The Cheap Chic Couple

(Or How To Enjoy The Finer Things In Life Without Breaking The Bank)

Wedding Invitation Seals Made of Salt Dough January 16, 2008

wedding seal 2          wedding seal

We like the idea of having a seal on the wedding invites but rather than buy the wax seals, I decided to experiment with salt dough instead, which is an extremely inexpensive alternative, given that it’s basically just salt, flour and water.

I simply took a stamp (we found one a couple years ago with our initials – ‘A’ for ‘Ascalon’ and ‘M’ for ‘Marshall’-when we were down at the Hollywood Toy and Costume Store and had to buy it), pressed it into a piece of salt dough that I had rolled out into a thin sheet, let it air-dry, and painted it with black and metallic gold acrylic. I waited for it to dry before painting on a layer of varnish.

 For the salt dough recipe and more cheap chic tips, go to


Have A Gifted Friend Make Your Wedding Cake

cheap-chic-debbiescastlecake.jpgIf you’re on a tight wedding budget, consider having a gifted friend or family member bake your wedding cake.

Perhaps it’s because we’re big fans of Ace Of Cakes on The Food Network, but it’s no surprise that when it came to our wedding cake, we wanted it fun and quirky, so we decided on a madhatter cake.

When we were doing our cake sampling, a lot of the bids we were getting for a madhatter cake to feed 80 guests was in the high $600 range. While we have a reverence for the artistry that goes into making a wedding cake, and respect for the fact that these bakeries do have a sizable overhead, that price range would throw our $7,000 Cheap Chic Wedding Challenge budget out of whack.

We were pretty lucky that over the Christmas holidays, I bumped into an old friend, Debbie Cordova. Years ago, she had baked a beautifully simple yet elegant wedding cake for someone at work, and it had been absolutely delicious. We had even commented on the fact that she should have her own bakery instead of doing property management.

Debbie still hasn’t opened her own bakery liked we urged her to do way back then, but from the pictures she sent me, it looks like she’s kept honing her craft all this time. We can’t wait to try her cake samples, and have her do our wedding cake because we know it’s going to be fantastic.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a Debbie of your own, here are a few more tips to consider:

  • I’ve heard that Albertsons actually makes a pretty decent wedding cake (although you’re probably going to be limited to what designs they have available, design-wise).
  • You may also want to consider getting a small cake just for the cake-cutting, and get sheet cake (in the same flavor as your smaller cake, of course) to serve guests.

For more Cheap Chic ideas, go to


Handmade Wedding Invitations January 15, 2008

In our household, green is really good, and we reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse as much as we can. So, what better way to incorporate this aspect of our lives into our wedding than to handmake our own wedding invites from recycled paper?

I had so much recycled paper due to my line of work that I got into papermaking as a hobby. I guess it made me feel better knowing that although I was cutting so many trees down, I was using them in a good way. It’s one of the ways I reuse and recycle. I save practically every scrap of paper I get my hands on – the unprinted borders on white paper, glossy magazines, direct mail pieces- and I turn them into handmade paper crafts.

These are just a few of the things I’ve come up with over the past several months:
PRESSED FLOWER PANEL – I took some of the petals from the bouquet Corey gave me for our 1st anniversary, embedded them into the paper when I was making it and weighed the sheet down with a heavy book. A new twist on pressed flowers for the incurable romantic!
Pressed Flower Panel
RUSTIC JOURNAL – Corey loves journals, so I made him one using recycled paper. I used a twig and a leather string for the binding, pressed some leaves I found just outside into the “cover”, and used a coconut shell button that fell off one of my handbags and string as a “lock”.
handmade journal
POSTCARDS- I always have ziplocs of “found” items that I initially never know what to do with, and the ladybug just happened to find the perfect spot to land eventually. I drew the coffee mug with that puffy stuff that goes on t-shirt designs to give it an interesting texture. The martini glass, I drew with a regular felt-tipped pen. For texture, I mixed olive green paint into good ol’ Elmer’s glue and dabbed it onto the handmade paper to give the olives a 3-dimensional look.
Ladybug Postcard
Drinks On Me Postcard
I think I should be able to come up with wedding invites that are elegant, reflect our commitment to environmentalism and don’t cost an arm and a leg.Stay tuned to see what I come up with!
For more Cheap Chic ideas, go to

The $5,000 Cheapchic Wedding Challenge December 19, 2007

They say the average wedding in Southern California costs $33,000.

We are 10 months away from our October 2008 wedding, and the quotes are coming in for wedding cakes, venues, flowers, gowns, what-have-you, and while it’s nowhere near that $33,000 magic number, the one line that goes through my head after a visit with one of these wedding vendors is, “ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME?!!!”

The mortgage consultant in me – the one who gives clients a stern lecture about taking the cashout from their refinance and putting it towards their daughter’s college fund or putting it back into their homes (great for value appreciation) instead of blowing it on a spiffy sportscar that strokes their egos and nothing more- can’t even comprehend how a couple-unless one of them had a last name like Trump or Hilton- could spend that kind of money on the Big Day. I know it’s the most important day in every couple’s life but $33,000 ? Come on! You can pay the closing costs and the down payment on a starter home. A starter home which would give you major tax deductions, and grow in equity over the years.

Having worked as an ad agency account exec prior to becoming a mortgage consultant, I also had to handle some event planning for my clients. We would do a decent markup on the vendor items, but it’s interesting how the mere mention of the word ‘wedding’ is reason enough for the markups to go through the roof.

So what does this cheapchic bride-to-be and her fiance decide to do ? Take up the $5,000 Cheapchic Wedding Challenge.  I have planned enough successful events in the past to where we can do without a wedding planner.  I make handmade paper as a hobby so we will be making our own custom wedding invitations. We just walked through the L.A. Fashion District over the weekend and found a store that would sell us two 50 yard-rolls of tulle for only $60, and 20 yards of gabardine for $1/yard (the vendor was going to charge us the same amount to rent it, but I intend to do something arts-and-craftsy with the runner after the wedding). I found these elegant burgundy floor-length gowns with intricate beadwork for my bridesmaids at $76. Corey found beautifully made black paisley vests ($29) and ivory shirts ($15) that his groomsmen could wear over and over at special occasions, and that was just the start.

We didn’t make it down to the Wholesale Flower Mart before they closed but we know we’ll find some really sweet deals there as well. 

Will we meet the $5,000 Wedding Challenge? Who knows, but it’s a lot of fun to try. Plus, it’s one way to ensure that we won’t be up to our eyebrows in wedding debt on our first day as husband and wife.