Broke-Ass Category: Holly


Work has calmed down a bit in the last few weeks, so Ev and I have started putting some official wedding prep in motion. I managed to wrangle everyone’s address, and after entirely too much obsessing, I picked out an invitation I liked and customized it. We are just waiting on our engagement photos to come back so we can post them up on our wedding website, for ultimate adorableness when people go to RSVP.

My initial thoughts on engagement photos were that it was an unnecessary frivolity. Instead, we chose to ask Evan’s brother, who enjoys photography as a hobby, and has a great camera, to snap some photos for us. He did a great job, and we were thrilled with the results:

Real Bride Holly's engagement photos

However, my opinion was swayed a bit after we selected a photographer whose package included a free engagement session. Of course, we weren’t about to turn it down! I have to say, the experience was lovely: I got to dress up again, we got to hang out in a beautiful location, and we spent two hours being ordered to snuggle up to each other and daze dreamily into each other eyes. If you’re not uncomfortable with PDA, I do recommend it!

She also explained to us that doing a session before the wedding helps her to get to know us so she can get a better idea of our “style” for shooting the wedding, and we can iron out any issues before the big day. She also had lots of useful pro tips from experience that we didn’t know when we did our first session. We didn’t really have the know-how of how to properly co-ordinate our outfits, and Ev forgot to take his wallet and phone out of his pocket, which didn’t look great in a lot of the photos.

Still cute as hell though

Still cute as hell, though!

She also knew a lot of great hidden spots for shooting. We ended up getting really lucky, and the weather was amazing that day, too. I’m excited to get the pictures back, and I’ve decided to use the photos for both the wedding website, and for some kind of project like featuring them in our guestbook, maybe.

So, I guess the question is, if I had to pay for the session, would I have still done it? I don’t know, to be honest. Maybe? I definitely feel would be more likely to do it now that I’ve had that experience. I guess it comes down to how important photography at your wedding is to you. If excellent photography is a must-have, I’d probably recommend it, even it it’s just a small one-hour session. I think it serves as a good “test run” before the big day, and can help ensure that you know that your style gels with your photographer.

Now I’ve just got to try to patiently wait to see the final result!


What are your thoughts on engagement photos? Are they a must-have or a lucky bonus?

  • 4/3

    Did you miss Part I? Catch up here.

    Printable sign available from Etsy seller MonCheriPaperie

    Here are a few more bridal party norms in place that I’ve observed, which are also huge money suckers for both the marrying couple and the attendants:

    • Bridesmaids and groomsmen must all wear the same dress/suit, and the bride/groom gets to choose it, and it must be expensive-looking and formal. This usually meaning it must be purchased or rented for the purpose of the event, and likely means it will be worn only once.
    • Bridesmaids should have their hair, makeup and nails done professionally, and in more or less the same way.

    I know there are varying schools of thought on who foots the bill for the above two points. However, in either case, it is a heckuva lot of money. If the bride and groom pay, that’s the cherry on top of a gigantic bill for their wedding. If the wedding party members pay, it is a gigantic cherry on top the costs of transportation, lodging, gifts, babysitters, lost wages from missing work, etc.

    For ease, and with respect to experience level, I’ve left Ev in charge of coordinating the outfits of the suit-wearing members of our wedding party, while I’m navigating the needs of the dress-wearing group. My bridesmaids, and Evan’s groomswomen, are all gorgeous and stylish people. They’re also delightfully unique, which is what we love about them, and they feel comfortable wearing different things. So, why would we want them to all look the same? I believe that have the capacity to pick their own dresses and choose what hairstyle, and amount of (if any) makeup they want to wear in my wedding. That way, I know that they will both feel comfortable, and look fly as hell.

    However, I also know that getting all dolled up together can be a fun, de-stressing, bonding time for all of us. So, I’ve struck a balance. I have requested that they choose own dresses, but they can choose one that fits their personal style — I just ask that it be a shade of my chosen wedding color. Then, they can wear it again!

    I am willing to pay for hairstyling, unless someone doesn’t want it done. The cost of hair and makeup combined is cheaper than each separately, so I told each of them that if they wanted to have their makeup done, they could just pay the difference in upgrading from hair-only to hair and makeup. They are free to choose whatever style makes them feel comfortable and pretty. As for shoes? Nails? Meh. Up to them.

    In the end, maybe my expectations are low, but to be honest I’m just grateful that they’re going to be there. The last thing I’m going to notice in the photos, when I look at them in 20 years, is if all my bridesmaids look perfectly done-up and identical to each other … rather, I will probably be remembering how much fun we had that day, and how much I love them.

    How have you approached the look of your wedding party? Do you want a uniform aesthetic or are you more laissez faire about it?


  • 3/20

    I want to talk about our wedding party. There seem to be a lot of traditions and rules in North American/European anglophone culture surrounding bridesmaids and groomsmen that there is heavy pressure to follow. I imagine that if you have been reading my posts thus far, you probably know how I feel about arbitrary rules, especially if they are outdated, rooted in sexism or classism and/or…

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    Photography print available from Etsy seller HumboldtStreet One big question about wedding planning that loomed over us for months was, where were we going to have it? Evan and I are both originally from the prairie region of Canada, and most of our families live out there. Currently, we both live and work in Ontario. Most people expected that we would have our wedding in…

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    TinyTalk Invitation Pillow available from Etsy seller cayteelynn Ah, invitations. So simple in theory, so complex in reality. They look like innocent paper beacons of joy, but they come with a lot of, well, baggage. This is my how the invitation process of my wedding has gone down so far: The Save-the-Dates (aka. The pre-invitation): I get this. The vast majority of our family and friends…

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  • 2/6

    I want to talk about body image. The pressure to look "perfect" in your dress on your big day. Bridal boot camps! Shredding for the wedding! Your 28-day pre-wedding detox diet! Finally drop those last 5/10/20 pounds for your big day! Blah blah blah. I’m going to get real with you for a sec. I have more than my fair share of body image issues.…

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    Hi BABs, I’ve noticed that there are a few common questions people ask you when you tell them that you are engaged. They consist of “ohmygosh! Let me see the ring!” “How did he propose?” "Do you have your dress yet?” “When’s the big day?” and finally, “where are you going to go for your honeymoon?” As much as I love talking about myself, and…

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    As I mentioned in my first post, I've planned to make my own wedding cake. I realize this is not an easy undertaking, and have been warned by multiple friends that this could add additional stress to my wedding day. DIYing is awesome, but making a cake is something you have to do basically the day before and can end in multiple disasters. However, I…

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  • 12/19

    Credit: Juniper Photography I’m sure many people have ideas about how they want their weddings to be even before they start planning them. Maybe they know for sure they want to get married on the beach, or they’ve always known they would wear a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. I had ideas like that too -- my matrimonial must-haves, if you will.…

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