Start here! That’s right. Before you start planning outfits, or your engagement location, get inspired first! We love taking photos of our couples and hearing them say, WOW!! That’s me? We ADORE when we can make our couples look and feel amazing. And there are a few secrets we have to get our couples photos that they love! We provide all of these secrets in an engagement style guide that we share with each of our couples… But for now, we’re going to share one of the BIG secrets! The answer? Treat your engagement session like a magazine shoot! In this real-life styled engagement session, we share some very easy tips on how to plan a styled engagement session.
Styled engagement sessions should not just be reserved for mockup sessions or magazines! That’s right. You heard it here. We love to encourage our couples to have some fun and create a real-life styled session. An editorial feel is gorgeous and these images will last a lifetime, so why not go all out? Begin with finding vendors you love and want to use for your wedding day as a test run.
On the day of your engagement session, the key is to be open and have fun! With all of the details planned out and every amazing vendor doing their job, your only job is to enjoy your session and the special moments that are about to unfold. For this London Ontario styled engagement photo shoot, we had the opportunity to work with the amazing humans at STMNT, Blush Hair & Makeup, and Harris Flower Farm. Keep reading for inspiration on how to plan a styled engagement session and get photos you will love!
He reached for her hand and their fingers interlocked together. She followed him through the cobbled-stone archway. Her floral chiffon dress with laced overlay flowed serenely with each step towards him. Her silk-ribboned bouquet trailed closely behind. Now holding her so close to him, they swayed back-and-forth. They looked at each other like they had so many times before but this time was different. Out of all of the adventures they had lived together, this was the biggest one they would ever embark on. Best friends, adventurers, and about to begin their best chapter. Alena and Leo celebrated their London Ontario engagement photo session with a playful courtyard session, nestled in the heart of the city.
It was only 5 years ago that these two met and instantly became best friends. They were meant to be. Six months later, they began dating and living their adventures together. “We met at Brock University, worked and lived at Brock together”, said Alena. “Then we worked up in Alberta as camp counsellors for Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation. We graduated back-to-back days, backpacked Europe together, and now we’ve successfully started and supported each other into adulthood.” Today they have two beautiful cats (you should go check them out on Instagram — they are such beautiful cuties!!), a lovely home together and they are both doing great in their careers.
For four years in a row, Alena and Leo had gone on a romantic weekend getaway. They both have a deep love for Canadian culture! Their regular vacay? A trip to Ottawa in February to experience Winterlude. Every year, they skate the canal, eat frozen maple syrup, and take part in activities all around the city! This past year was different of course because Leo secretly hired a fly on the wall photographer! Leo sneakily put on a suit under his jacket and proposed in the most gorgeous lookout in Major Hill’s Park. “It was a moment to remember for sure!” said Alena.
All of the styled details from this session came together so perfectly! From Alena’s gown, hair and makeup, a bouquet and the romantic setting of the courtyard, it was so fun to capture it all. Alena and Leo were also awesome company and have down-to-earth, super personalities that make you feel like you’ve known them forever! Leo is so chill and a gentleman, and Alena, well she is a sweetheart and a firecracker that had us smiling the whole time! We loved everything that made this session unique to them.
We are big believers that fancy always looks amazing on camera and that you cannot overdress for an engagement session! Alena’s was wearing a gorgeous cream illusion gown with a high slit and embroidered flowers. The gown was provided by STMNT, an up-and-coming clothing rental company. STMNT has already been featured on CBC, CTV, and the Globe & Mail! STMNT is gaining huge momentum as an easy way to rent the perfect piece for a special event. And with good reason. That’s because it is a fashion option that is cost, earth, and human conscious!
STMNT was started by two sisters right here in London. The heart behind it is to decrease the demand for fast fashion by using clothes that are already made, through rentals. Awesome story – we met one of the STMNT sisters, Madison, while living out in Australia!! Fast forward to today, and these two incredible world changers (these girls are rockstars and so humble!!) have recently expanded to Kitchener/Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa in a very short time frame!
Hair and make-up were provided by Blush Hair & Makeup in London Ontario. Erica styled Alena’s hair in loosely gathered soft curls and her makeup incorporated all earthy tones to keep her look completely natural (while also stunning!). We always highly recommend our brides get their makeup and hair professionally done for engagement sessions. It’s a great opportunity to test drive your vision for your wedding day. Professionally done makeup makes a big difference. It always translates amazingly on camera!
We suggest finding your outfit first and then designing your bouquet with that as inspiration! For this styled shoot, a loose garden-inspired style bouquet of specialty tulips, hellebore, heirloom narcissus, stock and ranuncula from Harris Flower Farms pulled together the entire look. We adore how Janis always chooses seasonal flowers because she’s working with the beauty that nature and seasons provide. She used Alena’s gown as inspiration for all of the colours.
There is a growing trend to add a bouquet to engagement session as a gorgeous accessory. Bouquets are not just an extra anymore, they are the cherry on top! Alena’s bouquet was the perfect balance of texture and fullness and incorporated a really soft pallet. Adding in silk ribbons was the perfect finishing touch. Ribbons add in movement, one thing that we really love to always include in our sessions.
When picking a location for your styled engagement session, go with something that has a timeless editorial feel. One of our favourite places to go for couple’s sessions is Western University. The UWO campus is an incredible gem for engagement photo sessions in London Ontario. We have shot here so many times before but it’s the kind of setting where you will ALWAYS see something new.
This session was no different. We were inspired to see new fresh angles so that the session had its own unique spin. We have a few other magical places we love to go too, absolute gems in London Ontario for the best wedding and engagement photo locations. Whatever location you pick, when it comes to how to plan a styled engagement session, you can’t go wrong with picking a spot that has history and layers of details.
We hope you are inspired by this styled engagement shoot and how easy it can be to achieve a timeless, editorial feel. It doesn’t take much to make your engagement session feel extra special. Celebrating your engagement to your beau deserves to be an event! We love that styled engagement sessions are a wonderful way to ramp up to your epic wedding celebration!
Hair & Makeup: Blush Hair & Makeup
Bouquet: Harris Flower Farm