Wedding Planning Wednesday # 15: Why You Should Never Skip the Engagement Session . . . And Caitlin + David’s Engagement on Style Me Pretty! | Florida Wedding Photographer

Let me start off by saying just how happy I am to have Caitlin and David’s gorgeous watercolor-sea-and-sky-filled engagement session on Style Me Pretty Florida today! This engagement session felt like a dream as it unfolded because it seemed almost too beautiful to be real. The sun, the clouds, the shoreline — everything looked like it had been pulled right out of a gorgeous fairy tale. But it was real, and now even more people are getting to enjoy that stunning evening, thanks to Style Me Pretty. Check out the feature and let Caitlin and David know how fabulous they are! Since we’re already on the subject of engagement sessions, this seems like the perfect time to discuss why Danny and I think they’re so important. When we included engagement sessions as part of our wedding package, we had couples ask if we could omit it for a price reduction, but that was something we just weren’t comfortable with. If a couple isn’t in town before their wedding and isn’t able to have us travel to them, it’s understandable if an engagement session can’t happen. But if you and your photographer are in a reasonable proximity to each other . . . or if you can possibly afford to make yourselves end up in a reasonable proximity to one another . . . then you should. Pronto. Here’s why:

1.) You’ll have a great opportunity to get to know your photographer personally — and vice versa.
Whenever I’m talking to couples, I tell them that shooting an engagement session with Danny and me usually ends up feeling like a double date, with cameras. We spend a lot of time chatting, a lot of time laughing, and before it’s over, you’ve gotten to know a lot about Danny and me, and we’ve gotten to know a lot about our couple — the way they interact, what they like and don’t like, who they are as people. That’s not only a really good thing to get taken care of before the wedding day, but it’s fun! And believe me, this will be a huge asset on your wedding day.

2.) You get the chance to get comfortable in front of the camera.
Before Danny and I had our own engagement session a couple months after he popped the question, we were nervous. We knew we weren’t camera-ready. We’re “just not photogenic like other people.” But you know what? We had a good time and we laughed — and we looked good. You know what else? If I count off every couple we’ve ever photographed, I think there might be one or two of them that haven’t told us “Oh, we’re camera-shy. We don’t take good pictures.” And yet every one of our couples has had a good time, laughed — and looked amazing. It all comes down to getting comfortable with a camera shutter clicking away nearby. The truth is that it doesn’t take long to get comfortable in front of a camera . . . but it’s way better to get that taken care of before the wedding day!

3.) Your photographer will be able to figure out what is most flattering for you.
Just as I like to know the wedding details before the wedding day, if at all possible, I like to get to know the way my subjects look and move before their wedding day — because that will help me capture them in the most flattering, natural way possible. Examples: Last year I had one bride who didn’t like it when a piece of her hair got tucked behind her ear, so I learned to correct that for her; I had another bride who looked incredible in profile; one of our grooms was an absolute natural at smoldering, serious expressions; one of our couples wanted to make sure the bride never looked taller than the groom when she wore tall heels. Those were all things we got to work through and learn about ahead of time at their engagement sessions, so by the time their weddings rolled around, Danny and I were prepped and ready to photograph them exactly the way we knew they would want to remember themselves.

4.) You’ll capture the pre-wedding excitement.
Being engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life — so there’s no better time for a couple’s portraits. Engagement pictures build friends’ and family’s anticipation for the wedding, and leave couples with pictures they’ll treasure forever, pictures that will trigger nostalgia decades later when couples look back at them and remember their eagerness to get married, their anticipation for their new life together.

5.) You get the opportunity to really show off your personalities.
While a couple’s wedding day is built around what they love and the aesthetics they want, there’s just so much more freedom when it comes to engagement sessions. Are you a boots and cutoffs kind of girl? Rock them out for your engagement session. Is your favorite activity cooking together at home or pub crawling? Make that the focal point of your engagement session. Did you get engaged at a special location that’s too far away to get to on your wedding day? Shoot your engagement session there. You can really shine in your engagement portraits.

6.) You get the perfect material for a great guest book, save the dates, or Christmas cards.
Danny and I had a guest book featuring our engagement pictures — and it’s on our coffee table, frequently perused by friends when they come to visit. It’s a lot of fun for guests to browse a couple’s engagement pictures as they sign in at a wedding, and a lot of fun for couples to browse what their guests wrote around their smiling faces. Engagement pictures are also pretty handy for save-the-dates and other cards.

7.) You have a great excuse to get an amazing new outfit . . . or several.
So this might sound like a bit of a stretch. But I don’t think so. A portrait session calls for couples to look great. Looking great might just mean a new sundress or a killer pair of heels, or a fun manicure or great blowout at that trendy new salon. It’s an opportunity to get pampered! And everyone knows a bride (and groom, too) can always use that. PS: Scheduling wedding hair and makeup trials right before the engagement session can be a great way to look fancy on the budget you had already allotted for wedding styling.

8.) You can add one more major milestone to your engagement — together.
There are plenty of defining moments during a couple’s engagement — the shower, finding the gown, booking the honeymoon. But all too often, most of the milestones don’t happen together. The bride gets her gown with Mom and her maid of honor. The groom books the honeymoon while he sits in his office at work. The bride has a ladies-only bridal shower. The groom’s bachelor party is a guys’ fishing trip. Well, here’s one thing that the bride and groom absolutely must do together, and it’s one of the biggest boxes a couple can check off during their engagement. “Have beautiful pictures done together, showcasing our love for all of eternity.” Check.
I think those are some pretty valid reasons why every couple ought to take advantage of the opportunity to do engagement pictures with their wedding photographer. Have more? Leave a comment and let me know why you think an engagement session is a must-have!

Come back next Wednesday for even more engagement session tips. . . .

~ Laura

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