Why An Engagement Photo Session Is a Very, Very Good Idea

Real Weddings
Engagement Photo session by Erick McVey

Photos: Erich McVey

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Over the next two months, guest blogger and Weddington Way founder and CEO Ilana Stern will share the ins and outs of planning a California wedding, running a business, picking the perfect wedding planner, and customizing your dress.

While some couples skip the engagement photo session, I would highly recommend it to all engaged couples. Let me explain why.

If you think about it, you're going to spend more time with your wedding photographer than anyone else on your big day. When we chose the wonderful Erich McVey to shoot our wedding, we decided that taking engagement photos would be a great way for Jeff and I to get to know him and his shooting style instead of having to worry about it the day of our wedding.

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern's Engagement Shoot

Photo: Erich McVey

We wanted our engagement photos to not only reflect who we are as a couple, but also appear natural. But let's face it, not all of us are models and no matter how talented, no photographer can make a couple look at ease if they aren't. So the engagement shoot gave us the opportunity to feel comfortable with Erich and to learn to relax and be ourselves together in front of the camera.

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern Engagement Shoot Laughing

Photo: Erich McVey

I'm so glad we did it because the photographs came out absolutely beautiful! When we saw them, I immediately knew they would be a great way to personalize our Minted save-the-dates, invitations (below), and thank you cards. I have to admit, we didn't stop there, because let me tell you, engagement photos make perfect gifts. Since the shoot, all of our Father's Day and Mother's Day gifts have been framed photos. It may sound cheesy, but we have a lot of very happy parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles!

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern's Wedding Invitation

If you're still on the fence about doing an engagement photo shoot, consider it a fun excuse to take a one-night trip with your fiancé! We decided to do our engagement shoot with Erich in the wine country, which is a little more than an hour drive from San Francisco where we live—the perfect little romantic getaway! On our drive up to Sonoma to meet Erich, Jeff and I hopped on Hotel Tonight (an awesome app for booking last minute hotel rooms) and found a great rate at a cute B&B. So we were not only able to have a blast with Erich, but also treated ourselves to some much needed R&R.

—Ilana Stern

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