BRIDES Houston: Standout Locations for Your Engagement Photos

Man (left) and woman looking at each other and smiling outdoors

Photo by Erich McVey

When you and your fiancé have photos taken in honor of your engagement, you're likely to take pictures in places of significance to you both (maybe the site of your first date or proposal) or in venues that represent you two and things you like to do (perhaps the golf course, a bowling alley like Lucky Strike, or a beloved coffee shop). But if you're tying the knot in H-Town, stop for photo ops at a few of these iconic spots.

David Adickes' cheery public art piece right off the Katy Freeway (I-10 near the Heights) has been a beacon of brightness and positive vibes toward this fair city since 2013. It makes for a happy snap that could be used for a colorful save-the-date card that out-of-town guests will appreciate.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

It's the great outdoors at its best — right in the middle of the city — and it's rarely packed with people. The peaceful, non-profit arboretum and nature center is 1,500 acres of forested trails and green space, complete with lily-padded ponds and specialty gardens that beg for a romantic moment. Forget-me-not: Mist any exposed skin with bug spray, or you may be too itchy and distracted to pose for pics.

Thousands of paintings, prints, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and antiquities from the private collection of the late John and Dominique de Menil live in Italian architect Renzo Piano's first American design, which is situated on a green 30-acre campus dedicated to art. Some of the most beautiful backdrops: The sculpture gardens, Menil Park (which is dotted with oak trees and even a tree swing), and the nearby Rothko Chapel's reflecting pool, where the Broken Obelisk sculpture by Barnett Newman and dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. is on glorious display.

Historic and artsy, the Heights 'hood is home to several awesomely photo-worthy backdrops — from the art on Heights Boulevard to the vintage shops and movie theater on 19th Street — but a few of our favorites are made for lovebirds! Graffiti artist Wiley Robertson put a lot of love and effort into the wall facing the parking lot of Alabama Furniture (a consignment shop in which you may also find some cute pieces for all of your nuptial events or your new home) and the brick wall adjacent to the St. Mark's United Methodist Church entrance. Both canvases are brilliantly splashed with big "Love."

Hermann Park

This 445-acre park is historically significant to Houston — it turned 100 in 2014 — and gorgeously green. It also happens to have diverse and dynamic photography options, from the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool and ginormous contemporary art installations, to the 80-acre Bayou Parkland along Brays Bayou and the picturesque Japanese Garden. The pièce de résistance may be the newest addition — the 15-acre McGovern Centennial Gardens, which has a collection of gardens, including a rose garden, a woodland garden, an arid garden, and more at 1500 Hermann Drive. Another fun photo op in the expansive park? Go on a pedal boat ride across McGovern Lake!

An urban oasis of art and nature, the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden created by sculptor Isamu Noguchi is part of the The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It's home to sculpture by artists like Louise Bourgeois, Joan Miró, Dan Graham, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin and David Smith — all framed by concrete walls of various heights and accented by trees and flowering crepe myrtle — and makes for magnificent, modern images.

River Oaks Garden Club

A secret garden in the Upper Kirby District, the River Oaks Garden Club was first built as a county school built in 1910 and remodeled by John Staub in 1927 as the headquarters for the Forum of Civics. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the beautifully blooming gardens are open to the public free of charge and can be rented for photo sessions and special events. It's a romantic setting for engagements, but also feminine and glamorous enough for striking bridal portraits.

Want wide-open green spaces with the downtown skyline hanging in the distance? This inner-Loop respite, which winds along Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to Bagby Street, is the place. The site of the city's July 4 fireworks extravaganza, there isn't a bad shot to be had at this pretty park with sloping hills.

A residential area constructed by some of Houston's most prominent architects during a building boom that began in the 1920s, Boulevard Oaks Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The picture-perfect setting along North and South Boulevards, inside the Loop and north of Rice University, is the stuff of fairytale trees. Giant, mature oaks line the esplanades at every turn in the tony part of town, which means you'll end up with storybook pictures.

Opened along the banks of Buffalo Bayou as a celebration of Houston's 150th birthday in 1986, Sesquicentennial Park has photogenic cascading waterfalls, green spaces, hike-and-bike trails, boat launches, a bridge, gazebo, and promenade. It's 22 acres and highly underutilized, so this park is a photo shoot waiting to happen! Artsy standouts include an 8-foot, 650-pound bronze sculpture monument of President George H.W. Bush across from the Wortham Center, at the corner of Franklin at Bagby, and artist Mel Chin's "Seven Wonders," the 70-foot pillars acknowledging Houston's historical success in seven areas, including medicine and energy. P.S. While you're near downtown, be sure to pop over to Discovery Green for a quick shot in front of artist Margo Sawyer's "Synchronicity of Color" installation.

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