Bridal Tales - Planning A Cute Engagement Photo Shoot

One of the first things I was excited about doing after getting engaged, besides showing off my ring, was having our engagement photos taken. I love engagement photos, and reading the stories of the couples. I may or may not read too many features on Essence.com, or Munaluchi Magazine, LOL. Once LM and I got engaged, I knew I wanted us to have an engagement photo session - both for our Save the Dates but also our wedding website and to display at the wedding. Our photographer was actually the first vendor we booked when we began wedding planning. I did a lot of Internet searching and found Studio 220 Photography which is based here in Minneapolis.  This studio has ~10 photographers that work as part of the studio staff, and their goal is to offer beautiful, quality photography at a reasonable price. LM and I both wanted the same thing from our wedding photos - a photojournalistic style with lots of candid shots, 2 photographers for the day and to find someone to be easy to work with, and within our budget. We met with Allie from Studio 220 and she was great in our consultation, showing us all the books from the various photographers and answering questions. After that first appointment, we decided to book Studio 220 and work with Allie! We both really loved her photos and she was very nice & welcoming.

After booking, we scheduled our engagement photo session. That period between the booking and session was a bit stressful for me. I wanted our photos to be cute, have a cute theme, and I didn't want to look fat in our photos. As I've mentioned in the wedding gown shopping post, I'm a plus size bride. I have curves, but there's no getting around that I'm plus size. I didn't want to look at our photos and hate them all because I thought I was fat. LM was very reassuring about it all, and told me to relax about it, LOL. I did some Google searches to get types on possible outfits as well.

When it came to locations and themes, I had 2 ideas. We could go with the nerd theme of the wedding and have our photos done at the Science Museum of Minnesota. LM and I both love to go there and spend all day nerding out in the exhibits. Our other option was to go for a collegiate theme and shoot at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. LM is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, and I'm a member of Sigma Gamma Rho - our organizations have a brother/sister relationship affectionately called Indiana Love, because they were both founded in Indiana. I thought it would be cute for us to wear Greek cardigans and shoot our photos on campus. I went back & forth between the themes, polled my friends, asked for advice on Twitter, and bugged LM to death about it. In the end, we decided to scrap the Science Museum idea, because we didn't want to give away too much of our theme so early before the wedding. We still want to have some wow factor for our guests. TiffanyInHouston also suggested that we do the campus idea to get the natural light, which is better to shoot in.

Next hurdle - we need cardigans! Because we decided on the theme about 3 weeks before our shoot, we had limited time to get sweaters. We also had a move, a trip to DC and our trip to Puerto Rico before the shoot which also limited our time. I went back to my old friend Google to see what we could find online. No luck - everything was either long lead time, out of our budget, or ugly. Finally we decided to go the easy route and find our own cardigans, and then add iron-on shields to each one. Not super elaborate, but it would serve the purpose for our photos. Surprisingly, we both found the type of cardigans we were looking for at Land's End. We ordered shields from Greek Nation, which we received quickly.

Before the shoot, there was rain in the forecast and I was worried we'd have to reschedule. Photoshoot day was a Tuesday, and it turned out to be a beautiful day. We met Allie on campus at 7pm and the weather was perfect - about 72 degrees, sunny but with a few clouds, and a nice breeze. After much consideration, I decided to wear an outfit I loved - a black skater dress from Forever 21+ (similar dress here), tan belt, black wedges and my blue sorority cardigan. I accented my outfit with a gold necklace and earrings from Target, and of course my engagement ring. LM wore a white button-up, khaki slacks, and his red sweater.

For our shoot, it was basically LM, Allie and I walking around campus and shooting pictures. We had a mix of posed shots and then just "free" time, where we were just ourselves and Allie took pics. We made sure to take photos in front of Vincent Hall, which is the math building, and Smith Hall, which is the chemistry building. We also got some photos in front of Coffman Memorial Union and on Northrup Mall. The entire shoot took an hour, and it was a lot of fun. By that point, I had relaxed and just enjoyed the beautiful day with my sweetie. LM kept me laughing during the entire shoot as well. At the end, Allie told us there was a two-week turn-around time on our photos. After about a week I started to get antsy - I wanted to see our photos!

Our first glimpse came courtesy of Facebook. Allie pulled a set of 10 of the photos and featured them on the Studio 220 Facebook page. I excitedly logged into Facebook to check them out...and I loved them! They are so cute, we look so cute, and the photo quality was excellent. Allie has a great eye & she captured some great moments. I love the candid shots more than the posed shots, which is what I wanted. I didn't have a single thought of "I look fat" or "this isn't a cute pic". LM was more critical of the photos than I was, which was a surprise. A few days later we received the full set of 57 photos. In that set, there are a few photos of me (from the back) where I think my behind looks huge, and for a moment I thought that I should have worn a cardigan that hit my waist & not my hips...but overall, I love our photos. I love how they turned out, I love that we went with the "Indiana Love on campus" theme, and that LM and I look so happy in love together.

So without further ado, the photos!

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Aren't they cute??? You can't tell me you don't love them! I'm super excited that these are MY engagement photos! I think we look great, and I love him to pieces. I really love the pic of us leaning against the pillar in front of the math building - LM looks like he's spitting that good Nupe game at me, LOL. I also really love the pic of him kissing my cheek.

Next up - Save the Dates!