Anybody who's booked an engagement shoot has probably endured a brief moment of panic when you start wondering...What the heck do we wear to this thing? Obviously we can't wear our wedding outfits. Or what we planned on wearing to the rehearsal dinner. Never fear Annie x Mike have got your back. We are going to go over all of the different options and give you some great ideas for what to wear to your engagement photo shoot and where to buy them!
The first consideration, of course, is what season will your photo shoot be in. We highly recommend the fall. With many couples booking their wedding vendors a full year or more out from their date, and with some of the most popular wedding dates landing in the early fall -September through mid-October - autumn is an ideal season for shooting your engagement for a few reasons. Number one, it most likely won't be blazing hot or freezing cold. Sure, the summertime is beautiful and lush and everything is in bloom and the days are long and the sunsets can be exalting. BUT, you're most likely going to be sweating all over the place and nobody wants to look like they just got sprayed by a super soaker when they're trying to get romantic with their future hubby. If you do need to do a summertime engagement shoot you're going to want to consider doing a very early morning session before the heat rises and you're covered in sweaty sweat-spots. Also the light will be nicest in the first hour after sunrise - what we lovingly call "Golden Hour". Yes you'll have to get up crazy early, and yes you may need an extra cup of coffee or five so you look fresh and awake. You can also shoot for the last hour before sunset (the other golden hour), and it may be a little bit warmer than the morning session, but most of the day’s heat will have faded. The winter can also be a beautiful option. What with the snowy scenery and all. However, most people don't want to be wearing a hat, coat and mittens for their engagement shoot. It's either that, or freeze your little fingers off. If you do decide to do a winter shoot you may want to consider some beautiful indoor venue with large windows so you can soak up all the natural beauty and not lose a toe to frostbite. Then we come to Spring, sounds great right? Yes, unless it rains, and let's face it those April showers are super unpredictable and rescheduling can be a real hassle. Even though autumn is the ideal season, we have shot tons of engagements in all seasons, in all kinds of weather, and you can always find a way to make it work. The photo at the top of this article was taken in the summer...and look... they're happy!
Now that we've addressed what time of year is best let's explore what kinds of outfits will help you feel beautiful, or handsome, confident, and not over or underdressed for the occasion. Of course, an elegant white dress is always a great go-to for the ladies and a nice pair of slacks and a button down with a casual blazer or suit for the men can be an awesome classic look for your engagement shoot (again, see the photo at the top of this blog!). We want to offer some slightly different options to set your look apart from the beautiful gown and tux you two will be wearing to your wedding celebration.
We love a classy-yet relaxed-jumpsuit for the ladies. This look is both semi-formal, but still breathes an air of playfulness and power into your look. Check out this affordable option from Banana Republic Factory for a STEAL at only $32.99. The off-white is a great look for engagement shoots because it mirrors the pure white wedding dress without stealing that look away from your big day. Be careful if your partner is wearing a bright white, as they might clash a little. We highly recommend staying away from busy prints or ultra bright colors because they can take the focus away from you and your boo. We tend to lean towards lighter colors because they will elevate the vibe and give a sort of carefree attitude. Lighter tones look great with every complexion. Although, a deep blue or even black can rock pretty hard as well - it totally depends on your style! If you decide that the whole jumpsuit thing isn't your look and you want to go with a dress we would recommend something that's easy to move around in, and not too long. We don't want a long dress getting caught on every branch or bramble and potentially tearing, especially if it's a rental. We love this Badgley Mischka dress with its mild pattern and light colors that will work well in any season. With all that said, you could also put together an awesome engagement outfit with pants and a shirt as well. Do you superstar. Do you.
For the gents, or any person looking for a more masculine appeal we love a simple linen short-sleeve - or rolled up long sleeve - button down like this one from Jcrew . On bottom we highly recommend a clean pair of high break chino's like the air chino in sage from Everlane. All of these colors can be exchanged for something that complements your features. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a high contrast look, as-in light skin, dark eyes and hair, then you want to keep it up and go for a more high contrast outfit to complement. On the other hand, if you have a lower contrast look like perhaps a darker complexion with dark eyes and hair, or light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair you may want to stick with a lower contrast outfit. Of course, rules were meant to be broken so wear what you like and what makes you feel good. These are just our opinions to help you get the ol’ juices flowing.
Now onto footwear. For the ladies I'm sure some of you are going through your heels right now trying to find which pair complements your brand new jumpsuit or sundress you've chosen but stop what you're doing! Consider for a moment that many times engagement shoots are done in natural settings like a pond, or lake, or in a field or the woods. We also love to have our couples hold hands, and gently scurry through a field or down a path towards us, which can be pretty difficult in a pair of heels. Though, we're sure some of you have mastered the whole running-in-heels thing. Consider going for a clean pair of closed toe flats that complement the color outfit you've decided on. They can be just as classy while still allowing you to move around comfortably and not get your heel caught in a gopher hole! This can also be an opportunity to add a pop of color in without distracting from your lovely faces. We adore these pointed toe knit flats from Vivaia Collection because they come in a bunch of fun yet muted colors and will be comfortable enough to walk, run, or do a mid-kiss foot pop in! Another suggestion for finding flats or jumpsuits is our good old faithful Marshalls and TJ Maxx. The trick with shopping there is you've got to go right at or even before the beginning of the season you are trying to buy for. Annie and I recently raided our local Marshalls and got her four amazing designer jumpsuits and four awesome pairs of quality flats all for around $200. Now THAT's savings!
For the men we love a classy sneaker to go along with your chinos and button down. Most people don't think of sneakers when they think of engagement photos, but if you pair them with the right outfit - like the one we've curated for you in this article - it can really elevate the look and give off that classy-cool essence without feeling like you're trying too hard. We love The Court Sneaker in white and mustard from - you guessed it -Everlane. These are going to allow you to move around freely and still look like you came to play- which we know if you are reading this blog - you most certainly did!
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive shopping list. It is intended to give couples some ideas of the vibe you might want to go for on your engagement shoot, along with some of our favorite places to purchase them. While we're here, we'd like to mention a way to save some money and upgrade the quality of outfit you'll be wearing for your engagement shoot. Renttherunway.com is an awesome service that allows people to rent luxury garments on an a la carte basis or by subscription. If, for example, you have five friend's weddings coming up this year, and will need ten or so new garments, then doing the subscription plan might be the most cost effective method. In case you didn't notice that Badgley Mischka dress we linked to above is listed on Rent The Runway! Even though we've given you a bunch of ideas for what to wear to your engagement shoot we want to reiterate. Wear what you like, and what makes you feel comfortable, and confident. There are really no rules when it comes to your wedding except the ones you make. Even at that rate, we all know that rules were meant to be broken. Want to sub out those flats for a pair of Chuck Taylors? Go for it! Guys, do you want to wear a full suit and tie? Go on dust your shoulders off. Want to go barefoot? DO IT! Just don't be mad at us for suggesting it if you end up with a thorn in your little piggy. You can go as casual or formal as you like. Just make sure that whatever you wear feels like you, and when you look in the mirror you can confidently say to yourself, "Oh...hey you. You're looking good!".