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What to Wear to Your Engagement Session: an Outfit Guide for Couples

The engagement session outfit guide you’ve been dreaming of. Do’s and do not’s, and other tips to make the most out of your time in front of the camera.

Tis’ the season of love.

Quick history lesson before we dive into the goods: the original goal of the engagement session was to capture a professional photo of a newly engaged couple to share on a “save the date” or in newspaper announcements. While many couples still use their engagement sessions for those reasons, its also become an essential part of the wedding journey.

Engagement sessions are a great opportunity to have some fun with your partner in front of the camera. And, not only would you get practice for yourself, but your photographer also gets practice working with you and discovering how you best fit in front of the lens. You can also scope out your wedding venue in an engagement session and discover a lot of great photo spots (or go somewhere totally different as well.) While also testing hair and makeup, or another look leading up to your wedding day.

With so many newly-engaged couples planning their engagement session – there’s no better time than to share our tips and tricks for dressing for your engagement session.

In this engagement session outfit guide you’ll find our recommendations on how to dress both of you for success, as well as our recommended “do’s” and our “please do nots,” and our favorite online stores for looks in every season.

Let’s get to it!

How many Outfits? One or Two (Max.)

(so we can spend more time snapping and less time changing.)

We always recommend going with up to two outfits, so it can showcase a more formal side of you, as well as who you are authentically when you are together. Think of this as an opportunity to show you both at your best – when life is the best, and when you dress up to impress. However, once we pass more than 2 outfits, we end up spending 15-30 minutes changing clothes during your session, which can really take away from the momentum we’ve built (or irritate our loved ones *if* photography doesn’t excite them to begin with).

A simple way to switch it up quickly is to also incorporate some layers that are easy to remove in seconds. A jacket, a scarf, a hat, and other accessories can really diversify your session – but more on that below.

What Type of Outfit should we Wear?
We recommend formal + casual.

as casual outfit example
a formal outfit example

Tips for Couple’s Casual Outfits

Something you feel comfortable and flirty in. Your favorite bootie and pair of jeans with a really nice shirt is always a great combo, and for a bonus – pair it with your favorite jacket to have an easy change in your look without completely changing clothes! No really wrong way for this – just something you feel great wearing, and know you look great wearing!

For the Ladies:

  • You can’t ever go wrong with a nice blouse and your favoirte pair of jeans. But whatever outfit you choose, make sure you are comfortable in it and it feels like you.
  • When you’re thinking about colors, think in color stories. For instance, you can keep it all in one family like blues, neutrals, cool tones, warm tones, etc. Or, you can contrast with your partner, if you have a light top on maybe they wear dark. Same for bottoms, shoes, accessories, etc.
  • If you’re considering patterns or busy clothing, less is more. Polka dots, stripes, simple floral elements or other simple patterns photograph much better than anything super busy or super fine by design.

For the Gentlemen:

  • Polo’s, button ups, or henleys paired with your favorite pants – I want you to dress like you’re going to an upscale pizza place as your first date with your partner. Looking cool, and fly — but not too over thought.
  • When you’re thinking about colors, think in color stories. For instance, you can keep it all in one family like blues, neutrals, cool tones, warm tones, etc. Or, you can contrast with your partner, if you have a light top on maybe they wear dark. Same for bottoms, shoes, accessories, etc.
  • If you’re considering patterns or busy clothing, less is more. Plaid is not bad, while super fine checkered patterns can actually cause a distorting effect in the photos. But my professional recommendation for men is solid colors. Can’t go wrong!

Tips for Couple’s Formal Outfits

Especially if you stick to just one outfit, this is usually better for engagement photos overall. What kind of a formal outfit? Long, flowy, Maxi dresses always look great and are great to play with when you’re posing with your partner.

If you’re going with one look – choose a Formal Outfit.”

Most popular formal outfits for the Ladies:

  • Maxi Dresses
  • Midi Dresses
  • Sweater Dresses
  • Blouse + Dress Pants or Slacks
  • …and always feel free to throw in a heel for extra flair.

For the Gentlemen:

  • Sports Coat
  • Sweaters
  • Polos
  • Button-ups

Where can we go to shop for these outfits?

  • For Dresses, check out Altar’d State or Lulu’s – lots of our girls had had really good success finding a great dress.
  • For something even more elegant or unique, renting a dress is becoming a very popular option. Check out Rent the Runway for unique and stunning fashions.
  • Some personal favorite stores of mine (Stephanie, not Charles), include Venus (good +size options), Express, and Eloquii (good +size options)
  • A few shops that are great for menswear also include Express, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Hugo Boss.

Other Do’s and Do Nots to make the most of your Engagement Session

In this last section, we’ll cover ideas that are great additions to your engagement session — as well as a few recommendations to avoid (which again, are all for the best!)

Do’s for your engagement session.

  • Do consider layering your outfit for a quick and easy wardrobe change. Jackets, scarfs, and hats can really transform one look into another.
  • If you have a cute first date or favorite brewery / bar / restaurant location, let’s check it out! It might be a really unique spot that’s great for a photo-op.
  • Do look for locations within 15 minutes of each other so we can maximize the most time out of your session.
  • And finally, do consider locations with and without greenry. Anything with clean, white architecture can really elevate your photos.
  • Don’t wear only white – while that looks great for family photos on the beach in the 90’s, I want you guys to stand out and be bold! Pick out your favorite colors and try to build on that. 
  • Pups are always welcome! However, I do ask that you have a friend to hang on to them when its time to photograph just the two of you.

Dont’s for Ladies’ Outfits

  • Don’t wear super busy patterns, like animal print – the busier the pattern, the more distracting it can be in the photo.
  • Yellow is a difficult color to edit for our style of photography, It doesn’t photograph well and tends to get desaturated in the final result.
  • Don’t only bring stiletto heels if you’re not used to wearing them and walking around – if you do, maybe also bring flip flops so you don’t murder your feet! 
  • Don’t wear every piece of jewelry you own. Editing your accessories will make a stronger photo! 

…and Please Dont’s for Men’s Outfits

There are not a lot of don’ts, but a few of the biggest rules:

  • Do not wear just a t-shirt to your engagement session. This is a big day in your life and I want these photos to help get you excited for the wedding ahead.
  • And don’t wear flip-flops. Self-explanitory, I think.

Some great accessories to also bring to your Engagement Session

Special things like cute blankets or some couples accessories like matching coffee cups, a favorite beer, a bottle of champagne, a favorite sports team jersey or something that is special can really make your session “you”.

That’s it for our engagement session outfit guide! We know having a resource to questions makes everything easier, and we’re here to help guide and make recommendations as much as we can.

What other resources would you like to see? Let us know by emailing Stephanie at or drop a comment below.

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