The Ultimate Guide To Rocking Your Engagement Photos

So, you’re getting married?

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Congrats, girl! He put a ring on it and you’re the Happiest Girl In The World™. That’s awesome! Finally all your wedding Pinterest boards will come in handy! You get to go dress shopping! You get to marry the human of your dreams! But after the rosy glow of your new iced-up ring finger stops dazzling you quite so much and you start floating down to the real world again, you realize: Weddings are hard. 

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OK, don’t panic, but it’s true. Take it from someone who’s been there: Weddings don’t come cheap, it takes a lot of planning, and… oh, yeah, I guess you’re going to be embarking on a little thing called “The Rest Of Our Lives.” Yeeeah. That’s a lot of shit to deal with, huh? It’s worth noting that getting married is actually awesome and fun, but getting to the actual state of Mr. and Mrs. is going to take some doing. And while we haven’t generated a Literally, Darling checklist for wedding things quite yet, we can start you off at square one: Your engagement photos.

Organizing engagement photos is typically the first step to planning a wedding, and it’s a pretty nice way to begin. OK, they’re not necessary, but having some sweet pics of you two looking super fly is a really great keepsake for you (and your nauseated friends). These are the pics you can show your future kids when they want to know how hot mommy and daddy used to be! So yes, they’re a good idea. And yes, you want to look your best. Naturally.

So before you get to thinking about The Dress and all that other wedding paraphernalia, let’s start small: Your engagement photo ensemble. This is an outfit that you (and your friends, family and followers) are going to remember you for. No pressure. Just take heed of these simple tips and you’re guaranteed a good result. We promise.

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Dress appropriately.

Don’t be the girl wearing stilettos in a cornfield. Don’t be the girl wearing a tiny dress in the snow. Don’t wear leather in the summetime. All you’ll remember is muddy heels, hypothermia and/or a sweaty butt (respectively). Use your noggin, and wear something that isn’t going to jeopardize your experience because you’re too worried about your ass crease being on show in that short skirt, or your dress being blown over your head in the breeze. Also, don’t let it all hang out. You’re getting married, and while that by no means you’re waving goodbye to freedom and fun for the rest of your life, do follow the classic “legs or chest or arms or midriff” rule. JK, getting married turns you into a fusty old hag, so you might as well wear a Victorian nightgown.

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Dress timelessly.

You know all those pictures of Ma and Da from the eighties, with all that hairspray and zany prints? Maybe your parents somehow managed to rock it, but let’s be honest, the Tina Turner look wasn’t doing anyone any favors. By all means, be your stylish self, but be aware that certain trends won’t age as well as others. This season’s mesh fabrics, for example: They’re fun and awesome, but I don’t see that one aging gracefully. Do our generation some justice and dress in something that you can look back at in 2060 and say, damn, those were the days.

Be cautious of themes.

Here’s the thing about themes: There’s a fine line between fun and tacky. If you’re going for something a bit country, for example, your blue jeans and cowboy boots will look great… matching plaid shirts and cowboy hats, however, won’t. I’m sorry. Someone had to say it. Also, yes, matching outfits is a theme; you’re going for the “We’re the smug couple you pretend to love but actually hate” without even realizing it. Pretty please, don’t be those people.

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Steer clear of props.

The only prop you need in your photos is your ring and two big smiles. All those wooden ampersands and banners and printed “Save the Date” signs are unnecessary. Also, whoever thought it’d be cute and romantic to pose whilst wrastling with a giant wooden cut-out was clearly deluded.

Have a good hair day.

Honestly, the biggest regret from my wedding day is that my hair sucked. I had lopped it all off with the kitchen scissors, and in the name of saving money, I styled it myself. Big mistake. In all the photos, my janky over-the-sink hair nightmare is so obvious (and bad). So, learn from my mistakes, people: Get a proper haircut beforehand. If you color your hair, make sure your roots aren’t horrible. Style it in a tried-and-true style that you know will make you look fly as hell, and that’ll last in the Great Outdoors (if you’re having an outdoor shoot). Don’t use any new products or try a totally new style on the day of, because in the event that the product doesn’t work or your Pinterest chignon looks more Marge Simpson than Mila Kunis, you’ll regret it.

Make sure your clothes fit.

We know you know that buying jeans that give you a muffin top is never going to be a good idea. But really: Just because you friggin’ love that new skirt you got on sale, don’t wear it just because you friggin’ love the skirt you got on sale. Wear a thing because the thing flatters you; try your ensemble beforehand and get your BFF (or fiance, because, like Ms. Monroe always told us, he loves you at your best and worst) to snap you from all angles to make sure it looks just right.

Add a statement piece.

For my wedding, I borrowed my girlfriend’s bright blue shoes and the resulting photos were fabulous (well, I had to have my smug moment at some point in this article, right?). So yes: A bright shoe, a bold lip, or a statement necklace are cute, simple ways to make a photo op pop. *tips hat*

Pick fluttery fabrics.

If you’re doing an outdoor shoot, it looks so damn pretty to add a flowy blouse or dress that will catch the light and ruffle in the breeze. OK, there might be a fun blooper reel afterwards, but the money shot will be worth it.

Be yourselves.

Oh, the vaguery! But no, seriously: Just be yourself, woman. Wear clothes that you feel happy and confident in. Be silly with your partner. Smile genuinely. Don’t try to force awkward *deep and meaningful* stares. The worst engagement photos are the ones where the stony-faced, pseudo-serious couple look more like they’re about to join a funeral procession than embark on a fun adventure. RIP freedom, amirite? No, no. You’re thrilled to be getting hitched, so act like it. Just have fun, be natural, and make sure you look like the best version of yourself. Bingo. You can’t lose.

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