Ladies, I’d like to make an announcement: engagement photos don’t need to be as terrible as they sound! Let’s rewind 2.5 years, I’ve always expressed my thoughts on the awkwardness of engagement photos and my vow to never ever (like, ever) have them taken — seriously, ask my girlfriends.
Shortly after getting engaged – I ate my words. Once I chose Shaun Reilly as our photographer, he asked when we’d like to schedule our engagement session. I avoided that email like that plague…seriously…I forwarded it to my fiance, deleted it from my inbox, and pretended he was going to answer it!
After what felt like years of research and reading every blog known to woman, I group texted my bridesmaids and reluctantly admitted to them that I was getting engagement photos taken. The scrutiny was instant – I mean, these girls dug deep into the archives and sent screenshots – BOOM – roasted – mic drop. You win girls, you win.
The reason I decided to do this and the [unsolicited] advice I’ve given to every engaged couple since is: this is a test run with your photographer, you get to preview his work and he gets to know you and your hunny as a couple. BONUS: they learn your good side so they take ah-mazing pictures of you on your wedding day. And now, I’d like to repeat my first statement and I can truly attest to this: engagement photos DO NOT have to be cheesy! These photos should not bring back the prom photo PTSD that you’ve just recently gotten over. I know we’ve all seen them — coordinated outfits, left hand on the chest (“gotta show off the bling!”), gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes type photos – ugh, give me a break! Do you, girl, but do better. Let your creative juices flow – do a few Pinterest searches! These photos should leave you more excited for your wedding day and much more comfortable with your photographer.
Z’s family owns a home at the Jersey shore and we have great memories there as friends, then as a couple and together as a family – this was my inspiration for our engagement shoot. Since we were planning to get married in the city, I was searching to find a way to incorporate our love for the shore into our wedding and this was the perfect opportunity! I walked into the photo shoot like a true model, with a call sheet, a coffee, one outfit change, freshly dyed hair and a full face of makeup. Just kidding about the call sheet, but I did have a photo list for the day – planning is key to keeping it a stress-free day. However, no one told the Autumn sea breeze to stay away that day because wind and my hair just don’t mix. Thank goodness for Shaun! His creativity and improvisation assured me that no matter what happened on the wedding day, he’d be able to handle it and make it beautiful. We made the best of every moment, from freezing on the bike ride to the boardwalk to the freezing sea breeze blowing my hair in my mouth at the end of the fishing pier. All while I kept true to my uncanny ability to always have red lipstick on my teeth and Z’s charming ability of pointing it out in the most obnoxious fashion. That might just be the one thing I love most about him, or…is it the fact that he doesn’t realize that the huge smile he keeps on my face is really the reason the lipstick gets on my teeth?! ;) (aww swoon❤).
After this shoot – the wedding started to feel real and the wedding planning got real. The shoot happened in October and by this time I had chosen my venue, found my dress, chosen my florist and started planning with them (by making a 10 slide PowerPoint presentation to portray my “vision”), signed a contract for rental furniture, started purchasing decor, chose a DJ, chose a lighting company, emailed the first draft of the bridal shower invitation list, sent at least 500 links to bridesmaids dress examples to the bridesmaid group chat, shopped for my mom’s dress, started my “day of timeline” and bugged the HECK out of my caterer to schedule our menu tasting. Did I mention I’m crazy? Did I mention that I was still stressed until the day of my wedding? I took a lot of advice from brides who told me to get as much done as early as possible to enjoy every second of the planning process. I will continue the tradition to preach this advice – it made everything so much more enjoyable without having to worry about deadlines.
Vendors | Photographer: Shaun Reilly Photography