Broke-Ass Category: Broke-Ass Brilliance


So you’ve got the ring, booked the date, and found your photographer. It’s time for an engagement shoot! If your photographer offers an engagement shoot for free (all the ones I looked at did) then jump on getting these prints. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the date for our engagement photos so I could put them on our wedding website. Our pending nuptials brought me face to face with the fact that there are very few photos of Michael and I together. We both kind of hate taking pictures and he certainly hates being in pictures. So right now my wedding website still is sporting the stock photos. Can’t send out the save the dates with pictures of random strangers still on the website. Creepy much?

Our photographers, Auntie El’s, are pretty chill and handled us like a boss (even when I was freaking out). I trolled the Interwebs and Pinterest like a boss hoping for inspiration and ideas. I’ve never gotten engagement photos before, what the heck was I supposed to already know? I picked up a few useful bits and I figured I’d save another bride a tiny bit of panic by sharing.

So here they are, Danielle’s tips for engagement photos:

Real Bride Danielle Engagement Photo2

Credit: Auntie El’s

Why are you even getting pictures?

Before you dive headlong into engagement photo bliss, stop and ask yourself: Why are you even putting yourself through this hassle? What do you plan to use the pictures for once you get them? I’m using mine for the wedding website. But a few other things a bunch of couples like to use them for are: Save the Dates, announcements in the paper, thank you cards, gifts, etc. If your photographer isn’t offering this for free and making you fork out extra dough for these pics, make sure you actually want/need them. If not, save yourself the hassle and don’t do it. (PS: photos make super cheap presents for Christmas and such.)

Be comfy

Engagement photos are supposed to be a glimpse of who you are as a couple. So unless you are super into cosplay or dressing to the nines, just stick to something simple and comfy. I wore jeans, sandals and a shirt I wear to work. Michael wore his usual polo and khakis and his least beat up pair of sneakers. Try to avoid logos or loud patterns if you can.

Get yo hair did

Give your hairdresser, girlfriend, sister or your mirror a call and set up some pamper time to make sure your hair and nails look the best. Something simple but polished — no need to get a crazy updo. I got my hair curled (a skill I lack) and paid a whopping $12 for a simple French manicure. I also threw on mascara and eyeliner, the full extent of my makeup skills.

You be you, boo

Engagement photos are supposed to capture a snapshot of who you are as a couple. What are you into? Are you both gamers, bookworms, foodies, fashionistas or maybe wizards? Then capture that. Maybe bring along a simple prop like a book, or your wand with you for the shoot. You can also get them taken somewhere that is meaningful to you both. Which leads me to …

Be Flexible

I had had great visions of getting our photos taken outdoors in a local park under the fall leaves. We woke up Saturday morning and it was pouring rain, the one and only day it had it rained all week. I wanted to cry, but Michael and I texted the Auntie El’s and made arrangements to get the pictures taken inside at the local casino. Saying I was upset was like calling the ocean a puddle. Every time I imagined the photos, they were outside. I had to suck it up and deal with this hard reality and you know what, they turned out ok anyways.

Real Bride Danielle Engagement Photo1

Credit: Auntie El’s

Have fun

Even though I was hugely disappointed about not being able to take our photos outside, our photographers made sure we were still having fun. She took us to this random secluded corner in the casinos and all around the hotel to snap pictures. Our photographer’s husband is also her second shooter. My favorite photo is one where he had been sitting on the ground near us trying to demonstrate how he was trying to get us to sit. He suddenly rushed towards us like a puppy and charged into the photo while I squealed and Michael howled with laughter. It was a simple thing, but it really broke the tension of being the center of attention. While I’m a total ham and don’t mind the limelight, Michael would rather peel his face. That little scene helped him relax a little for the rest of the photos.

Real Bride Danielle Engagement Photo3

Credit: Auntie El’s

I’m really glad the photos are over. Now I have 10 months to prepare Michael to be the center of attention again. I’m also nearly ready to launch the wedding website and send out the save the dates *booty dance*. So much relief checking off yet another box.

Have you found any helpful photo session tips you want to share?

  • 10/18

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewSome ladies dream of the perfect wedding dress, others dream of the Prince(ess) Charming that will meet them at the end of the aisle and many dream of the minute that they will say “I do.” Before I joined the sorority of engaged ladies, I too dreamed of the above but the most pressing dream and the images that keep me up at night are the Save the Date cards, magnets or whatever the current hot trend is at the moment! Yes, the Save the Date announcements excite me. We did not change our relationship status on Facebook and our pictures are not posted in our hometown newspapers so, the Save the Date is our first formal announcement that we are embarking on a journey of a lifetime.

    Over my morning coffee, I’ve pondered on my Save the Date plan. In theory a tangible item sounds like a great idea, something that stands out and something that is an in-your-face reminder of our special day. Basically, our “can’t get enough of each other, so very much in love” faces on your fridge. This all sounds like a great idea, there’s just one small problem … the budget! We need a cost effective — more like free — way to share the date of our wedding with a functional purpose of also collecting mailing addresses from family and close friends. Lightbulb moment: lets send out Save the Date emails! With my deadline of November quickly approaching, I’ve narrowed down some options with my $0.02 on the pros and cons of each one.

    Paperless Post

    Pros: dedicated wedding section that is easy to find on the homepage. Lots of free style options and I especially liked the simplistic look and feel of the designs. Option to create a Favorites list, which I like to compare the designs. I’m a photo fanatic so I loved that I could edit my image with filters. Tons of options for the envelope, envelope liner and background.

    Cons: I wish that there were more options for the  photo filters and correcting features. Limited text changes beyond color, typeface and formatting. I was a little confused by the coins needed at checkout. It appeared that I needed to pay for the service despite selecting a free template.

    Real Bride Ciji's Paperless Post Save the Date announcement


    Pros: at first glance, it looks as if they specialize in weddings. I liked the option to work with a designer and all of the costs and services were clearly listed. Each of the templates offered multiple color options which is great if I wanted the Save the Date email to match our wedding colors. No option to select free or premium templates, so I am assuming that everything is FREE! I loved the option to select what type of mailing I wanted to do. The options were Save the Date, Invitation with RSVP, Thank You Note and Card/Announcement  My immediate thought was that I would be able to go back in after the wedding and select a digital thank you note that matched my Save the Date card. The image filter options focused on correction vs. a color overlay which is great and the text editing choices are unlimited.

    Cons: I went thru the entire process, created my Save the Date and it wasn’t until I hit the Send button that I received pricing information. So I had an “um, say what?” moment! They have two pricing structures, single mailing and yearly membership. The pricing for the single mailing start at $9 to send out up to 20 invites and increases in increments of 20. The yearly membership offers a lot of support and increased services/customization and starts at $120 for up to 40 mailings. The costs are not terrible, I just didn’t like being informed after I designed my awesome Save the Date.

    Real Bride Ciji's Greenvelope Save the Date announcement


    Pros: There were plenty of free options (100) & premium options (194) and most of the free designs were similar to the premium templates. You can select four different views of your design; design, email, webpage or digital envelope

    Cons: Many of the free designs do not offer the ability to add in an image. It was cool to see the four different design options although I was unsure on which one would be best for my Save the Date announcement (I picked digital envelope). The event details section is not specific to date, location, etc,; rather it’s a general message box. This could potentially be a pro for some considering that you can customize this space. This site was a little too basic for me, I was underwhelmed with the experience and decided not to make a test to share in this post.


    Pros: Canva has a lot of template options and you can customize them to fit your wedding theme + I love the idea of creating our own design! I like the ability to download as a .jpeg image and insert into a Google form to collect mailing addresses!

    Cons: Designing is was more of a time investment than I anticipated. The site doesn’t include an email option, however you can download it in .jpg, .pdf and .png file formats and share on social media. You have to pay to remove the Canva watermark. There are single use costs and multi -icenses.

    Real Bride Ciji's Canva Save the Date Announcement

    The search continues for me and I am excited to make my final decision and hit the send button! One more thought: For those of you that may think that a digital Save the Date announcement is tacky, the great great-granddaughter of etiquette extraordinaire, Emily Post confirms that it’s not. For my guests that are not email-savvy, i.e. my grandmother, I have a special DIY treat in the works!

  • 10/14

    Cash Wallet by BlackArrowStudio

    Cash Wallet, $56 by Etsy seller BlackArrowStudio I've been wracking my brain to come up with some truly epic wedding advice for you, BABs. This being my last advice post for The Broke-Ass Bride for the moment, I'm feeling some (self-imposed) pressure to get it right! 😉 I hope you enjoy it, and remember that you can always reply in the comments or email BAB directly…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Julie Vino Jessica Style 706

    Reader Elizabeth NEEDS our help finding a Julie Vino look-alike that's a little less wedding gown and a little more evening attire. She writes: "I NEED to find a Julie Vino dress that I can afford, preferably under $1,000. I want the Jessica dress, style #706, from the 2014 Spring collection. I need something that doesn't look like a wedding gown but an evening gown…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!



    So we did it! We're officially married! We had a beautiful, although a bit chilly, day in Vermont, but it didn't rain or snow, so I'll take it! It's been almost two weeks now, and I've had some time to reflect on the experience. Here's some advice for the brides-in-planning out there. Photo courtesy of Joel Boucher of Boucher Visuals People always say it goes…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 10/11


    Hello everyone! My name is Holly, and I am a Broke-Ass Bride. I guess it's important that before we get going on the creativeness and the snarkiness, you get to know the woman behind it. I'm in my late 20s, I'm a graduate student and I live in a large city in Canada with my fiance and my our dog. I love cooking, baking, yoga,…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Etsy MyScrapbookDesigns Myrtle Beach Overlay

    Scrapbook overlay available from Etsy seller MyScrapbookDesigns Hello, beach babes. This post is all about one of the most temperate beaches in the U.S., Myrtle Beach. It’s a great honeymoon destination because of all the amusements, parks, entertainment and dreamy sunsets. It’s also a great place for the low-cost honeymoon, since there are so many things to do under a tight budget. Alright, fellas. You’ve…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Allure Bridals 9272

    Hey BABs! Much as I'd love to play Fairy Godmother and conjure each of you the perfect gown with a flick of my sparkly wand, I am but a mere mortal, confined to hunting for wedding dresses from among those that already exist. It's been my honor and pleasure being a #GownHunter for you, but now it's time for me to pass the torch. This will be…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 10/5


    Long before Michael officially asked me to marry him, we had discussed our wedding plans in detail. We both wanted to cover the entire cost of the wedding on our own. I knew certain things weren’t as important to me as others. For instance, I didn’t really want a crazy expensive dress or huge ceremony. Neither of those things really defines who we are. If…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!