What if you could avoid the stress of planning an engagement session & just explore an epic landscape with your fiance?
Emma & Michael did just that. When they booked me for their wedding, Emma & Michael already had some engagement pictures taken by another photographer they loved, so they opted to just have me for their wedding. However, when a huge snowstorm came barreling through the Blue Ridge Mountains, Emma & Michael wanted to explore.
We woke up early, chatted briefly about where to meet to explore, and headed up to Carver’s Gap. The best thing Emma & Michael did in planning for their adventurous engagement session was to use resources and plans they already had stowed away. Their adventurous & earthy closet provided everything they needed to be captured as they truly are. Not to mention—wearing clothing from your own closet is eco-friendly and better stewards your resources. They already knew they wanted to explore Roan Moutain, so now they had a really great excuse!
So up we went to the trailhead. We spent the very chilly morning being whipped around by wind but giggling in joy as we watched the moody clouds roll through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Emma & Michael hopped around from trail to trail exploring Roan Mountain together, chunking snowballs at each other, and snuggling through all the layers of clothing.
This—is how you have the perfect adventure engagement session.
Here are some no-stress tips on how to plan for your engagement session:
1) Plan for an amazing location.
What qualifies for an amazing location? Well, the good news is an amazing location can be found almost anywhere. What matters in choosing an adventure engagement session location is knowing yourself—do you like exploring brand new locations? Or do you find the most meaning in spending time somewhere you already have significant memories? For Emma & Michael, they had been wanting to see Roan Mountain together for the first time, so their snowy adventure session tripled as an engagement session, a new adventure, and an amazing date! Because Emma and Michael were exploring somewhere new and adventurous together, they were naturally having an amazing time together. The moments were genuine, natural, and full of newness!!
But what if you really like spending time in familiar places? Then think about meaningful locations specific to you and your partner. Location ideas might be somewhere like: where did we go on our first hike together? What hidden trail do we always take our puppy to and end up having deep conversations about our future? Where did they propose? On what mountain top did we say, “I love you,” first? Locations like these bear such a great weight in your relationship, so why not include them in your engagement session?!
Once you have a few ideas bouncing around, consult with your photographer on how to make your session dreams come true. They will undoubtedly be full of location ideas as well as strive to understand what will make the experience the most meaningful for you and your partner.
2) Make your engagement session reflect you as a couple.
Now that you’ve planned for an ah-mazing location with your partner and your photographer… how can you make the experience unique to you? A lot of people might find that trail meaningful. A lot of people may have said, “I love you,” on that mountain top. But something amazing that they don’t have in common is their love story. Your story is different with different inside jokes, favorite movies, insightful talks, favorite hobbies, it goes on and on! So you can add some of those details to make your session unique.
Here’s an idea—what’s your favorite snack to eat together? Do you love that local place’s Italian pizza? Bring one to your session, snuggle up, and feed each other pizza! Do you love paddle boarding together? Paddle board during your engagement session, have a water fight, dunk each other under, and have some of the most joyful and unique engagement sessions of anyone you know. Do you spend a lot of time together walking the dog? I’ll scream this from the mountain top—BRING THAT ADORABLE POOPER TO YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION. Dress them up in a snazzy new bandanna, and make family snuggles with your pooper a part of your engagement session.
Only you know how to make your engagement session unique to you at an amazing location. If you’re not quite sure, talk through options with your photographer. They will know the right questions to ask to help you both create an engagement session experience that feels more like a date than an in-genuine photoshoot.
Oh, and one more thing!
3) Choose outfits that match your vibe as a couple AND your session location.
So many couples get so excited for their engagement session (and they should be) so they run down to Target and buy a brand spanking new, shiny outfit. New shoes, the whole deal. Now I’m not saying don’t buy anything new. I’m saying look through your closet first to see what your both already have that reflect your vibe. Are you really formal and love a flowy, feminine gown? Try to find one you already have! But what if you’re a little grittier? Do you spend most of your time together in hiking boots and Dri Fit? Then plan on wearing that! But whyyyyyy??
Wearing clothes you already own helps in two ways. 1) It is more eco-friendly to wear clothes you have already purchased. Zero waste is produced in walking to your closet and putting on clothes you already possess. And 2) wearing your own clothes means you will be more comfortable and more genuine in them. Have you ever bought that new top, wore it on date night, and realized it’s actually pretty itchy? That’s no fun. And you don’t want to spend your engagement session twisting uncomfortably in your new outfit. So wearing an outfit you already own ensures you’ll be comfortable and able to be more fully yourself.
So what does it mean to choose an outfit that matches your session location? After you’ve chosen your location, ask yourself, “what does this place make me feel?” If your session is outdoors, is the tone of the location a freeing mountaintop? A moody waterfall? A chill coffee shop? A trendy downtown scene? Choose outfits that fit into the session location, and choose colors that reflect your surroundings. An outdoorsy color scheme will naturally have more blues, greens, neutrals, on and on. So think through colors that are naturally around so you will fit into your scene. If your coffee shop location is industrial, there will be a lot of blacks, blues, ivories, etc. What outfits do you have that coordinate with the color palette that already exists there?
But there is one special note about choosing colors: choose colors that coordinate—not colors that match.
Colors that coordinate are differing hues that compliment one another. For an example, mustard yellow and grey look amazing beside one another. But if you both wear mustard yellow… you might actually just look like a heap of mustard. No one wants to look like a heap of mustard. So wear colors that coordinate—not colors that match.
And one more word on outfits—trendy patterns may be your best friend, but they may also be your enemy.
Only one partner should wear a pattern. If you both wear a patterned shirt, you can (and I say this with all the love in my teeny tiny heart) end up looking like a piece of abstract art. Couples always look most flattered if only one person wears a unique pattern. 🙂
Lastly, add some texture to your outfits! Throw on a couple layers (weather permitting) that will add some diversity to your look. It’s easy to throw a scarf on and off or a hat or puffy jacket to make your session look more full as far as clothes go.
After thinking through all this, feel free to send your photographer pics and ideas!! They will be overjoyed to help with any style or logistics question when it comes to choosing outfits for your engagement session.