One of the most popular questions we get after we book a couple for their wedding day photography is, “what do I wear to my engagement session?” Though Pinterest can offer ideas, sometimes we ourselves get a little overwhelmed with all of the many options available. After 4 years of shooting numerous engagement sessions a year, we’ve outlined twelve different tips for how to pick the perfect outfit for your engagement session according to what looks best on camera and when printed later for your save the dates!
1.) Dress Seasonally Appropriate (& Don’t Forget Your Layers!)When planning your engagement session outfits, you want to keep the season in mind. Choosing pieces of clothing that match the season in which you’re taking photos is best so that you will naturally blend in with the location. For those with engagement sessions in the fall or winter, you have the privilege of adding layers to your outfits (yay!). Adding layers like scarves, sweaters, jackets and shawls add dimension and extra interest to your photos. For those with engagement sessions in the spring or summer, you can add layers by accessorizing with light scarves or chunky necklaces.
2.) Get FancyOne of our favorite things is when our couples’ choose to get super fancy for one of their outfits. It takes the whole session up a notch. Not only do all of our couples clean up so well, but they always seem to be extra giddy when they come back in their classy attire. Plus, I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about dressing up with your sweetheart that makes you excited and extra lovey dovey.
Want to get fancy, but you don’t have the budget to shell out $$$ on a dress you’ll only wear once or twice? Consider shopping around on websites like Rent the Runway to rent a gown for the session. It’s a great option for those that know they want something fancy, but don’t want to own the piece forever.
3.) Compliment, Don’t MatchIt’s important when you’re picking out outfits for you and your fiancé that you choose two outfits that compliment one another. Complimenting one another can look like wearing two different shades of the same color (top left) or it can look like him wearing a blue and red plaid shirt and you wearing a red shirt, like Sarah & Brad (top right). Wearing colors in the same color or hue family are also good options as well.
When complimenting each other with your outfits, it’s also important to keep in mind that you don’t want your outfits to be too busy. For example, if one of you wears a plaid shirt, we recommend the other should wear a plain colored shirt so that there is balance between the two outfits.
4.) Neutral, Muted HuesAnother option for choosing engagement session outfits is to choose outfits that are neutral or muted hues. Choosing neutral colors lets the eye focus on the faces rather than the outfit. While some people prefer to pop off the background, other couples may choose more subtle colors for their outfits which allows the focus of the photo to be on the couple and their interaction. Before choosing neutral toned outfits, make sure that you verify it looks best with your skin tone. Often times, light colors can wash out faces, so take one more look in the mirror before settling on neutral colors for your engagement session outfit.
5.) Bold, Vibrant ColorsWhile we love neutral and muted colors, choosing an engagement session outfit in a bold, vibrant color is so fun! Bright yellows, reds and pinks pop off the screen and certainly lead the eye straight to what is going on in the photo. We also feel that adding a bright pop of color to your engagement session outfit portrays joy and spontaneity.
If you’re considering wearing a vibrant color to your engagement session, we recommend having your fiancé choose a more neutral color so that there is good contrast between the two outfits. The outfits that compliment each other best are typically those that have good balance with one another.
6.) Have A Unique Session LocationWhile most couples choose a pretty, outdoor location for their engagement session, we love when our couples come to us with a completely unique idea for their session. Sometimes this looks like visiting their favorite coffee shop or starting their session in their apartment while they enjoy a glass of wine. In-home, on a boat, in a brewery, at a coffee shop…you name it, let’s make it happen! Having a unique session location gives your photos extra interest and adds such a fun element to the shoot. The session becomes less about poses and more about capturing the two of you as you would normally interact at these locations. If there is any kind of nervousness about getting in front of the camera, choosing a location that is important to your relationship can be such a fun and easy way to ease into a session in a way that is natural. You’ll probably even forget you’re in front of the camera!
7.) Have Your Location In MindWhen you’re planning out your outfits for your engagement session, it may be helpful to consider where you will be doing your session. Thinking about the colors, tones and patterns that will be represented at your location of choice can help you decide what colors would look good and what colors that you should stay away from. As always, it comes to personal preference. Do you want to pop off the background or blend in with the scenery? Both options are great, so keep your location in mind.
8.) Let That Ring SparkleBefore your engagement session, your photographer should remind you to clean your ring. If your jeweler is local, ask about free cleanings (most offer it). If your jeweler is not local, cleaning your ring at home is another great option. Regardless of what you do, giving that pretty little thing you’re obsessed with some extra love before your session can go a long way when it comes to close up shots of your ring.
9.) Splurge for Professional Hair & MakeupAnother option for your engagement session would be to consider splurging for professional hair and makeup. A way to do this that is cost effective would be to schedule your hair and makeup trial for a few hours before your engagement session. Not only is this a great way to trial whether you like your complete bridal look when photographed, but you’re also taking advantage of hair and makeup that would otherwise go to waste. Having your hair and makeup professionally done before your engagement session makes you more confident in front of the camera because, YES, you sure do look like you’re about to be a bride!
10.) Be Yourself While we’ve talked a lot about different colors, hues and fancy things you can wear to enhance your engagement session, probably what is more important than all of those things is that you’re dressing like YOU. We would never want a couple to put on an outfit that they don’t feel like themselves in. If you don’t like your arms, wear something with sleeves. If boots are a regular part of your attire, wear them to your session. We want our couples to be confident and comfortable in what their wearing – not uncomfortable because they put on something that they thought they would like, but they don’t feel like themselves in. Be yourself, dress like yourself.
11.) Don’t Obsess Over PinterestWith so many pretty things on Pinterest, it can be hard to not have a little bit of envy any time you scroll through the app. Whether you’re searching for wedding decoration ideas or looking for engagement session outfits, Pinterest will never run out of things for you to look at. We love when our brides use Pinterest to plan out their engagement session outfits or come up with a unique session location. However, when you spend a lot of time on Pinterest, it can be dangerous to your expectations for your session and to your photographers creativity.
As photographers, we would do almost anything to make our clients happy, so we will always look at the pins you have in mind for your session. But know that every time a photographer has to stop to recreate a particular photo from another artist that you saw online, it stifles their ability to create one of their own.
12.) Have Fun!Treat your engagement session like a date and have fun with one another! For most couples, this will be one of the only times you’re all dressed up and in front of the camera during your engagement period and it’s a great time to capture those real and raw feelings you have about one another before you become man and wife. No matter how long your engagement is, this sweet time will eventually come to an end and you’ll begin a brand new life together. Take advantage of this time, soak it in and truly enjoy it because there’s nothing else like it!
We hope you enjoyed reading our tips for what to wear to your engagement session and tips to enhance your experience. If this helped you out with planning your own outfits, leave us a comment and tell us!
Michael & Chelsea
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