Ideally you'd be able to rent a back up body and a lens or two but since that doesn't seem to be in the cards just go with it. If you can go get a properly working flash. You may have trouble using the focus assist with the broken one you currently have. Focus assit will help you lock focus in dim lighting. A 430 exxii would be more than enough and definately bounce it rather than blasting folks directly in the face with it. You should be able to find a good one used in your area for not much cash. I'd also not venture outside your comfort zone. If you don't normally shoot full manual don't. Id say shoot av f5.6-f8 with flash and auto iso. Then fiddle with the flash ec until you get the look you want on the back of the lcd. Heck you may even just shoot full auto with a good flash. Probably better than fiddling with the settings just be prepared for the limitations. I like the idea of trying to get some shots you've seen online, however I would caution you that the set up for some of those shots may take a bit of time (which you may not have) so don't get too grandiose with your plans. sometimes the best advice is KISS (keep it simple stupid). Above all else have fun.