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Friends, it took me two and a half years to order a wedding album. Ugh! You, too? If you’re in the same stalling-and-searching boat, I’ve got great news for you!! Shutterfly has a beautiful wedding photo book offering, and I think it’s just what you’re looking for, you bargain-hunting but aesthetically-gifted gal :) Here are eight reasons I love their premium wedding photo books and think you will, too.

Isn’t this album a beauty? We teamed up with Sarah, a bride whose Texas wedding was featured in our last issue, to create it. She gave the Shutterfly process two thumbs up!

1. The quality is superb. Let’s start here. For lack of a better description, these books feel good: they’re substantial, they’re luxe, and they have all the bells and whistles you want and expect for your one and only wedding album. Starting with…

2. Layflat pages. Boom. That’s disruption, friends! Layflat pages used to only be available in albums ordered from a professional photographer, but no more. With this premium feature, your gorgeous photos can stretch across two pages without interruption from the binding – a hugely luxe feature. All books are printed on double-thick paper, too.

3. The customization options are impressive. Sizes range from 8×8 to 12×12 (we used the 12×12, with an impressive 24″ wingspan, for our wedding book, and the sweet 8×8″ size for our newlywed book). Cover options include two pretty colors of cloth, leather, a hard matte photo, and antique white linen, among others.

4. They’re not too precious. Yep, you heard that right! While the quality is great, you’re not paying so much for a Shutterfly album that you’ll feel like you need to keep it under lock and key, like a friend of mine who paid thousands for her album. Your wedding album is meant to be enjoyed, passed around, and kept out on your coffee table to be admired often!

5. They are ridiculously affordable. Especially compared to albums ordered from professional photographers, especially when you take into accountShutterfly’s ubiquitous coupon codes, and especially when you consider the quality you’re getting for the price.

6. The layout process is simple… Start with a professionally-styled template (which range from super minimal to fun and colorful), choose page layouts within the template, then add or subtract elements to suit your aesthetic. Two of our albums were based on Modern White, an elegant and simple option.

7. …but it can be as complex as you want it to be. The Shutterfly layout tool is extensive and flexible, with tons of page layouts, the ability to tweak those layouts, and great font and color options. Even if you go to town with customization, though, it’s still easy to use!

8. They’ll even design your book for you. What? Yes! Intimidated by the thought of sorting through all your photos and laying out a cohesive design? Try the new Make My Book Service, where a Shutterfly designer will curate your wedding photos and make a beautiful wedding book for you. You’ll pay a $9.99 fee, but only if you end up ordering the book.

Of course, Shutterfly’s premium photo books aren’t just for wedding albums – I had so much fun creating a newlywed life and honeymoon album, too! Think of your wedding photo book as the first volume in a personal library of amazing memories, beautifully captured :)

Now that you know how easy and affordable it is to make a quality wedding photo book, I hope you’ll have one in your home soon! Happy creating, friends!

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, a site we’ve used and loved for years. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning — shopping for your gown!! — can also be one of the most stressful. (This from the girl who broke down in tears after her second appointment… embarrassing but true! That’s a story for another day.) We’re all about helping you reduce the wedding planning stress and up the fun as much as possible, which is where smart planning ahead of time comes in.

As you decide which bridal salons to visit, of course you want to consider their reputation (are they known for being pushy? Intuitive? Kind?), but another thing to consider is whether they carry designers whose lines match your aesthetic. Most boutiques include a list of their designers on their websites, but if you aren’t familiar with the lines, you’re probably still stumped.

Today, the ladies of Twirl Boutique in Lexington, one of our favorite bridal boutiques in the South, are here to give us a brief glossary of bridal designers broken down by bridal aesthetic. Take note of the designers that most closely mirror your style, and get ready to try on some perfectly “you” dresses – hopefully with only happy tears along the way!

Graham Terhune, Cheyenne Schultz, Erin Wilson, Clark Brewer

Who you are: The bohemian bride
What’s your style: You have a whimsical aesthetic and are planning a wedding with market lights, a lush, green bouquet, and a view of the mountains.
Designers you should consider: Claire Pettibone, Watters, Ivy & Aster, Sarah Seven, Christos, and Hello Darling by Heidi Elnora
Take a look at: “Sunny Darling” by Heidi Elnora

Conrhod Zonio, Mustard Seed Photography, Abby Jiu, Bamber Photography

Who you are: The city chic bride
What’s your style: You love clean lines, minimalism, rooftop receptions, and pops of bold accents that make a statement.
Designers you should consider: Hayley Paige, Amsale, Christos, Lela Rose, Anne Barge, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “Ryland” by Anne Barge Blue Willow

Kate Headley, Kristen Kilpatrick, Amy Arrington, Sawyer Baird

Who you are: The elegant bride
What’s your style: You’re planning a black tie wedding, of course, and you love your groom in a white dinner jacket. You feel most at home twirling under a ballroom chandelier or in the middle of a black and white dance floor.
Designers you should consider: Justin Alexander, Monique Lhuillier, Pronovias, Romona Keveza, Lazaro, Carolina Herrera, Anne Barge, Hayley Paige, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “Londyn” by Hayley Paige

Eric Kelley, Melanie Gabrielle, Lexie Bush, Amy Arrington

Who you are: The classic Southern bride
What’s your style: You’ll carry your grandmother’s hanky wrapped around your magnolia bouquet down the aisle, with pearl studs in your ears and a glass full of sweet tea waiting for you at your reception.
Designers you should consider: Stella York, Heidi Elnora, Modern Trousseau, David’s Bridal, Anne Barge, Lela Rose, and Monique Lhuillier
Take a look at: “Lacey Williams” by Heidi Elnora

Landon Jacob, Natalie Watson, Rachel Red, Natalie Watson

Who you are: The beach bride
What’s your style: You only truly exhale when you’re beside the ocean with sand in your toes. You’re planning to celebrate with a small circle of your favorite people at a colorful rental property in August.
Designers you should consider: Watters, Sarah Seven, Stella York, David’s Bridal, Amsale, Christos, and Ivy & Aster
Take a look at: “Amanda” by Amsale Nouvelle

Chris Isham, Becca Lea, Sam Stroud, Landon Jacob

Who you are: The farmer’s daughter bride
What’s your style: You address a group of friends as “y’all,” love a vintage pick-up truck with a bed full of flowers, and will seat your guests on hay bales underneath a sweeping oak tree.
Designers you should consider: Stella York, Heidi Elnora, David’s Bridal, Modern Trousseau, and Anne Barge
Take a look at: “6124” by Stella York

Jennifer Stuart, Jodi Miller, Olivia Griffin, Greer Gattuso

Who you are: The Ava Gardner bride
What’s your style: Born in the wrong decade, you’ve mastered the sleek chignon, prefer champagne for all occasions, and can’t resist the dance floor if Ella Fitzgerald is playing. You’ll rock a swipe of red lipstick on your big day.
Designers you should consider: Claire Pettibone, Justin Alexander, Pronovias, Lazaro, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “8726” by Justin Alexander

We couldn’t think of a better place to start your dress search than Twirl Boutique in Lexington, Kentucky. Ty, Liz, and the rest of their sweet staff are dedicated to finding you the perfect dress and delivering a fantastic experience right alongside it! Twirl carries Stella York, Justin Alexandar, Hayley Paige and Blush by Hayley Paige, Hello Darling and Build a Bride by Heidi Elnora, Nouvelle Amsale, and Blue Willow by Anne Barge. Find out more on their site!

This post is sponsored by Twirl Boutique, a Southern bridal salon we’ve loved for years. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Formalshop reply

    This is helpful for the green hands who are looking for wedding gown, thanks

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John and I are coming up on our fifth wedding anniversary in a few months.

Enough time has passed since that September day that you might think our choices would have fallen out of favor in our memories, that I’d now wish we’d switched this or that detail or done this or that differently. I know some friends who are already itching for a complete do-over, though thankfully to the same people (ha!).

But no. No. Our wedding day was an absolutely magical day, crystalline in its clarity and astonishing in its beauty. I feel so lucky to have absolutely no regrets, looking back — so thankful, in hindsight, that we took the time to do things our way, to do them meaningfully, and to do them with great love. I have no desire to do our wedding over again; instead, I’m free to look forward to what is to come.

I say that not to stress you out — what kind of person would I be if I added stress to a bride’s plate?! — but to encourage you to double down with grace, patience, and purpose as you plan your wedding. Because I want that same clarity and beauty for you… one, five, ten, and fifty years on.

The urgency of wedding planning is this: if you do it right, you only get one chance — but if you do it right, you only need one chance.

One chance to create a memory that will shine in your mind like a beacon until you are old and gray, beckoning you back to why you committed to lifelong love.

One chance to honor and celebrate your community on your wedding day.

One chance to say to your world, This is who we are and who we will be, and this is what matters to us.

One chance to affect all of the people who matter most to you with the power of your love.

Don’t let the urgency of wedding planning scare you — let it fuel you. Don’t let it add details and to dos to your plate — let it strip from your plate the things that don’t matter, that aren’t “you” through and through. Leave those things behind without a trace of guilt.

While you are engaged, so far as you can, prioritize this unique opportunity called a wedding to create meaning in your life and in the lives of the people you love. I promise you that you will reap the riches of that work for years and years to come, and so will those beloved people of yours.

I am with you and for you, friends. And we’re here to help. What part of wedding planning can we help you with so that you’re freed up to create this one wild and beautiful memory? I’d love to hear.

P.S. It must be said – the best tool I know to help you plan a wedding is the Joyful Wedding Planner. I co-wrote it using all I learned from my own wedding, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

P.P.S. New here? You can see more of my wedding in two posts. The photo above is from our big day, by the inimitable Tanja Lippert.

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Oh how I love this post. I’m saving for my future season, whenever that might be, of wedding planning. So I can reflect and remember

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    These words are so true! I’m three weeks away from our wedding day. It feels good to read a post that leaves you encouraged.

    • avatar Emily reply

      I’m so glad this post encouraged you, Ashley!! Best of luck as you count down to your big day! :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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