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Top Tips For the Bride (or Groom) who Loves Photos: Photo Invites & Save the Dates & Engagement Photo Books



Save the Dates, Photo Wedding Invitations & Engagement Photo Books

This is the second in a series of posts on wedding photo ideas… Check out the first post for tips on making your own wedding proposal photo book and wedding website.  This series is a bride-to-bride guide on how to incorporate your lovely photos into the biggest events of a girl’s life. For a roadmap of the series, read the overview on wedding photo ideas or check out my main DIY Bride & Groom Guide to Photos!


Photo Wedding Invitations & Save the Dates

My husband and I wanted our wedding to reflect our personal style – we coordinated our invitations, wedding program, website and our wedding reception decor around the theme of shells, succulents, orchids, rocks, and other natural elements.  (Okay admittedly, the wedding theme and decor were more my taste than my husband, but he liked the modern look and was very involved in food selection and our lighting design.) Our colors were dark chocolate brown and bright pea green. “Modern organic” or “Natural modern” would probably be the best way to describe our wedding theme. We didn’t do a photo invitation – we were lucky to have my artistic and talented architect brother to help design a custom wedding invitation for us and I love how it turned out.


The result of my collaboration with my brother - a custom invitation suite in my colors along with escort card. Don't know if it's visible, but the shell patterns are highlighted with a spot gloss. Plus the printing company had a rounded corner option.

One invitation option however that I wish I knew about then was customizable 3D cards. Snapily is a company that allows you to take any photo or photos, upload them to their site and customize the invitation using 3D type effects to provide you with a truly unique Save the Date card or photo wedding invitation.

Now a 3D invitation is not for the traditional bride, but for a bride who wants something different, this is a fun option.  I read on several wedding websites that the invitation sets the tone for the event and I can’t imagine a guest not being wowed receiving one of these cards.  Although this is something “new” it does use a process that’s been around since the 1940s called lenticular printing (remember those Cracker Jack toys?) so, perhaps a wedding with a retro theme might work with these cards as well.

I would have definitely used Snapily for some other wedding related events had I known about them sooner, but I used them post-wedding anyway with some of my favorite wedding photos.   I think a 3D photo invite would be great for a bridal shower, engagement party, bachelorette party, or rehearsal dinner invitation or for eye-catching wedding announcements.  So neat!  Take a look at more details about Snapily’s online software and review of Snapily’s cards, plus get your own FREE Snapily card!

I’ve seen a number of sites that also offer some very sharp looking photo wedding invitations:




I haven’t tried any of these personally, but they seem to offer a lot of fun and creative options.

photo wedding invitations

One option from photocardchef.com - this is the inside of the card.

photo wedding invitation 2

This is the exterior of the card so, you get to personalize this card with your cute photos on both sides! From photocardchef.com

Photo wedding invitation

A clean very modern invitation from Basicinvite.com

Engagement Photo Book

I actually created three versions of our engagement photo book.  The first version I showed you in the prior post was what I called my proposal photo book.  We filled it with photos telling the story of how my husband proposed to share it with friends and family.  The second and third versions of our engagement photo books were created from shots taken by our professional photographer Albert Yau of SecondPrint Productions.

For engagement photo book version #2, I recently took advantage of an offer with Artscow – a photo product printer based in Hong Kong.  Artscow was offering 5 free 30-page 8×8 hardcover photo books – you only had to pay for shipping.  The cost of shipping each book is $7.99 – a great deal right?  So for about $8 you could get a book that would normally be priced at $25 to $30 (not including shipping) at most photo book publishers.  This was also my first “digital scrapbook” style photo book.  I used several of the embellishments and textured backgrounds, something that I’d never tried previously.  So, now I get to check this type of book off my list!  (Yes, I actually have a “bucket” list for photo books!)



Engagement Photo Book - Artscow 8x8


Two-page spread

I created this book from photos taken by our photographer during our engagement photo session.  Many photographers offer wedding packages that include an engagement session or e-session.  Years ago when I had first learned about engagement photo sessions, for some reason I thought they were odd.  I guess it was because I’m not used to PDA (as in public displays of affection) so I couldn’t imagine making googly eyes at my husband-to-be, in public, in front of a complete stranger with a big lens no less.  I admit it was a bit uncomfortable for both of us, not being natural models, but I would definitely recommend an e-session – when will you have another opportunity to have a professional follow you and your fiancé around for two hours snapping pictures of your engagement bliss?  Also, unless you are a model or extremely comfortable being sappy in front of the camera in an engagement session is a great opportunity to get comfortable with your photographer and to figure out your “best side” before the big day.  (As a side note, I also used it as an opportunity to schedule a trial run with a makeup artist and hair stylist I was contemplating right before the shoot.) I love how these cute 8×8 photo books turned out.  I’ll be posting a more thorough Artscow review soon.


Nice Polaroid clip art frames from Artscow

Engagement Photo Book - Artscow 8x8 Back Cover

The back cover - "PDA"

Other Wedding Related Events

There are a whole host of wedding related events leading up to the wedding day.  You may be lucky to have a party thrown for you to celebrate your engagement as well as one or more bridal showers.  It’s easy to forget about those events as being “photo book” worthy, but photo books don’t have to be reserved for only the big day.  Nowadays with everything gone digital, it’s easy to let those photos gather “virtual cobwebs” but perhaps after you’ve gotten through the craziness of wedding preparations and your honeymoon and settled into wedded bliss, you’ll hopefully have some time to go through those photos and make more photo books.

Here’s a potential list of wedding related events you could make into some nice photo books:

  • Engagement party
  • Bridal Shower (be sure to scan your shower invitation to include in your book!)
  • Bachelorette/Bachelor Party (um this suggestion was meant to be kind of funny – you may or may not want to show these off to anyone! Seen the movie The Hangover?)

In my next post, we finally arrive at the BIG DAY.  Engagement photo book version #3 will make its appearance then!

How did you like your engagement photo session? Any tips? Have any questions about making photo books?  Would love to hear your feedback! 🙂


If you’re ready to make your own photo book, keep within that precious budget and check out these deals first!

Take me to other posts related to Weddings & Brides.

If you want to use a neat NEW tool to help you find the right photo book publisher for you, try out Photo Book Software Wizard!




Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!


  1. Melanie
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm | #

    Thanks so much for offering all of your reviews and insight on photo book making. I’m still trying to decide what company I’d like to use to make my wedding guest book (which will use photos taken during our engagement session), but this is by far the best resource I’ve found from a real user who’s made books using all of the photo book companies. I can’t wait to try my hand at making one!

  2. Wayne Weisberg
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm | #

    engagement pictures are awesome to get done. we had ours taken in central park! we got a CD with all of the images so we created a photobook with picaboo! love it!

  3. Helen
    Posted November 25, 2010 at 1:23 am | #

    I’m so happy to have found your wedding reviews! You are one awesome gal!

  4. Posted November 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm | #

    Very helpful ideas! thanks!

  5. Erica Martinez
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm | #

    I love the idea of making a photobook from the engagement session, we didn’t get any prints of them but I did use them in a photobook guest book, it was a hit too 🙂

  6. Kathy L.
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm | #

    How did you do a 2 page photo spread in Artscow? I can’t seem to do it-is there a special tool for it? Where is this tool for making rounded corners on photos? I can’t find a tutorial on using their software and am having trouble making a photobook easily through them. Any help would be great!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm | #

      Hi Kathy,

      To do the rounded corners. Select the photo you want to change. Click on “Border”. Select “Shape” and then pick “Rounded Rectangle”.
      As for the two page spread, it is not an instant process in Artscow. You have to do it manually and it will take some trial and error and it mine didn’t line up exactly, though it wasn’t as noticeable. If you look closely at the photo captioned “Two-page spread” you’ll see that it didn’t line up right. If you want to try it:
      1) Click on the left side page. Click “Add layout” (one of the top buttons).
      2) Then create a another box to mirror the first one on the right page of the spread.
      3) Drag the same photo to both boxes and then manually line them up.

      If you play with it, you’ll see how it works, though it’s not foolproof. There are other companies in which you can do it instantly like Picaboo, Photobook America, AdoramaPix, Mixbook, MyPhotoCreations that I can recall offhand.

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