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These Are the Wedding Photo Presents I Gave My BFF

Magical things I found at Shutterfly this month


I’ve joked all year that 2017 has been 365 days of professional bridesmaiding. Humor aside, though, this year was huge. I had a baby, then three of my best friends got married (and my sister follows this weekend), and it all sort of melded together into one big emotional reunion after another. The last of my BFFs to get married was my oldest childhood friend, Kristina (who you might recognize from my wedding, and possibly from here). Kristina is the first person I told when I started dating my husband (when we were fifteen), she was in the room with me when I gave birth, and I’m pretty sure she actually talked me into getting pregnant when I did, so that I could drink and dance at her wedding unencumbered by pregnancy. Needless to say, her wedding was a big deal. In fact, you can see me crying into my drink during her ceremony halfway down the page here. And I’m pretty sure I spent more time thinking about it than my own wedding. So when it was all over (and it was a glorious event) and a week or so had passed, we both kind of looked at each other like… now what? And then settled into that weird post-wedding void together.

So when we were invited to explore The Wedding Shop by Shutterfly this month, I figured what better way to lift us out of the post-wedding funk than by reliving that day in tangible memories? Because sentimental as it might sound, there is something kind of magical about sitting down a few weeks or months after the wedding is over and poring over images of your wedding day with your partner (and maybe your third-wheel BFF). So I stealth emailed her photographer for pictures, and then set to work on making memories. Now, we’ve worked with Shutterfly a bunch in the past. So I already know that their albums and prints are great (and more importantly, affordable). But since this is my best friend we’re talking about here, I also wanted to find some special pieces for their home that would fit with their modern-meets-traditional vibe and seamlessly integrate into their super stylish apartment. And Shutterfly did not disappoint. For starters, can we talk about these acrylic prints?

The hands-down winners of my shopping spree were these amazing prints made from thick glass blocks. (I definitely tried to steal that portrait of Kristina to take home with me, but I was caught trying to hide it in the baby’s car seat on the way out the door.) They are about an inch thick and super sleek. In short, I will be ordering several of these for myself and my family members for the holidays this year.

I also nabbed one of these fantastic easel calendars. (Really, I just bought Kristina and Ruha things that I intend to take home with me next time I visit.) Unlike most of the calendar gifts I’ve received in the past, Shutterfly’s easel calendars are printed on thick matte paper, and come with a little wooden easel, so the vibe is modern minimal coolness (and like most of Shutterfly’s products, it took me about five seconds to design this using one of their pre-designed templates).

And since Shutterfly has some of the best promotions on the Internet, a deal popped up while I was in the middle of my shopping spree, and I was able to grab some hanging prints as well. While I love to give a framed print as a gift, I’m always looking for a lighter-weight option around the holidays, when I’m traveling cross country and trying to save on shipping costs and suitcase space. Which is why I love both Shutterfly’s mounted wall art and metal prints. Instead of a frame, your photo is mounted on sturdy but lightweight board or metal backing, and it comes pre-mounted to a hanging apparatus. So all you have to do is remove it from the box and hang it on your wall. And the best part is that with no distractions, your photo takes center stage (which, in the case of Kristina and Ruha, the pictures were so good they didn’t need any other accoutrements). The APW staff ended up loving this particular piece so much that we’re planning a whole gallery wall of mounted prints for our office (made up of our favorite APW real wedding photos, natch).

But the real gift I wanted to give my friends was one of Shutterfly’s premium photo books. Because I was the person who waited five years to design a wedding album and regretted it. And I wanted to save my friends from my mistake.

The other week, someone in Happy Hour asked about the quality of Shutterfly’s photo books. And the short answer is they’re really good. As a former photographer, I always assumed that Shutterfly was the affordable alternative to traditional wedding albums, but was curious about what quality I would be getting. So when I had the opportunity to make my own wedding album with Shutterfly last year, I kept an extra skeptical eye out for quality. And I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered one of their premium photo books (the ones designed specifically for the longevity of a wedding album), and I was really impressed with both the sturdiness of the book itself, as well as the quality of their printing process.

So while I am no stranger to Shutterfly’s premium photo books, I also wanted to find something that would vibe with Kristina and her wife Ruha’s more organic aesthetic. And that’s when I discovered just how wide a range of options their photo books include—from crushed silk or leather covers on your premium album, or cloth and linen for your standard album. And with the awesome deal I snagged, I was basically able to get two albums for the price of one. Which meant I could spring for both the high-end leather album and a more affordable linen-covered album, with the old-school die-cut photo window that I’m really feeling these days.

Shutterfly has a ton of pre-programmed album templates to choose from (including wedding-specific ones for things like guest books). So I was able to design both albums, plus my photo gifts in a matter of hours, while binging on Netflix. And if you’re feeling really strapped for time? Shutterfly will even design your album for you. Just choose the “Make My Book” option, and for $9.99, a Shutterfly designer will organize your photos for you and insert them into your album design. (And you only pay the fee if you actually order the book.)

As we sat down in Kristina and Ruha’s house together, with their puppy and my baby sitting nearby, it did feel like getting the wedding day back for a few hours. That’s really the point of getting your wedding photos off your hard drive and out into the real world; it’s passing by your windowsill while you make your morning coffee and, as Kristina put it to me recently, “feeling a sense of accomplishment that our wedding was magical.” And while you can’t put a price on that feeling, with Shutterfly, you can get pretty close.

Click here to check out Shutterfly’s premium albums and other unique photo products.

This post was sponsored by The Wedding Shop by Shutterfly. With Shutterfly’s The Wedding Shop, you can shop for your wedding from top to bottom, starting with save the dates and invitations, to day-of decor and wedding party gifts, all the way through to wedding albums and prints. Click here to explore everything the wedding shop has to offer.

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