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  • Writer's pictureAnwuli Anyah

Celebrating an Engagement

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

What better way to document a beautiful moment in our lives than with an engagement photo shoot. Our photographer Kelly sweet did an amazing job photographing us on a surprisingly warm and sunny November day in East Grand Rapid, Michigan.

I was so excited about our engagement photos and planned months in advance for it. I scheduled my bridal makeup the same day to enable me use the beautiful makeup for the pictures. It worked out great. Allison Bower did such an amazing job. I took the day off work because I wanted everything to go perfectly.

I actually got my dress, the dinner gown, four days before our shoot. I waited last minute because I just couldn’t find the right one. I wanted something timeless and unique, the right dress. I’m sure you ladies know what I mean. I love shopping online and had checked all my favorite stores with no luck. Just a few days before the shoot, I stumbled across the perfect dress on Nordstrom's website. It was a Vince Camuto Velvet gown. I knew immediately that it was the one. The plum color was a perfect shade for fall. I was able to get it shipped to me in time. It was the perfect fit. I accessorized with suede black pumps, a vintage shawl, and a silver bib necklace that was perfect for the dress' neckline. All my accessories were items I already owned. Patrick planned to wear his dark grey suit from Express. Who doesn’t like a well dressed man?

We wanted two outfits for the shoot. With the dressy outfit squared away, we put together a casual outfit, mostly from the pieces we already own. Fall was the inspiration for our outfits. Patrick started with a blue and grey checkered shirt and layered it with a plum sweater and weathered jeans. I chose my favorite fall skirt from Ann Taylor and a long sleeve cream shirt that I got from banana Republic. I have worn and loved it so many times. I added a pair of white tights to keep warm. I topped it all off with a new sweater from TjMaxx. The whole outfit went well with my favorite brown suede boots from Gap. It’s one of my favorite ensembles to date.

Funny story, I almost had to take my 1 year old son to our engagement shoot because our sitter canceled and we had no back up. Last minute, we found the sweetest girl, a college student, on care's website. She turned out to be one of the best sitters we have ever had. When we interviewed her, she brought a professional resume and a long list of references. I’m glad I didn’t have to take Tobe. It probably wouldn’t have worked out well with a toddler in tow.

We started the shoot in the more formal attire. With my make up done wedding day style, I left my hair on a curly state (opposite of wedding day) so that I didn’t give away my entire wedding day look to my fiancé.

We picked the beautiful grounds of Aquina’s college. As you can see from the pictures, the venue was perfect. My favorite features were the archway of leaves, the big windows and the weathered balcony. I really liked that our photographer shot with film. I’m a fan of the soft pictures they produce. But I also love how intentional shooting with film is. Measuring and capturing the perfect light around Patrick and me, made the whole experience more deliberate. I liked the mechanical sound of an empty reel and the little breaks for cartridge changes.

It was so easy being photographed with Patrick. We just walked around and did our own thing while Kelly captured beautiful moments. I’ll forever treasure pictures from this day. They were a different kind of special. It was a contemplative time, without all the extras that surrounds a couple on the wedding day. We were alone, it was quiet. It was just about us and our love.

I thought about how lucky I was to be getting married to this beautiful, kind man.I’m never going to understand how he can love me so much. There’s so much love in his eyes when he looks at me. I basked in it.

It was an experience that we intend to repeat. In a few years, we’ll do another romantic couple shoot for an anniversary. I highly recommend it especially if it’s been a while since you’ve captured your relationship very intentionally.

Here is a summary of my tips for the perfect engagement pictures:

1. Have your perfect man at your side, if you are reading this, you probably already have this down.

2. Pick a good photographer that matches your style.

3. Select a location with a feature you like. Ordinary venues make the best settings that won’t distract from the beautiful relationship that’s being captured.

4. Dress up. Wear an elegant long dress, he should wear a suit. You will never regret stepping up your style for these pictures. You’ll treasure them forever.

5. Okay, the causal pictures are so relatable and cozy. So plan for an outfit change to something more comfy for the cozier version of your pictures. This way, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

6. Have your makeup professionally done. It makes a huge difference!

7. Use articles of clothing you own and love. We all like new things but it is perfectly okay and even advisable to incorporate pieces, from your existing wardrobe, that you already feel comfortable in. It gives you extra confidence in pictures. For me, the only new items in the shoot were my dress and sweater.

8. Enjoy the experience, be happy, and relaxed! It shows in the pictures.

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