Broke-Ass Category: Wedding Gifts and Favors

5/23

Gift-giving is perhaps one of my favorite pastimes. Michael thinks I’m insane for getting the amount of sheer joy I get from purchasing/making, wrapping and giving gifts to others. I also love getting gifts, too. Yes, I have come to terms with the fact that I’m a small child trapped in a grown person’s body. That being said, I have known, even before we got engaged, what I wanted to get Michael as a wedding present: boudoir photos.

Credit: Celebrate Your Sexy

You just had either two reactions after reading that: abject horror or the intrigued little head tilt that you see on puppies. Don’t worry, I’ve had both reactions too. I have never been more nervous about doing something in my entire life, but now that it is done and I’ve seen the results, I couldn’t be more pleased.

A girlfriend of mine who is getting married attended a bridal show and won a pretty sweet package session with a company that offers their services nationwide called Celebrate Your Sexy. She knew this was something I had been dying to do and gave it to me. The entire experience was super professional and I would highly recommend it to literally anyone who identifies as female.

Credit: Celebrate Your Sexy

In some states, CYS has their own studios. In New York, they rent a suite in an upscale hotel to do all the photos. I dragged my sister, Angela, along for moral support and we met our photographer, Michelle, in the lobby. The session lasted an hour and a half, and I was allowed four outfit changes.

Credit: Celebrate Your Sexy

Michelle was super chill, funny and patient as she explained and sometimes demonstrated what positions she wanted me to be in. That, by far, was the hardest part of the session. She’d lean on the wall in some seductive-looking pose and ask me to do the same and I was totally like, I can do that. Then I attempt to do the same thing and realize I look like a wooden voodoo doll propped against the wall. Despite my lack of being a natural at posing for the camera, she still managed to coax my inner goddess out to capture on film. She’d show me some of the photos as we were going and I kept being surprised at how awesome they looked. Who knew you could look sexy with your ass stuck up in the air like that?

If you decide to get boudoir photos done, here are a few tips you might appreciate:

Wear an obscene amount of deodorant

I get really hot when I’m nervous. Like, clinical strength Dove kind of hot. You will be sprawled all over a room in your skivvies with a stranger. Both of you will appreciate your foresight.

Put your least favorite outfit on first

The first few photos Michelle shot were not my best work. I was still running with a dose of terrified in my system and the camera knew. I didn’t smile as well in these ones and overall ordered less of them when I bought photos. I’m glad that I didn’t waste shots in the outfit that I loved the most.

Stretch before you shoot

Your body will be in positions you never knew existed unless you’re a model or yoga master. Do yourself a favor and stretch before you start. It will help relax you a bit and you won’t get an ass cramp while trying to arch your back on a chaise lounge.

Make sure you are comfortable in what you pick to shoot in

Being comfortable in your own skin can be really hard. Every man and woman is conditioned from an early age with a view of what a “perfect” body looks like. There’s no such thing as a perfect body. Everyone has a beauty of their own that can only be found after you embrace it yourself first. Remember, the person you are marrying loves you for who you are, including every single dimple, roll and stretch mark. Keep this in mind when you purchase your lingerie or whatever you decide to shoot in. Try it on, too, and wander around in it to make sure when you’re asked to strike an insane pose, you can do this without busting a seam and smacking yourself in the face with a nipple.

Have fun

This was one of the single coolest, most fun things I have ever done. The three of us laughed so hard we cried at moments. I realized that, holy crap, I AM sexy, who knew?! I would do this again in a heartbeat and I’m telling everyone I know (who would get it) that they should give it a try.

Credit: Celebrate Your Sexy

I would 400% recommend checking out Celebrate Your Sexy if you are looking to get boudoir photos done. They were awesome and professional and made me feel like a total sexy boss. They were also nice enough to let me use their photos so you got an idea of their work quality.  

Are you getting boudoir photos done? Have you considered it?

  • 2/22

    Share Your Love Story with LovebookI’m a total sucker for those “just because” gestures — and not just being on the receiving end of them. My husband is the very most fun person to surprise with little whimsies, whether it’s a photo book of our elopement or commissioning awesome family artwork. So when I found out about Lovebook and got the chance to create one just for him, I dove in head first. Because nothing makes happier than seeing my husband get misty over a gift I give him.

    And guys, he was stupid excited about it.

    The small hardcover book featured a little story of our stick figure alter egos that detailed many (but far from all) of the reasons why I love him … and was aptly titled “Everything’s Better With You.” Though I found the customization options a tad limited, I was able to create our likenesses enough that they bore enough of a resemblance to us — down to his side-part hair. Luckily, with stick figures, there isn’t much you can do in the way of effing up someone’s features, so you def. can’t offend them with your rendition of them. (My super non-artsy self sees this as a maj. bonus.)

    Lovebook reasons whyIf you’re lacking in overall creative juices, as I’ve been (apparently sleeplessness and infants go hand-in-hand), Lovebook has a huge variety of templates to choose from, which allows you to craft a cute story without having to wring your creativity dry. You can edit text and add images as you see fit or you can build the whole damn thing from scratch. I opted to add likenesses of our cats into a couple of the scenes, but otherwise went with prefabbed pages. Of course I toiled over what order to put them in, whether it was sweet enough or too cheesy, etc. I finally — realizing I’d have to just DO IT at some point — decided it was done and sent it off for printing. After a relatively quick turnaround — like a couple weeks, max! — it was in my mailbox and ready for my husband.

    Lovebook cuddling with kittiesHe loved it, and I love that he did.

    We tend not to do things like celebrate Valentine’s Day or get overly standardly romantical, instead opting for fun and meaningful gifts at unexpected times, and my Lovebook creation was perfect for exactly this.

    Lovebook end pageAt around $40 for a 5.5″x8.5″ glossy hardcover, it’s a lasting gift that won’t break the bank and can be revisited often. I love this idea as a gift for your partner on your wedding day, for your anniversary or just because. I also think it would make for a fun present for a ring bearer or flower girl, and be something of a keepsake for those littlest wedding crew members.

    Get started with your first Lovebook and score 10% off with code LOVEALWAYS10 at checkout!

    christen
  • 12/13

    Cupcake paper mason jar embellishment Ah the holidays, a wonderful time of year where families hemorrhage money trying to get each other awesome and thoughtful gifts. I don’t know about your broke ass, but mine has a long list of people that I’m obligated to gift to. When I was still in college (and even more broke), I struggled to check everyone off my list…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    8/3

    Choosing what to give your bridal brigade as a thank you for standing by your side (and making sure you were nice and toasty during your bachelor/ette bash) is no small decision. You want to make sure it's something meaningful, but preferably that they'd actually use, too. You don't want to spend a bajillion dollars, but you don't want to go Dollar Store cheap, either.…

    Read the full article →

    7/25

    I made my first wedding craft!!! It was a lot of fun, and it helped to get me excited again about the wedding! When you spend the first part of your engagement trying to come up with a budget, venue, and all that goes with it, it's easy to start feeling overwhelmed. We have been through our fair share of ups and downs as I…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    5/23

    Gift Box available from Etsy seller BeforetheGown You may have seen a the story circulating in the media recently about a UK couple who contacted guests from their wedding because they weren't satisfied with their gift. According to the story, a couple wasn’t happy with the value of a gift they received from one of their wedding guests, and they sent them a note telling them so.…

    Read the full article →

    5/4

    On top of making my wedding dress and flowers for my centerpieces, I came to the conclusion not that long ago to yes, DIY most of our printable materials for the wedding as well. This isn't because I'm a crazy-insane person that decided to take on even more to DIY during our wedding planning chaos, but resulted from not finding the exact kind of designs…

    Read the full article →