Why I Include Engagement Sessions With My Wedding Packages

Bekah and Shea, now Mr. and Mrs. Tolson

First, let's talk about this lovely couple . . .

Bekah and Shea married in June, but before hand, they wanted to do their engagement session in a spot very dear to them.

They had their first date there.

Shea proposed there.

They love it so much, they have season passes to go there.

I am speaking of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.  Well, and why not?  The place is both gorgeous and HUGE.  I think you could spend several days just getting to know the layout.  If you ever visit, you will see REAL wealth, especially when you consider the home and estate are privately owned by the Vanderbilt relations (whose namesake campus is also a beautiful place for pictures, but that is another blog post).

Just look at its loveliness . . . and Bekah and Shea's loveliness, too!

See all those trees?  All of them?  All of them are part of the estate.

So, why are engagement sessions important?  

First, they allow you and your photographer a chance to work together before the wedding day.  You get to know them; he or she gets to know you.  Sure, you have met before and felt a "connection," but now you can really see how your personalities mesh.

See this spot here?  This is where Shea asked, "Will you . . .?" and Bekah said, "Yes!"

Second, YOU get comfortable in front of a camera.  The chances are good that the last time you had your picture professionally taken, you had a faux drape around your neck, it was senior year in high school, and the photographer was inexplicably asking you to look up at the corner.  Yeah, not too awkward.  But on your wedding day, you will be the center of attention, and not only will your photographer's camera be pointed at you, so will many others.  But at least with your photographer, you will know how to pose, making it go a lot more smoothly - and giving you more time to be with your guests.  That is also why I recommend to my couples that they choose a location or an activity that has meaning to them - familiar settings are more comfortable!

Third, let's say you look at your engagement session photos and think, "I love these!  But . . . I am not sure I like seeing my left side."  Or, "Love 'em, but want more close ups."  Communicate that to your photographer so he or she can make sure that change gets put in place for your wedding.

Fourth, you have pictures to use . . . for Save the Date cards.  With one couple, they framed small prints and incorporated them into their centerpieces.  Another blew them up and hung them around the reception area.  Yet another made a signing book.  One couple had them on the sides of their wedding cake.  And Bekah and Shea used them in reception favors for their guests. 

Finally, they are images of the two of you that are not "dated" by the presence of a wedding dress and a tuxedo.  Studies have shown that couples who have pictures of themselves at all stages of their relationship in their home have more stable relationships.  And their children will appreciate seeing loving pictures of their parents together.  During engagement sessions, I try to individual portraits, so that each can have an image for the work desk or to keep in a wallet.  

In fact, maybe it is a good idea to make sure there is a picture of you two on each anniversary, even if you are just sitting in lawn chairs in your backyard.  Document your history and display your love.  Go get your pictures taken!

After all, isn't it the fuel that keeps your marriage going, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health?