Your engagement session is scheduled; now it’s time to think about outfits. This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get: “What do we wear for our session?” We will talk about what to wear and what not to wear, what colors look best, and I’ll have some of my favorite dresses linked at the end just for you. There are so many options, and I don’t want to overwhelm you, so here are my favorite tips for choosing your engagement session outfits. Let’s get into it!
EMBRACE YOUR STYLE AND DRESS FOR COMFORT
First and foremost, I want you to wear whatever makes you feel like you! Comfort really is key. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, it will show on camera. Listen to yourself when it comes to what you feel good in. Some couples love an excuse to go all out on a fun, dressed-up outfit. Others prefer a more casual but polished look.
Each of my engagement sessions gives you the option of two outfits. If you would rather stick to one outfit, that is totally up to you! One “cute, casual date” outfit and one more formal outfit. This will give your session two different looks, giving you a more diverse gallery! I recommend beginning with the more casual outfit first, as this will help you to feel more natural as we warm up.
Don’t be afraid to dress things up if it is your style! Your engagement session is the perfect opportunity to wear a fun, dressed-up look that you might not normally have an excuse for. Long, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera — they add movement to your clothing that tends to be very flattering and natural-looking. That being said, if you’re a more casual couple that hates to dress up, don’t feel pressured to wear anything you don’t like.
CHOOSING AND COORDINATING COLORS
Focus on coordinating colors, not matching colors. If you both wore the same exact color tone to your engagement session, how boring would those images be? For example, if you wear a blue floral dress and nude heels, your partner might wear a white shirt with a navy coat, khaki pants, and brown leather shoes. You each tie in the main color (or a variation) that the other is wearing (blue for you, navy for them) and create a well-coordinated look that isn’t too matchy-matchy.
I generally recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. Very bright, bold colors (like hot pink or cherry red tones) can sometimes distract viewers’ eyes to your clothing and not your faces.
Like all good things in life, it’s all about balance!
Be bold with layers and accessories — jackets, sweaters, necklaces, etc. all add dimension to your photos. Layers like jackets and sweaters also make it easy to give yourself two “looks” without actually changing your outfit.
MOST patterns are okay for photos . . . but graphics are not ideal. If you wear a pattern, ensure it’s not overwhelming and distracting. Like choosing colors, we want first to draw attention to your faces, not your clothes.
Empty those pockets, literally. Guys, this one is generally most applicable to you. You’re bride, and your photographer will thank you when they don’t see your cell phone or keys showing through your pockets.
OTP FOR CLASSY, NOT TRENDY
You may love that black-and-white maxi dress now, but you may only be reminded of a fad or out-of-date trend when you see yourself in head-to-toe stripes looking back on your gallery in 5 years. I always recommend looks that will remain timeless rather than outfits that could make your images feel dated a few years down the road.
THINK ABOUT SEASONS
Winter & Fall: Don’t be afraid to bundle up. My favorite tip during these colder months is to bundle up! Winter accessories, such as a cute scarf, a big cozy coat, or a shaw, can be really cute. Plus, it makes more sense visually to be dressed for winter if you’re being photographed in the cold. One of my favorite fall/winter looks is a cute sweater, jeans, and boots.
Spring & Summer: Wondering what to wear for engagement shoots that take place during warmer seasons? Try going barefoot on the beach or sharing an ice cream cone in downtown Mountain Brook with some cute sandals and shorts. With flowers in bloom and love in the air, you can’t go wrong with subtle floral prints and spring-approved pastel hues that speak to the season. Pair a maxi dress with a statement necklace or a sundress with some cute heels.
GO PRO WITH HAIR & MAKEUP
Professional hair and makeup can be a great option because it looks amazing and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. It’s also a good way to get an extra boost of confidence!
If your wedding is local, your engagement session is the perfect time to do your hair and makeup trial. It can be easy to feel like your makeup is too much at first since it’s more than you would wear on a normal day — know that this is a normal feeling, but that a good makeup artist knows how to get it just right for the camera! Doing this for your engagement session, you’ll get to see how the makeup photographs. There is NO going back on your wedding day, and this is the perfect way to know for sure that you love it.
Don’t forget that your ring will get some attention on this shoot, so give yourself permission to get it cleaned and your nails done, too!
OUTFIT TIPS FOR YOUR MAN
Long pants and closed-toed shoes will give your guy a sophisticated and masculine look for photos. Suit pants, dress pants, or colored pants work best. Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether you’re wearing a full suit, blazer, or simply a collared shirt.
Talk with each other to make sure that you’re both dressed on the same level of formality. It can be common for one partner to like dressing up more than the other, so finding the common ground between you both can be big for your engagement photos.
As we discussed already, layers can add a ton of interest and dimension to your photos! Blazers, vests, and coats are all easy enough for you to have multiple looks without changing your outfit. Likewise, ties, colored socks, belts, tie clips, and watches can all be fun accessories for you to consider as well. Use these kinds of accessories to pull in each other’s coordinating colors.
YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION PACKING LIST
The final tip that I’ll share today for planning your engagement session — make a date out of it! Make a reservation at a fun restaurant you’ve been dying to try or make plans at your favorite brunch spot if we’re meeting at sunrise.
Here are the things I remind my couples to bring along to their engagement session:
- Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo locations (if you’re planning to wear heels)
- Your two outfits (including shoes and accessories)
- Touch-up makeup or a towel to dab your face
- Water bottle (for warmer sessions)
- Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)
I wrote this blog post to help guide you through some of the decisions you have on what to wear to your engagement session, and hopefully, it’s done just that. If you’ve taken away nothing else, the most important thing is to wear something that you’re comfortable and confident in! That alone will make ALL the difference in the world.
Enjoy browsing through some of my favorite looks below. Remember that these are strictly recommendations, and you do not need or have to order these to stir inspiration! Click on the picture to view the item on their website. Even though there are a lot of decisions to make, have fun with the planning and prep, and enjoy this season of being engaged!