Wedding Wisdom Wednesday: Plan Your Perfect Engagement Photo Outfit

Local wedding pros share insight and tips for planning your wedding.

Bree Ridgeway
Flowy pieces add drama to photographs.

Picture this: It’s the beautiful hour before sunset, you and your fiancé can feel the warm sunshine on your faces; your photographer picked the perfect spot, the perfect time of day. Everything is perfect—almost. You are wearing a new outfit that you picked out last week, unsure and shrugging the sleeves down here and there. Your waist is getting pinched, and you can tell your fiancé is struggling with the neckline of their shirt. Suddenly, your perfect evening seems much less so. 

What you wear to your engagement session will make or break how you will feel about the final photos. Just as we put warm care into what gown or suit we will be walking down the aisle in, we should also think about the perfect outfit for our engagement session as well.   

A cohesive color palette doesn't have to be matchy-matchy.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your outfits is to be comfortable. I can tell when my couples feel uncomfortable, and it will show in the photos.  

If you choose to buy something new for the shoot, make sure to take it out for a spin. It can be as simple as going to the mall or grocery store in your outfit; you want to make sure that you not only feel comfortable, but also confident. If you’re coordinating an outfit for your partner as well, make sure it’s something they love and are comfortable in.  It makes a world of difference.   

But what should you wear? The biggest piece of advice I can give my ladies is to pick something with flow, something that can catch in the breeze or sway as you move. Movement of fabric adds so much to photographs. Don’t stress over shoes; they are barley seen in most shots, and it's way better to be comfortable than to have that one or two shots of the killer heels you adore. And do not forget to steam and iron those wrinkles out before ever leaving the house.   

Simple pieces are the key to e-shoot success.

For my guys, I suggest simplicity. You can’t go wrong with a single-color shirt paired with a blazer, cardigan or another top layer. If you really love a plain white T-shirt, I say embrace it! Pair it with a blazer for a few shots, then wear it solo for more casual shots as well. I see a lot of men with busy patterns or loud prints on their shirt; that’s the biggest thing you want to avoid, unless you have a shoot location that is very simple and wide-open to allow for those loud prints. 

Planning the color of your outfits is huge, too, because the color will set the vibe of your session. I will most times advise against matching colors with your fiancé; you want your outfits color palettes to complement each other's instead. This might be a hard point for some couples, but I have two fool-proof ways to help.  

Subtle patterns are better than loud prints in most photos.

If you need a starting point, go on to Pinterest and search color palettes, you will get a ton of results. These are used for interior design, art projects and more, but they all can be translated into outfit pieces. If Pinterest isn’t your thing, the other choice is to go to the makeup aisle. Each eye shadow palette is an already made color palette for you! An added bonus if you are doing your own makeup: You already have the perfect makeup to match your outfit choices.   

As you shop for the perfect outfit, you may notice two hot hues popping up in stores: a bright, creamy yellow and a soft gray, which are both Pantone picks for trending colors this season. Pantone calls the yellow hue “Illuminating” and the gray one “Ultimate Gray.” I recommend having one person wear each color, then add white details for both outfits with a tie, hat, sneakers or jewelry. Those white touches will add cohesion and balance to the outfits.  

Bold neutrals ensure effortless cohesion.

And of course, if you’re still at a loss, just talk to your photographer! He or she should be happy to help you find outfit ideas that will photograph well and suit your personalities and shoot locations with ease. 

Bree Ridgeway is the owner and photographer behind Bree Lea Photography. Based in Columbus, Bree is a BGSU grad who loves travel, brunch, roller coasters, dinosaurs and most of all, weddings. She is especially drawn to outdoor weddings, hand-edits each and every one of her photos, and likes to mix editorial and candid moments in her shoots.