Wednesday, January 21

Planning Our Wedding: Shopping for Engagement Outfits

I think the most common question I get from brides after we've scheduled their engagement session is: What do I wear? That is a pretty difficult question for me on a day to day basis, let alone when I'm considering what to wear in photos that I'll cherish forever. Talk about pressure. So when it was my turn to have my engagement pictures taken, I used all the advice I normally give my clients and went shopping!

Before I really get going, the pictures you see in this post were not taken by me because I'm in them (I'm not that good). Instead, they were taken by the amazingly talented Angela Fortin.

1. Have a general idea of what you're looking for before you go shopping (and know what you already own)

Before you open the doors to your local mall I would have a game plan of what you're looking for. I generally tell my clients to have 2-3 outfits ready for their session. That way they'll have some variety between pictures but also have enough time in each outfit to get some good pictures. I also suggest that the outfits should be a mix of dressy and casual.

Blake and I knew that we only wanted to do two outfits - one dressy, one casual. We weren't going to buy a new suit for Blake so we already knew that he'd be wearing navy, which meant I just needed to find a dress that would go with his suit. The casual outfit was a little more up in the air but we knew that we'd probably only need new shirts for this outfit since we could wear pants and shoes we already owned. So at this stage we were looking for a new dress shirt and tie for Blake's dressy outfit, a dress and necklace for my dressy outfit, a shirt for both of us for our casual outfits.

2. Start timeless

I always tell my clients to stay away from giant logos, crazy patterns, or anything that's super trendy at the moment. You're going to have these pictures for a long time and you don't want to look back at your pictures like an episode of "Friends" and go "what were they wearing!?!" - try to stick to solid colors, classic patterns (stripes, polka dots, plaid), and timeless silhouettes. 

When Blake and I were looking for our casual outfit, I found a solid burgundy t-shirt and Blake found a nice blue and white striped t-shirt. The building blocks to your outfits should be timeless.

3. But don't be afraid to go big

This is going to sound like it's in direct contradiction of the last tip, but it's not. Find a good balance of classic staples with trendy accessories. I don't want my couples showing up to sessions in plain, frumpy, nondescript clothes that don't show off their personality at all. So if you find something that makes your heart stop - buy it!

After I bought the solid burgundy tee, a ridiculously large floppy hat also caught my eye. So I bought it. I am fully aware that the hat might look silly in 10 years (if it doesn't already) but I wanted it in a few pictures and took it off for the rest. Blake's dress shirt that he ended up finding was chambray. Chambray is very in right now, but it might not be in the future. That's okay, because the solid navy suit he was wearing should stand the test of time. Like I said, find a balance.

4. Never be afraid of accessories

Accessories are exactly what Emeril was always looking for to take something up a notch. Throw in some amazing accessories and BAM!! Your engagement session just made your photographer swoon. I always tell my brides to bring heels to their sessions if they are heel wearers at all. They don't have to wear them for every outfit, but having heels in just a few pictures will be magical. At the risk of sounding like the man from Men's Warehouse - You're going to like the way you look; I guarantee it. 

That being said, I want to acknowledge that I did not follow my own rule for this - I am vertically blessed as a girl and Blake is my height (or an inch taller if you believe him) so I don't wear heels around him. But if you and your partner are a good mix of heights and heels work for you, please bring them to your session! Since I couldn't accessorize with woman's real best friend, I bought a super cute necklace from J. Crew for my dressy outfit and the hat I mentioned before for the casual outfit. They were the perfect small things to make the outfits pop.

5. Be comfortable in what you're wearing

This tip needs to happen on two levels. You need to feel physically comfortable in what you're wearing. Make sure it fits correctly and makes you feel good about yourself and your body. But you should also feel comfortable with what you're wearing in a personal sense. Is that an outfit that feels like you? Is it something that you might normally wear or your ideal you would wear? It's okay to dress a little nicer for an engagement session than you normally do, but the outfits should still reflect your style.

When shopping Blake and I went to our local outlet mall to get some great deals on some bigger brands we normally only dream about wearing. And we found some great bargains and were able to curate outfits that felt like us or at least the us we wished we could afford to be. Except for one thing - I found a pair of shorts that fit me fine and that I felt I looked good in, but after taking them home and trying them on with the rest of the outfit it just didn't feel like "me". So I returned them and wore a pair of shorts I already owned.

If anyone has any other great tips for what to look for when shopping for engagement sessions please leave them in the comments below! If you're looking for outfit inspiration check out my Pinterest board or check out the engagements gallery on my website! I love the effortless yet fashionable styles my clients always bring to their sessions.

Keep smiling!


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