August 17, 2009

New Giveaway: Lego Bride and Groom

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 9:31 pm by Dory

One of my favorite things when I was planning my wedding was all the different bride and groom pictures out there (I may have to dedicate an entire post to it, actually). I came across a Lego bride and groom, and I was hooked. I had to get them!

It was actually surprisingly easy (and free!) to get this adorable couple. Some brides use it as decoration. Some use it as a cake topper. Some just like to have it on display in their home (that was me). Well, I thought I would pass on the directions as to how to get this couple for yourself.

All you need to do is email Lego’s customer service and say that you are getting married. They will actually send you a couple (and an arch set and flowers) for free! Of course, the bride and groom may not match your hair colors, but it’s still quite cute!

As wonderful as this may be, I am going to give one lucky BrideSaver reader a set of their own. You won’t have to wait for shipping from Lego (which will take a while, I promise).

If you would like to win, just post a comment saying how you would like to use your Lego couple. The contest will be closed on September 7 at midnight. Good luck!

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July 25, 2009

Embroidered Tote Bags

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 10:11 pm by Dory

For my bridesmaids, I knew I wanted to get an embroidered tote for them. The problem was that I could get literally about a hundred different styles, and they were between $5 a pop and $100! Being the thrifty bride that I was, I did not want to pay an arm and a leg, but I wanted something that was going to be durable, sturdy, cute and practical. So the search started. This is the style that I was looking for:

JustEmbroideredTotes.Com:

I was determined to get a cheap tote bag, as I had other things I wanted to give my bridesmaids as well. As I was looking at prices and styles, I realized I loved the basic tote, but I was worried about buying something that might fall apart in a couple years.

That being said, I had recently seen a teaching friend’s bag, and it was HUGE. I immediately had Bag Envy, and I knew I needed to get it. Any guess as to where this amazing bag was from? Land’s End. I decided to get the Extra Large for myself, and I got the large sizes for my girls. When we got them in, I LOVED the number of inside pockets it had. What a great bonus!!! So, yes, they were a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I am SO happy with the result (and my girls loved them too).

Buying embroidered tote bags:

May 7, 2009

Things-I-Love Thursdays: Grooms Cakes

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 5:05 pm by Dory

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Things-I-Love Thursday, but I think it’s about time. I’m hoping this can bring us over the 3,000 hit mark!

As one of my surprises for my husband, I had a custom groom’s cake made for him of the Virginia Tech football stadium (Lane Stadium). I had first called Charm City Cakes, which is known for their TV show Ace of Cakes. As awesome as it was to get a response back from them, I was not going to pay the $2,000+delivery. I talked to the country club that was hosting our ceremony and reception, and their pastry chef would be able to do this for what seemed like a steal for what we got (let’s just say it was less than my dress).

Here is how Lane Stadium looks:

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Inside Lane

And this is how it turned out:

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I would say they did a pretty awesome job!

In honor of my love of groom’s cakes, I welcome you to send me your favorite pictures of a groom’s cake. I would like to devote a few posts to this, simply because there are so many amazing cakes out there. Send them to me at BrideSaverBlog@gmail.com.

Ok, since this blog is all about saving money, the cake only cost $400. Besides the photography, this is my favorite thing about the wedding. Well worth every single penny!

May 3, 2009

How to Get Your College Mascot to Appear at Your Wedding

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:16 pm by Dory

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Throughout our wedding, I wanted to have a few surprises for my husband. One of them was to get the Hokie Bird to appear at our wedding. Both of us went to Virginia Tech, and our college is such an important part of our lives together.

We had heard from a friend that the Hokie Bird can appear at weddings, but there were rumors that you needed to “know someone” to get him. I decided to at least try. I looked on the VT Athletic Department website contact page under Marketing and Promotions, and found a number through that.

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It took a couple of days to get a call back, which is totally understandable. This department does have a lot to do, after all!

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Once I talked to someone from the department, they temporarily put our wedding on the schedule, and then called me back in a couple weeks when they knew the student could actually come. timanddorywedding-1060

And it was really cheap! $200 plus gas. And all the money went directly to the student. I loved that part of it.

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This might not work for all sports teams, but the moral of this story is… TRY! You never know until you ask. And for us, it was incredible!

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March 2, 2009

Giveaway: Custom Peggie People

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 12:01 am by Dory

In honor of our first 700 hits, I am so excited to introduce our first giveaway with Etsy seller Suzy of NakedPeggies. Suzy makes such a unique assortment of Peggies.

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“What is a Peggie?” you might ask. A Peggie is a little wooden person that comes in several different shapes and sizes. They can be customized to make a bride and groom,

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a family,

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or even your favorite movie characters.

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I personally love the Star Wars Peggies.

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Suzy is such a sweet woman who is so excited to be able to be a part of BrideSaver. When I originally approached her about being our first giveaway, she responded with “I LOVE helping people save money!” Now how often do you hear of a vendor with that type of attitude? It is because of that response that I know she fits into the BrideSaver family.

How did you get started making Peggies?
“I have ALWAYS loved to paint things for friends and recently I had my own kids (boy 4, girl 3) And they LOVE homemade things, and they LOVE to craft and paint with Mommy! SO, as a stay-at-home mom I am always trying to save money.
“Before Christmas, I was looking online for dollhouse people to fill the dollhouse for my daughter that I had painted all types of furniture for, and I couldn’t find anything I liked. THEN I saw some wooden dolls, unfinished, and decided to paint them for her to look like our family. I bought WAY too many and decided to sell them off on ETSY but before I knew it I couldn’t stop coming up with new ideas for painting them and I couldn’t stop! My husband thinks I am nuts because with each new creation I giggle in anticipation! They make me laugh out loud when I am painting them.”

What is your most favorite thing to paint?
“Custom bride and groom cake toppers. I LOVE to get all types of pictures from the bride and paint the little ones to match as close as possible to the actual attire they will be wearing. The more unique the better!!”

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So, Suzy is offering one set of her “Custom Happy Couple” Cake topper with pedestal for mounting to one of our lucky readers (a $45 value), because these are too fun NOT to share!!

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So here’s how the giveaway will work: write a comment in this post. It will ask for your email address, but your email will only be able to be viewed by me.  I will choose one winner randomly from those that commented. For additional entries, just subscribe to this blog and post in the comments that you are now a subscriber!

Comment away! You have until March 14!

March 1, 2009

Free Fonts

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 5:24 pm by Dory

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with finding a bunch of different fonts. It started with trying to find D’Nealian fonts for my classroom, so I could make my own handwriting practice sheets for my classroom, and it ended with me adding about 15 different fonts.

I thought it would be helpful to make a list of the websites I used:

Out of all the websites, I love DaFont the best. They have such a variety of different fonts, and their site is so easy to maneuver.

Another one of those sites that you’ll really want to check out is Fonts for Peas website. Amanda is incredible! She actually turns your handwriting (and doodles) into a font! She has very detailed directions, and you can bet that as soon as I have access to a scanner, I will be sending her my handwriting sample.

Directions for Windows:

Once you’ve decided which font you want to use, download it and open the file. On the toolbar, you will need to click on “Extract All.” After the file is extracted, it will be in the font format you need.

Then, go to the windows bar, open the Control Panel, and click on Fonts. After the Font window is open, you will just need to copy and paste the downloaded (and extracted) file to the File window.

February 19, 2009

Things-I-Love Thursdays: Dyson

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 6:45 pm by Dory

When the commercials first came out, I thought the Dyson vacuum cleaners were SO cool. Then I went to the store and saw the price. At that point, I thought $100 was a lot for a vacuum.

Fast forward a few years, and the carpets are covered in cat hair from our long-hair cat and the Bissel has just died. Now what to do?

Being the careful consumer I am, I did all kinds of research on the DC14 and DC17 Animals, and they looked pretty good. Most everyone loved them, and I was pretty impressed. But the price was still getting to me.

Finally yesterday I was disgusted with the mess, went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and to try out the models they had: DC25, DC14, and DC 17 Animal. I found out, however, that I couldn’t get past the DC25- it was light-weight, the ball technology was amazingly easy to maneuver, and it really sucked (and in the good way). But I still hadn’t heard much about the DC25, so I went home to do some research.

So today after work, I went back the BB&B with my 20% off coupon in hand (I actually had a bunch of them), and bought the $500 machine for $400. Don’t you love saving $100!!!???!!!

Yes, it was a lot of money, but I’ve never been this excited to do some housework. And it even works on the hardwood floors: you just have to turn off the brush button.

I’m SOOO ready to have the house get dirtier, so I can vacuum again!

February 4, 2009

How to Buy a Dress

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:02 am by Dory

As a follow-up to the previous post about finding, buying, and selling a dress, I thought it would be helpful to explain the best way to get that dream dress at a fraction of the retail price.

Just some background: once I sold my first dress, I decided it was time to start looking again (I actually had started looking before the dress was sold, but I wasn’t going to be serious until I had the money in my pocket). I went to every single dress store in my area, trying on what must have been 20+ dresses. They were all very pretty, but none of them were The One.

Casablanca 1795 was an early front runner.

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As was Casablanca 1842 (but I didn’t like the tafeta material)casablanca-1842

This Paloma Blanca dress (#3608) was my favorite, but I didn’t like the price.img_4595

After looking for a while, I decided to visit my Maid of Honor and future sister-in-law and go dress shopping. And then we found it. It was sitting on a manequin, and we both oogled at it, but thought it would just be way out of our price range. I tried it on immediately, and I didn’t want to take it off. I had found my dress. But the price?

The tag said $998, and it made me cringe a little, because I only wanted to spend $700 on a dress. I went home and called a few other shops to do some price shopping. The lowest I found was $850. Not so great.

So I decided to be a little risky and call some online sellers. I was in luck. There were some places that sold it for $800, but others that sold it for $500! I was suspicious, so I went to the Better Business Bureau website, and did some investigating on them. They were legit businesses. Then I went to the Casablanca website and made sure they were legitamate sellers of the dress. They were. I was sold. I could have my $1000 dress for $500. I’ll take 50% off any day!

So here are my tips to saving big on dresses:

  • Go to every dress shop in your area (and some outside your local area as well) and just try dresses on! You’ll never know how a dress looks and feels on you until it’s actually ON you.
  • When the salespeople ask what your budget is, either tell them the price doesn’t matter or set the budget for way higher than your actual budget. I do have to warn, though…
  • Know your budget, even if you don’t tell the salespeople.
  • Take pictures of the dresses you try on. It’s important to be able to look back after a few days and see yourself in the dress. Does it look as good in pictures as it does in person? Remember your perspective of looking at yourself in the dress is different than if you take a picture and see the full effect.
  • Mark down all designer and model numbers.
  • Make sure when you’re in the shop, you mark down the color options of the fabric, lace, embroidery, etc. This is often the hardest part of dress shopping, and it really can make or break a dress. A diamond white dress often looks horrible on pale skin. What complements your skin tone?
  • Each designer calls their colors different things. An ivory to one designer might be an eggshell to another. What exactly does your designer call your color? Oh, and don’t be swayed by the name of the color. My dress color is champagne, but it is much lighter and closer to ivory than you would think.
  • Once you find The One, make sure to mark the designer and style number down.
  • Do a web search for the dress. See if anyone is selling it on Craigslist, Ebay, etc. What price is that?
  • Start calling bridal stores in the area for the best price.
  • Call online retailers to compare prices, such as Pearl’s Place, R. K. Bridal, Jay’s Bridal, Chrissy O, Scarlett’s Closet, Jay’s Bridal, Lee Philip Bridal, Netbride, Bride Power, Best Bridal Prices, etc.
  • It helps to make a chart as to who you talked to, the day, and the price quoted.
  • Once you decide where you’ll buy the dress, go to any seamstress and get measured. Usually, you only need to have your bust, waist, hip, and hollow-to-hem measurement. Hollow-to-hem is best described as your collar bone to the floor. Make sure you wear the shoes you will be wearing (or about the same- you need this for height).
  • Call the retailer you will order the dress from, get a size chart and figure out what size you’ll be.
  • Pay by credit card. You are more protected this way.
  • Wait until the dress arrives. Try it on to make sure it fits!
  • Love that dress, get fitted, get it pressed (you’ll probably save money by NOT going to a seamstress at a wedding dress shop), and wear it on your big day!

February 2, 2009

Selling a Dress (that’s not The One)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:14 pm by Dory

Every bride (except maybe one or two) dream of their perfect dress. Dress shopping is the first thing they do when they get engaged, and it usually ends in tears (but hopefully happy ones).

I was like most brides when I went searching for my dream dress. I went to every single wedding dress store in the area just trying on beautiful dresses. Then, one day on a whim, I found a dress on the sale rack, tried it on, and bought it immediately. I thought I was getting a great deal because I paid $400 when it was originally $1000, I thought it was the dress of my dreams- not white, lace, fitted, and it was not strapless.

But then I changed my mind.  I didn’ t like the way my stomach looked in it, my shoulders looked too wide, and it was WAY too not-white (it was gold as opposed to ivory). I needed a new dress, but I first had to sell the one in my closet.

I posted on every single dress-selling website I could find (unless I’d have to pay for the post- I wouldn’t do that). No luck. I posted the dress on Craigslist. No luck. Finally I went to The Knot message boards and started looking at posts where brides wanted to buy specific dresses. I then looked up the dress they wanted, and if it looked similar, I would send a message to that bride.

Finally my idea worked, and I found someone who wanted to buy it for $200. She paid (via Paypal) and it was shipped for her wedding (which was in a month). Of course, after that, I had about 3 other women contact me, wanting to buy it at a higher price. Oh well.

So here’s my advice if you want to sell a dress:

  • Post on any and every website you can, including Craigslist, Bellancora.com, BravoBride.com, EncoreBridal.com, OnceWed.com, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, SaveTheDress.com, SellYourWeddingDress.com
  • Make sure you price the dress under what you paid, but give room to negotiate
  • Make sure you have pictures of the actual dress
  • List the following information: actual size of the dress, your dress size, color, designer, material, model number, original price paid, pictures of the dress (both manufacturer and actual), measurements of the dress, and any alterations done to the dress
  • A dress has a better likelihood of selling if there were no alterations done to it.
  • Be quick to respond to questions
  • Be willing to go to message boards and email people who may want a similar (but not exactly the same) dress
  • Be patient!

January 21, 2009

Where to Buy Candy?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:18 pm by Dory

I thought that my first official post would be about candy buffets. After going back and forth with a lot of different ideas for favors, Tim and I decided to have a candy buffet. We were able to find the jars and scoops second hand, and so all we had to do was to get the candy.

First, we decided the types of candy we wanted. We then started by going to our local Costco just to get a base price. Here’s what we found:

  • About 3.5 lbs of chocolate raisins for $9.79
  • 200 York Peppermint Patties for $11.59
  • 3.5 lbs of M&M’s for $7.09 (Peanut M&M’s were the same price)
  • 3.75 lbs of Hersey Kisses for $8.79

We then went to some online stores to price compare. Here’s the breakdown of M&M prices to show the difference at each store:

  • Bulkfoods.com: 2 lbs 13 oz for $13.33
  • Candydirect.com: 2.8 lbs for $18
  • Candywarehouse.com: 3.5 lbs for $15
  • Groovycandies.com: 5 lbs for $26.95
  • Metrocandy.com: 3.5 lbs for $11.43
  • Sugarstand.com: 3.5 lbs for $16

So if you are going to buy candy online, it seems like Metrocandy.com might be the best place to shop. Otherwise, stick with a local bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club.