As a photographer, I believe the engagement session is one of the most important parts of the pre-wedding process! Not only does it give the happy couple a set of beautiful images that can be used for save-the-dates, the wedding website, prints to display at the rehearsal dinner or reception, and photos for their new home – but it is also the time when I get to get to know my bride + groom and they get to know me! I get to hear their love story (aka my favorite part) and love on them before the wedding. Most importantly, it gives them a way to freeze this special time in their life and relish in this season together.

One of my favorite parts of loving on brides is giving them advice on how to style their engagement session! Most brides come to me with the “OMG Kaitlin, what do I wear?! A dress?” “A cute shirt with pants and booties? “Should I rock the casual look?” Boy, do I love this question. I pride myself in helping my brides choose the BEST outfit for their engagement photos. I mean, these images make the engagement like extra officially OFFICIAL!!! Like, it’s actually happening! With each individual bride, I send a Style Guide that is JAM PACKED with tips for her, tips for him, and so much more. But I want to share a few of the essential ones with ALL of you because well, some of us just have no idea where to start!

Engagement Outfits 101 


Flowy Dresses Are Dreamy

My number one tip is to shoot for the dressy, whimsical look. You can go boho or fancy, V-neck or high-neck – it really doesn’t matter. Long, flowy dresses always make a girl feel confident and beautiful and that is what matters most. In addition, dresses flatter all women’s body types and give the “twirl factor” that we all want! In a recent waterfall session that I did, Cait wore a beautiful yellow dress that blew in the breeze and looked so stunning against the water falling behind her. We even got it a little wet and it is one of my FAVORITE sessions. You can wear a flowy dress anywhere, at any location, and it will be perfect. I keep my couples moving in sessions and flowy dresses always give a beautiful dimension to the images.  When you look back at your pictures, you will be so grateful that you wore a stunning dress that give your images a dreamy, magazine-worthy look. Avoiding jeans and the “casual” look will help you feel more confident in yourself and your photos!


Don’t Go Matchy-Matchy

No one wants to look like an orange blob in their engagement photos! Moral of the story, you and your fiance should NOT both wear orange! There are very few times when wearing the same color as your fiance would look good in photos. My husband loves this idea because he hates matching me. If he ever walks out wearing the same color as me, he walks right back into the closet and changes to a COMPLETELY different color. But when thinking about your engagement portrait outfits, many times we think we need to match to look good in photos – which is not the case. In order to have stunning images, your outfits that you choose should reflect a cohesive color palette rather than the exact same colors! If you each wear a dominant color that compliments the other, you are more likely to LOVE your photos. For example, if you want to wear a burgundy dress for the fall, have your fiance wear navy with tan dress pants and brown dress shoes. If you want to wear a blush pink, flowy dress, have your fiance where white or navy with a nude or blush pink tie. The couple pictured above chose a burnt orange and navy color palette for their session and it was stunning! There are multiple different color palettes that you can use! Just keep in mind that complimenting each other with your color palette is so much more important than “matching.”


More is More

They say less is more – and many times, I agree with this statement! But in the case of your engagement session, I think MORE is more! And here is what I mean by that: More you, More elegant, More “fancy” than usual, More accessories, MORE! The thing I want most for my couples is that their session is more them than anything! The colors, the background, the props – especially the outfits! While you want your engagement outfit to be beautiful, don’t ever wear something that makes you uncomfortable! Find the long flowy dress that reflects your personality, your style, yet still gives you that dreamy feel that you want. The more YOU your outfit is, the more you will love your photos. The same rule applies to your future husband! You want his outfit to be him so that he can enjoy the session without be uncomfortable or not feeling himself. While the goal is to go for a more “dressed-up” look, maybe he doesn’t like a sports coat – so just let him wear a button down. He doesn’t wear bowties? Let him wear a normal tie. Don’t try to look like something that doesn’t reflect your style and personality! Shooting for more elegant is always great for the bride who wants it ALL. Dress to the nines and your images will look like they are straight out of a magazine. The more bling you wear – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc. – the more high-end your images will look. Still make sure the pieces you wear compliment each other. But if you don’t typically wear any jewelry, maybe throw on a dainty necklace and that will make all the difference! AND unrelated to outfits, bring MORE props! Want to pop champagne?! Let’s do it! Want to hold a bouquet? I am so down! Your photographer will love the extra effort that you put into your outfits + session to give them a little more “oomph” than your usual day to day outfits. Always do a little more for special occasions like this one!!


It’s All About the Extra Shoes

When I say extra I don’t mean “girl, you are so extra.” Although, if you want to be extra with your shoes, DO IT! Wear the red high heels if you want! What I mean is, bring an extra pair!!!! This is not always necessary, but if you have a good reason to, bring. extra. shoes. So, when should you bring extra shoes and why?! As a photographer, I have a ton of different locations to shoot at. So many times, my brides + grooms want to do their engagement session in the mountains – aka we are going hiking. Okay, not really. But many of the mountainous locations require a lot of walking up hiking trails, rocky areas, and steep hills. It’s not easy to walk up a mountain in heels, trust me. Bringing a pair of sandals/flip flops can help in so many ways and keep you from getting blisters…or a sprain ankle! In general, it’s good to bring an extra pair just in case. Photographers love to find multiple locations where there is a ton of room to walk and run, so it doesn’t hurt to have them just in case 🙂 Even just bringing them for the ride to the location and home, you won’t regret it. It isn’t always necessary, just a tip I like to give my brides to make their lives and experience a little easier. Side note – if you love to go barefoot – that works just as good!


Bonus Tip: Date-Night Outfit!!!

My absolute FAVORITE and number 1 tip – turn your engagement session into a date night! Since you are wearing the perfect, flowy dress with heels and your man is looking fly in his button down, tie, dress pants and shoes, make reservations! Use your stunning engagement session outfits for more than just your session! Even though the photos mean a lot, investing in your future marriage and spending intentional time together is the most important thing you can do for yourselves! So call your favorite high-end restaurant, and use that outfit for a date night to show tangible love to your fiance! Because no matter how long you have been together, you should never stop dating each other!

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