Engagement photos are useful for all sorts of reasons, from the practical to the sentimental. You can incorporate them into your wedding communications, such as your wedding website and save the dates; you can use the experience to get comfortable with your wedding photographer and practice posing together in front of the camera; or you could simply frame your favorite shot to rest on your mantle for years to come.
Follow the steps below to help you choose what to wear for engagement photos you'll love now and forever:
Since engagement photos have so many potential uses, you should think carefully about how you and your partner will look for the shoot. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting your engagement photo outfits, especially since the options are quite endless: lights or darks? Bold prints or classic solids? Casual, dressy, or themed? How do you pick outfits that you’ll love now and forever? Below, we elaborate on the importance of each of the ten tips we’ve provided.
We know the tendency may be to go all out for your engagement photos, but experts agree that’s usually a mistake. First of all, your engagement shoot is a reflection of your and your partner’s personalities and your relationship as a couple. So if you’re the type to spend a Saturday on the couch watching your favorite football team, then don’t dress up in cocktail attire just because you feel like you have to. When you embrace who you are as a couple, photos turn out so much better because you’re comfortable, relaxed, and letting your unique selves shine.
This tip is twofold. Yes, we do mean that you should select clothing that is literally comfortable to wear, but we also mean that you should choose outfits that make you feel your best. Nothing creates awkwardness in front of the camera like feeling self-conscious, so be sure that whatever you end up wearing gives you confidence and makes you look (and feel) like a million bucks. Try to accentuate the feature or body part you love the best, whether that’s matching a turquoise top to your bright blue eyes, creating an hourglass figure with a waist-cinching belt, or showing off slender ankles in a pair of cropped jeans.
In addition to choosing a top and bottom that go well together or shoes and a dress that pair nicely, it’s also important to make sure that both partners pick outfits that complement each other. For example, if the bride is rocking her favorite LBD, then the groom probably shouldn’t drag out his ripped jeans and “Bob’s Burgers” t-shirt. Similarly, stay away from both partners wearing busy patterns. Make sure you are both on the same page by planning early and trying on your favorite outfits together before the engagement photo session.
That being said, another big mistake that we see couples make is overmatching. Just because you’re wearing a blue dress doesn’t mean he needs to wear a blue shirt. When there’s too much of one hue in a shot, everything blends together and nothing stands out. You want your photos to pop and have a liveliness to them if you plan on loving them for a long, long time. Your best bet is to choose colors that complement each other, like blue and yellow or pink and white, but that don’t look overly staged. When in doubt, stick to neutrals or cool or pastel shades that layer harmoniously.
While this isn’t for everyone, if you’re feeling it, go ahead and embrace bold prints and bright colors—in moderation, of course, such as through your choice of accessories. You’ll be amazed how easily you become the focus of the photo (rather than just an addition to the landscape) when you’re wearing an eye-catching hue or pattern. But again, both partners shouldn’t go for bold patterns. Instead, while one of you rocks a print, the other should choose an article of clothing that pulls out a color from that print for effortless, but not obvious, coordination.
One quick and easy way to give yourself multiple looks without having to change clothes is to incorporate layering into your ensemble. And did we also mention that whatever layers you take off, like a chunky sweater, denim jacket, or a faux fur coat, can also double as a fun prop for later on in the e-shoot?
Continuing on this idea of changing up your look with minimal effort, consider adding at least one accessory to your engagement shoot outfit. Nothing adds instant “wow” factor to an otherwise neutral ensemble than a fun scarf, a statement necklace, or a pair of chic sunglasses—and this layer of visual interest will add tons of depth and texture to the actual photos. Plus, since you can easily switch them up, accessories are a low-risk way to show off different aspects of your personal style.
We know it seems obvious that you shouldn’t wear a sundress in the middle of winter or a peacoat on a 90-degree day, but you’d be surprised what some couples try to make work. Check the forecast, prepare your engagement shoot outfits in advance, and work with the weather you’ve been given. If you have your heart set on a engagement photos staged during particular season, then schedule your e-shoot for that time of year rather than trying to fake it. Trust us, you can always tell when the environment and the wardrobe don’t mesh.
If your engagement photos are being shot in the woods, you’ll look out of place in a little black dress and stilettos. Similarly, if you’re doing an urban engagement shoot, put together a sophisticated look rather than something too casual or outdoorsy. For beach sessions, summery hues will stand out against the muted tones of sand and water, whereas neutrals could be drowned out. If there’s a lot going in the background, a busy pattern will make you look like part of the hodgepodge landscape, rather than the star.
When it comes down to it, if you find it impossible to decide on just one style or theme for your engagement photos, you can always bring more than out outfit along. We love the idea of starting off casual with a laid-back look, then amping it up with dressier or more high-fashion styles. Try to limit yourselves to no more than two costume changes, however, or else you could spend the entire shoot worried about changing clothes rather than trying to capture your authentic selves.
Remember, this is your moment to represent yourselves as a couple and to visually capture your newly-engaged, so-in-love-it’s-crazy post-wedding bliss. And while working with a photographer, managing your pictures on social media, etc. might feel like a chore in the midst of wedding planning, try not to stress. Your engagement photo shoot is a time to wear what makes you happy, what makes you feel beautiful in your skin, and what will photograph well between the both of you.