One of my closest friends got engaged the other day and I couldn’t be happier for any two people in the world. Seriously, Ellie and Josh are meant to be. Ellie’s parents threw them an impromptu engagement party right after Josh proposed. When I walked into the front door, Ellie was the first person I saw. I ran up to her, squealed, hugged and then of course looked at the ring. And damn, that was quite a ring. Bravo Josh, Bravo. As I was holding up her hand in awe, all these amazing engagement photo ideas came whirling through my head. “We have to schedule your engagement session for late April” I said, still holding her hand up and admiring the ring. “Actually, Josh and I don’t really see the point in an engagement session, we’ll just get photos at our wedding. I am so glad you are here! You will have to help me plan the wedding.” And with that, she moved on to the next squealing friend and I stood there for at least a minute thinking about all the reasons why every couple should have an engagement session no matter what… and here is why.
1. Your Journey
No two relationships are the same. No matter how long you have been together. If you and your SO have been dating for months, years or even decades, it’s your story and your journey that brought you to this moment. To this commitment. It is the two of you who worked hard to build the foundation of your relationship. It is the two of you who decided to communicate and compromise when you weren’t seeing eye to eye. It was the two of you who overcame obstacles together, who leaned on each other through the good times and the bad and who put love and care into your relationship that it has became way more than just a relationship. It has become a life together. A future together. You and your SO are partners in crime and let me tell ya, that is no easy feat. So do yourself a favor, take the time to recognize how truly amazing it is that you have found each other. Take the time to think back to your first date, all those moons ago, and be in awe of how far you have come as a couple. Take a moment to document the time when you two decided to intertwine your lives together, officially.
2. Celebrating your love
You are in love. You are in pre-wedding bliss, well kind of. These months, or years, depending on who you are, are full of this long check list. You need to fit all of these things in. There is the engagement party, venue tours, cake testing, yards and yards of tulle, the list seems to go on and on. You are stressed out because you don’t know if you should go with tulips or roses for your bouquet. Your mom, god bless her heart, is calling you with a million little wedding decisions every day and at this point, it feels like the wedding will never get here and you just want to be married already! Well, don’t worry, it will all work out. It will all be beautiful. Your wedding day will all come together. The bridesmaids will miraculously all love the same dress, you will pick out the perfect center pieces and the cake will look incredible. So do yourself a favor, take some time and plan for a plan-less afternoon. Schedule your engagement session; it will be fun and easy going. It will let you and your SO take time away from the crazy wedding planning, the constant phone calls and the endless pinning on Pinterest. It let’s you take a step back from all the madness and just be yourselves.
3. Just the two of you (and maybe a puppy too)
Even though your wedding day is supposed to be just about you and your SO, it’s always a little more complicated than that. It’s about the caterers and the venue. It’s about mom’s wishes and dad’s family traditions. It’s about keeping up with the timeline and not forgetting to get drunk Uncle Harry in the family photo. Your wedding day can be chaotic and busy, but your engagement session, that is a whole different story. Your engagement session’s sole purpose is to capture you as a couple. No crazy caterers, no venue coordinator, no nagging mom and no dad asking for the tenth time when the father-daughter dance will take place. It is just you, your SO and maybe your puppy too.
4. Practice for your Wedding Day
Yes, I remember standing in line, alphabetically of course, in an outfit I spent two hours picking out the night before Middle School Picture day too. My hair never looked the way I wanted. My smile was always more nervous than happy and the photographer didn’t even look up when he counted to three… Moral of the story, I get it. Most people out there do not enjoy getting their photo taken. But hey, this is your chance to get comfortable before your wedding day. This is the time to shake out all the nerves and realize that being in front of the camera doesn’t have to be so bad, it can actually be fun. This is the time to get excited about your wedding day photography and learn to love it instead of dread it. This isn’t your Sweet Sixteen or Freshman dance. This is your wedding day! You are no longer 13 years old just hitting puberty. You have grown into yourself, into your own style and you will fall in love with the photos that we create of and your SO. 13 year old you would be very impressed.
5. Let's get Weird
Your wedding day will be planned out to the tee. There will be a timeline. There will be a specific location. There will be a certain way to dress, and there will be many, many people waiting to congratulate you. On the other hand, your engagement session has no rules (well, let’s at least keep it legal guys). You can wear whatever you want, you can go wherever you want and there will be a much more lenient timeline. If you and your BAE love tacos, we can take a walk to your favorite Taco Stand. If you love birds walked around Rittenhouse Square Park on your first date, let’s go there. If you and your SO play chess in your free time, bring a chess board! Engagement sessions are all about who you are as a couple and you deserve to document your relationship in a fun, casual, this-is-us-kinda-way.
In 20 years, when you are standing in the hallway, dirty rag in hand, hair’s a mess and your feet hurt, you will look up at the wall art you have from your engagement session and it will make you smile. This wall art will hold a very special place in your heart. The time between he (or she) pops the question and you two say I do, is such a special and unique time in your lives. It is the time when you tell the world that this is it. This is your person. This is the one you are going to grow old with and stick next to through thick and thin. Why wouldn’t you want to capture who you are, how you feel and hold on to this feeling for the rest of your life.
It is never a bad idea to take some time away from your busy lives; away from work, future mother-in-laws and from your crazy long to-do lists to have some quality time with your one and only. It is never a bad idea to set aside some time to celebrate the unconditional love you have for each other. It is never a bad idea to create photos that will forever remind you of how much you love each other. This is the person who is promising to be by your side, promising to embark on the beautiful journey of life with you and promising to put you on the top of their priority list now and for forever.
Why wouldn’t you want to showcase this love through artwork that will end up being family heirlooms? Why wouldn't you want to have photos that showcase how blissfully happy you are during this special time in your lives…. Because trust me, you two deserve it. You two have an amazing love story that deserves to be told.
Now, go on… book that engagement session. Pick a location that means something to you. Treat it like a date. Have fun playing poker or eating your favorite sushi. Let your engagement session be much more than an engagement session, but an experience that you are sharing with your one and only.