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Planning a budget-friendly wedding or bridal shower can be especially tricky when it comes to creative elements. After all, who wants a wedding devoid of all personal touches and Pinterest-worthy details?

Thankfully, there is a thrifty way to plan a totally unique celebration while showing off all your fabulous engagement photos - wedding invitations and save the dates that feature pictures, which won't break the bank or take hours to create. It sounds easy enough - and it can be! - but it's also important to remember that personalizing invites isn't quite as simple as slapping on a picture and calling it a day.

How to choose the best photo for your wedding invitations and stationery

1. Proper pic size is non-negotiable

When it comes to selecting pictures for projects like save the date invitations and event invites, bigger is always better. Even if you are in possession of the best engagement shot known to man - posed to perfection and the time of day is just right for perfect sun flare - if it's just a teeny bit too small, avoid it. Don't even consider it for a second. Once a too-small picture is enlarged, formatted and printed, it will appear pixilated and nothing at all like the beautiful, smiling couple you are in real life. 

2. Keep your audience in mind

Just because you take a million kissing pictures doesn't mean you should use those on your wedding invitations or save the dates, but you certainly can if you want. When choosing any picture - kissing or otherwise - consider your recipients and whether they would be upset or offended by a certain pose or photo. This might sound a bit extreme, but at least try to see it through guests' eyes before sending the picture to the printer, just in case.

3. Mind the watermark

A lot of photographers offer up their pictures or proofs with one small addition: A watermark. While this is typically fine for pictures that will end up on Facebook or in email chains to your friends, it's not ideal for wedding pictures or, while we're on the subject, photo albums and other printed items. The solution to this is simple: Contact the photographer and ask for a watermark-free version. They should be able to send the file over to you electronically in a snap!

3. Plan future photos

Do you like the idea of photo-personalized wedding invitations and save the dates, but haven't had an engagement photos session yet? Use this prep time to your advantage by planning ahead! Whether you decide to get professional pictures taken or simply set a camera up on a tripod, you can make pictures more invitation-ready by taking a few simple steps. These are super budget-friendly and can include things like holding a sign or chalkboard that features the wedding date, wearing clothes that complement your future wedding palette, even holding blank papers or signs on which you can Photoshop words or sayings down the road. Think "Thank You" or "Mr. and Mrs." for perfectly personalized thank-you cards.