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Engagement Guide | What to Wear + How to Prepare

What to wear and how to prepare for your engagement session

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT!

Engagements just might be our all time favorite type of session! They are a lot of fun and are a chance to show off your collective style! One of the most frequent questions we get from our clients is “Do you have any advice on what to wear and how to best prepare for the engagement session?”. Yes, yes we do!

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First of all, we highly recommend having your engagement session photographed by your wedding photographer! Engagement sessions provide an opportunity to bond with your photographer and help you know what to expect from them on your wedding day. 

As soon as you secure your wedding date or engagement session with us, you’ll receive a questionnaire that we use to curate a meaningful styled engagement session for you. In addition to hanging out and taking photos, we will be coaching you on how to pose. By the end of your session with North Arrow Creative, you will have the posing basics down and will rest easy knowing we have your back! Feeling confident in front of the camera and being exposed to the posing tips we give you during your engagement session will help reduce unnecessary stress on your wedding day. 

Are you looking for engagement and wedding photography? We are based out of St. Louis, Missouri, but you can bet that we will travel for your wedding! Reach out to us to get help planning your one-of-a-kind engagement session! 

Just want the engagement session advice? Scroll down for tips on how to look your best and make the most of your engagement session!

Engagement sessions are FUN! We want our clients to think of these sessions more as a date with each other and a celebration of their love than something stressful or forced. We love styling and curating sessions for every one of our couples and we pride ourselves on getting to know you and your love story more. We especially love traveling with our clients for adventurous destination engagement sessions – it’s an opportunity to document new memories and to really focus on celebrating your relationship. Whether you choose to travel for your engagement session or to have it take place at your favorite local haunt, you can rest assured that we will be creating some meaningful artwork for you. 

We encourage our couples to be authentic and creative. We are not going to tell you to wear black, avoid bold colors or patterns, or to play it safe. BORING! You aren’t boring. Your love story is special and you don’t need a strict list of rules to tell you how to express yourself. Having said that, we are going to give you a few tips to help make the planning process easier, promote confidence during the session, and ensure that you will adore your images.

Planning Ahead

Try on all of your outfits well before your session to make sure that things fit properly. Lay out your outfits the day before so that you can easily pack them the day of without having to search for anything – no one needs that sort of stress that comes with being unable to find your favorite shoes that match your outfit perfectly! Pack a bag with your outfits and be sure to include a lint roller, hair brush, makeup touch up items, and comfortable walking shoes for between photos! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time between appointments for travel – you don’t want to be stressed out and rushing through traffic if your hair appointment takes longer than expected.

Choosing Outfits

We recommend two outfits – elevated casual and something a little fancier. Casual outfits don’t necessarily mean ripped jeans and a t-shirt, but rather what you might wear for a relaxed date with your significant other. This is a great chance to dress up! You can even rent designer clothing for the occasion if there’s a certain look you want to achieve without breaking the bank. Try out sites like Rent the Runway or Le Tote if you’re interested in renting designer duds for your session. If you wear heels, bring along an extra pair of flats for walking around in. 

Flattering Clothing

The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during your engagement session! Wear clothes that make you feel your best and that show off your style – confidence is key! Avoid overly baggy styles as well as clothing that is too tight. Pro-tip: Also check to make sure nothing is see through and be conscientious of undergarment lines. Choosing clothing that fits properly and that accentuates your favorite things about your body will help you feel confident and will allow you to be in the moment with your partner. 

Locations

We recommend choosing 1-2 locations for your engagement session and we love coming up with suggestions for our clients! Thinking about the location of your session also helps with planning outfits. Are you going to be out in nature? Yellow or blue really pop in a beautiful way when surrounded with greenery. Cityscape? A nice floral pattern or pastel shade looks great with clean, muted architecture. If you’re from St. Louis, you are aware of the abundance of red brick buildings around. Neutrals look wonderful against those brick buildings.

Hair + Makeup

Consider having your hair and makeup done by a professional. Engagement sessions are the perfect opportunity to test your wedding makeup, so ask your artist about a practice trial – just be sure to give yourself plenty of time so you aren’t rushing to your session afterwards! Pack a small tote with a few touch up items, such as a small mirror, lipstick, and a hairbrush.

Nails + Engagement Ring

Consider having a manicure prior to your engagement session to ensure that you wont have chipped nail polish in your engagement ring photos. Also consider cleaning your engagement ring so that it is nice and sparkly for pictures 🙂  

Colors

Consider establishing a color palette when planning you and your partners outfits for your engagement session. Neutrals help tie in colors between the two of you and also help ensure that your faces get the attention they deserve. Be aware that fuzz, hair, etc really shows up on black clothing- try to remember to pack a lint roller! Consider pastels and muted colors and avoid neon because it’s just darn right distracting and obnoxious. If you choose a bold color, consider using it as an accent for one of you to wear. Accessories are a great place to add pops of bold color. 

Textures + Patterns

We love the textures and layers in the scenery that we choose for our portrait sessions and the same goes for clothing. Textures add depth and character. Some great textures are: knits, flannel, lace, tweed, leather, denim, denim, tulle… Patterns also add complexity to outfits, but add them wisely! 

Accessories + Props:

Accessories are fun and help add an extra point of interest, and props that coincide with a theme or location add a layer of depth. Hats, necklaces, ties, suspenders… these great showing personality and style and can tie outfits together as well. Both love Blues Hockey or Cardinals Baseball? Grab your jerseys! Both love hiking? Bring your hiking boots and let’s hit a trail. 

Including Pets

Love your dog? We probably will too! Ask a family member or friend tag along to help with your furry companion, or consider hiring a professional pet service such as Wedpets to help. Be sure to run your dogs before the session so that they get out excess energy. PACK TREATS. We are very versed in  photographing couples with their pets and are happy to help you include  them to your engagement session! 

Seasons

This probably goes without saying, but embracing the season of your engagement session can help with planning your outfits and telling a story throughout the images. Scarves, knit hats, gloves, and nice coats make winter photos feel cozy. Flannels, jackets, hats, boots, and long skirts are fun for fall. Flowy dresses, floppy hats, and sunglasses look great in the summer. Rainy spring day?! Rain coats, rain boots, and umbrellas can make for adorable engagement photos.

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