Newly engaged? Super excited about planning your dream wedding? Stressed about ALL the things?
I. have. been. there.
It's such an exciting time to be engaged. But it's also incredibly overwhelming. There are so many things to think about! What if you forget something???
Take a breath. No, really. Take one.
In the end, all that matters is that you and your partner are madly in love, happily married and ready to start this new chapter of your lives. Isn't that the point of getting married after all?
We make such a fuss over the littlest of things, but in 5, 10, 50+ years, the only part of that day that will matter is that you love one another.
But, look, I understand the need to have everything, "perfect." Like I said, I've been there. I was OBSESSED with perfection. And there's nothing wrong with making sure your big day is all you've ever dreamed, but I recommend prioritizing to make sure you don't lose your mind. Prioritize cost of each wedding item and importance to both you and your partner.
For me, my one thing that I was not willing to skimp on was photography. Having this time in my life memorialized in photos was number one on my list, and I was willing to pay for good ones.
Photography might not be number one on your list, and you might not be willing to pay a premium, but I suggest at least making professional photography one of your top 3 "must haves."
And if you are on the fence about whether or not you should spend the extra money (if it's not included in your wedding package) on professional engagement photos, here's my reasons for why you should.
Make It a Trial Run
In the fall of 2015, I was honored to take engagement photos of a co-worker and her fiancé. We had so much fun! They brought their adorable dog, Grace, and were just smitten with each other the entire session.
In April of the following year, they were married at one of the most incredible places in Charleston, SC. The ceremony was just gorgeous and the reception was rockin'.
A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with the aforementioned fiancé (now husband), and he proceeded to tell me how thankful he was to have their engagement session prior to their wedding day photo session.
In fact, he said, "Taking the engagement pictures was awkward, but it really prepared me for my wedding day pictures."
After he left, I thought about that. He was right! Engagement shoots are like mini trial runs for your big day!
Most people feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. Being the sole subject of an image can really put the pressure on. Add on the "act like you're about the kiss" and the "whisper something funny in her ear" requests from us photographers, and engagement shoots can sometimes make people feel incredibly uneasy!
But that's the time for that to happen -- during your engagement photos. Although you should shoot to have just as much fun at your engagement session as your wedding session, think of your engagement photos are the pre-wedding photos, without all the fuss.
Use that time to get comfortable being the center of attention. Because on your big day, you don't want to feel awkward when the photographer gives you a command. You want to feel relaxed and natural. Relaxed, natural and candid shots make for some of the most incredible images to look back on.
Like this one from my wedding. My husband and I had just walked away from the ceremony and were giddy as school girls :). (photo cred: Landon Jacobs)
So, think about it like that. Don't think of and engagement session as just another cost. Think of it as an essential part of getting the best photos of your big day.
Take Some "Y'all" Time
In all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, you can really start to lose the reason you said "yes" to the proposal in the first place. When you're mind is full of colors, flowers, dress styles, tie patterns, caterers, wine choices, etc. you almost start creating another world where only you and this event exists; which can sometimes leave your partner feeling...isolated or alone.
A engagement photo shoot can help. Just one hour can help you push back from all the planning, refocus on your partner and hopefully put things into perspective. A wedding is important, but the details that make it beautiful won't lay the path for your entire lives.
So think about scheduling a little "y'all" time. Heck, make a day date of it! Wake up, get ready together, dress in something that makes you feel great, have your shoot, go on a lunch date, then spend the rest of the afternoon focusing on one another.
Leave the planning for the next day. I promise, one day won't make or break whatever decisions you have waiting for you in your planner.
It's Not a Must
Taking engagement photos is not a must by any means, and if it's not in your budget, then it's not in your budget. But consider my reasons above and remember, you'll never get this time of your life back once it's gone. Why not document it? You'll be happy you did.