Everything You Need To Know About Doing A Bridal Boudoir Shoot

To quote every bride who has ever done boudoir: “Do it, you won’t regret it!” Whether you’re talking to your friends at brunch, your co-worker at happy hour, or just scanning posts from random girls in a Facebook group, there’s one thing most brides who’ve done boudoir can agree on: it’s f*cking awesome. Whether stripping down to your panties and taking glorified nudes has always been a part of your wedding plan or the new trend just has you thinking about it, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about not only doing a bridal boudoir shoot, but making it your b*tch.

First of all, the idea is scary to almost everyone at first. Getting naked (or naked-ish) in front of a stranger and taking pictures that you’re going to show to at least one other person sounds like a way to get a reality show, not celebrate your upcoming marriage. If taking photos of your scantily-clad body sounds shocking, the price tag can be even more so. The last thing most couples want to do after spending a sh*t ton of money on their wedding (and on potentially rescheduling their weddings, thanks to covid) is spend more money. The engagement photos and wedding photos are already astoundingly pricey, so why would you add another set of pictures onto the final price tag? Basically, because it makes you feel amazing. It makes your spouse feel amazing. And if you’re not going to take bangin’ nude photos of yourself now, when the hell will you?

So, whether you dream of your future husband or wife getting a pic of you rocking your garter (and only your garter) before walking down the aisle or you just want something you can look back on you’re old and wrinkled, here’s everything you need to know about doing a boudoir shoot. Warning: Your pic game is about to level TF up.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

What’s The Investment?

One of the first things you’ll notice when looking for a boudoir photographer is that most of their websites talk about the importance of the investment without saying the prices. That, or you’ll get a cost that will make you low-key want to vomit. A lot of boudoir studios—while professional, talented, and all-inclusive—come with BIG price tags. Not only do you pay for hair and makeup (and sometimes access to their costume closets), but you have to purchase individual photos instead of just getting a Dropbox link with like, 30 pics (which you can then make into a book via Shutterstock or Walgreens for less than $100 as the most amazing wedding gift to your S.O. ever.)

When this is the case, oftentimes the cost of the shoot is anywhere from $100-$500. But, this is just for the shoot itself. After you have a “reveal” session where you can your photographer go through the images, select the ones you like, and add any final edits. This is how the cost gets real expensive, with each photo or file ranging from $10-$100. If you want the photographer to print a book for you, the cost goes up even more.

Don’t get me wrong—these photos are gorgeous, and if you have the means or really want an all-inclusive experience, go for it! But if you’re looking for a cheaper option (which is what I did), there are photographers out there who take photos that are just as gorgeous, but without all the additional fees. For my shoot, which took about an hour and a half, I paid $150. We shot in a gorgeous hotel in Austin (she booked multiple clients throughout the day), I provided my outfits, I did my own hair and makeup, and I even brought my own Champagne. If I do say so myself, the results are as good as people who paid $1,000, with just a little more work on my end.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLCRebecca Jordan Photography

How Do You Find A Photographer?

Whether you want an all-inclusive experience where you pay per photo or something that costs a little less, the best way to find a photographer is through Instagram. Search hashtags in your city or state (like, #AustinBoudoir #AustinBoudoirPhotography or #AustinBoudoirPhotographer) and do some digging. See whose photos/styles you like and whose you don’t. Doing this, you’ll come across photographers that range from all-inclusive to just getting started. Once you find a few you like, send them an email or DM to get prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you want something added or removed from a package—or if the shoot is still out of your budget—let them know! Chances are they’ll be able to work with you or refer you to someone else.

Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography

How To Prep Emotionally

Not to sound like some new-age guru, but the key to feeling sexy is to think you’re sexy. No matter how “traditionally” hot you are, chances are you have an area or patch or section you don’t feel great about. Everyone does. Boudoir isn’t one of those “I’ll wait until I lose three pounds” kind of things. It’s more of an “I’m hot exactly as I am” kind of thing. A good photographer works with and celebrates all body types and knows how to pose you so your end results are bomb.

Instead of going into the event feeling scared and shamed, spend some time pumping yourself up, just as you would if a friend was doing the shoot. Compliment yourself. Check yourself out. Focus on everything that makes you a catch and remember that these photos are about feeling good just as much as they are about looking good (but don’t worry, you’re gonna look good—I promise).

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

How To Prep (Physically)

While it’s all about feeling good, for most of us, looking good for a big event helps boost self-confidence. First, think about the feel of your shoot. Do you want something casually sexy? Full-glam and sultry? Naughty-yet-bridal? Chat with your photographer, make a Pinterest board with inspiration, and have a plan for how you want the photos to look. Once you do that, prep yourself like you would for any other important situation where photos are involved.

Remove any unwanted body hair, moisturize, utilize those makeup skills you picked up on YouTube, and style your hair to go along with whichever vibe you’re shooting. It’s always a good idea to bring a curling iron, some bobby pins, makeup, and hairspray with you to the shoot (whether you’re doing your own makeup or getting it done professionally) for touchups or a quick changeup of looks. You don’t need to crash diet, cut carbs, or work out endlessly to physically prepare for the shoot. If you aren’t sure which poses flatter your body, ask your photographer for help. Let the pros do their jobs and be kind to your body.

Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography

What Do You Wear?

It should come as no surprise that you can pretty much wear (or not wear) anything to a shoot and make it sexy. While heading to the shoot (or waiting for the photographer to arrive), however, wear loose-fitting clothes to help eliminate any unwanted creases in your skin. When it comes time for the shoot, here are a few favorites to create some ~memorable~ images:

Just a note, the more you bring, the better. You never know what inspiration will strike, what lighting will look great, or what outfit you’ll wish you would have worn. While it’s important to try on all of your looks ahead of time (just to ensure everything fits and feels good), throw some extras in your bag as well.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

What Happens At The Shoot?

While every photographer and experience is different, in general, it’s all pretty straightforward. You’ll arrive at the venue (or they’ll come to you). You’ll chit-chat for a few minutes. You’ll go over ideas and inspiration for the shoot (if you haven’t shown them your inspiration photos, now’s the time). Then, you’ll throw on some music, pop some Champagne, and get changed while they test the lighting.

After that, just follow the photographer’s lead—they’ll help you pose. The key to great pictures is to keep moving. Pretend you’re on America’s Next Top Model and just do sh*t. Dance around, flip your hair, move your face in different ways and directions. Arch your back, arch your feet, grab your boobs. Laugh, don’t laugh, pout, preen. The more you move, the more options you’ll have. Your photographer will direct you but don’t be afraid to speak up. Want to try something? Just say it. It’s your shoot, and their job is to create images for you. It’s better to do tons of different poses (no matter how silly you feel randomly crawling on the floor) so there are lots of options when it comes time to select your favorite photos.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC

How To Make It Not Weird

Before booking the shoot (or while finalizing the preparations), make sure your photographer is cool with you bringing a friend or two along. Pick pals who are not only pros at posing (yes, the friend with lots of followers will come in handy here), but aren’t afraid to both direct you and hype you up. While you want to be told how great you look, you also want to be told if you’d look a million times better if you just turned to your left half an inch. Give them your inspo Pinterest board so they can speak up about any additional looks you might want to accomplish and have them at the ready for fixing stray hairs, smudged makeup, or letting you know when you need to pull your cleavage up.

Additionally, a playlist that makes you want to dance around is your secret weapon. Blast all of your cheesy, feel-good, belt-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music. While the end result of boudoir is great, enjoying the experience and letting yourself feel like a f*cking rockstar will make you love it before you even see the end result. Also, it should go without saying, but Champagne is an absolute essential.

Images: D’Nichole Photography LLCRebecca Jordan Photography

What Your Bachelorette Destination Says About You

There’s one event every little girl dreams of from the moment she waltzes out of the womb. Her dress, her friends by her side, and all eyes in the vicinity on her. She pictures the photo ops, the food, and the painfully tacky matching outfits that she’ll force her girls to wear.

I’m talking, of course, about her bachelorette party.

Let’s be clear, whether it’s a weekend full of wine and whining about exes or a week-long drug fest in the middle of the desert, there’s no right or wrong way to say goodbye to your single life. And while the party is ultimately about what *you* want (and how much you can afford to spend), the destination you choose might say a little more about who you are than you (or your carefully curated Instagram) would have thought.

Disney World/Land

The only thing worse than a bachelorette party in Florida is a bachelorette party in Florida that doesn’t involve going to the beach. Enter: The Disney-obsessed bride. Whether you make the trek to Orlando or Anaheim (at least it’s Cali), having your *gag* last fling at a place designed for CHILDREN is the epitome of a nightmare for most. Not, however, to your friend who will INSIST that everyone gets matching ears and Mickey ice cream bars for a picture that screams more “sober sorority sisterhood retreat” and less “this is my last chance to get truly ratchet that’s all about me.”

Sure, the bride who grew up with princess syndrome and a thirst for waiting in longgggg lines for infant rides will be in heaven. Her friends, however, will be in an overpriced hell that doesn’t serve nearly enough vodka. But come on, what else would you expect from a bride who plans to enter her wedding venue on a horse and carriage and calls her fiancé Prince Charming?

Bridal Personality: What personality? KIDDING! When she’s not wishing upon stars and singing with woodland creatures, she’s having missionary sex with her high school sweetheart-turned-fiancé.

Savannah, GA

Charleston’s more exciting southern cousin, Savannah, has recently become a go-to destination for the less-ballsy of brides. Don’t get me wrong—thanks to the lack of open-container laws, there is still plenty of drinking to be done here, but the girl who chooses Savannah for her party is more of a “bless your heart” and less of a “let’s do f*cking lines in the bathroom” kind of bride. She tends to turn her nose up at shots, specifically stated that strippers were a no-go, and wanted either a day of exercise or sight-seeing to be a part of the itinerary. Fun!

Savannah, like the bride, is cute. Safe. Fun, but not overly so. A big fan of brunch, cocktails, and getting some solid sleep and sober bonding time, the girl who chooses this Georgia town is the epitome of normal. Not cliché, not lame, but not wild. Just your standard, in the middle, could-be-anyone kind of bride.

Bridal Personality: Her bridesmaids will be in blush, she’ll be in an A-line, and her first dance will be something sung by either Ed Sheeran or John Legend.

Napa Valley, CA

It takes a special kind of bride to forgo the traditional weekend of debauchery and sleazeball flirting for free drinks in exchange for a quiet weekend of memory making and merlot. Whether this bride is officially over her crazy streak or she never had one at all, the fact that she’s choosing to rock maxi dresses instead of bikinis and wine glasses instead of shot glasses says it all—for better or for worse.

While no, you might not feel like the grand or so you dished out (more if you’re flying from the East Coast) to sit around a cheese-filled table, drink wine, and talk sh*t is worth it, the bride, while generally a nice-enough girl, doesn’t really care. A true bitch on the inside, she’s not going to go to a party destination just because it’s expected of her. She’s happy to force her friends to travel far and wide to do the same thing they could do literally anywhere else in the country, but this time in sun hats.

Bridal Personality: After getting married at her parents’ country club and honeymooning in either Paris or going on a week-long cruise, the bride and her run-of-the-mill hubby will immediately get working on popping out their 2.5 babies before she opens up her Etsy shop and spends afternoons at the local barre class.

A Cruise (Most Likely To The Bahamas Or Equivalent)

For the bride who doesn’t actually want to go somewhere, but still expects her party to shell out way more money than anyone can afford, I give you: The Cruise Bride-to-be. With her captain’s hat, mouthwash bottles full of green-colored vodka, and matching shirts for her group that say either “last sail before the veil” or “let’s get ship faced,” she’s hoping a weekend boat ride to f*cking Cancun will give her enough Insta content to last until her wedding photos come in.

While it might not seem like it, the bride who chooses a cruise is possibly the most attention-seeking one of them all. Not only will the bach organizer (most likely the bride in this case because, hello? Not much planning goes into a cruise other than, you know, getting ON the cruise, and this bride probs didn’t trust her MOH to do even that) avoid any chance of last-minute cancelations that leave her with the bill, but she’ll feel like a little celebrity on the ship until she realizes just how small a giant boat can feel, especially if there’s a competing bride onboard.

While sure, sharing an inside cabin for 72+ hours with four other people who tend to be insufferable when drunk is the definition of hell, the bride honestly couldn’t care less. She just wanted to avoid arguments over splitting dinners and Ubers, work on her tan, and ensure no one can tune out her drunken ramblings while scrolling through Instagram because the odds of your wifi working are slim to none. Sneaky bitch.

Bridal Personality: Slightly insufferable. Chill—I said slightly! Sure, she loves a good daiquiri and beach day, but instead of keeping it low-key and going to Florida or some sh*t, she’s literally holding you and your frenemies hostage for a weekend that will involve hula hoop competitions and *shudders* cruise-planned group activities.

Nashville, TN

The Luke Bryan-loving, boot-wearing, cowboy-hat-with-a-veil-rocking friend of yours is INSISTING that all of her best bitches meet her in the land of hot chicken and honky-tonk: Nashville. While sure, it’s not the most original place to visit, let’s be real, the bride has never been a “think outside the box” kind of gal. She’s more of a “chug a whiskey, ride a mechanical bull, and almost cheat on her fiancé the first night out” sort of bride.

Still, what she lacks in originality (and sobriety), she at least makes up for in the fact that you’ll be visiting a city where getting sh*tfaced and wearing Daisy Dukes is a requirement. If you’re not a fan of country music (unlike your bridal bestie, of course), you’ll be in a twang-talking hell, but this bride? She DGAF. She’s here for three reasons only: flirting with Southern boys, blacking out on Lower Broadway, and coming back completely bloated on fried food.

Bridal Personality: She has at least one item of non-ironic camo clothing hanging in her closet.

Las Vegas, NV

Honestly, from the moment we learned what Las Vegas even was, almost all of us have dreamt of throwing our last hurrahs (ugh, hate that term) there. Still, as bills, life, and other bachelorette parties ensued, the idea of making everyone we know travel to the middle of f*cking nowhere, Nevada to party in the desert seemed like a little too much. But not, of course, for the bride who still insists on a Vegas bachelorette.

The epitome of a “no sh*ts given” bitch, the Vegas bachelorette bride isn’t looking for a low-key weekend of yoga and bonding. She’s looking for an “all eyes on me, drinking ’round the clock, soul-crushing hangover” kind of party. She doesn’t care that a Vegas bachelorette is the epitome of cliché. She’s throwing on her biggest pair of hoops and flipping off anyone who has a problem with her party destination of choice. Whether it’s because she’s the hottest, the loudest, the richest, or all of the above, in your group, she’s used to being the center of attention. So, naturally, a place where bars literally BEG you to come drink for free and take thirst-trap Instagram pics and where pool parties are meant to put your relationships in question, is the definition of a good time for her. Enjoy throwing your money away at the slots and pulling the bride away from the hot bartender before she crosses a line she can’t uncross.

Bridal Personality: “Jenny, I don’t give a F*CK if you’re tired. It’s only 4-f*cking-am. Did we come to party or did we come to be a little bitch?”

Austin, TX

As someone who lived in Austin for five years post-grad, it’s easy to see why this is quickly becoming one of the best bach party destinations. With lots of bar areas, tons of painted murals for validation-hungry gals to take pictures in front of, and an absurd amount of tacos, it truly has something for everyone, and the bride who chose this spot knew that 100%. A people-pleaser, she chose the destination that will make all of the bridesmaids happy (or at least not totally pissed off for having to shell out money on Disney apparel).

Between the non-stop food trucks, the nature-friendly activities, and the debauchery that takes place on Dirty 6th street, this one is a smart political choice for the girl who isn’t looking to ruffle any feathers. Sure, the girl picking this is a little weirder and more out there (as goes along with Austin’s motto) than your average Vegas bitch, but at the end of the day, she wants a party that’s well-rounded, liked by all, and juuust wild-enough. Yes, she’s playing the popularity game, but at the end of the trip, she’ll be the least likely to lose friends over a bachelorette-induced fight.

Bridal Personality: A night out for her college friends, mural posing for her blogger friends, a hike for her outdoorsy friends, and a bomb-ass brunch for the foodies, this bride is the epitome of a “make everyone else happy even if I hate my own event” kind of girl.

New Orleans, LA

Between the lack of an open container law, the plethora of strip clubs, and the abundance of absinthe, the bride who chooses NOLA for her bach is not. here. to. mess. around. Most likely she was the party girl in college and despite toning it down a bit post-grad, she’s still usually the first to suggest doing shots on a casual night out. While it’s not exactly original and you’ll see at least three other bachelorette parties as you parade (literally) down Bourbon, it makes up for it in the sense that you can stock up on cheap alcohol and carry it in the street as you go from bar to bar (or po’ boy place to po’ boy place).

And this bride? She’s not looking to be completely original. She’s looking to have a Vegas-caliber party in an Austin-type town, with Charleston-esque food, and Nashville-level hospitality. Plus, you know, with some voodoo sh*t thrown in. There’s a 0% chance the bride will leave until she’s flashed a stranger, been face-first in some titties, gotten tangled up in some voodoo sh*t, and gone up two sizes due to her constant diet of beignets. It’s not for everyone, but this is a bride who knows exactly what she wants.

Bridal Personality: If it’s not fried, flirting, or freaking her tf out, it’s not for this bride.

Miami, FL

Rich? Extra? Has had at least one major plastic surgery? Say hello to your Miami bachelorette bride, the friend who has no idea what the concept of money or packing light is. As soon as she rolls up to the overpriced Airbnb or sketchy hotel where you sleep four to a room with her four suitcases in tow, you’ll know you’re in for one of the most exhausting bachelorette parties in wedding history.

Sure, every bach party is expensive, but the Miami party girl brings it to a whole other level. From the pool parties that come with $1,000 food and drink minimums to single dinners that cost more than your weekly grocery budget, it’s easy to rack up a hefty bill, even with all of the spots on South Beach bribing you to come into their bars so they can fill them up. So, why did she pick this place for her pain-inducing party? Three words: She’s a babe. And the best place to show off her meticulously toned muscles, expensively highlighted hair, and “paid for by her fiancé” boob job? You guessed it. Mi-f*cking-ami. Pro tip: if your group isn’t up for Miami, go the chiller (and cheaper) route of Fort Lauderdale.

Bridal Personality: Is she rich? Yup. Is she hot? Yup. Do you kinda hate her? Yup! Still, it’s better to be miserable and be friends with her than to not be friends with her at all.

Somewhere Out Of The Country

You all tried to talk your friend out of having her bach party abroad the same way you tried to talk her out of getting bangs in college. But now, like then, it fell upon deaf ears. Too good for what everyone else does, the bride who makes a whole bunch of her friends fly across the world in order to get some IGs is not only to be feared, she’s not to be messed with.

As soon as you get the “make sure your passports are up-to-date, ladies” text, take a few deep breaths and accept the fact that you’re already in too deep. This friendship is in charge of your life now, and you’re just along for the ride. Anyone who would willingly make her friends get drunk abroad instead of at any of the zillion locales they could do the same thing at in the U.S. is officially the bridezilla we’ve all been warned about. From insisting you all get matching passport-holders, luggage tags, and side-by-side first-class tickets, to getting pissed when someone dares to suggest she’s being a little too extra, this bride is officially too far gone to be reckoned with. Hold on for dear life and report your credit card stolen for fraud when you get back t0 the states—this one’s going to be a doozie.

Bridal Personality: Have a problem? She doesn’t want to hear it because she’s the f*cking bride and by God, she’s going to get EXACTLY what she wants.

Images: Andrew R Simoneaux; Sogol Salehi, Ashley Knedler, Trevor Gerzen, Fernando Jorge, Drew Hays, Nicola Tolin, Clark Van Der Beken, mana5280, mprage, Jealous Weekends / Unsplash

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The Best Ways To Announce Your Engagement On Social Media, Ranked

When it comes to proposals, there’s a lot that goes into the damn thing. The location (the ring). What he said (the ring). The outfit you were saving for this very moment but didn’t get to wear because he told you that you were going to a business dinner and you actually BELIEVED him (the ring). One of the most important aspects of an engagement, however, (other than the ring and ensuring a photographer was hired and hiding in the bushes, of course) is how you tell the world you’re officially and finally f*cking betrothed.

While, yes, you need to tell your family and top- and middle-tier friends first, the moment will come to tell the world, and when it does, you have to be very selective in your declaration. Will you go with funny? Sappy? Honest? Light-hearted? The choices are pretty much endless. So, in order to take one item off of the ever-growing to-do list that will quickly suck the life and soul out of your body once you’re engaged, we’ve pulled together some of the best (and most basic) engagement announcements, so that when your time comes, you can stress a little less and enjoy basking in that just-engaged popularity boost like the wedding gods intended.

engagement announcements

10. “I Said Yes”

The most classic way to say “thank f*cking God I can stop pretending that I haven’t been planning our wedding for the past 3 years.” This is the bread and butter of engagement announcements. Everyone knows you said yes and everyone knew you were going to say yes after he started a podcast with his old college roommates and you stayed with him. Still, what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in the fact that um? You’re engaged? So who TF cares? Let the haters hate while you stare at your ring in awe for the next year.

Who Will Love It: Your parents who didn’t think he was ever going to commit.

Who Will Hate It: Non-engaged friends who could have posted something so much better.

9. A Long-Winded Walk-Through Of Your Relationship

We get it. Your love story is totally unique and one for the ages. The ups and downs. The brief stint of long-distance. The time you thought he was sleeping with your sorority sister—it’s all very romantic. Sure, you’ll embellish the story a bit and you’ll take out the part where you were casually banging for like, six months before he finally got his sh*t together and asked you out, but still. It’s the fake romance of it that counts. While the majority of people’s eyes will glaze over with this post, at least your relatives will be happy. Besides, how will he know you love him if you don’t ignore him sitting next to you while typing a 2,000 word Facebook post that he won’t even read and your creepy old Spanish teacher will like?

Who Will Love It: Moms.

Who Will Hate It: Anyone who actually knows the REAL story (which most likely involved more tequila and less clothes) and all of your bitter single friends.

8. Any Variation Of “Finally”

While it’s not the most romantic, loving, or tasteful, it is FULL of truth and for that, you’ll get total respect from almost every bride-to-be. Throughout your relationship, you have to find the balance between letting him know he needs to propose but not putting too much pressure on him. It’s a dangerous game, but when you win? Holy sh*t, the relief is palpable. And your trophy? A 2-carat solitaire and a wedding to plan. So, yeah. After crawling through the relationship trenches, you f*cking deserve this and “finally” is just about as honest as it gets.

Who Will Love It: Bitches.

Who Will Hate It: Everyone else.

7. #TheWeddingHashtagYouDecidedOn2WeeksIntoYourRelationship

propose

Just like “Finally” but taking it a step further, posting your wedding hashtag with your engagement announcement is the same as saying “if this didn’t happen soon, I was absolutely going to dump his ass,” but with a hint of pathetic thrown in. There’s something about using your hashtag with your “omg I was so surprised, I only had to threaten him for about eight months before he finally proposed” post that just feels desperate. If it’s a really good hashtag (like, really good), I could maybe let it slide, but honestly? Save the hashtag for every other post after the engagement announcement and keep this one about what matters: your ring.

Who Will Love It: Eh, no one?

Who Will Hate It: Everyone whose hashtag isn’t as good as yours.

6. “Does This Ring Make Me Look Engaged?”

*Sigh.* Sure does. But also, is this caption as basic as they come? Sure is. While yes, being basic is all fun and games during the fall when we’re all out there drinking PSLs and posing in pumpkin patches, do you really want basic-isms to be the backdrop of your engagement? For some, this is a kiss of death. For others, it’s literally not a big deal. Decide which side you’re on—if you can stomach the idea that the most important day of your life is just like everyone else’s, then go forth and be unoriginal! At the end of it all, you’re engaged and that’s what truly matters. But don’t expect a like from me with a post like this—just sayin’.

Who Will Love It: Basics, duh.

Who Will Hate It: Anyone who has ever spent a minute in the “engagement present” section of Amazon.

5. “I Said Maybe”

The sassy sister of “I said yes,” the “I said maybe” post is the epitome of a boss bitch move. It says “I’m not desperate. I haven’t been waiting for a ring since the day I turned 16. I didn’t care if I never got engaged. This is no big deal.” Which is, obviously, the vibe we all what to portray despite the fact that we’ve reeked of desperation since our very first friend said “I do.” While, no, it doesn’t tell the story of your love and yes, it kind of makes you seem like you’re settling (which you’re not, right?), it’s clever, funny, and guaranteed to pull in likes, and honestly, isn’t that the whole point of engagement announcements in the first place?

Who Will Love It: Your real friends and your dad.

Who Will Hate It: His mom.

4. Just A Ring Shot

engage

There are literally two things the people came for: a ring shot and a breakdown of how the proposal went. At the end of the day, however, everyone on your feed wants the same thing: To look at the rock on your hand and judge it mercilessly with their friends. Cut out the fluff of your relationship story and your hashtag and just give the people what they want, dammit: a clear, unobscured, close-up of the ring on your freshly manicured finger.

Who Will Love It: Every female who follows you.

Who Will Hate It: Anyone with a naked ring finger.

3. A Play-By-Play Of The Proposal

“When did it happen? Where did it happen? What were you wearing? Was it a surprise? Were you suspecting it? Did you have your nails done? What did he say? Did you cry?” The second you land an engagement ring, the barrage of questions will start. We could say it’s because people love you, but really, we’re all just nosy assholes who hope your proposal isn’t better than ours. The point is, you’re going to need to tell this story a million and one times. Might as well get a jump on everyone and write it out to post-worthy perfection. That way, by the time you see most of your friends and family, you can skip the storytelling and get to the more important things, like where you’re registered and what color KitchenAid mixer you’ve been eyeing.

Who Will Love It: Your estranged friends and relatives.

Who Will Hate It: Your jealous-ass frenemy.

2. “I Wonder How Many Group Texts This Will End Up In?”

Honest? Clever? The perfect amount of bitchiness? Check, check, and check. This is the type of raw truthfulness we’re looking for in your engagement announcement post. Whether you post this with a proposal pic, a ring shot, or even a full album of relationship-y photos, you can literally do no wrong when you use this bomb-ass caption. While no, it doesn’t ooze romance and no, you don’t get to go on and on and on and on and ON about your relationship’s ups and downs, you do get to secure more likes than your frenemy who had the audacity to get engaged before you. Besides, you have plenty of other posts to be sappy in—like the after-wedding post when you finally get to eat again and your hair is no longer falling out due to the planning stress. Save the romance for when you’re actually out of the trenches. As any married bitch can tell you, the drama is just getting started.

Who Will Love It: Your top-tier friends.

Who Will Hate It: Your grandparents who have no idea what a group text is and will sign the comment off with “XOXO GRAMS.”

1. “He Got Down On HIS Knees For A Change”

engage

*record scratch*

Yeah, I went there, and I know, I know, I know. There’s no way you can post this. Your family will see it. Your dad, who you expect to shell out a stupid amount of money for your flower-ridden ceremony, will see it. Still, every time I come across a new engagement on my feed, I hope more than anything that a post will surprise, dazzle, and startle me. If you are not afraid of rubbing more than a few people the wrong way and absolutely ruining a couple of relationships, please, I’m begging you, use this as your caption. While it’s pretty much guaranteed to piss off a few (and by “a few” I mean a lot of) relatives, no one’s ever been remembered for good behavior. Well, other than like, Mother Teresa. And Oprah. And Jennifer Aniston. So, scratch that, people have been remembered for good behavior. But let’s be real—YOU’RE not going to be remembered for good behavior. I mean, isn’t that why he’s marrying you in the first place?

Who Will Love It: Anyone with a sense of humor and your quirky aunt, Jen.

Who Will Hate It: Your parents. HIS parents. All the grandparents. Your prudish aunt, Nancy. Anyone over the age of 35. Anyone under the age of 17. People who still regularly check Facebook. Actually, maybe just don’t do this one…? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Images: Burst / Pexels; Giphy (4)

IDK Who Needs To Hear This, But It’s Bullsh*t To Let A Wedding End Your Friendship

From the moment I waltzed out of my mother’s womb three weeks early (as a 5 lb. baby, I might add—I was like, so skinny), there’s been one main goal in my life: to have the best. f*cking. wedding. ever.

I know that seems obvious. Hello, I’m a red-blooded American girl with bleached blonde hair and skin damage from all the *shudders* tanning beds in my teens. Of course I’ve been obsessed with my wedding long before I swiped my v-card for a boyfriend in 10th grade.

Still, whether it’s a cliche or not, planning my big day was my full-time, self-employed, unpaid job from the ages of consciousness to about a month after my wedding when I finally stopped obsessing over everything that went wrong. While, sure, the details changed over time and my tastes ebbed and flowed, one thing stayed the same: I knew I was going to throw the party of a lifetime and walk away happier, more popular, and if you can believe it, even more beautiful than I already was. Pre-engaged me was as humble as she was realistic.

The thing is, before I was engaged, I loved planning my wedding. LOVED it. The pinning, the dreaming, the sheer obliviousness over how much that 12-tier geode cake would cost—it was my obsession. I was Joe Goldberg and weddings were my damaged girl with daddy issues.

After I got a ring on my finger, however, I realized why all of my already married friends complained about planning so much, something I thought was absurd and spoiled at the time. Between the Hunger Games-esque competitiveness to see who would be a bridesmaid, the fact that my once large-sounding budget was actually a budget for ants, and the helpful suggestions-turned-demands family members had in exchange for monetary help, it was, to put it lightly, a sh*tshow.

As someone who grew up watching Say Yes To The Dress and insisted that all of her potential maids of honor watch Bride Wars together in theaters during her junior year of high school, I was no stranger to the drama that surrounded weddings.

After my day came and went, along with most of the mistakes and the drama, I still love to read and research about weddings, but this time, from a different point of view. I love to see how other brides’ big days went totally wrong and how they managed to pull their sh*t together. What can I say? I love an underdog in tulle.

When I came across this piece published by Vogue, which is one of the bougiest things I’ll type all day, I quite literally rubbed my hands together and audibly said, “this oughta be good.” I know. I’m the worst. In the editorial titled “When Weddings End Friendships,” the author, Grace, details the account of how she lost one of her best friends during the wedding planning process (not to death, just to general bitchiness) and ultimately outlines the angst that brides, as well as their friends and family, face during those emotion-filled months leading up to the wedding.

it’s crazy how much a wedding can put friendships into perspective

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) December 24, 2019

And while I can relate to our gal Grace in the sense that weddings stir up all kinds of drama and feelings and chances to make others feel like sh*t, letting one day ruin an important friendship is, in my not-so-humble opinion, complete and utter bullsh*t. While, sure, I can see how it happens (trust me, as you’re drowning in relationship politics and vendor contracts, you’ll feel more than willing to bitch slap anyone who annoys you in the slightest), I want to urge any and all future brides to pull this entitled bridezilla mentality out of their asses and get real.

The thing is—and this is going to be a doozy to accept, so deep yoga breaths, ladies— this time is not just all about you. Don’t get me wrong, the wedding is all about you (well, and your fiancé lol). Despite your annoying MIL or your father with the finicky wallet who wants to dictate every decision, your wedding is ultimately about creating a memorable day to, you know, honor love and get some bomb-ass ‘grams that will hopefully be reposted on one of those wedding inspo accounts

But as much as we want to assume that the bride is the most important person in everyone’s lives during the entire wedding process from engagement party to honeymoon, there’s one small problem: Everyone else is still living their f*cking lives while you’re off tasting cakes and panicking about your first dance song. And a lot of the time, those lives are chaotic and messy and frustrating.

In the Vogue piece, the author talks about how the relationship with one of her college besties went to sh*t over an unreturned RSVP. Her friend didn’t respond to the invitation, and after the bride reached out, she learned that her old pal would not be in attendance due to some weak reason. And she was hurt, rightfully so. But what happened? The bride got married and to this day (over a year since The Incident), believes that it’s her friend’s fault that the relationship is over and that “the damage is permanent.”

Yeah, having an old pal unable to come to your wedding is a bummer. And having to reach out to her asking if she was coming only to get a seemingly bullsh*t regret is a double bummer. But is that a reason to detonate your whole friendship? And if so, if your relationship was that shaky, was it even a real friendship in the first place?

From my maid of honor who couldn’t come to the wedding after giving birth weeks before, to the bridesmaid who kept planning her own hypothetical big day, despite a naked ring finger, to the friend who was devastated that she wasn’t chosen to wear an itchy, matching sequin gown, I’m no stranger to strained relationships in the face of wedding planning. With big changes in the forecast, lots of reflection, and plenty of opportunities to compare and contrast lives, it can really f*ck with people’s heads, especially the heads of your friends who have been there with you every step of the way. Sure, it’s exciting. But it’s also kind of sad. A chapter is over and different people handle that in different ways. Some get mad, some get drunk, and some just shut down.

With everything going on, I’ll admit, there’s plenty of space for relationships to implode.

The thing is, the event you’re planning for? It’s a wedding. A wedding where you’ll marry your so-called best friend and you’ll spend the rest of your life watching reruns of Friends together. Between money, sex, careers, houses, and family drama, you’ll have a sh*tstorm to face together. A sh*tstorm that’s way bigger than an unreturned RSVP or a weird response to your engagement post.

I hate to sound like a new age hipster, but communication is key. If you can’t talk to your friend of a decade to let her know you’re hurt about her not coming to your wedding, how are you going to communicate with your husband when you’re frustrated over how little he goes down on you or how much you want to spend on a hallway table? How are you going to handle the bigger roadblocks in life? The career pitfalls, the illnesses, the moves, and the deaths?

The secret to not letting your big day ruin your big relationships? Talking. It’s that f*cking simple. Because when you get to the root of it, my maid of honor who got pregnant was devastated that she couldn’t stand by my side, and the bridesmaid planning her non-existent wedding was worried that her time would never come, and the friend who wasn’t in the party was hurt that she might not mean as much to me as she thought. But the key is I know the way they were feeling because I talked to them about it, instead of staying in my feelings and ghosting them.

What it comes down to is that weddings bring out the worst in people. Sure, they might actually, finally bring out our abs (for a solid 48 hours until you have a bite of cake and then you’ll never see them again), but they also bring out insecurities, jealousy, comparisons, and fear. Instead of letting a time of high pressure and heightened emotions sabotage your relationships, use it as a chance to practice compassion, communication, and careful listening. Because once the thank you notes are sent and the non-registry gifts are returned, all you’ll want is the normalcy of your best friends by your side, drinking wine in sweats and talking sh*t on other people’s weddings. Don’t let a white dress and a mediocre DJ take away your real happily ever after with your true soulmates.

And my advice to the writer at Vogue? If Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway can get over blue hair and a leaked spring break video, you and your friend can probably get over an unreturned RSVP and an unattended wedding. Trust.

Images: Youtube; Giphy (3)

7 Tips For Writing The Perfect Wedding Speech

Giving the perfect speech at a wedding is like making a joke on Twitter in 2019: it’s difficult to think of something that reads as funny and original to everyone AND doesn’t offend anyone at all. You have to balance joking with being sentimental, make sure what you’re saying fits the whole couple and not just the partner you’re closest with, and please the bride/groom while pleasing the entire crowd as well. Your friend may think the story about the bride blacking out on spring break in Cancun sophomore year is hysterical, but the bride’s grandmother probably won’t. On top of all of this, a room full of both strangers and familiar (but not necessarily friendly) faces is listening to you. On the latest episode of the U Up? podcast, Jared and Jordana broke down the dos and don’ts of giving a great wedding speech that will make everyone ask YOU for help writing their speeches for the next wedding.

1. Don’t Speak As A Group

As a bridesmaid or groomsman, having others up there by your side seems like it would make the speaking process way easier and more comfortable, which would in turn makes for a more effortless-sounding speech. But it actually ends up making everything sound way less cohesive and even more awkward. Jared points out, “Every time you switch people, you lose momentum. We don’t even get used to the tone of the speech because it changes seven times.” A few drinks in, people won’t be able to keep up with the changes. Just as they all get warmed up to the person speaking, you move onto someone new and they’re left to readjust all over again. Your part will just blend in with the crowd. You don’t want your best friend’s annoying college roommate to taint the entire speech because of how terrible her part is, or worse, dull the effect of your part. Step off, Emily, she’s been my best friend since KINDERGARTEN. 

2. Don’t Make It Too Personal

It feels nice to give the bride/groom a speech that is very specific to them and include inside jokes that make you feel special, but when you’re speaking in front of a whole audience, you need to keep them in mind.  Whoever’s listening wants to feel like they’re in on the joke too, or else they won’t think it’s funny. Avoid the “had to be there” stories and stick to making references about the bride/groom’s personality that everyone in the room will understand and identify with, because that will get a reaction from the most people. If the bride is notoriously obsessed with her dog, write about the time she brought Fluffy to brunch and you guys got kicked out because she peed on the floor. (The dog, not the bride.)

3. Don’t Be Too Self-Important

It obviously makes sense for you to introduce yourself when starting your speech, but people don’t need to know every detail about who you are, how you met the bride/groom, what you do for a living, how far you traveled to get there, and what you ate for dinner last night. Everyone’s there to celebrate the couple getting married, not the weirdo who cares way too much about everyone knowing exactly who she is. Chill, dude. I know you want every groomsman to know you’re single, but there’s this thing called introducing yourself (which you can do later). Get the speech moving and keep the focus on the people the wedding is actually for.

4. Tell That “One Great Story” You’ve Told A Thousand Times

Everyone thinks it’s better to be original than repeat a story you’ve already told, especially because people get called out for telling the same story over and over again and you want to do something unique for this special occasion, but there’s obviously a reason you associate this one story with the person so strongly and have continued to tell it time and time again. Since you already know it backwards and forwards, you are able to determine what parts work people think are funny and build on those instead of using material that may or may not land. 

5. Don’t Use Generic Jokes You Found By Googling “Wedding Speech Jokes”

As Jared pointed out, everyone has heard the line “Thank you for making me your best man, I hope I can be the best man at your next wedding, too” before, Not only is it not funny, it’s sooo cringeworthy. Whoever thought joking about how long the relationship will last at a couple’s literal WEDDING was a good idea? Using that line is a good way to make everyone feel uncomfortable and judge you. Just don’t be that guy.

6. Bring It Back To The Couple

No matter what you say, you always want to find a way to tie it back to how perfect the bride and groom are for each other. However funny or incredible your speech is, it’s not going to hit home with everyone unless it somehow connects both people getting married. How great the couple is together is something that every wedding guest can get behind (at least I would hope). Save the love fest for just your best friend until her birthday, when you know everyone is there for her and only her.

7. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

Even an impeccable speech has a time limit. Everyone can only pay attention for so long, and especially if there are more people up after you, you have to be quick. Get in, say what you gotta say, and then GTFO of there. Short didn’t become associated with sweet for nothing!

For more of Jared and Jordana’s expert opinions on how to give the best wedding speech, listen to U Up? below.

Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash; Giphy (2); Tenor (5)

How To Plan Your Wedding Without Going Insane

Brides, it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to free yourself from the empty apologies we’ve become accustomed to supplying, and more often than not, we don’t realize we’re apologizing. That’s true of life in general, but it’s especially true during wedding planning. You find yourself apologizing for the stupidest, mundane sh*t. Are you really sorry for emailing a question to a wedding vendor you’re paying? NO! Are you sorry for asking for a different size at the bridal boutique? NO! Are you sorry for asking your maid of honor for help? NO! And, you shouldn’t be sorry in any of those scenarios! But, giving up those apologies and replacing them with truth isn’t an easy task. It’s hard to stop giving a f*ck, because we’ve been conditioned to GAF our whole lives. But, you’re getting married now, so it’s time to graduate to the next phase of our lives.

Personally, I’ve adopted the old lady perspective. You know, the rambunctious old lady with purple speckled hair yelling at some poor bastard while shaking a bony finger? Her. She is everything. We’d be apologizing, while that old lady is speaking her mind unapologetically. And there’s beauty in that. She’s old, with zero f*cks to give, because she’s learned that it’s a hell of a lot easier to let sh*t go and stop apologizing. So, what if we adopted the “old lady” perspective in life and in wedding planning? The zero f*cks perspective? The stop apologizing perspective? Oh my God, imagine the possibilities.

It all comes down to perspective and hindsight. I already preach perspective on my podcast and blog, but man, I wish I could teach hindsight, and that you could learn from every single one of my wedding planning experiences. Not saying I’m some sort of genie, I’m just more experienced than you. I’ve planned a gazillion weddings to your one. I’ve dealt with bitchy bridesmaids, tyrannical mothers, horrid family members, and even a dog sh*tting on the dance floor. Yup! That silly dog sh*t on the dance floor, and I got to clean it up (I also re-frosted part of the wedding cake after a guest bumped into it at that same wedding!). So here’s a dose of hindsight (and perspective) that will help launch you into giving less f*cks while you plan your wedding:

1. Stop Apologizing

 

if i had a dollar for every time i cursed while planning my wedding, i’d actually be able to afford my wedding

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) May 22, 2019

Be that old lady, but be kind. Kindness attracts kindness. If you’re nice to your mother, sister, brother, MOH, bridesmaids, vendors, etc., they will be nice to you. It’s very simple. But don’t apologize for wanting your wedding a certain way. If something is important to you and your significant other, then kindly express your feelings, unapologetically. The easiest way to shut down haters, disagreers, opinionated assholes, know-it-alls, etc., is to be firm and kind. However, if you lose that kindness and cross the line, it’s very hard to get back to good. So, be kind, but channel that old lady, and stop apologizing! Which leads me to my next point.

2. Tell The Truth

 

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Always gotta keep em on their toes | @emcrebbs

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The truth is always quicker. Don’t dance around some version of it, just own it. Planning your wedding is hard enough, but navigating through a web of lies and bullsh*t will make it that much more difficult, even if you had good intentions. I know it’s sometimes easier to lie to avoid hurting feelings or fragile egos, but it’s better to get it all out, honestly, than to keep up with your lies. Not inviting somebody to your wedding who is expecting an invitation? Talk about it before you send them out. Mom wants to invite all of her cousins to your intimate wedding? Speak your truth, and do your best to meet in the middle. The truth will save you a lot of time and hopefully a lot of anguish.

3. Know Your Limitations

nothing like planning a wedding to realize how extra you really are

— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) March 18, 2019

Not a DIYer? Then don’t f*cking DIY. Don’t like being the center of attention? Then don’t bring your bridal party with you as you try on wedding dresses. No time to plan your wedding? Then hire a wedding planner. You get the point. The key to giving less f*cks is to set yourself up accordingly, to understand your limitations and to work/plan within your boundaries. You CAN do this, just be honest with yourself those around you.

4. Manage Your Expectations

 

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Great, another thing I don’t have time for | @katiemarovitch

A post shared by Betches Brides (@betchesbrides) on

People don’t change. Don’t expect anybody to change because you’re getting married. It is not your fault that some folks won’t be excited or happy for you. It becomes your fault if you expect them to have a change of heart. Hopefully they will, but don’t count on it. And certainly don’t waste time caring about how they feel about you or your wedding. Weddings are joyful. Weddings honor and celebrate a couple who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together, and not everybody appreciates the enormity of the day or the magnitude of the union. So, f*ck ‘em, and move on.

5. Allow Yourself To Have Fun

For those of you singles about to embark on wedding season, stay safe out there, but more importantly—and I cannot stress this enough—stay drunk.

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) May 2, 2019

Planning a wedding is hard work, but a lot of it is fun “work”. So embrace it! Have fun with it! It’s a day for celebration, so celebrate as you go! Take a step back to enjoy your friends and family, and be in the moment. Don’t just get through it, embrace the sh*t out of it!

When you find yourself struggling to keep it together, and the wedding planning is getting you down, I want you to take a step back and remember why you’re getting married in the first place. If that doesn’t center you, then think about what that old lady would do. Think about how she’d handle herself in your position, and adopt that “old lady” perspective. I’m guessing she’d probably be shaking her damn finger, demanding respect, and giving no f*cks while speaking her truth. Try it. It’s liberating.

Deborah DeFrancesco is the founder of Bitchless Bride the Podcast + Blog. With years of wedding planning and coaching experience, consider Bitchless Bride your wedding superhero, your inspiration board and your therapist. Her mother says she swears too much…

Images: betchesluvthis, betchesbrides (2) / Twitter; betchesbrides (2) / Instagram