Broke-Ass Tag: wedding themes


It’s time for me to narrow the list and select a wedding photographer! These are exciting times. There’s just one small issue: There are so many photographers in this world! Photographers that are my friends, photographers that I have worked with in the past, photographer referrals from past brides and I only need one. 

I made a list of four photographers to review for our big day. I reached out to each of them, gathered quotes and called all four armed with my checklist to discuss their services.

After countless hours of conversations, we made a decision. A decision that would change the course of all of my planning and the theme for our wedding. The photographer asked me one simple question that sealed the deal: “What is your love story?”

Our love story, yes that’s it! The lightbulb came on. Now all of the Pinterest ideas can come to life in a very special budget-friendly way. 

Let’s start with the engagement photoshoot: 

The Preparation: Travis and I sat down and discussed what matters most to us as a couple. I made a list and sent it to my photographer. In a nutshell: service, authenticity, travel and relationships.  

Preparation Part 2, Getting Ready: scheduled my wedding day makeup trial, a win win (plus, I planned to attend a gala on the same day, so my makeup was a triple-whammy). I didn’t do anything fancy with my hair, just went to my normal hair appointment the night before and ensured that we picked a style that would look good all day.   

Real Bride Ciji's Wedding Day Makeup Trial

Makeup Artist: rayaroxmakeup

The Big (Engagement Photoshoot) Day: 

9:00am: meet Rayna Wooden of Rayna Wooden Photography at our first location.

  • First location: place of our first kiss

Real Bride Ciji''s Engagement Photoshoot

Reenactment of the First Kiss! Photo Credit: Rayna Wooden Photography

9:45 a.m.: outfit change and off to the second location

  • Second location: Michigan + Texas = Atlanta

Real Bride Ciji's Engagement Photoshoot2

Home is where the heart is. Photo Credit: Rayna Wooden Photography

10:45 a.m.: outfit change and head over to the third location

  • Third location: We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us

Real Bride Ciji's Fiance poses for the camera

Travis poses for the camera!

11:30am: Last change and last spot

  • Fourth location: The fondest memories are made around the table.

Real Bride Ciji's Engagement Shoot 3

We love a great meal with friends & family in Atlanta’s “Little Italy”

Ended the day with a group selfie, a glass of wine and a great meal at our favorite restaurant. 

Real Bride Ciji's Engagement Photoshoot crew

The crew!

The Aftermath: what in the world are we going to do with all of these pictures? 

Lessons learned:

  • Select a wedding photographer who includes the engagement photoshoot in the package. We had a wonderful time getting to know Rayna and are excited to continue the love story at our wedding! 
  • Schedule your wedding makeup trial for the engagement photoshoot. I don’t wear a lot of makeup so it was good to get a visual and I got to see if my makeup would last all day and in outdoor conditions. 
  • I love a great theme and I was struggling to make all of my Pinterest ideas come to life. Kicking off “our love story” theme has made so many aspects of the wedding planning process a no brainer and I am so excited to watch the vision become a reality.

I can’t wait to see our pictures!

How did you decide on a wedding photographer? What were your main factors?

  • 5/18

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewBeau-Coup Celebration Balloons

    Celebration Balloons from Beau-Coup

    As my fiancé and I are in the home-stretch to the big day (17 days to go, June 4!), I’ve been reflecting on the ups and downs we’ve had in the last year planning our wedding, and there’s a big, obvious headache that sticks out. What I’m about to state may be controversial, but here goes: you do not have to have a theme for your wedding. There, I said it.  But let me clarify a bit further.

    Getting sucked into the world of wedding magazines and gorgeous Pinterest photos early on in the wedding planning process is so, so easy. I think it was the very next day after we got engaged that I ran out to the store to scoop up all of the wedding magazines available and devoured them as quickly as I could. Every night I came home from work and read wedding websites to get an idea of the type of wedding I wanted to have, took polls to find out “what kind of bride” I was and started pinning up a storm of “real wedding” ideas. Eventually, my head was spinning with everything I consumed and I had no idea where to even start to pull together a plan for our wedding. One thing was consistent though: every single picture, every single bride on “Say Yes to the Dress” had a wedding theme.

    “You have to have a theme,” my sister said. She was planning on designing our invitations and wanted to make sure they were consistent with what we are planning on doing to decorate our venue. I told her the only thing I could think of based on things I saw that I liked combined with our personal tastes: “umm … modern French garden party?” It sounded good, and it wasn’t a cheesy cliché wedding theme that everyone and their best friend has done. Perfect.

    The best part was when I asked her what her theme was at her wedding, she said she didn’t have one. So … yeah, not sure why I felt the pressure to have a theme. More on that later.

    Fast-forward several months to us planning out how to decorate the venue based on what we had available in our budget. Since we were DIYing our flowers for the centerpieces, we had a good chunk free in our budget to play with. Oh, the ideas I had — large topiaries flanking the aisle, strung garlands of carnations hung on the archway for the ceremony, a backdrop of giant paper flowers for our guests to take photos in front of, seed packets with everyone’s names attached for the place cards, even a large, distressed trellis with garlands of fake flowers to display behind the cake table. My biggest fear was all of the ideas we planned on ending up being too difficult to execute and would look, you know, lame and not like those weddings I saw on Pinterest. On top of that, once we started tallying up how much it would cost to buy or make these ideas, it ended being pretty pricy and we were stuck scratching our heads about what we would do with some of this stuff after the wedding. The biggest kicker was that these ideas didn’t really bring us a lot of joy and they felt forced — this wedding was starting to not feel like us.

    martha stewart

    After a night of tears of frustration and not knowing what to do with our limited budget as the days ticked closer, we went back to the drawing board: What did we ultimately want our wedding to be like and how did we want our guests to feel. We wanted a happy vibe throughout the whole day and just wanted our family and guests to have fun and celebrate with us — that’s ultimately the point of our wedding and what’s most important to us. And that’s how we decided to decorate our wedding, with what makes us happy: giant 3′ balloons everywhere for the ceremony and reception in our wedding colors, giant tissue poofs and streamers, a crazy-fringed backdrop for photos with props we’re borrowing from a friend’s wedding and word-balloon garlands at the bar.

    That’s the point I’m trying to get at — do what makes you happy, not what you feel you “have” to do or what the wedding industry/Pinterest/your friends/your family tells you or makes you feel you should do. If having a shabby-chic wedding theme makes you excited and feels like you both as a couple, then go for it by all means. But you may find while planning your wedding that pigeon-holing yourself into a theme may be more expensive to pull off, stressful and not at all what you wanted. And that’s damn OK — it’s your wedding, and you can do whatever makes you happy.

    Have you felt pressured into making a decision that’s just not quite right for you?

  • 5/4

    We had some great requests for color scheme inspiration on Facebook, but this one from Lily stood out as an interesting challenge. She's looking to pair dark purple and warm orange over ivory, accented by rose gold in a Midsummer Night's Dream-meets-carnival theme. To me, the great Shakespearean play reminds me of Greek-style flowing dresses, floral crowns and an organic feeling while carnivals are bright and showy…

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    OK. Can I tell you girls a secret? My wedding was perfect, and lovely, an we had a grand old time, and were successfully married. But. As much as I love my wedding, I have to confess... It wasn't my Dream Wedding Day. Now, don't get me wrong... All my dreams came true. And I married the man of my dreams. But cutting our timeline…

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    I saw a Roller Derby match tonight (the Blitzburg Bombers killed it, by the way).  Roller Derby is unstoppably cool.  It kind of makes me feel like an eight-year-old girl staring at a bunch of sixteen year-olds, who simply by virtue of their age seem cooler than Steve McQueen and Debbie Harry combined.   Derby chicks are so freakin' cool. [Photo by Mike Rubino] The…

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  • 1/9

    Did you ever see the movie Bride Wars? [If you haven't, stop now... and pat yourself on the back for your discerning taste.] In it, the eponymous warring brides meet with a wedding planner, and the first item of business is to share their wedding themes. The brides spout off well-rehearsed nonsense phrases: one seeks "elegant minimalism with romantic textures;" the other "classic traditionalism with…

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    If you followed my wedding plans, you know there's nothing I love more than custom illustrations. They add a level of personal flair and uniqueness that truly befits a  unique wedding. We had custom drawings done for our save the dates, our invitations, and even for our maps and thank you cards (more to come on those later) - but if I could go back…

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    I just love the way Mehndi looks on a bride. Its such a lovely, delicate and sometimes surprising detail with big impact. (image source) How frickin' sweet are those shoes? Mehndi is an intricate henna application typically done to the hands and/or feet of brides of mid-east/eastern descent, but is gaining popularity among other cultures for its beauty, and is even making appearances in fashion…

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  • 7/30

    Here's a teaser of an image I interpreted into a "Wedding Logo" of sorts.... Fear not - its uses will be revealed, in time..... (I lost the source drawing which inspired this! If its you, let me know! - click to enlarge) But, what does it mean? Well, I'm glad you asked! We chose the Ganesh because he is known as the Remover of Obstacles…

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