Congratulations! You're getting married! First comes champagne...then comes bride brain. Engaged couples make an endless number of decisions surrounding their wedding. Taking engagement photos is one of the first things you'll do, but deciding what to wear can be overwhelming.
Here are ten tried-and-true tips I give my clients before their photo session to help guide their choice in clothing and ultimately foster an enjoyable experience.
1) Establish a dress code. We all know opposites attract in the dating department, but mismatched style in professional photos is the opposite of attractive. If she plans to wear a smart sheath and heels, he shouldn't show up in casual chinos and flip flops. Get a head start on the secret to a successful marriage - compromise! - and find a middle-ground that suits both of your styles and comfort levels.
2) No twinning allowed. Say "I don't" to matching ensems for your photo session. Not only is the 'everyone in a white shirt and jeans' look overdone, it makes for flat photos. Your attire should say more about your personality and relationship than an outdated theme can convey.
3) Keep it clean. Ixnay on the loud tees and tops. Apparel featuring team logos, designer monograms, or trendy phrases only looks distracting, not high-end or humorous. Save your graphic shirts for football Sundays and Instagram.
4) Color, print, and texture catch the eye. Brights, pastels, and jewel tones all look gorgeous in photos -- it's all in choosing the right hue for you! Polka dots, florals, and plaids also photograph well. If you're going for a bridal white dress, choose one that won't get lost in the background. A billowy boho maxi dress looks dreamy against a rustic backdrop, while an off-the-shoulder sheath echoes the tone of an upscale venue.
5) Layer it on! Piggybacking off of tip number four, layers you can take on and off provide natural options to mix up your look during your photo session. Knit cardigans over frothy dresses strike the camera's fancy. A colorful jacket or sweater over a printed top makes for fun photos, too. In the above photo, Megan's metallic gold sweater over a blue button down pops against her dark denim and long, brunette locks. She also brought a bubblegum pink blazer to add variety as they moved locations.
6) Make your move. Clothing and hair that moves with you and the elements appears soft and romantic. A maxi dress and wavy tresses tousled by a gentle breeze look beautiful, natural, and un-staged. Avoid clingy clothing and sprayed-down, fixed hair. Save a sculpted updo for your wedding day.
7) Daytime makeup rules apply. Easy on the eye shadow, girls. Heavy makeup can look glam in the mirror and gaudy on the camera. Stick with a neutral or skin-tone-friendly palette with soft cheeks and lips. When in doubt, visit a local makeup counter and have a professional create a look personalized to your face and natural coloring.
8) Nail it down. All those hand photos showing off that ring? Yep, they'll also pick up on ragged nails. Get a quick manicure or DIY in a mild pink or metallic. Now's not the time to go wild with the nail art. Remember: you'll be looking back on these photos for a lifetime. Don't timestamp what should be timeless with a flash-in-the-pan beauty trend.
9) Location, location, location. Draw inspiration from your surroundings to help create cohesive photos. Light or bright colors, preppy prints, and dressy sandals look lovely photographed in downtown Charleston or on a nearby beach. Fair Isle sweaters, colorful coats, knit scarves, and a cozy blanket make a quiet wintry forest warm and whimsical.
10) Put on your fancy shoes. Ladies, now's the time to break out those fun shoes you wear once in a blue moon (or when you go dancing)! Statement shoes make the camera happy and add interest to your pictures. Think a pair of pink heeled sandals or a metallic cap-toe pump like Megan's in the above photo.
Most importantly of all: be yourself! Wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable - trust me, it will show up on camera! Clothing that feels out-of-sync with your personality will prevent your natural dynamic as a couple from coming through. Though the bride may captain the ship when choosing what to wear, make sure your first mate for life feels at ease with the look and tone you're going for.
Now have fun and enjoy the experience! Congratulations!