You're engaged!

Or you will be shortly, you hope. What do you do now? Now, it's time to start thinking about

planning your wedding. Wedding planning usually begins 1-3 months after a couple gets engaged. Wedding photographers usually book up 9-12 months in advance. I won't say that a photographer is the most important part of your wedding because they aren't. You probably need the officiant to pronounce you "husband and wife"! But, you'll want to get some photos out there to let the world know that you are indeed promised to someone special in your life.

So, you book a wonderful wedding photographer and schedule your first session with them, the engagement shoot. Now, you're thinking about how to prepare for your session.

Here are 5 things to do to prepare for your engagement session:

1. Location, Location, Location

You want to find a location that fits your style and someplace that you feel comfortable in. I wrote a whole blog post about possible Richmond, Virginia locations that would be great for photo shoots. You can check it out here. There are so many locations that it's hard to name them all. Here are a few places or ideas for your engagement session.

  • A horse farm if you have a horse

  • Local brewery

  • Local winery

  • Downtown Richmond, VA

  • A picnic

  • On Vacation (destination)

  • Your favorite coffee or bakery shop

  • Local park

  • Carnival/Amusement parks

  • Lifestyle (inside or outside your home)

  • Local zoo

  • Lake or river

  • Sunflower Fields in late summer

2. Wardrobe

Clothing selections are equally as important as choosing the location for your session. You want to make sure you're comfortable yet stylish. If you want a more formal, regal attire and plan to go to an estate or similar location then you might want to dress up some. Comfort is key, but make sure you are happy with how you look. Your partner will also need to feel good in what they wear, so plan your wardrobe to match but not too matchy. If you both love sneakers and tee shirts then you will be more comfortable wearing those and able to express genuine emotions in your photographs. Your wardrobe will compliment your location choice and your photographer will be able to discuss options for both.

2 . Hair and Make up

For the ladies, it's not just an engagement photo, it's proof to the world that your life is changing and you will be adding another person in your life from now on. Hair and make up go hand in hand with clothing and location choices. This is a great time to test out stylists and artists for the big day to see if you like their work. Just remember to go a little lighter for hair and make up for these photos because it's meant to show your friends and family your relationship with your sweetie and not necessarily about individual portraits of yourself.

3 . Accessories and Props

Pets make wonderful props. Let's face it, your fiance is not only marrying you, but also your furry friends so this would be a great time to include them in these photos. Other props may include drinks, signs, or anything that goes well with your location. This is perfect for livening the mood and making the photos more playful!

5 . Relax and Be Yourself

I can't stress this enough. Have FUN! Laugh, play, giggle, and be kids before you have to get married and grow up again! Check out another blog post HERE for a better idea on how you can get genuine smiles in your session. And ask your photographer for fun ways to bring out your genuine smile if you don't think you can in front of the camera. Chances are, they will know how to get you to loosen up.