- Balancing Beauty and Bedlam - http://beautyandbedlam.com -

Our Family Wedding: Frugal Fashionista Style


We’ve all heard of or been a part of a wedding where the Bridezilla stories come to life. My heart aches for those brides and mothers of the brides where the “Perfect Wedding which must Impress ALL” desire steals the joy of their special day.

I believe that every little girl deserves her dream wedding. Somewhere down deep, we all dream of our own fairy tale wedding, but what I also know is that a Cinderella storybook day can happen for everyone, no matter what the budget. It begins with the heart attitude, and a little creativity.

Last month, I had the privilege of being a part of my niece’s Cinderella day. If you follow me on facebook [4] or instagram [5], you’ll recognize these photos. In the midst of wedding day craze, I managed to steal a few phone photos, but that was about it. I realized that everyone was sporting either thrifted outfits or clothes that were snatched up at some severely discounted prices.

The first picture, above,  was taken moments before my niece was to walk down the aisle. There were some “technical” difficulties, which delayed the start of the ceremony, and instead of freaking out, which most wedding parties would do, my three nieces started a game of ping pong, oh yes, they did.

That wonderfully laid back, I am grateful for every moment of this day, mentality was just one unique reason why my sweet niece radiated joy throughout her day.


Her desire was that her guests felt loved and appreciated.

When most brides want to take in a day where it’s all about them, (which is absolutely fine because that is what your wedding day is about), she just wanted everyone to enjoy themselves.

Now some might say, she did this to a wonderful fault. On Wednesday, my niece realized she hadn’t gotten a dress for her rehearsal. Yes, the rehearsal and large party that was on Friday evening, so Thursday she headed out to Goodwill and the Lord hand picked the perfect dress just for her. Now, as much as I love a good thrift store find, I DO NOT recommend waiting til the day before your event, since most likely, you will not find what you are looking for, but in this case, it was a special God “find.”

She couldn’t wait to tell me what she found, and wow, she radiated – gorgeous. The intricate embroidery gave the appearance of a high end dress and it fit her like a glove, all for just $5.

Now, please hear my heart on this. A wedding is the most special day of your life. If there’s a time when one wants to splurge on something extra special, this is definitely the time to do it, but I am just sharing that there are options. I am here to celebrate those options. Their choice was to invest in the most gorgeous reception hall and not spend money elsewhere.

In addition, my niece is very much like me when it comes to fashion. If it’s beautiful, and you love it, it doesn’t matter from what store it comes.


The same held true for myself and the mother of the bride when it came to the rehearsal. My pink dress was a silk thrift store find for only $5, where as my sister in love’s gorgeous mother of the bride rehearsal dress was found at Belk’s outlet for only $21. Yes, only $21 and it was gorgeous.

She went a few times and found both this dress and her actual mother of the bride dress below.


That gorgeous blue dress was only $27, and it looked as if she spent hundreds.


It was so elegant, if you can get beyond this iphone quality pic.


My niece  purchased her dress at a rock bottom price. Since I didn’t get her permission first to spill the beans, I won’t, but I love that she found a dream dress without breaking the bank.

Because she was sensitive to our budgets as well, she didn’t insist that we order matching flower girl dresses. As a mom of one of the flower girls, I was so appreciative. Her dress was not pure white, but a bit off-white, so that was the only stipulation.


Since the two girls walked down the aisle at different times, you could not even tell one bit that their dresses weren’t identical shades. I searched Goodwill for a month to no avail. The other flower girl’s dress was found at JC Penny’s outlet for only $16, but they didn’t have it at ours.

After scouring department stores and still not finding something off white for a reasonable price, I sent out a plea to a friend, and would you know that she had the perfect dress in my daughter’s exact size??  We replaced the brown sash with white and my daughter even wore the exact same necklace that I wore on my wedding day. Yes, something borrowed, even for her.

I love “God Send” stories like that.


I was willing to splurge a bit and buy something new for this wedding. Since I was singing a solo, I had no problem budgeting in some special fashion funds for the night, but when I found this dress the month before, I knew that this would work perfectly for a summer wedding in NC.

My entire outfit, with accessories, dress and shoes, totaled only around $10 and trust me, it’s more than fun for me to mix and mingle feeling such as “designerish” as the ladies who spent hundreds. :)

[13]The earlier technical difficulty I spoke of early came in the form of our ring bearer who had no pants. Yes, with the wedding beginning at 4:00, reality hit that his pants were no where to be found. Everyone kept assuming that others had them in their car, and at 3:55, a friend was sent out to Once Upon a Child to grab pants – any pants. It was quite the hilarious moment, but grey pants were found and if we hadn’t announced the funny story to the whole church, no one would have been the wiser.  Trust me, our sweet Edison was a stud, and he puts all other ring bearers to shame. :)

[14]I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my sons sense of style, and the fact that they don’t care where their fashion comes from as long as it looks “cool.” (Is how they often put it.)

Since all three sons all well over six feet now, we are branching out past just yard sale and thrift store finds to TJ Maxx and Ross, but I’d estimate that 70% of their wardrobe still comes from my thrifting finds. All of their outfits (shoes, shirts, pants, and ties) are a combination of thrift store and whole sale buys, and they all are looking pretty sharp on our small fashion budget. If you have a teen son, I’ve written about this topic before in my, “Can Teen Guys and Thrifting for Fashion Work [15]?”


I wish I could go person by person and tell you all the amazing prices and finds. My other sister in law also wore some adorable finds at both the rehearsal and wedding as well, but since I’m writing this at wee hours of the morning, I didn’t have a picture on my phone or facebook. Just know, it’s definitely a family affair. We’ve even been known to find tuxes at Goodwill for wedding, but I have yet to out that dear family member without permission. :)

My desire of this post?

To encourage and celebrate the fact that dream weddings and Cinderella fairy-tales come in all different shapes, forms and pocket books.

I can 100% guarantee you that the millionaires that were in attendance at this wedding are absolutely none the wiser.

Have you ever found a great fashion find just when you needed it?

I’d love to hear about it.