Category: Real Couples

You’re engaged! Congratulations.

When the moment happens, it feels a little surreal, doesn’t it? Suddenly, your head is swirling with a bazillion different questions and thoughts…

OMG. When do we get married?!

Where do we get married?!

And who do we ask to be in our wedding party?

Ooooh, maybe we should elope.

No, no, no, let’s have a huge wedding! With a donut bar! And a mariachi band!

How much is too much to spend on flowers?

Woah, look at that ring.

Who do we tell first?!

First – take a deep breath. The answers to all those questions will come in time (also, a donut bar is always a good idea).

Let’s talk about that last question – who to tell! How to announce your engagement has become much more fun since the dawn of social media. And, much trickier! Of course, it’s all up to you, but we have some advice on how to announce your very exciting news to family, friends and beyond.

First: Make a Few Phone Calls

Getting engaged is one of life’s sweetest moments, so enjoy some time together to take it all in. When you’re ready to share your newly engaged status with those you’re closest with, start by making phone calls.

Call or Facetime your parents, siblings, relatives and BFFs. These are going to be some of the most fun phone calls of your life! Get ready for high-pitched squealing and maybe a few happy tears too.

Then: Post Away!

The moment you’ve been waiting for is here: the “we’re engaged!” social media post. Have FUN with this! Snap a cute pic, write a heartfelt post and then bask in the hearts, likes and comments.

And Finally: Make it Paper-Official

Gone are the days of newspaper engagement announcements, but it’s still so fun to see your news in print. To make your engagement news extra-official, send engagement announcements in the mail.

Sure, it’s not a necessity, but just imagine your friends and family’s faces the moment they open the envelope and see your cute faces and exciting engagement news. I guarantee your announcement will become a permanent fixture on refrigerators and bring so much joy to your loved ones.

Sending an engagement announcement isn’t a huge expense either. Our cheap but chic designs are way less than a dollar each and we even have magnet engagement announcements – how cute is that?!

If you set your date right away, you can also skip the announcement and send out a Save the Date instead.

Congrats again, brides and grooms. Enjoy this time together and happy wedding planning!


It’s the most debated, agonized over and controversial topic in wedding planning. Do you invite kids to your wedding or ask your guests to make it a date night? For most, it feels like an easy decision no matter which side you land on. But often, there are unexpected circumstances that might lead you to cut the kids off your guest list. We asked five brides who had kid-free celebrations about their decision and how they ensured their guests understood it was an adults-only wedding.

Kate’s Reason: Our Venue Was Teeny Tiny
Kate and her husband Rich were married last October in a quaint B&B in rural Minnesota. It was a picturesque setting: a sweet garden ceremony followed by cocktails and an intimate dinner. It was their dream location but it came at a cost. “After we made our guest list, it was clear that our venue simply couldn’t accommodate all the children. For a moment, we considered changing our location, but quickly decided we weren’t willing to sacrifice our wedding-day vision”, says Kate. “Since our head count was fairly low – just 54 guests – it was easy to make a few phone calls to explain our decision to affected family members and friends. Everyone was very gracious and totally understood.”

Hannah’s Reason: The Kids Would Out-Number Adults
Hannah and her wife Sara had a laugh-out-loud moment when they made a startling realization about their guest list. “I met my wife when we were 39 and 41 so our friends were in that phase of life when it’s all about the kids”, says Hannah. “Don’t get me wrong, I love them all dearly, but our invited friends had a collective 56 children ranging from newborn to twelve year old. When we counted them all up we looked at each other absolutely bewildered.” Hannah and Sara decided to only invite a few children who were close family members. The tricky part was communicating the please-leave-the-kids-at-home message to their other guests. In the end, they decided to take a direct approach. “We added a small enclosure card and slipped it in with the invitations that were being sent to our guests with children. We carefully crafted the message so it felt fun. It said, ‘while we love your littles, we ask that you please make it a date night! A list of local babysitters is available on our wedding website.’”

Maria’s Reason: We Wanted to P-A-R-T-Y
Maria and Tony knew exactly what they wanted their wedding day to be all about: FUN. “There was never any question that we would not be inviting kids to our wedding. We knew what we wanted our day to be like, and that did not include children crowding the dance floor”, says Maria. She continues, “I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but the biggest line item on our budget was the open bar! We wanted to party!” Maria chose to use her response cards to make her adults-only wedding plan clear to her guests. “It was simple. On our response cards we added the word ‘adults’ to the ‘will attend’ line. So it read ‘_ adults will attend.’ Maria also added a note on their wedding website and let the news spread word of mouth. It worked like a charm! Not a single child was brought to their wedding.

Ella’s Reason: TBH, I Just Didn’t Want Kids at My Wedding, Okay?
The thing is…you don’t owe your guests a reason for not inviting kids to your wedding. Ella debated about whether or not she wanted a kid-free wedding for months. “My mother-in-law was adamant that we invite children. She didn’t want family members to feel like they had to make a choice about whether or not to attend our wedding based solely on childcare,” says Ella. “We love children dearly, but when I pictured our wedding day, it simply didn’t include them.” Ella continues, “when we ordered our wedding invitations, I added a small line of text at the bottom of the invitation that read ‘adults only ceremony and reception’ which was impossible to miss. I didn’t want to beat around the bush or feel like I needed to offer a reason or apology. After all, it was our day!”

Meredith’s Reason: I Had a Slim Budget!
Meredith and Bradley had a huge wedding on a small budget. “Our guest list topped 250 people and yes, that was without kids! We both have large families and are social butterflies. We knew we wanted a big wedding, but it was also important that we stay on budget so we had to make a difficult decision” says Meredith. She quickly discovered the expense of having children attend your reception can be monumental. “Our reception venue had kid-friendly meals, but they were $20 a head. Cutting kids off our guest list saved us over $1,000 and honestly, I didn’t miss having them there. Don’t tell their parents!” Meredith communicated her choice in two places. “We added text that said ‘adults only, please’ on our response cards. We also addressed the inner envelopes to the invited guests only. Since we did invite a few older teens, this was the perfect way to clarify who was invited and who was not.”

Product shown:  Whom My Soul Loves Invitation with Free Response Postcard

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains
Adding personality into a wedding is important. It’s your wedding- it should feel that way. There are a variety of ways you can add pieces of your style into your big day. From smaller pieces like your save the dates, songs that play at certain points of the ceremony and your reception decorations to larger pieces like your wedding dress, your venue and the food that is served— get creative. The most important thing is that the end result makes you happy and reflects you and your spouse.

To see a wedding with a great personal touch, let’s look to Brittany and Shane. These two added a unique and meaningful element of themselves into their wedding day. For their photos, they danced in the street-much like they had on one of their first dates.

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains

As if that wasn’t sweet enough, check out these pictures from their wedding ceremony. Awww. Such love is shared between these two- it couldn’t be more obvious.

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains

Personal Touches | Ann's Bridal Bargains

Thank you to Craig Hodge Photography for these beautiful images. 

destination wedding details
As a Minnesota girl, I was super excited when my friend Janelle asked me to shoot her wedding in Merritt Island, Florida. The weather was getting pretty chilly in my hometown at that time, so I was eager to visit the beaches of sunny Florida!

Thomas and Janelle's Florida Wedding

Thomas and Janelle’s big day was held at a gorgeous rental house on the Banana River, and the ceremony was at the edge of beautiful woods covered in Spanish moss. The whole thing was so picturesque, which worked really well for me as the photographer!

destination wedding details

Janelle took care of many of the details herself, which was a great personal touch to the whole event. She pre-made bridal party bouquets of dried flowers, and then added fresh flowers to the same bouquets on the day of the wedding. Centerpieces were simple and adorable, made of bottles, hole-punched tin cans, and more dried and fresh flowers. The dessert was even homemade – two kinds of bread pudding, the groom’s specialty!

view from Banana River

The reception was held on the edge of the river, right by the huge dock going out into the water. The dock was also beautifully lit with hole-punched cans and candles, which made it one of many cozy retreats for guests who needed a break from dancing.

Congratulations, Tomas and Janelle! It was truly a day to remember.

Black and White Photo on a Train
Engagement photos are one of the best things about getting married. Why? Because it’s all up to you! You can choose any season, any location and any photographer you want without needing the “okay” from anyone but the two of you.

Sarah and Mark took advantage of this opportunity and chose a super romantic location with lots of color and character — the train depot. What a great location for a photo shoot. The nostalgic setting of brick buildings, trains and railroad tracks couldn’t be more ideal for some memorable shots of the couple in love.

Thanks to Hoyin Siu Wedding Photography Studio in Ontario, Canada, for these unforgettable photos.

Black and White Photo on a TrainTrain Depot Engagement SessionTrain Depot Engagement SessionTrain Depot Engagement Photos

Any bride will tell you that your wedding day flies by faster than any other… and any wedding photographer will agree! From uncontrollable lighting to chaotic schedules, wedding day photography can pose a few challenges — which begs the question, do all wedding photos have to be from the wedding day?

We came across this styled photo shoot from Terra Cooper Photography, and thought it was a great option for couples that want to get the perfect shots. Jennica and Bryan were able to capture some amazing “wedding photos” long after their wedding day had passed. This post-wedding shoot was awesome because the couple and photographer had all the time in the world to get beautiful photos rather than hurry to hungry guests at the reception. Jennica and Bryan were also able to pick any location(s) and time of day, which allowed them to get the gorgeous lighting you see here.

Save money on your post-wedding shoot by doing hair and makeup at home with a little help from friends or family. Additionally, asking a photographer friend to experiment with lighting techniques on you is a great way to nix paying more for photography!

No matter how it’s done, scheduling a styled shoot for after your wedding (or before if you’re okay with your man seeing your dress early) is a great way to help ease some stress on your wedding day and capture photographs you’ll cherish forever.

Thanks to Terra Cooper Photography for the gorgeous photos!

Wedding Style Photo Techniques Wedding Style Photo Techniques