When I got married, I knew where I wanted to spend the bulk of our budget. It wasn’t on a designer gown or a swanky, sit-down dinner. No, no. I wanted the best band and, more importantly, the finest photographer our money could buy.
I got what I wanted.
I remember early on in discussing packages with the photographer, though, telling him, “Don’t worry about including an album. I’ll just make my own on Shutterfly.” Even as I said that, I felt a little skittish about it. There’s definitely some truth to the adage “you get what you pay for,” and, as much as I use Shutterfly for less-formal photo books, I assumed that, in paying less (significantly less, which I’ll discuss further down the entry) for my wedding album, I’d be getting less.
Two years later, I finally built that formal wedding album. When that “bright orange Shutterfly package” arrived, I realized my “get-what-you-pay-for fears” were unfounded. Combining Shutterfly’s thick, sturdy, lay-flat pages with the spread option for large photos and a black genuine leather cover, I was able to build a wedding album that not only held more than a hundred more photos than the one my photographer offered but also cost about $1800 less. I got all that without sacrificing any quality. Plus, I got the control of picking the pictures I loved and placing them in the ways that best told the story of our Big Day.
Here are some of my favorite features, which I used for the first time in the 11X14 album.
I don’t know how, but Shutterfly’s “Lay-Flat Pages” truly do just that; they lay flat. They’re thick enough to be sturdy but not so thick that I feel like I’m reading one of my one-year-old’s board books. A lot of my friends’ photographer-built wedding albums have that kind of extra-thick pages, which makes the books bulky and means they only hold a handful of photos (otherwise, they’d be as big as the family Bible!). One friend in particular was able to include 20 photos in her “board book” wedding album; whereas, I had more than 150, and I could’ve added more, if I’d chosen different layouts from the many Shutterfly templates. For me, these lay-flat pages were a great compromise between the thinner pages of my less-formal albums and the too-thick pages of the board book style albums many of my friends have.
I’ll be honest about these: though I was intrigued by the idea of them, I was terrified of their implementation. What if the images turned out grainy from being blown up too big? Because the files from my photographer were large, though, I went with five of them in my 50 page album. Turns out, they’re some of my favorite pages in the book. They make a big, bold statement, and the quality is perfect. In fact, my mother-in-law made that comment about all of the pictures in the album – “I can’t believe the clarity of these,” she said. I’m not sure what process they use to print on those lay-flat pages, but the result is nothing short of stellar.
For me, the genuine leather cover upgrade was a must-have for a formal album. Once again, Shutterfly did not disappoint. The binding is just beautiful.
The full price for my 50 11X14 lay-flat pages with a genuine leather cover was $249.99. Not only is this significantly cheaper than what I’d have paid my photographer to generate something similar, but this is before using one of Shutterfly’s regular coupon codes, which greatly reduced the price.
All in all, I’ll put it this way – just like with the band and the photographer we hired for our wedding, with my Shutterfly Wedding Album, I DEFINITELY got what I wanted.
Kristin’s blog Keeping Up With the Jonesie