What to Wear to Your Engagement Session!

What to wear to your engagement session banner

Your engagement session is supposed to be about you and the love of your life. Yet, somehow, when planning a wedding we often get caught up in what the outside world thinks. This includes when planning out our engagement session.

Well… screw the outside world. Screw the photoshopped girl on the cover of that magazine in the grocery store. Screw the latest Pinterest craze. Screw all of it, here are a few tips on how to make your engagement session about you.

Things to consider when deciding what to wear to your engagement session:

Your Style:

When choosing what to wear to your engagement session, I recommend you bring 2-3 different outfits, ranging from casual to dressy, with dressy being defined as what you consider dressy.

I wear yoga pants and a tank top pretty much every single day. While I own a few dresses, reserved for weddings and beach towns, they are not my preferred style. I once wore a dress to a couple’s session and I hated the photos because it didn’t look like me. I like the way I look in yoga pants and a tank top. When I want to dress up, I throw on a pair of nice jeans, my black long sleeve smartwool top and a cute scarf. That’s Rayna all dressed up. I feel great in it. I feel like me. If I could do my couple’s session all over, I’d bring a pair of yoga pants, a tank top, my favorite jeans, smart wool top and a cute scarf. Because I love them, and they’re me. If you love to dress up in cocktail dresses or a suit, by all means, please do, but don’t feel obligated to.

I also feel confident in these outfits. I know I look good in my favorite jeans, and so when I’m in front of the camera, I want to wear what I know looks good. When it comes to your outfit, confidence is key.

My husband has a pair of jeans he loves, that he wore the night we met, and a sweater that he wears when he wants to look good. It’s not my favorite style, but he looks so good in it, and I know it’s because of the way he carries himself when he wears it. If we were doing a couple’s session tomorrow, I’d recommend he wear that. And maybe a pair of climbing pants and one of those tight REI t-shirts that he likes to wear on the weekends. Yes, definitely that.

It’s also important to dress for the season. Not only will it look a little strange if you’re wearing a sundress and shorts in a snow storm, you’re going to be very uncomfortable. You’ll also be sweating buckets if you show up in a sweater in July. Just something to keep in mind.

I do not recommend wearing clothing with large logos, holes, that are worn out (guys, I know you love your old sneakers and gym t shirts, but they don’t look the best in photos), and I highly recommend using caution when choosing patterns like horizontal stripes.

Denver Engagement Session - Example of what to wear to your engagement session
Sarah and Luis rocked their session in shades of navy, grey, black and coral.

Choosing your colors:

There are a few things to keep in mind when picking out colors to wear.

  • Bright colors look best on camera. While pastels can look great on a person, they tend to wash out in photos.
  • Color coordinate with each other. You want your outfits to compliment each other, but not necessarily match (see chart below)
  • I recommend the 3+1 rule. Picking three coordinating colors and then one color that pops. Use the first three colors for layering and the popping color to accessorize!
    • For example, colors navy blue, grey and light blue + red. For her, I’d recommend a pair of light jeans, a grey tank top and a navy blue jacket. I’d accessorize with red earrings, red shoes plus a grey and red scarf. For him I’d recommend jeans, a grey t shirt and a blue and red plaid shirt over it.
    • You can click here to see my Pinterest boards for the 3+1 rule and what to wear recommendations for active couples.
  • You want to compliment your surroundings, not match them. If you’re in the mountains and everything is green, you probably don’t want to wear green. Reds and yellows compliment the mountains quite well. If you’re in the city, you want to avoid grey, but blues and greens really pop.
  • When in doubt, go neutral. Browns, grays and ivory are usually a safe bet and will pop against almost any backdrop.

color wheel for picking colors for an engagement session

Things to watch for:

  • Straps – Bra straps like to pop out at the very worst times, so I recommend wearing a strapless bra or foregoing any outfits where the bra straps are borderline exposed. Unless you’re going for that look, then all is fair.
  • Don’t forget your shoes!
    1. Shoes can make or break an outfit, so make sure your shoes mesh with your outfit choices.
    2. I move around a ton during engagement sessions and that means you do too. Please choose shoes that are comfortable and easy to maneuver in. I don’t own heels for a reason and I don’t recommend them for engagement shoots in the mountains unless you want to carry them and slip them on for a few shots. Boots, Toms and Chacos are great choices.

 

What to wear to your engagement session example by Rayna McGinnis Photography

Ashley and Kevin opted for a dressy but still casual session, with colors of purple, blue and white.

Hair/Make Up:

Some of my couples choose to have their hair and makeup done for the engagement shoot. If you’d like to do this, I highly recommend setting up your hair and makeup trial for the same day, so that you can see what your wedding day make up will look like in photos. If you opt not to have your hair and makeup done, I recommend that you wear just a little bit more make up than you normally would. An extra layer of blush and mascara will go a long way! If you’re like me and you don’t wear make up, I recommend a layer of mascara, blush and lip gloss.

Also, if there’s a ring, there will be ring shots. I recommend making sure your nails are clean and your ring is sparkly!

Props:

Not everyone likes to include props in their session, but many couples do. Here are a few ideas:

  • Save the dates – You can bring a cute sign, banner, t shirts or even a football with your date if you’d like to. The possibilities are endless.
  • If you and your partner really love sports, mountain biking, drinking wine or even something silly like playing board games, please feel free to bring any or all of these things to your session. I love to personalize the session and these items make for killer ring shots.
  • Dogs – Just bring them. No, seriously, just do it.
Acro Yoga Engagement Session
Heather and Blake’s engagement session completely incorporated their love for acro yoga.

When in doubt, you can always text or email me photos of your outfit ideas and I’d be happy to help you narrow it down.