville, TN. I had talented friends (make-up artists, musicians, event planners, home décor vendors), I was creative.  I could make this work.

After writing my last post about tuxedos and reading all your wonderful comments, I realized there were some things that got sacrificed.

There were expenses that came up that they don’t talk about in wedding magazines or on the glossy, pretty pictures of some wedding websites. We had to pay over $1000 for transportation for family members who otherwise would not have been able to attend our wedding. One of our main reasons for having a wedding at all was that we wanted our closest friends and family to be there. So we paid.

We had to pay several hundred dollars for hotel costs for the very same reasons. Those costs bled over into tuxedos as well as a few other areas of our wedding. If we’d had more time, fewer geographical constraints, more money….

Fast decisions were made. What you want, what you want to see and what you want to feel all start to bleed into one another when you’re planning your wedding. It’s impossible to  know how to separate them out from the jumble of logical, emotion and those oogey places in-between.

For us, family, friends and food stayed amongst the top priorities. These were followed quickly and with most seriousness by funds, fashion and fun.

Our friends and family were amongst us and that made us happy. The food was good, but not the greatest. Far from the worst. Flowers and clothes were simple, but pretty. Funds were tight, but not severely limited. It was definitely “us.”

But there were the things like our unexpected  transportation expense. We had to come up with money for things people just don’t talk about. How many people have paralyzed future brother-in-laws who have limited funds and limited long distance transportation abilities?  Has anyone ever read an article in Brides magazine about how to accommodate your loved ones with wheelchairs, walkers, or canes? I can’t think of one.

My FFIM came after we had enough money to pay all of our vendors. The little things that kept popping up? I decided that a LITTLE manageable debt would be okay. I’m not talking thousands of dollars, I’m talking hundreds. We could bounce back after the wedding. We would be okay. So I just said,”Fuck it.” It simply wasn’t worth the stress of trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

I realize that not everyone planning a wedding has the financial freedom to throw the financial f-bomb down like a wedding gauntlet.

But there was that moment when I just decided I could no longer worry about [insert your worry here]. I could enjoy the last bit of our engagement or I could be miserable. It’s here that we can make the choices.

What is making/made you miserable in your wedding planning and how did you/can you overcome it? 


Lineage Bridal

OK, so I do sponsored posts. I do them for cashola. I don’t do them if they suck. Trust me, y’all. We bloggers get some FUNKY requests in regards to advertising. Dude. For reals. Some of it’s totally twisted what folks want to pay us to write about. But we don’t. Because money isn’t EVERYTHING. Even when you’re effin’ broke.

So now that you know this, it’s now supposed to mean EVEN MORE when I talk about Lineage Bridal, because I’m not getting paid to write about it. So here’s the skinny.

I met Natasha and her partner Jodene at a bridal show here in Charlotte when I first moved here. I really liked their concept. I really liked talking to them. We exchanged cards. We met for coffee. Natasha and I talked wedding smack and then we got into talking about some of our favorite kinds of charity work. I was a super-slacker volunteer with Mustaches for Kids, an event that Natasha headed that raised money for abused kids.

So on top of what I’m about to share, she’s a good person too.

OK, so Lineage Bridal isn’t a brand new concept, but it is a totally different way of approaching things.  What things?

Offering practical alternatives to the traditional and expensive gown, Lineage offers a diverse and stunning collection of couture bridal gowns at a price our brides can afford.

It’s a pre-owned wedding website, and coming within the next few weeks? A LOVELY pre-owned wedding boutique here in Charlotte! How exciting is that?

Let me tell you, Natasha has been working her ass off, traipsing all across the country gathering gowns for sale at a reduced price.

Wedding gowns are required to be three years or newer, retail $2500 or above.

These are not budget gowns, but they are much cheaper than the original cost. But I know what you’re thinking…ick, right? Who wants a  pre-owned gown? Well, I I’ll tell you what, I would have NEVER KNOWN THE DIFFERENCE .

Natasha invited me (meaning TruLu Couture) to join her in selecting some accessories for a bride. She has a temporary set up until her shop opens in a few weeks, but check it:

The Thirty-Something Bride Lineage Bridal1


The Thirty-Something Bride Lineage Bridal5


The Thirty-Something Bride Lineage Bridal7

She’s got a handful of gowns available for sale on her site.  She’s pulling together a bunch more too! And here’s a cool twist on the whole pre-owned thing, other than having a real-life boutique experience, she can FIND you the gown of your dreams! She’s got a small finders fee, but it’s totally worth it!

image image image image

Look at this level Vera Wang for $2990, originally $4990!

Check out her website, Lineage Bridal for a taste of what she offers. You can contact her at info@lineagebridal.com if you’re looking for a designer gown at a reduced price. And I’ll let you know as soon as her shop opens so you can have that boutique experience, get a designer gown and pay MUCH less than you would elsewhere.

Love it!


{Partnered Post} Personalized Wedding Napkins!

You know, there were so many little things that I wanted to add into my wedding that I simply never got around to. Time. Money. Time. Did I mention time? One of those things was personalized wedding napkins like these. I totally envisioned my little crab stuffed cucumber wheels being passed about with napkins with our names or “Eat, Drink and Be Married” on them.

Yes, I know. This might be cliché in our little wedding blog world we live in around here, but to guests? It’s all pretty unique and fun. To me? Totally cute.

Back when I was a bride, I had read on some blog somewhere about Gocco-ing some napkins and when I looked into that process, I was floored by the cost of the Gocco machine! That was definitely one of those instances where the DIY was way more costly than the item itself.

I knew stamping was an option, but it had the potential to bleed ink on the cheap paper napkins and I really didn’t want to deal with the mess, to be honest.

I should have just ordered them because, for goodness sake, they aren’t that expensive at all!

In fact, the folks over at American Bridal.com have a ton of super-cute options but a very affordable rate! With over 28 napkin colors, 9 ink colors and 40 designs, you can create a wedding napkin that matches the style and colors of your wedding perfectly. I would have done the eco-friendly kraft colored cocktail napkin with the “Eat, Drink & Be Married” logo and our names and wedding date in chocolate brown. Done. And 100 of them are only $21.95. WHA? Seriously. I probably spent that much in time alone researching how to DIY them on-line. CLASSIC bride error. Some things are just easier to buy, y’know?


Personalized eco-friendly beverage napkins.


Personalized guest towels.


Personalized dinner napkins.

So what do you think about personalized napkins? For a smidge over $20 (before shipping, natch), you can order them from AmericanBridal.com and be done. And here’s a cost savings idea if you’re thinking “But wait! I have more than 100 people coming and they will certainly have more than one drink!” Order the 100 napkins and mix them in with an alternating color. That way when they are presented on the bar, or cocktail tray, or even the hand towels in the ladie’s loo, it will still look cool and you’ll save a little dough!

See, I’m always thinkin’…Smile

*This is a Sponsored Post.


Budget Bashing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the hullabaloo that happened last week here on T30SB. I’ve read through all the comments over on Wedding Wire. Lots of people think I was wrong to comment and some folks supported me here on this blog, fewer on Wedding Wire.  I knew when I hit the “submit” button that I’d end up with a shit storm of negativity and I was right. Not that creating a shit storm was my intent, mind you. Nor the negativity. There are times however, that I must write what I feel and that’s what I did.

What I saw afterwards is what compels me to write today’s post. It’s the thread of comments that happened on Wedding Wire afterwards as well as some comments made here on that post. The issue? Brides verbally beating the shit out of each other over the cost of a gown.

As I understood it, the original poster was hurt because her friend slammed her inexpensive gown. I think everyone can agree that kind of comment can hurt. Then someone slammed me saying that my $1300 was a waste of money for something I wore for half a day.

So wait a minute. Let me get this right. It’s NOT okay to slam someone for having an inexpensive gown but it IS okay to slam someone for having an expensive gown? How does that work?

I did some quick research. The Bridal Association of America listed the average cost of a wedding gown to be  $1505 in 2006 (most recent info from them). The Knot and The Wedding Channel did a survey and in 2010 listed the average cost to be $1099. I got married in 2009, so the trending down of the price of a gowns puts me right about average, methinks. But this isn’t about me defending the price of my gown. It really isn’t.

What I want to talk about is why the cost of my gown matters? Or why the cost of anyone’s gown other than yours is important? My knee jerk response to this is that we’re jealous. We spend too much time on the eye-candy, comparing what we want to what we can afford. Do brides start to slam one another out of sheer jealousy?

I can only look to myself for these answers at this red hot second. Yes, I had wedding envy. ALL. THE. TIME. There were so many things I wanted. I wanted the wedding on a Saturday, but we couldn’t find a venue we could afford to do so. So we had it on a Sunday. I wanted to wear Louboutins. Silly, but true. I wanted letterpress. I wanted garden roses and ranunculus. I wanted I wanted I wanted. But, I did what I could afford and it ended up being fantastic for us, letterpress be damned.

I think we’re all quick to judge certain weddings. One of my besties got married ( you can see her Unfake Wedding recaps here, here, here and here) and the budget for my wedding could fit in the back pocket of the budget for her wedding. Her gown cost more than my entire reception. Now, am I mad at her for that? Do I think she’s stupid for spending that much money? Do I judge her for the vintage car that delivered her to the ceremony? Do I begrudge her the vodka ice luge? Of course not! First of all, she’s my friend. I’m happy she found the love of her life. I’m happy she got her dream wedding. Was I a little jealous? Of course!

Because she’s my friend I am privy to certain info. I know that her parents had been saving for her wedding since she was born. I know Marie herself saved for it. For her and her family, weddings matter. The celebration mattered. But what matters to one bride, may not matter to another, budget or no.

The only time I might personally pass judgment on a bride is of she and/or her family went into serious debt for a wedding. In this day and age, I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. I certainly wouldn’t tell a bride I was thinking that because it’s really none of my damn business.

Which brings us back to the question. Why are brides lashing out at each other over the cost of a wedding? So you think it’s stupid to spend a lot of money on a gown. OK, you don’t have to. But WHY  lash out at someone who does? Because it doesn’t fit into your personal belief system or idea of what a wedding budget should be?

Message boards are a snapshot. They don’t tell you what a person’s financial situation is, what they’re relationship status is. It goes back to a post I wrote a long time ago about things that happen behind closed doors. We can’t look at a snapshot, at someone from the outside and think we know it all. I know I’m guilty of this still, though I write about it. I try not to. I try to remember that I don’t know a person simply from a post on Facebook or what I see of a friend’s marriage from the night we had out together. How can we as brides (me, as a former bride) be so thoughtless to one another? And perhaps the defense of myself and the post I wrote was thoughtless (Yes, yes. I know there are many of you who think so.). I haven’t come to that conclusion yet though because I did put a lot of thought into it and how I felt, so my personal jury is still out.

It just doesn’t seem right though, this back and forth about what’s right, stupid, meaningful or otherwise. Is there something I’m missing that explains this away? Tell me, what are your thoughts on budget bashing? 


Dear Pan X.

I got a shit-ton of hits this week from Wedding Wire from a bride who decidedly did NOT like my post on Vera Wang’s White line offered at David’s Bridal.

Here’s the comment:

Soooooo just had a friend trash my dress because it isn't a "real" Vera Wang dress. She likes this blog http://www.thethirtysomethingbride.com/imported-20100102151706/2011/2/1/davids-bridal-vs-vera-wang.html Which is the thin [sic]I blame for this situation. I really do not like that blog, because the blogger is such a snob all the time while pretending to understand and sympathize, even support brides on a budget. I hate dress snobs. You can afford Vera Wang made of 100% silk? Good for you. Now leave me alone to enjoy my polyester dress in peace please. This is one of those girls who spends $400 on a Coach Wallet she really can't afford, because God forbid she pay bills if she has to use a cheap wallet.

Thought I'd reply here to a few accusations tossed my way....

First, if you don't like me or my blog, I am way OK with that. Lots of people don’t. If you don't think I'm supportive of brides and the choices they make, I'm OK with that too. The great thing about being human is that we get to make decisions about what we read and don't read, do and don't do. It’s good to be human, no?

As for being a dress snob - perhaps I am. I've attempted, over time, to explain the differences in the price of gowns so that brides who might not know the difference between the quality of a DB dress and designer dress don't become overwhelmed and/or feel inferior about about their dress choice. It appears that what I think I’m doing and how you feel about that are not one in the same. Please note that it is not my intention to be a dress snob. I will admit that I am a quality snob, but that’s not limited to dresses.

However, I do feel somewhat personally attacked. Some of the things you said in your comment lead me to believe you’re not a regular reader, so I want to clarify simply because  like a lot of people, I’m insecure and don’t like to be spoken about negatively.

For the record:

  • I could not afford a Vera Wang dress. My original budget was $800 for my gown. I ended up with a Mikaella gown that cost me $1300 before alterations. The ONLY reason I could afford the dress was because my mom slipped me an extra $500 on the sly because she knew I was having a hard time finding a gown I loved in my price range.
  • As I’ve mentioned many times before (though you may not be aware), I am a seamstress and designer by trade and training. The reason I talk about the differences in the gowns is to educate; to explain why one dress is more expensive than another. If you don’t care, that’s fine. For me, it pisses me off when I see cheap dresses being sold at any price just because of the label on it, hence my Vera Wang White post.
  • Now, as for the bit about the Coach wallet and paying my bills? Um, screw you. Yeah, I said it. And everyone who might be supporting Pan X. and her comment and rant on dress snobs? THINK for just a minute about how a comment like that might make you FEEL. Screw the bits about the dress snobbery- that’s just superficial fluff in the big-life-picture. What if, for the sake of her comment, that I am reckless with my money? What if I have regrets a-plenty about the money I’ve spent? I certainly don’t want to see that and have it thrown in my face, deserved or not. Would you? HOWEVER, you Pan X., could not be more wrong about me and the state of my financial affairs, as if they were any of your business to begin with. I learned a long, hard lesson about finances when I was in my early 20’s and I paid for it, literally, for years. Since then, I have NEVER purchased a product (other than my house) that I could not pay for in cash. Ever. Whether that thing be a $400 Coach wallet (for the record, nope) or the 2 for $15 t-shirts at Old Navy (for the record, MANY times). I have a credit score that would make your head swim and I helped my husband increase his over 100 points with smart financial planning. We paid for our wedding ourselves without going a penny into debt, our assistance amounting to the $500 my mom gave me. I have been unemployed for a year and have JUST dipped into our “big” savings account to help us along. I can be unemployed for at least another 13-14 months before worry sets in. Why? Because I planned. Because I saved. Because I never lived beyond my means. Because I played it smart when everyone else I knew was throwing money around like it was confetti. Because I work hard for my money.  And you know what?  I’m PROUD of this fact. So do me favor, OK? Before you go talking about people and assuming certain things about their personal lives, dig a little deeper (or just ask). All that crap is somewhere on this blog, you just have to read.
  • Lastly, instead of blaming me because I choose to put my thoughts, experience and knowledge out there regarding the differences in the DB Vera Wang and the real deal, I might consider your choice of friends. People who say that kind of shit to each other are generally insecure or unhappy about something. I honestly don’t think this is about you, this blog, your dress or Vera Wang. I think this is about the “friend” who said a mean thing that upset you. And for that I’m sorry. No one, and I mean no one should be made to feel bad about their choice of dress, or anything associated with their weddings, despite what this blog, your friend or any other website might tell you. Period.

I wrote all this here only because it wouldn’t fit in the comment section on Wedding Wire.