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Can You Have Your Dream Wedding On A Budget?

Can you really have it all without the designer budget? Your wedding is the day you looked most beautiful in your entire life. In the photo album, the pictures you treasure most are the ones of the day you were born, the day you won your dance competition, the day you graduated, and the day you got married. It is one of the most important days and probably the most expensive. Is it really possible to cut any corners and still have the wedding of your dreams?

Those of us that meet our soul mates late in life feel a little bit awkward about running back to Daddy in our 30s to ask for a wedding. We have a career and probably a mortgage by this time, so running home just seems weird. The trouble is we are only in our 30s, so the lifetime of savings isn’t there to cover a dream wedding. What’s more, Dad might be retired and living on a pension in poor health.

The dilemma of what to do when money is tight is upsetting. We have always dreamed of a beautiful big wedding. We waited for Mr Right to come along, but now it seems we may have other financial priorities. Is it possible to have everything on a tight budget? Of course not. The designer dress and bespoke invitations, and a five-course meal just can’t be reached. But there are ways to make the most of what you do have, and even cheat a little!

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photo by Vanessa Kruse {LISTmember} - view real wedding feature

First, pull out your wedding file and take a good hard look through it. Pick the one thing that you absolutely must have. This may be the dress or the invitations or the venue. Whatever it is, pull that picture out and put it in a new blank wedding planner book. This is where you are going to start again from. And let’s face it, styles and ideas have progressed since you were a teenager putting the original book together.

Whatever you have pulled out of the old book to start your new file with, here are some tips and tricks to still have it in all its glory:

The Dress – If you have a picture of your perfect dress as the one thing you absolutely cannot compromise on, look at it carefully. Is the model wearing the dress the same build and coloring as you are today? If you are not the same shape and size, or you’re a brunette instead of the blond in the pic, you may need to ask yourself if this dress will actually suit you at all. Perhaps there is some detailing that has caught your eye. It could be the corseting at the back or the lace cuffs. Can these things be replicated on another dress that would suit your physique?

When was the last time you really scoured the latest bridal magazines? Styles and designers have changed. It is very likely you will find something contemporary that you could fall in love with just as much. The old picture probably features a dress you just cannot buy today. If you need your dress to be made bespoke, think carefully about your designer. You could choose a well-known established dress-maker. Alternatively, contact the local design school to see if any students stand out that would love your commission. You don’t have to settle for off the peg, but if you see the one, there is no shame in buying it or renting it from a shop. Spend the budget on the venue instead.

The Invitations – There are many things to consider in the perfect wedding invitation. You may have saved your dream one in the file because of the texture, or the font. The color scheme and how the invitation opens are both important considerations too. A good design house will reproduce your dream invitation effectively for a fee. It may be that fee stretches your budget too far. You want the designer look of grace and glamor, but without the price tag. Have a look online at some specialist invitation printers who offer quick service with a couple of clicks of the mouse. You could even look further afield to see if your money buys you more. For example, if you looked for UK wedding invitations you would see different styles and ideas to inspire you. Don’t feel bound by what you liked years ago. Part of the excitement of planning a wedding is to see what is in vogue now.

The Venue – when you put your perfect wedding book together, you may have chosen a venue that just doesn’t live up to the pics anymore. It may not be available on the date you had in mind. Most importantly, there are likely to be many more beautiful places to get married today than there were then. What was it that attracted you to the venue you had fallen in love with? Was it the pillars at the door, or was it just how it was decorated for that particular picture? While people are willing to do some traveling, the location of your venue is important if you want to maximize the guest list.


image by Jackie Cooper {LISTmember} - view more on featured interview

When you are looking for a venue, don’t just melt for the pictures. Your day will not be decorated or dressed in the same way. There are other factors to consider, like the landscaping for photos, and the interior space to accommodate your guests. The menu should always be a top priority as this will be a meal you want to remember for the rest of your life. Some wedding venues will refuse a request for you to bring your choice of chef, so this may affect which place you can choose. Others do not include a dance floor in their charges listed so you will have to pay extra for this to be utilised. Finally, if you want live musicians rather than a DJ, you need to confirm your venue of choice can accommodate them and has any appropriate licence for live music.

a&be Stylebook

The third edition of a&be bridal shop’s stylebook is epic. It is bold, romantic, a little sexy, slightly whimsical and most of all super stylish! This stylebook highlights the designers that are made with pride in the United States, the gowns that are particularly affordable, and those gown from designers you may not have heard of yet but are certainly worth knowing about!

The gals a&be bridal shop {LISTmember} think that picking your dress shouldn’t be difficult, it should be FUN, free of fuss and always filled with the joy and knowledge that the dress will be worn on the day that you get to entwine yourself to your love.

Below is a preview but go to a&be bridal shop to preview the complete book.


Bridal Gowns: a&bé bridal shop {LISTmember} | Photographer:  levi tijerina photography Florist: lalé florals {LISTmember} | Venue: river bend and lyons farmette {lyons, co} | Stylist: emily smoot | Hair: matthew morris salon | make-up: alchemy mineral blends

Nov 28-30: Lela Rose Bridal Dress Event

Join anna be Thanksgiving weekend to shop from one of their favorite bridal gown designers, Lela Rose. From Friday – Sunday, an extended collection of these gorgeous wedding dresses will be in the shop, giving Colorado brides the chance to find your designer gown with vintage details and a contemporary appeal. The collection ranges from $4,995 – $6,995. Book your appointment today as these appointments will go quickly.

Call or book online: Anna Be {LISTmember} – 1575 boulder street, denver, co 80211 – 720-855-1111


Beautifully embellished fabrics are the foundation for Lela Rose’s glamorous yet whimsical gowns. These impeccable gowns use unconventional fabrics that are fitting for a Colorado bride (Lela should know as a graduate of CU-Boulder!) who is looking for casual luxury and refinement.

Spotted: The Naturalist

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J.Crew ruched wedding dress / The best buttonholes Groom, $12 / Reindeer Moss /Whimsical Spring wedding flowers and wedding reception centerpieces /  Enhance Your Space With the Natural Look of Twigs and Trees /  Twilight wedding / Inspired by this Equestiran Garden Wedding Shoot Inspired by This Blog / Style Me Pretty / Lela New York Weddings  / Cottingley Fairies Inspired Woodland Bride Photoshoot… – Love My…

Engagement Party with Emerald & Gold

We partnered up with our friends over at Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine to create this engagement party styled shoot. The new The Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Denver was an old bank building that recently got renovated into a sleek modern hotel with vintage touches. This became our inspiration for the shoot with the colors emerald and gold.

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Photography: Rachel Gomez {contributing photographer for COUTUREcolorado} | Venue: The Renaissance Hotel | Event Planner & Designer: Pink Paisley Events {LISTmember} | Florist: Lale Floral {LISTmember} |  Bakery: Langilicious Fine Pastries | Paper Goods: Idea Chic | Wardrobe Stylist: Jill Carter {LISTmember} | Videographer: Khodge Films {LISTmember} | Makeup Artist: Raquel at Beauty Mark

Cheers Coasters available on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE


Armitage & McMillan

Goldyn {LISTmember}

Inspyre Boutique {LISTmember} - available on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE


Willow {LISTmember}


Adriana Neves - available on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE

Elaine B Jewelry {LISTmember} – available on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE

Goldyn {LISTmember}

Marcia Moran 

Willow {LISTmember}


Rustic Glam in the Foothills

Notes from the bride, Liz: 

My husband and I met in an interesting way….on a camping trip (hosted by mutual friends). After coming down the mountain from a high-altitude and snowy fishing trip (it was June 1), my future husband arrived with multiple trout. No one else was as lucky. I wanted to learn how to gut a fish, and he was pretty cute. So, as he avoided talking to everyone, I walked over to him at the river and said, “I like your fish.” That was the start to our romance!

John and I chose to get married at Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain. We thought it was a perfect fit since we met in the mountains. Boettcher Mansion had an elegance that was important to us. As a Southerner, who was a North Carolina Debutante, I wanted to integrate Southern sophistication into our wedding as well. Luckily, my husband let me take (most) of the control on our wedding vision.

Graciously, he let me pick out the morning suit, which he and the groomsmen wore to the wedding. I never saw anyone where morning suits here in Colorado. I was tired of seeing weddings where guests showed up in shorts. The morning suits were different, sophisticated and very Southern. Moreover, I always loved art deco style. Though it’s popular now, I insisted on this theme, but with bright colors instead of the usual neutrals. I chose fuschia, grey and cream. Everything flowed together beautifully. The art deco theme added another twist into the elegant wedding in the mountains I desired. Additionally, though I paid homage to my home state, I also tend to march to the beat of my own drummer. Thus, I added unusual aspects to the wedding like pincushion flowers in my bouquet. If it’s unique and beautiful, I tend to love it.

Any good Southerner knows that your guests should not have to ask or pay for anything. It’s a party and my guests were not going to worry about anything. John and I provided transportation on limo busses from the Hotel Monaco to and from the wedding in addition to babysitting, as this event was only for adults. Alcohol, and lots of it, was flowing from 2 bars for our guests as well. We had everything from the local whiskey of Leopold Bros. to St. Germain.

Lastly, and most importantly, was our ceremony. As I’m Jewish and John is Catholic, we chose a non-denominational ceremony that showed our uniqueness in our wedding vision and as a couple. We chose to hire a “celebrant,” who took vast amounts of time to get to know us as individuals and as a couple. Instead of traditional vows, we incorporated many fun traditions from multiple cultures including a wine box and Celtic knot tying vows. It was so fun and unique to have ceremony that was different from the norm. Of course, we did have John step on the glass at the end of the ceremony to complete the marriage. We walked into Devotchka and out to Hall & Oats. Overall, our wedding was filled with a mix of traditions, sophistication, mountains, friends, and incredible amounts of love.


Photographer: Kokoro Photography | Wedding Planner: L Elizabeth Events {LISTmember} | Venue: Boettcher Mansion | Florist: Bella Calla | Dress Designer: Pronovias | Makeup Artist: Alchemy Mineral Blends | Hair Stylist: Carrie Richards at Henry’s Salon | Cake: Azucar | Celebrant: Keith Horstman | Caterer: All Love Catering | Transportation: Denver Limo

November 28th: Sample Sale at Blue

Black Friday is BLUE Friday at Denver-based bridal boutique, Blue {LISTmember}. At sample dresses up to 90% off, you do not want to miss out on this trunk show!!!!

Call for an appointment 303.446.2583

Blue Bridal is located on the 16th street in Downtown Denver:500 16th Street, Suite 222, Denver, Colorado 80202


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