The early parts of wedding planning are always a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s a joyful time of celebration and possibility. What kind of wedding will you have?! The choices are endless! And on the other hand, reality starts to slowly creep in. What do you mean there are only three venues in your city that have availability for 2019? Wait, a bouquet costs how much?

Which is why I think one of the best ways to save your sanity during wedding planning is to have a creative project that is just for you. Maybe you want to knit a hundred beer Koozies, or hand glue a thousand crystals to your shoes (true story from a wedding I once attended). Whatever it is, the key is that it should be subject to No Outside Opinions. And one of the easiest creative projects you can do at home is to take some cool pictures of yourself, and then set up an awesome wedding website. And as long as you make sure your guests can find the information they need to get to your wedding (in the right place, on time, dressed appropriately), the rest is all #youdoingyou.

But maybe, just maybe you don’t spend your work days trying to get a cool-looking photo… and for that part you’re not sure where to start. Well that’s where I come in, with some pro-tips and ideas (and obviously confetti).

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The good news is, these days you can actually get damn good photos on your phone, and even edit them right there. And the even better news is, that’s kind of all you have to do. Once you’ve got your photos, just upload them into your Squarespace wedding website. Their designer templates are gorgeous straight out of the box, making it super easy to personalize your wedding website without having to have a degree in design or HTML. And voila, instant gratification. So if you’re looking for fun, but #lazygirl ways to make your wedding website , here are my best APW secrets for getting cool photos that don’t require any special skills or tools, other than maybe a trip to your local Party City.

How To Get Cool Photos with zero(ish) dollars

Squarespace’s wedding website templates are designed to show off big beautiful photos. Which is great! Your wedding is celebrating the union of you and your partner. Your faces are kind of important. And if you’re getting professional engagement photos taken, your wedding website is an awesome place to use those images. But the timing of engagement photos isn’t always going to line up with the timing of setting up your wedding website (and heck, maybe your photography package doesn’t even include an engagement shoot). So unless you’ve got an on-call pro photographer in your back pocket, coming up with that great photo can feel intimidating. Take it from the person who would only have selfies on her phone if her job didn’t require the occasional photo shoot. But here’s the thing: your cell phone is actually better equipped to take photos than my first DSLR. So grab a friend (or a selfie stick, or one of those cool cell phone tripods) and go play. These are my favorite photo hacks, which we use all the time at APW:

Find a great wall: Feeling a little camera shy? Let your background do the talking for you. Is there an awesome mural in your city? A colorful wall somewhere? Stand in front of it and do your thing.

Use a statement prop: It can be super awkward to get in front of the camera if you aren’t used to it. So if you need a distraction, give your hands something to do. When Michael and I designed our save the dates (a million years ago), I printed out big letters that spelled out “save the date” and we goofed off in front of the camera for twenty minutes or so trying to figure out how to spell D-A-T-E backwards before the timer went off (there are many outtakes that say “Save The Deta”). My favorite prop of the moment is giant letter balloons. They’re only ten bucks, and if you hold them in your hands, you don’t even need helium.

Computer monitor that reads "Please join Meg and David on September 1, 2018 as we celebrate our wedding in Oakland." with pictures of Meg and David holding large pink mylar balloons reading 9, 1, 18"

When in doubt, confetti: Confetti is cheap, and it makes your photos look like a party. If you have a helper to throw confetti at you, my favorite kind is Flutter Fetti because it falls to the floor more slowly. (But buyer beware: we recently learned in an APW shoot not to fling Flutter Fetti too hard, lest you accidentally injure yourself or someone else. But that’s a story for another day.) But if you only have your own two hands, you can just buy it loose like this.

Image of Meg and David covered in falling confetti, looking at each other, smiling as background image on monitor with text that reads

Pro-tip: There are two secrets to taking your photos from okay to awesome: good light and good editing. For lighting, if you’re taking pictures outdoors, do it in the hour before sunset during what photographers call “golden hour.” Inside? Turn off all your overhead lights and hang out near a window during the middle of the day when the sunlight is streaming in. For editing, I recommend using one of the following apps: A Color Story or VSCO. They both have great filters that will make your colors pop and your skin look all glowy. And then if you need to tweak anything once you’ve already uploaded them to your Squarespace website, you can actually use Squarespace’s built in photo editor for other basic adjustments like cropping and brightening.

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Say it with video

The new Squarespace feature that I am most excited about is that you can now include video backgrounds in your wedding website (see a cool example here). While I am usually too intimidated by the technology of trying to make actual videos, there’s one kind of video I am not afraid of and that’s Boomerang (here for Android.). If you don’t already have it on your phone, Boomerang creates quick video loops that are super fun and require zero technical skill. Or you use your phone’s actual video capture and give your wedding website some serious Harry Potter moving picture vibes. In fact, I made this one featuring Meg and David in about ten minutes (this tutorial was super helpful for getting it set up).

(Lo)Go Crazy

If having your face all over your wedding website isn’t your idea of a good time a) I don’t know you, and b) just kidding, it’s cool, you can say it with words instead! Squarespace has a user-friendly logo maker that is free with any yearly Squarespace subscription. You can play around with text, or choose one of their icons for a simple and impactful landing page. I also love what this couple did with Squarespace’s built-in charts, making cheeky graphics for various details like day-of activities, and how much fun they expect you to be having:

Feel like going above and beyond? You don’t have to have a working knowledge of Photoshop to make cool word art. You just need your phone (again) and some old school art skills. Cut out magazine letters, gather up some swag, or raid your niece’s block collection, and lay out your names and wedding date on a clean surface. Take a picture, and you’ve got an insta-logo.

Pro-tip: It helps to pick your Squarespace template before you take any pictures or make graphics, and pay attention to where your logos and menus are. But don’t worry if the layout isn’t perfect on your first try. Squarespace makes it easy to move around logos and buttons with a simple drag of your mouse. And bonus: all Squarepace templates can be customized into wedding websites. So don’t feel like you have to stick to the wedding templates (though their newest ones are ).

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So if you’re feeling uninspired by the early parts of wedding planning, and if you need a creative project that you can do from your couch while catching up on season two of Insecure, go sign up for a free 14-day trial with Squarespace and have some fun. Squarespace will take care of the rest of the work, like making sure your website looks awesome on mobile screens (included with all their templates), and that your URL is something even your seven-year-old nephew can read (custom URLs are included with all paid subscriptions).

Have you created your wedding website yet? Share your URL in the comments! If not, get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW2018 today.

This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Squarespace makes beautiful wedding websites happen in a matter of minutes, thanks to their user-friendly software and modern, minimal template designs. Every yearly Squarespace purchase also comes with a custom URL, and of course, their award-winning customer service (just in case you get stuck). Click here to start a free 14-day trial and make your wedding website today. APW readers get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW18 at checkout.

The post How to DIY Your Engagement Photos appeared first on A Practical Wedding: We’re Your Wedding Planner. Wedding Ideas for Brides, Bridesmaids, Grooms, and More.

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