Monday, October 20, 2014

Free $5 From Sears & Kmart (and how I was able to get snacks for our welcome bags for free)

When you have out of town guests coming to your wedding, it's customary to block a set of rooms at a local hotel for them. And then, it's nice to create wedding welcome bags for them.

We made our guests amazing bags that only cost us just over $2 each. And part of that was because I'm really good about spending free money.

Yes. Free money.

A lot of snacks we put in our bags were free from Kmart, thanks to free money. If you look, you'll see the chips and crackers all say zero. How? It's easy, but it takes dedication.

Kmart and Sears are sister stores (if you didn't know, they have the same parent company). They have a loyalty program called Shop Your Way. You can register, for free, and you'll earn points for every dollar your spend there. Points turn into credit you can use (1,000 points = $1).

But it gets better.

If you join Shop Your Way by October 22 via that link, you'll get 5,000 points for free, deposited into your account on or about October 24. That's a free $5 for doing nothing. Lately, Shop Your Way has been giving members a free 5,000 points every month. You can use it on anything up to and including $5 and get the items for free. So something like the Austin Cheese Crackers that are $1.39 for a pack of eight, you can buy three for $4.17, use your $5 credit (although only $4.17 will apply) and that's 24 packs of crackers for free. Or, if you need more, buy four packs for $5.56, use your $5 credit, and you're left paying $.56 for 32 packages of crackers. Your guests will love the snack and you'll love the price. And, if you pick "in store pickup," there won't be a shipping cost.

We did this constantly. Every time I got free points from Shop Your Way, I took a look at our wedding "to buy" list and figured out what I could cross off the list. It was so much better than actually paying for stuff. I mean, when it comes to weddings, the cost can really add up ... but so does the savings. Sure, $5 here and there doesn't seem like much, but I did it anyway. And when it came time to tally up my savings after our wedding was over, my gosh, it really did add up.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What are you gonna buy with your $5 credit?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Virtual Engagement Party: Picture Frames From Reed & Barton

This post is part of our Virtual Engagement Party. These frames were sent to ABOAB for review.

I have boxes and boxes of photos I took when I was a kid. I had an old school Fisher-Price/Kodak camera when it was modern and not old school. I won bingo on a family camping trip and used that to buy an up-to-date (at the time) camera when I was in middle school (although my friend Allison, who was actually one of our bridesmaids, tried to convince me to use the money to buy a gecko).

And then, for one of my birthdays many years later, my mom bought me a digital camera. And since then, the majority of my photos have lived in social media only.

It's a sad turn we've taken, kind of like how we all just text instead of call each other. I made it a point to make three phone calls in the morning before I sat down to write this post. I also made it a point to print and display our wedding photos because they deserve a home outside of Facebook and Instagram.

We were sent two gorgeous frames from Reed & Barton for our wedding photos.

The one above is the Carson 4x6 frame. I anticipated that it would hold my 4x6 photos nicely and had one specifically picked out for the frame, which boasts that it can be displayed horizontally and vertically.  When it arrived, though, I realized that the border of the frame was actually almost 2.5 inches wide -- making it too large to fit vertically. Of course, the photo I wanted was vertical, so I had to pick a new photo. No worries. Our photographers edited and sent us almost 1,500 wedding photos. I had another to choose from.

The frame fits perfectly on the shelf I picked. And the photo I picked is a bit more animated than any of the other groomsmen photos. I actually have this huge canvas print of me and my bridesmaids making funny faces at our engagement party. It's on our "funny face wall" (a wall filled with animated photos of our family and friends that just makes my heart so happy when I'm home. This photo of Pete and his groomsmen and our ring bearer being animated is the perfect compliment to my bridesmaids photo.

If you look through our wedding photos, you'll crack up. There are so many photos that are just filled with -- oh, what's the word. I want to say happiness, but all weddings are happy. Our photos, they're very candid and just capture everyone having fun. I mean, our wedding photos are probably the only ones that feature the groom posing in a port-a-potty.

We do have a bunch of very romantic photos to choose from too. And that's what I picked for the Kasbah 4x6 frame from Reed & Barton.

The Kasbah frame comes in a trio of colors: chai, mocha, and espresso. I originally wanted the chai (which makes me laugh because I can't stand chai tea) because it was the lightest of the colors. I wanted one where the colors on the photo would pop and the frame would disappear.

Unfortunately, though, the chai frame is out of stock until next month. So I decided, instead, to pick the espresso. It arrived and was absolutely stunning. I was so happy that the chai was out of stock when the espresso arrived.

This photo of the frame and photo doesn't even do it justice. It has a nice weight to it, which Pete noticed right away. And it is just beautiful. The light catches the silver and it shimmers. The silver catches your eye and the dark espresso color seems to fade, enhancing the photo. I'm kinda bummed because in the photo above, the colors of the photo look dulled and muted, but in the actual photo itself, they're super vibrant -- and extra so because of the frame.
The way these are set up, one is to my left and one is to my right. I can see them both from my desk, which is a nice way to smile through the workday. That's something that photos existing online-only just can't do.
Reed & Barton has a ton of picture frames to choose from. These just happen to be my favorite.
Connect with Reed & Barton: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Be sure to enter for a chance to win these frames on our Virtual Engagement Party giveaways page.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Check out Reed & Barton's picture frames and let me know which your favorite is.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Virtual Engagement Party Giveaways Are Live (Ends 10/31)

It's here. The day we've all been waiting for is here. It's the Virtual Engagement Party. I'm so excited to get the chance to host this amazing party once again.

For those who don't know, this is the second annual Virtual Engagement Party. Instead of getting gifts as the party host, I'm giving them away.

We are joining with Reed & Barton, Hallmark, House of Bachelorette,,, CatPrint,, and more to bring you great reviews and giveaways.

All the giveaway are live in this post. They all start today and end at 11:59pm EST on October 31. You must be a US resident who is 18 or older in to win the giveaways. The winners will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is selected. You are permitted to win multiple giveaways.

Through the next two weeks, I'll be adding reviews from the brands below. When the review goes live, a new option will be added in the giveaway to comment on that post. There will also be code words added during our annual #BridalBabble Twitter chats (which take place at 4pm EST on Wednesdays). Be sure to stop by the chat for the secret word.

Good luck.

Win the Carson 4 x 6 frame from Reed & Barton

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win the Kasbah 4 x 6 frame from Reed & Barton

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win the Snippets & Stories Recipe Binder from Hallmark

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win the Mrs. crop top from House of Bachelorette

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win the Orchid Stretchy Headband and black pocket knit scarf from

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win sparklers from

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a 11.5"x8.5" photo book from

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Disclosure: A Bride On A Budget received no compensation for hosting these giveaways. A Bride On A Budget is not responsible for prize fulfillment. All winning entries will be verified.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Favor Friday: Wine Wedding Favors

I don't know when it started getting popular, but wine favors are all the rage. We have a collection of wine glass favors in our cabinets, so much so that we almost didn't need to add wine glasses to our registry.

They're one of the few favors that you can assure your guests will take at the end of the night. They're reusable, which makes guests happy, and cost effective, which makes the couple happy. Everyone wins.

So of course, for this week's Favor Friday post, 

We cover everything from wine markers to wine glasses in this post. For wine, you'll have to worry about that on your own. If you're not into wine, though, the markers can translate over to other beverages. They're a lot classier than writing on a cup with a Sharpie. And speaking of other beverages, don't forget our post about the morning mimosa bar that I put together for my bridesmaids before the wedding. I used personalized drink charms on them and that was a great idea for a hectic morning.

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Chalkboard elements are really trendy right now. In fact, I made the invitation for our Virtual Engagement Party in a chalkboard theme to be on trend. If you want your wedding to have elements of what's popular, these mini chalkboard tags are perfect. You can use them to label wine at the table, wine glasses, or napkins. They also come with a chalk pen so you don't have to worry about names rubbing off while people are drinking. I love this shape, but that link will also bring you to other shapes (hearts, Christmas trees, presents) for the same price.

Purchase here for $19.95 for eight, plus a pen ($2.49 each).

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If you want your guests to remember their drink and, later, remember this was from your wedding, this set of "Cheers" wedding wine charms from Kate Aspen will do the trick. They come in a set of four, with a wedding cake, ring, heart, and wedding bells. They're a lot better for a small engagement rather than a full wedding because with 100 guests, there will be 25 wedding cake charms and there's a chance drinks will get mixed up. But they are super cute, so consider them for morning of drinks with your 'maids.

Purchase here for $2.24 for four ($.56 each).

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If your taste is a little more colorful, these high heel glass markers are for you. They stick to your glass to mark your drink, which is cute. These are really the best if you're not into wine. Most wine charms have a metal ring for the wine glass stem. These just stick so they're great for stemless wine glasses or any other glass vessels.

Purchase here for $15 for six ($2.50 each).

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If you're hoping your wine favors can double as decor, check out this burlap table number wine bag set. You get table numbers 1 through 10 in the set. Your guests can either drink these at dinner and they'll still look really great as centerpieces. Plus, then you don't have to worry about floral arrangements for each table and that will save you a bunch.

Purchase here for $44.90 for 10 ($4.49 each).

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If you're looking for something totally different, check out these butterfly-shaped wine glass place cards. They're the perfect way to double dip. Use them at your entrance table to tell people where to sit, then use them as drink markers so guests can keep track of what they're drinking. Plus, they're so eye catching. It'll look like butterflies all over your reception, which actually makes them triple as decor too. Perfect.

Purchase here for $8.72 for 50 ($.17 each).

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If butterflies aren't your thing, but you like the concept above, you can pick up these hummingbird-shaped wine glass place cards. They're a little more expensive than the butterflies, but they have all the same benefits.

Purchase here for $14.61 for 50 ($.29 each).

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For an engagement party or a shower, I absolutely love these diamond ring wine bottle stoppers. They're just really eye catching. I originally wanted diamond ring themed favors for our engagement party but I ended up scrapping the idea and just doing a red theme (this was pre-Taylor Swift laying claim to everything red). But diamonds and rings and diamond ring favors for engagement parties are perfect.

Purchase here for $3.50 each.

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I actually have the sister favor of this favor. It comes in keychain form, and that's what I have. Honestly, though, I would rather this glass starfish wine stopper. I stopped collecting keychains when I was in single digits, but we're still working on our wine stopper collection. This is really vibrant and perfect for a beach wedding.

Purchase here for $62.08 for 30 ($2.07 each).

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This is a favor that you should have if you invite me to your wedding. This heart wine bottle opener is a great idea. We have one wine bottle opener, but it's something that's always missing when we nee it. Having a back up is great. I can't imagine that I'm the only person who feels this way, so your guests will really appreciate these. Plus, it has a double heart, which is such a cute wedding symbol.

Purchase here for $1.18 each (the price goes down if you buy in bulk).

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Speaking of useful items that we only have one of, check out this starfish wine bottle stopper/pourer. They're basically two favors in one, which is nice. Plus, when we finally got one of these, we used it all the time so your guests will definitely reuse this and think of your summer wedding.

Purchase here for $30.74 for 12 ($2.56).

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If you're having a fall wedding, check out these leaf bottle stoppers. Fall weddings are hard to find favors for (trust me, I had an army of three trying to brainstorm with me last week and our efforts failed), so this is probably your best bet.

Purchase here for $186.90 for 48 ($3.89 each).

And of course, this would not be complete without wine glasses.

You can purchase them and get them personalized for free at The Knot Shop. Now, I'm going to be honest with you. Remember all those wine glasses I said we had from various engagements? We have one that only has the number one on it. All the text with the couple's name and wedding date, it's gone (I'm assuming into the bottom of the dishwasher and sink). So all we're left with is the number one. I know the couple was married in June 2011. So the 1 might be from the year. Or the fact that the couple was married on June 10. Or 17. I'm not sure. It was a Friday in June, which I remember because we had another wedding the very next day. So, the lettering, it's so nice for the day of but a few years down the line and it's basically all gone. So definitely go with a place that will personalize for free or your money will be down the drain.

The Knot Shop has the following (from left to right in the photo above): stemmed wine glasses for as low as $4.25; small stemless wine glasses for as low as $2.35 (this is the most popular size for favors, in my expert opinion); and large stemless wine glasses for as low as $3.95.

You definitely can't go wrong with any of these favors.

Note: These prices are accurate as of this posting, but all prices are subject to change at any time.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Which wine wedding favor is your favorite?
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