Flash Book Bridal

Rock N Roll Wedding in Asheville

Dana Schiffman

Everyone knows that Asheville is the place to come if you want to spend big money to get married in a shabby chic barn, sitting at large picnic tables with mason jar centerpieces. But for those of you who prefer the kitschy feel of a vegas style elopement, Fleetwood’s is here for you.

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In 2017 Fleetwood’s opened on Haywood Road in the building where Daggitt’s Pawn Shop once occupied. It’s not just a bar, or music venue, or thrift shop, or a place to take Instagram worthy photos… it’s also a rock n roll wedding chapel.

The typical wedding in Asheville costs just over $20,000 (2017 statistics from The Wedding Report). However, there are still a lot of budget conscious couples who are looking to spend less, a lot less. Fleetwood’s stepped up to offer basic weddings from $99, and $399 weddings that cover almost everything except catering.

The love for all things vintage is apparent when you walk in the door. Clothes, accessories, records, and even some truly unique pieces of furniture are there thanks to owners Christi and Simon, who are also the minds behind Asheville Flea for Y’all. With their other partner, Mary, the owners of this establishment not only make Asheville a better, cooler place for the people that live here, but hope to drive wedding tourism for people who want an alternative to flying to Vegas.

Four nights a week, Fleetwood’s features events like music, karaoke, movie nights, comedy and more. Unlike a lot of other clubs in the area, Melissa, the friendly booker and barkeep pays special attention to book acts that are women, minorities, and LGBTQ.

On February 14 they have an extra special annual event, a Valentine's Day Mass Wedding. At this fake wedding, officiated by local comedian Blaine Perry, you can marry yourself, someone else, or anything you love. Like, seriously… anything: pets, comic books, your job, or a concept, WHATEVER! They will supply the ring and a Fleetwood’s fake marriage certificate to commemorate the event. A fun-filled reception will follow with a champagne toast, cake, and a DJ dance party for participants and guests alike.

Learn more about Fleetwood’s by visiting their website or showing some love on Facebook & Instagram.

The Only Wedding Planning Tool You Will Ever Need

Dana Schiffman
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I have always gravitated to jobs that require me to do a lot of budgeting and organizing. So when I got engaged, it was only natural that one of the first things I did (after calling my loved ones, of course) was to make a spreadsheet. I was excited to jump into planning a wedding: writing up guest lists, setting budgets, collecting addresses, and nailing down a timeline.

As time went on and I my wedding got closer, the spreadsheet I made just kept improving. Since then, I have cleaned it up a bit, made it more visually appealing and am now making it available to you! In it, you will find a plethora of helpful tools.

However, you should keep in mind that some things may not be helpful for your particular wedding. You may need to add or remove items, columns, rows or even whole tables to match what you need… And you are encouraged to do so! This wedding planning spreadsheet is a tool, not a rule, so edit away.

You will find tabs for the following items:

Timeline

Outlined in the spreadsheet is a 12 month timeline. Again, feel free to edit it if your engagement is longer or shorter than 12 months. It includes items like when to book a venue, send saves the dates, buy your dress and even a reminder to write checks to your vendors.

Write a Draft of the Guest List

This is an important step to consider before you set your budget! If you only want to spend $3,000, but wat to invite 200 people, you may need to reconsider your guest list.

Wedding Budget

Planning the wedding budget was my favorite part! In this spreadsheet you will find a column for your estimated costs, and a column for what you have actually spent. That way you will be able to see if you are overspending in a certain area (those catering costs can get out of hand fast).

Invitations

Once you refine your guest list, you can track who you are inviting, their address, if you sent them an invite, if they have sent back an RSVP, and if they are attending any other wedding events like the rehearsal dinner or a Sunday brunch.

Seating Chart

If you are assigning seating at your wedding, this page will help you visualize who goes where. You can add or remove tables depending on the size of your reception.

Gifts & Thank Yous

Thanking your guests is a big part of starting your newly wedded life. While most experts say you have up to three months to thank your guests, I recommend you do it as soon as possible. This spreadsheet will help you do it quickly and efficiently! On it you can track who you got gifts from, their address, what the gifts were, and if you sent them a thank you card. It even has a column to track and calculate cash gifts!

I have set up the spreadsheet so that it’s easy to use, even for a novice. However, if you are stuck, I recommend turning to YouTube for a tutorial. Here are a few that you may find helpful and will work for an excel or google sheet download:

How to add / remove columns and rows
How to calculate a sum

Happy Planning!

Ditch These 10 Items to Save Money on Your Wedding Day

Dana Schiffman

When you look back on your wedding, there will be a few things you will definitely remember: the moment you first see your future spouse, saying your vows, spending time with your family and friends, boogying down, your friends that you found hooking up in the utility closet... All of the other stuff kind of fades away. So for couples trying to keep costs low for their wedding day, consider ditching (or changing up) these 10 items to save some money and concentrate on what really matters.

Garters used to be used by women to hold up their stockings. Since clothing styles have progressed a bit since then, save a few dollars and ditch this outdated tradition. Also, it’s a little weird to have a whole room of people watch your spouse go for an adventure under your dress.

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Table Flowers can be a significant expense for weddings. Instead of paying exorbitant costs for flowers, consider making your own centerpieces. Or, if you really need some flowers, grab some vases at a thrift store and hit up my #1 place for flowers… Trader Joe’s.

Bouquets have really evolved over the years. Fake flowers, felt flowers or a bouquet made of buttons or broaches are totally common place now. But if you need the real thing, you can make your own bouquet from flowers you found at the farmers market or Trader Joe’s (seriously, that place has incredible flowers, I can’t get over it!) Here is a great tutorial on how to make an elegant bouquet.

My best friend since 4th grade, cracking jokes at the alter.

My best friend since 4th grade, cracking jokes at the alter.

Hiring an Officiant can be expensive and impersonal. Instead, involve a friend or family member by asking them to marry you! Depending on where you live, there are different rules, but they can use American Marriage Ministries to make sure it is legit where you live. Best of all, they can become ordained for free.

Traditional Wedding Venues can be beautiful, but they can also be very expensive. Find a place that you like to spend time, and reflects your personality. Something like a brewery, concert venue, park, library, college campus, your own back yard, or an art gallery. In Asheville, we even have our own Rock-N-Roll Wedding Chapel, Fleetwood’s.

Don’t. Do. It.

Don’t. Do. It.

Guest Favors are a nice gesture, sure, but are they really necessary? Instead of splurging on monogramed items, bottles of booze, or jordan almonds, think about what your guests really want… it’s to celebrate you, duh! So, instead of spending money, spend a little more time thanking your guests for coming to your wedding (in person or in a truly personalized thank you note).

DJ’s are good at getting the party started, but with commercial free music streaming for under $20 a month, who needs one! Curating your own wedding playlist is a perfect way to play exactly what you want to hear. Just pretend you’re John Cusack in High Fidelity, but less emotionally stunted. When your big day is over, you can go back and listen to your playlist anytime to relive the memories.

Traditional photography packages can be a little over the top with all of the editing and elaborate photo albums. Don’t get me wrong, good photographers are worth paying for, but there is always room to negotiate! You can ask them to reduce their hours, only take candid pictures (instead of doing staged photos with every single person in your family), to do only minor retouching, or to have a digital only package. You can get the same great quality at a much better price!

Wedding Cakes can be stunning, there is no doubt. But this is the perfect place to save some big bucks. Instead of paying for a three tiered flower tower, pick up a few basic cakes from your favorite bakery. You can get multiple flavors and even a small gluten free cake for those who need it. Add a little pizazz by placing the cakes on different level cake stands or adding cake toppers for little decoration. In reality if it tastes great, your guests are going to talk about it for years to come!

Bridal Gowns can quickly eat up any wedding budget. It’s no secret that dresses (and everything else) for weddings are significantly marked up overpriced. Instead of going full couture, start looking online. Flash Book Bridal was created to keep bridal ware costs low, and still offer stunning options.

Bonus: Now that you’ve saved some money, do your bridesmaids a favor, and save them some money too. Instead of having your bridesmaids pay hundreds of dollars on a dress they can never wear again, have them pick out their own dress in your color palate.


Flash Book Bridal's Store Will Launch on Monday, September 10!

Dana Schiffman

Asheville, North Carolina – September 6, 2018

Flashbookbridal.com is launching Monday, September 10. This new online business was created to celebrate the individuality of brides while offering affordable bridal wear options. Flash Book Bridal will sell bridal apparel ranging from $55 - $600, and accessories for under $60. In celebration of the launch, all shipping and returns will be free for six months.

The website will also feature a blog that will cover topics from DIY centerpieces, alternative engagement rings, combining finances, and more.

“I am thrilled to be offering people the items I wish I had for my own wedding”, says owner and CEO of Flash Book Bridal, Dana Schiffman. “Brides should be able to wear something that compliments their personality, and that’s not always what you can find in traditional bridal stores.”

Flash Book Bridal plans to celebrate body positivity and diversity in their marketing and blog. “This website will be a place where women can feel like they belong and see themselves” says Schiffman. While the site will be launching with a small number of items, by November 2018 there will be a selection ranging from size 2 to 24. People of all backgrounds, shapes, sizes, colors and ranges of the LGBTQ spectrum will be represented on the site.

Offering affordable items, Flash Book Bridal hopes to encourage brides to learn more about being financially sustainable through the process of budgeting for and planning their wedding.

To learn more about the the launch of Flash Book Bridal, or to book an interview, contact Dana Schiffman at 828.575.9890, email hello@flashbookbridal.com, or visit the website at flashbookbridal.com.

About Flash Book Bridal

Flash Book Bridal is a website that focuses on affordably priced dresses for alternative brides. Founded in 2018,  Flash Book Bridal has a national audience but has deep roots in Asheville, NC, a location the embodies the creative spirit of the brand. The goal of the company is to celebrate all brides beginning their new journeys, empowering them to feel amazing and unique while responsibly preparing them for one of the most important steps in their lives.

Flash Book Bridal is Almost Here!

Dana Schiffman

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself, and tell you how Flash Book Bridal came to be.

In 2016 I got married to an amazing guy. Our wedding was’t what you would call traditional, but it was everything we ever wanted.

I love planning and organizing, so most of the planning process was easy for me. I even tried to make it more interesting by setting a really low budget. The most difficult thing was finding a dress. As a plus size woman with specific taste, shopping at traditional wedding boutiques was a nightmare.

I went to three different kinds of stores:

1. The chain store was not a totally bad experience. The sales staff were nice and knowledgeable. They had sample sizes in all ranges, so I could try on anything that looked interesting. However, when it came to the dress quality, I was unimpressed. Not only did the dresses feel cheap, they didn’t feel like me.

2. There was a unique boutique which had beautiful dresses. However when I asked for dresses under $1,000, there were only two lackluster choices available, and no sample sizes to try on.

3. The most traditional salon was by far the worst experience. I went in with high hopes because they had a plus sized dress in the window. After chatting with the sales person about what I was looking for, she sent me into the dressing room to strip down to my underwear. She then came in with dresses that were obviously too small, and thrusted them up against the front of my body so I could “imagine how I would look”. After a few rounds of this, I asked if they had anything I could actually try on. It turns out that the only plus size sample they had was hanging in the window (and it was a mermaid cut, so no thanks).

That’s when I turned to online shopping. I found it freeing to order items online and try them on in the comfort of my own home. However, it was outrageously time consuming to look at a ton of different brands to see if they had styles I liked, in colors I wanted, in a size that would fit.

After the wedding was over, I kept thinking about how inconvenient finding a dress was. As more of my friends started getting married, they confided about their frustration during the shopping process as well.

Flash Book Bridal really started to take form after I took a class at a local small business support center called Mountain BizWorks. Through working with an amazing group of people in my class, I realized what was important in my business:

Individuality - I want brides to be more open to expressing their true selves on their wedding day.

Body Positivity - I want all brides to feel their best, look great, and love themselves, no matter what size, shape, color, religion or sexual orientation. Everyone deserves to feel loved, happy and beautiful on their wedding day (and every day).

Financial Sustainability -  I want to help women to take control of their finances by spending less on their wedding and saving for the future.

After a lot of hard work, I am happy to say that this business is now fully funded and will be selling dresses very soon.

Why am I telling you about my funding? Oh, well, I think it’s important for women to talk more openly about money, during the wedding planning process, with their family and significant others, in business and in life in general. Talking about money is not impolite, it is in our best interest, leads to better communication, and better pay.

That’s why I want to keep you up to date on how business is going. My Instagram account is going to contain a lot of behind the scenes photos and business updates so @flashbookbridal followers will not only be inspired for their wedding, but for whatever lies beyond.

I truly look forward to this adventure, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Dana

10 Truly Stunning Engagement Rings for the Alternative Bride

JewleryDana Schiffman

You’re unique, and finding an engagement ring that’s as unique as you can be hard. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of 10 alternative engagement rings to get those wheels turning so you can start exploring your options. After all, you’re going to be wearing this ring for the rest of your life… you better like it!

My husband and I got engaged while sitting on the couch talking about the future, so needless to say, he didn’t have a ring. THANKFULLY! He knows me well enough not to surprise me with jewelry, especially a piece as important as this one! One might say, I am a little picky.

I knew he would want to make me happy, and what made me happy was hunting for my own engagement ring.

I wanted something beautiful, simple, sentimental, low profile (because let's face it, I would ruin all of my clothes and probably poke my eye out) AND I wanted one ring to serve as both my engagement ring and my wedding band.

I went to all the typical chain jewelry stores, and none of them really got the idea of an “alternative engagement ring”.  That’s when I started searching the web, and checking out local jewelers (which there is no shortage of in Asheville!).

Eventually I picked this semi custom ring from a local Asheville jeweler, Jewels That Dance. The diamonds were taken out of a cocktail ring that belonged to my Great Great Aunt, and made it in rose gold.

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Even now, a few years later, I still look at it in awe. It was worth the months it took to find it, and the months it took to have it custom made. It is completely unique and 100% me. Oh, btw, it came in at under $1,000. 👌🏽

Finding a ring that fits your style and budget can be a hard task, so take a look at these 10 alternative engagement and let your imagination run wild.

Do you have a ring that you love? Share your rings with us by tagging us on Instagram @flashbookbridal or use #flashbookrings!