What to Wear for Your Engagement Portraits

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I absolutely love engagement portraits. There’s a kind of sweetness in documenting your love in the every-day. Your wedding day is an amazing and life-changing event, but it’s just that— an event. Your everyday life looks different than your wedding day, and I love the chance to document how you fell in love as a way to celebrate your story.

One of the most frequently asked questions (besides engagement session location ideas) is how to plan what to wear for your engagement portraits. Your choice of outfits is very subjective and personal, but here are a few things to consider as you plan:

Choice of locations & backgrounds

This may seem obvious, but let your context drive your clothing choices. White columns and graceful arches set a more formal tone, and the best outfits take that cue and lean formal as well.

On the other hand, lounging at a coffee shop or visiting your favorite neighborhood wine bar could be the perfect time to rock the skinny jeans.

Time of year

Another seemingly obvious point, but still a huge factor. A sundress in summer, a chunky sweater in fall or winter. Springtime portraits tend to be more formal with florals and flowey fabrics, and Autumn portraits tend to lean on the casual side with boots and textured textiles.

Your “Couple ID”

Every couple is unique, and your outfit choices should reflect your style as a couple. Are you a “fancy” couple who loves to dress up and go out on the town? Go formal for your session. Are you homebodies who prefer a quiet evening of takeout and a movie? You may want to keep your outfits more comfortable and relaxed.

Your Props & Accessories

My couples don’t do many props, but it’s fun to add a little something special to your session. Champagne, ice cream, and coffee are all fun things to bring along to celebrate your love story. A glass of bubbly is usually a more formal prop, while coffee tends to be a more casual addition.

If you plan to bring along your pup, I generally advise against shorts or short skirts/dress— furry friends like to snuggle, and longer dresses or pants help avoid awkward angles.

Once you’ve considered those things, here are a few other tips:

  1. Coordinate, but don’t match. Stick in the same or a complimentary color palate, but avoid the jeans and white shirt matchy-ness if possible.
  2. Don’t be afraid to get fancy. Several recent couples have done Rent The Runway for their engagement portraits, and I love how a formal dress can set the tone for a session! Just be sure both bride & groom are wearing a similar level of formal attire!
  3. Mixing patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, but don’t do two bold patterns next to each other. A subtle check with a bold floral works well together, but it’s best to let just one of you have the stronger color or pattern. Textured fabrics like chunky lace or a subtle plaid sport coat are great ways to add a little something without getting too busy! In general, patterns tend to be more casual than solids, so just keep that in mind!
  4. Choose classic silhouettes. I LOVE when my couples take some risks and go bold & trendy with their outfit choices, but I usually recommend to do that for just one outfit. Choose at least one outfit that has a timeless, classic silhouettes and color tones that you know you’ll still be proud of sharing in ten years. Pro tip… look for wrinkle-free fabrics! You don’t want to worry about creases in your fabric!
  5. Colors that photograph well… and ones to avoid. Blues photography beautifully, all the time. Greens are also a solid choice. Light grey textured suits can sometimes photograph purple, so just be aware of that. Brighter warm color tones (reds, bright pinks, oranges, golds, etc) are a bit trickier, but only because you have to consider both of your skin tones when choosing those colors. You may look great in hot pink, but does your fiancé? The other person may not be wearing the color, but the color you wear will reflect on the other person’s skin tones, so just keep that in mind. You can never go wrong with a little black or white dress and a dark suit!
  6. BE YOU!!! Are you a football-loving couple? Put on a team sweatshirt. Are you a “fancy couple”? Let him wear a tux. Are you all into preppy style? Own those stripes and Sperry’s. If you love what you’re wearing, you’ll photograph beautifully!

Need more ideas? Check out my Engaged Style Pinterest Board for outfit inspiration!

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