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Planning your engagement session outfit can certainly be a stressor…!
Where do you start? Should you go get a brand new outfit? Or wear something you’ve had for a while that feels like you? You want to stay trendy, but you know you should stay timeless. One or three different outfits?? Formal or laid back? What accessories are right?
There are so many decisions to make, it can be hard to know where to start.
It’s important to remember that your engagement session photos are really not about your outfits! That probably sounds so contradictory to this whole blog post, but it’s true! And it’s something you shouldn’t forget throughout this process.
Just like how your wedding day is really about getting married. These photos are about you and your fiancé, the way you interact and love each other, and this time in your lives! If your outfit is cute but you don’t look or feel like yourself, it’s just not worth it.
Use the tips below as a place to start. The fundamentals of the outfit, if you will! I’m not going to tell you exactly what to wear, because the number one thing is it should feel like you and you should feel comfortable.
P.S. If you want to skip ahead and get just the highlights, I’ve created a guide just for you! You can download it (fo free) right here!
The best place to start is with the silhouette you want to go with. This can help you decide for a dress vs pants and a top, or a short dress or long maxi skirt.
This is absolutely the best place to start. It’s something I was hyper focused on when planning my own engagement session outfits!
Knowing your body type and what will flatter it is a game changer.
Every single person has a part of their body they’re uncomfortable with: it’s inevitable! Like I said before, more than anything, you need to feel comfortable and confident. It’s just not worth it to wear something you think is super cute/trendy/what have you, if you don’t feel good in it.
So knowing your body type is vital! That way you can easily find pieces that go with it.
Silhouettes that cinch in your waist are always flattering no matter your shape! Dresses and skirts look great from any angle (and flowy ones are fun to play with in photos!)
Having your hemline hit at the right point is important too. A basic rule of thumb, you don’t want to cut off at one of your joints. Avoid skirts or dresses that hit right at your knee or cut you off at the ankles. Right above the knee, tea length, or floor length are the most flattering. It’s never a bad idea to get your outfit altered/tailored to you to make sure it fits just right and you feel awesome in it!
This is the biggest piece of advice I always give. If this post was just one tip for how to look your best, it would be simple: SLEEVES!
Just like I said every person has something they are self conscious about. For almost every single woman on the planet, their arms are one of those things! I am one of those people, so I promise I get it!
Regardless of that, upper arms are just something that are hard to flatter on camera. Especially when you’re cuddled up to your fiance, it’s easy for them to get squished.
I think we are all victims of this. We tend to put our arms flat to our sides or hunch a little bit, especially if you’re nervous! I’m speaking from experience here…I am CEO of the nervous slouch.
So while this problem is pretty universal, it’s also really easy to fix! The answer is…SLEEVES! Okay, yes, a little anticlimactic, but really that’s it!
I know when I was searching for my own engagement session outfits, sleeves were a must! Even one of the dresses I chose is totally off the shoulder, but has little sleeves right around the thickest part of my arm! It was perfect!
Three-quarter, short, even cold shoulder sleeves (aka flutter sleeves, the ones that just drape across). Any of them are a super easy way to flatter your upper arms!
This one is pretty easy: heels are hands down the best option! They elongate your legs and make your calves pop. You honestly can’t go wrong with them! Even cute wedges are great!
Unless your goal is to highlight the shoes themselves, neutral colors are best. Nude color heels are really the best because they elongate your legs in the best way!
All my girls that are flats/sandal lovers, this might be disappointing news. I feel you, and I’m the same way!
If you’re not a heels girl, or if you and your boo are close in height, flats are totally fine. Like I said before, being comfortable and feeling like yourself are the top most important things when picking out your engagement session outfit!
Personally, I’m so awkward and just not graceful in heels, so I definitely always go with flats!
Tips for flats are similar for heels: nude colors are definitely best! Having a contrasting colored flat can be a hard stop right at your ankles and be distracting. For the same reason you want your hemline to end at a flattering spot on your legs.
An odd tip but something to think about: peep toe vs closed toe! For heels, peep toes aren’t a huge deal breaker, but having closed toes looks more polished.
For flats, closed toe sandals and flats that cover your toes are going to look more polished and less distracting to the eye!
P.S. I’m planning on doing a whole post on bridal shoes, from engagements to the wedding day, focusing on flats because I think they’re definitely harder to pick out! Stay tuned for that!
So my final tip is not about your outfit at all, but it is the most important!
My best piece of advice I can give for your actual session is: TREAT YO SELF! Just like Tom and Donna always say, it is so important!
You’re engaged to the love of your life. Out of all the people in the whole world you two have found each other and have made the decision to spend the rest of your lives together. THAT IS A BIG DEAL!
Your engagement session is a time to celebrate that! Take it as an excuse to pamper yourself! Especially if you usually don’t!
Start with a manicure, and a pedicure just because! Your ring will be highlighted so much so you want your nails to be on point!
Go get your hair done, even just a blow out from somewhere like The Dry Bar or Blo! Most blow dry bars also have make up services! My go to is always a blow out and full make up from Blo. They definitely know how to treat you well and make you feel like a princess!
If you have your HMUA hired for your wedding day already, see if they can do an add on service for this occasion! If you’re not doing bridals, you could even use your trial for your engagement session.
Or you can go to somewhere like Sephora or Nordstrom and get it done there. If you know a make-up artist yourself, even better! Even just a friend pampering you will make you feel so good!
These finishing touches are so important! Not only because you deserve it, but because being all done up will boost your confidence!! And going professional means you don’t have to worry about it yourself!!
These tips are just a jumping off point for you! The number one thing you should focus on is feeling comfortable, confident, and like yourself!
This season of ~fiance-hood~ only comes once, and you should celebrate it!
If that means getting dressed up and splurging on a new outfit, go for it! If that means wearing your favorite dress that you always feel so good in, you do you!
After you’ve picked out your engagement session outfit and you’re ready to rock…now what? Head over to this post next all about prepping for your engagement session!
We are an Austin, Texas-based wedding photography duo committed to helping intentional couples feel safe and supported on their wedding days, so that the timeless imagery they receive inspires only good memories.
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