Incredibly Engaging – How I Saved on Engagement Photos

It may come as no shock to anyone who has read at least one post on this blog that I am a busy girl. It may also not be absurd to say that this is because I am working several jobs to pay for my wedding. Why, you may ask, would someone run themselves ragged for one day? Because it’s supposed to be the best day of your life! That being said, I am also a bargain hunter and have often considered the financial repercussions of what I’m doing. Some things I consider “must-haves” while others are “nice-to-haves”.  Admittedly, the line between the two is noticably blurry anymore.

Anyway, one of our original “must-haves” of save the date cards that included photos of us was running into the “nice-to-have” category when I realized that our amazing wedding photographer charged so much for engagement photography. The services for the big day are mainly covered by Mama M’s generosity, but the remainder, including engagement pics, are on us. When I sat down to look at the dollars and cents, I really started to assign value to these photos. Yes, it would be amazing to have these pictures but are they necessary?

Though they weren’t necessary, I had done a lot of hoop jumping to try to get prepared for them, particularly with my braces coming off. I had appointments scheduled back to back in an attempt to get my chompers ready for their close up. I felt committed, but I really couldn’t mentally justify the big expense on something unnecessary when I still hadn’t paid for my gown alterations. So what’s a gal to do?

Que Craigslist. I posted the following ad:

Build Your Photography Portfolio –
Free Dinner/Modest Honorarium Barter (Philadelphia)

We are looking to help you build your artistic portfolio and serve as models for a fun engagement photo shoot. Our idea is that we’ll shoot at two locations. One is a beautiful old stone church with rolling grounds and beautiful landscaping that will serve as a great backdrop to capture that wonderful Fall afternoon lighting. The other is a classic chrome diner where the waitresses are 100 years old and the milkshakes come in tall glasses with whipped cream and a cherry. We’re looking for an artistic eye that can see the beauty in something as simple as a piece of pie with ice cream melting on top.

We are moderately attractive people who photograph fairly well and we think our ideas can certainly serve as promo material for your budding photography business. We’d like a DVD of the raw digital images in an agreed upon format. In exchange, we’re willing to offer you the finest in diner cuisine after the shoot and also a small honorarium that we can negotiate. Obviously we understand that you are not working for peanuts, but you have to understand that we are also on a crazy strict budget. But don’t worry, we’ll let you get pie. 🙂 Also, we have a wedding blog in the Philadelphia area that we would mention you on/ post a few example pics, so it wouldn’t be too shabby of a plug. Our florist has actually booked 3 clients from the kind words we’ve said about her! 

Would you believe this ad in the “Creative Gigs” section got me 20+ emails from photographers? It was like Christmas! I emailed them and asked for sample photos and info about themselves. Ultimately, we settled on a really talented and ambitious duo from Benjamin Lackey Multimedia.   Please feel free to check out their growing portfolio, or ‘like’ them on Facebook. As college students at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia these guys are building a business from the ground up. They were SO great to work with, super personable, and they have also helped us out in getting what we’re looking for in terms of affordable video coverage for the big day. I can’t say enough about Ben and his partner Mike, but they REALLY saved the day. Our shoot with them was so comfortable and honestly as close to ideal as possible. We were all on the same page and the pictures came out wonderfully, don’t you think? Huge thanks to them for their help!



So please feel free to utilize Benjamin Lackey Multimedia. Good guys, affordable prices, and fantastic results. They may not always work for pie, but they are worth the $, I promise. 🙂 And if worse comes to worst and you can’t afford engagement photography, feel free to use my idea and see what photographers you can round-up in your area. By the way, I ordered my post cards from Vistaprint for free, so the savings just keep coming! Keep an eye out for those deals and you can save a ton on your save the dates too.

Thanks for reading! – A


November 2, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . 2011. 1 comment.

I Feel Naked!

In preparation for our engagement photos I decided it was time to get the ole’ ring spiffed up. It’s been too big since I received it, which is funny since the fiancée was smart enough to get it sized a bit smaller when he bought it knowing that I would lose weight. Even still, the day he presented it to me it was a little loose, and has since gotten much looser. We’re talking a full two sizes smaller. So, with much sadness I went to the jeweler to have it sized along with our wedding bands. As you can see by the rockin’ tan line I’ve got going, I only take the ring off to sleep and wash myself or my hands.

I am having major withdrawal. Therefore, I am wearing a placebo ring so that I don’t have a mini-coronary each time I touch my thumb to my ring finger and realize that a ring isn’t there before I remember where it’s at. But it’s not the same. 😦

I can’t wait to get my baby back! Thursday can’t come quick enough.

Thanks for reading. – A

September 19, 2011. Tags: , . 2011. 1 comment.

Super Adorable Engagement!

Many of you know that I work in health care. What a lot of you may not know is that I’m also a classically trained musician. Though my 9-5 keeps me pretty busy, I am still involved in music as often as possible. There was also a time when performing music was my sole income, heavily reliant on working as a musician at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. My summers there hold special memories, but the best part of being there was working with so many other great musicians. One such musician, a guy by the name of Rob Smith, recently asked his lovely girlfriend to marry him on stage at a show he played in a local tavern. Check out the cuteness for yourself, and continue to spread good vibes to Rob and his new fiancée! 🙂

Thanks for reading !- A

July 25, 2011. Tags: . 2011. Leave a comment.

Valentine’s Day Proposals Are Dumb

I was ready to write a post about how I hate Valentine’s Day proposals. And believe me, I do. I think they’re so cheesy and generic, thoughtless and impersonal. It’s like there should be some fast-talking guy that jumps out between the poor guy asking “Will you marry me?” who interjects some legalese about how this proposal was sponsored by Hallmark, ProFlowers and Godiva, and is non-transferrable before the poor girl can shed a tear or say “YES!”. But then I read this article.

Though I still don’t condone a V-Day proposal because it’s really just piggy-backing off prepackaged sentiments, I really thought about what guys go through to ask us to marry them. We spend our relationships grooming them to respect us as women, to see us as equals (except when it comes to taking out the trash) and then in the blink of an eye we want them to get all 1950’s and treat us like we are just two crazy kids coming from an ice cream social who want to make it legal before we jump in the back of his ’57 Chevy. But it’s not even that simple. We want everything bigger and better. We want the fireworks and genuine surprise. And we are too in his business to even let him surprise us, since we have control over the checking accounts ever since we bought a house with him a few years back and see a suspicious transaction on the statement.

Are we gypping ourselves out of the sweet sentimental experience because we’re overwhelming him with expectations to the point where he just goes to some street-corner vendor to get the giant teddy bear and throw it all into one pink and red conversation-heart-laden mess? Maybe. It’s certainly something to consider. But since lots of guys are stepping up to the plate by either delivering on a HUGE crazy proposal, or getting something personal and intimate that reflects your time together appropriately, I’m still apt to say that the V-Day engagement is a crock. 

That being said, if you DO get an engagement today, make sure he got you a gift besides the ring. No free-rides, even if he is committing his life to you. 🙂

Thanks for reading! – A


February 14, 2011. Tags: , . 2011. Leave a comment.

Time to Catch Up – September

I really had no idea that anyone was reading this at all. I wrote three posts and sort of gave up because things got really busy – more on that in a second. But, as this year is coming to a close I have been reflecting on all the things that I’ve gone through and I really wanted to get back to this. So here goes nothing!

I sort of let this lapse around the end of August. Little did I know, I was a mere TWO WEEKS away from an engagement! M and I had been talking about getting married all summer, as well as attending a local church together. Religious, we are not, but we needed a little something in the mental peace realm so we found a great Unitarian Universalist church right here in Philadelphia. As we attended services weekly we began daydreaming about our wedding being in that very church. It’s old and beautiful with a huge main sanctuary and a tiny chapel. I was in LOVE with the chapel because it is full of old wood, stone and stained glass. I likened it to being inside a Fabergé egg. The catch? It seats 45, max, so it’s way too small for our wedding.

So back to the proposal part of this story. 🙂 M and I attended a particularly moving ceremony on September 12 and afterward planned on attending a meeting for persons interested in becoming members of the church. As we were waiting for the membership meeting to start after the service, we found ourselves in the chapel talking about how we could really see ourselves growing here in this community. We sat there talking quietly, as someone in a blue top was meditating several rows ahead of us, and before I knew it the conversation turned from our future to our potential family growing there too. It touched me so much, I teared up and then as if by some divine miracle, there he was on his knee with the most beautiful ring! Everything else is a total blur of tears and excitement (isn’t it always?) but I obviously said yes! So as luck would have it, we still got our special moment in the chapel. 🙂

We could barely sit still through the membership meeting and then rushed over to M’s mother’s home just a few blocks away. He, being raised Jewish, told her the story of the engagement leading with the church part. This did not sit well with the FMIL, though she has since mellowed on the idea since nobody is converting anybody (thank God!). Still, she was very happy for us and has really shown her true colors which are amazingly supportive. After that, we hopped back in the car and drove two hours to my family in the Poconos so that I could break the news. Low and behold, my baby sister got engaged that day too! As if that wasn’t enough, a few days later my brother asked his baby’s mother to marry him as well. Don’t ask me how my other sister, currently single, feels about all of this. Still, needless to say everyone was feeling very celebratory.

Clearly the rest of the month I was floating on a cloud. We joined the church, broke the news to the rest of our friends and family, and attended a few weddings that really gave us a lot of do’s and don’ts to take away. The next best thing to all of this was that I began an interviewing process that would end up being my new job! (Not sure if I mentioned this before, but I was let go from my job in July.) I will say, now that I have a job I feel like my wedding dreams are closer to being a reality, financially. I also continued to progress with the weight loss and finally went shopping for new jeans that are now obsolete. M has been so supportive and wonderful through all of this and I feel like we are only stronger for it.

Anyway, thanks for sticking this out with me while I catch up on the past few months. I promise that I will do my best to get back to real-time by the end of January, just stick with me. Also since M got me a pretty new laptop for Christmas, expect a vlog post or two soon!

Thanks for reading, and be well. – A

December 28, 2010. Tags: , , . 2010. 1 comment.