So, you’re engaged and you’re about to spend a pretty penny on getting engagement pictures taken but have no idea what to use them for other than a nice facebook photo or your invitations? Well, here’s a whole slew- I honestly love using that word any chance I get- anyway, a whole slew of other ideas for ways to use your pictures and get the most out of your engagement session!
Guest Book: Creating a guest book full of your beautiful faces looking your best is a sure fire way to commemorate and remind yourselves of the people who came to celebrate your wedding day with you and of the notes, memories, and pieces of advice they left you with. Bonus: Turning this into a “coffee table” style book and leaving it out in the open basically guarantees that you’ll be reaching for it often.
Include them in your wedding album: Ok, this one is basically along the same lines of the last one BUT (as I’ve said before – and I’ll say it again) this is going to be a family heirloom. I have a hard time believing that hard drives will ever replace hope chests. There’s just something so special about a physical item that’s gone through generations that make them so special. Your wedding album is going to be one of those things, and what you do with your wedding album and the photos you include in it is up to you! Heck, you could even include pictures that date all the way back to when the two of you first met! Imagine the story that book would tell. Imagine how much fun your kids would have flipping through an album like that!
Gifts for your Grandparents: My sister is the only one of my sisters so far who has kids and I’ve always been jealous how she gets away with giving our grandparents pictures of her children all the time but they just love it SO MUCH! If your grandma is like my grandma, she probably won’t mind a nice photo of you and the love of your life to spruce things ups a little bit. Plus the more pictures they have of you lying around the more you can prove that you really ARE the favorite!
Wedding Website or Facebook Event Page: I can’t tell you how many wedding invites I’ve seen marked “return to sender” even if the person had JUST got their address from whoever they were trying to send it to. You’ll probably see about 10% come back from your efforts (and that might even be generous). Usually, you just don’t have time to try and correct the address (or whatever was wrong) and send it back with enough time before the wedding day arrives. BUT you still want to make sure they feel the love an know when the big celebration is. A wedding Website or Facebook Event Page is a GREAT backup (especially when people are on their way and they need directions BUT- oh shoot! The invitation is at home!) Both of these will get the job done, but make sure you have the times and locations available either way so that your friends and family can look it up incase their invitation got “lost in the mail”, got returned to you, they misplaced it, or they left it at home and they’re on their way with no clue how to get to your ceremony/reception!
Save the date cards: Save the date cards can be used for a number of reasons, they aren’t too common in the LDS world because engagements just don’t normally last that long, BUT here are some situations where they would be appropriate.
- If you’re engaged but your wedding won’t be for a while and you want to give your favorite people (usually the ones who might have to travel a long distance or who might have a harder time getting work off if they only knew a few weeks in advance) a heads up.
- You’re having a destination wedding- same concepts apply: to let people know so they can make travel plans and arrange vacation days.
Wedding Invitations: ok, ok, I get it, it’s obvious. But listen. There are so many ways you can do this. There are three classic styles that include the use of your engagement photos.
- The Classic: one sheet with the invite & all the details with a photo print of your choice added in along with the RSVP card & envelope, directions card, ceremony/sealing invitation, or whatever else you might have in there. (This one is my favorite because it photographs beautifully!)
- The Minimalist: your favorite photo on the front with all the main information and a second photo on the back with some other information.
- The Eclectic Minimalist: a collage of all your favorites on one side with all the main information on the back.
Photo Stamps: did.you.know. you can make personalized stamps?! Yes, it’s a thing. It’s a little on the overwhelming side- especially paired with wedding invites or save the date cards, but I think it’s a great idea to attach to any letters or cards you might send post-wedding. (Why? you ask) It might just be me, but usually, whenever I get a card from someone who was recently married I have no idea who it’s from, but “oh, hey- the girl in the stamp she looks…oh NOW I know who it’s from!” You see what I’m saying? Kind of a fun idea, right?!
Thank You Cards: Ok, the concept behind this one kind of stems off of the last one, especially if you’re like me, and even though you’re young and healthy, sometimes you just get a thank you card from an old friend who just got married and it takes you a hot second to realize who it was from if there’s not a picture on there. Also, it’s just so stinking cute to send these out as thank you cards. I’ve seen them in many iterations:
- The postcard: You can turn your photo into a postcard for a short and sweet thank you note and simple (less-expensive) postage. Plus you grace the world and whoever handles your mail/your friends mail with your cute faces.
- The folded notecard: Instead of sending a generic thank you card from a cute-ish set you found at target, why not get some personalized cards with your favorite photo on the front!
- The added photo: This is a combo of leftover wedding invite photos and those cute thank you card set you found at target. You’re not going to use those prints for anything else, so if you have extras lying around, why not add them to your thank you cards!
Holiday Cards: Ok, I promise this is the last card idea I’m putting on this list- but seriously. Your wedding is most likely the biggest event you’ll experience all year! Not only did you spend a pretty penny on engagement photos, but you probably spent a few pretty pennies on wedding photos and might not have too much of a budget for Christmas photos after the big day, and that’s ok! Don’t worry about saying #sorrynotsorry because the people LOVE seeing you happy and your engagement and wedding photos are going to illustrate that more than almost anything else!
Wedding/Home Decor: Ok this one is my absolute favorite. I work with so many brides that get canvas prints of their engagement photos (and their formals, if we do them pre-wedding) to display at their reception as part of the decoration, and then take them home to fill their walls with! I love this idea for a few different reasons. First, it’s practical, you’ll get so much use out of these that it’ll definitely be worth it! Second, the canvas is timeless! It will always look good on your wall and it’s going to last forever! (again, that whole heirloom thing.) One of my best friends (and one of my favorite brides to work with,) did this, and cycles them through the canvases in their house every couple months so they don’t look too crazy for having so many and so that people see new pictures everytime they come over!
Don’t worry, social media use is definitely still on the table, but man, what a list! There’s so much you can do with your engagement photos! Let me know if you have any other good ideas in the comments below!