The race is on!
“What race?” you ask. The race to your wedding day of course! The race to figure out how to get all the things booked in the correct timeline, ensuring that you’ve got everything you need for your big day.
I mean… no pressure at all.
To be honest though, the weeks after you get engaged can be blissful, exciting, and full of a whole lot of blingy selfies. But it can also be a time of major FOMO and stress-booking -I’d like to coin this term – all of your wedding vendors.
One of the major questions you’re likely asking yourself is “how soon do you take engagement pictures?”
Wedding photographers are notorious for getting booked up, so if you want to get an engagement shoot, you can’t sleep on it!
Why Take Engagement Photos?
But why do you even need an engagement photo session?
Let’s be upfront here – you don’t. But then again, you don’t need anything that goes into a wedding other than the wedding license and someone official to marry you (and I guess someone to get married to).
Sooooo, if we’re going with that question, it’s a weak one.
A better question might be, why would I want an engagement photo session? Ah yes, that’s a much better question, but also it’s one you can only answer for yourself (am I being helpful so far?)
You might want engagement photos if you look at your partner and your heart bursts from some majorly overwhelming joy, or if you intuitively know how special this time in your life is and you want to document it, or if you already bought a dope outfit and you know you’re going to work that camera.
Any of those are good reasons, and I’m sure there are a thousand more.
What To Consider When Scheduling Your Engagement Session
How Will You Use Your Engagement Photography?
One major thing you should think about when booking your engagement photo session is what you plan to do with your pictures.
If you’re sending out wedding announcements and want to include your engagement portraits on those, you’ll want to book your session with ample time for that.
Maybe you want to use some of those pictures for your wedding website, a guestbook, or some wall art at the wedding. You might even go a non-traditional route and rock those photos on your wedding invitations.
I think that would be gorgeous, but you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to make all of that happen.
Vibe With Your Photographer in Advance
You’ll also want to consider that you’ll get a chance to vibe with your photographer if you book an engagement shoot with them.
A lot is riding on the wedding day, and engagement photos are a perfect way to take some of the pressure off you and your wedding photographer before your actual wedding photos.
You’ll get to know one another. You’ll learn how your photographer likes to work, and they’ll learn how you respond. Essentially, you all get to work out the kinks, but you also get to leave with some gorgeous professional photos.
Is that the definition of a win-win? I’m pretty sure it is.
Potential Wedding Photographer Availability
When it comes to wedding planning, some of the most stressful moments are locking in your ideal vendors, and photographers are no exception.
Wedding photographers typically book out months in advance (if not years), so the perfect time to book your photographer is, well, now!
Often wedding photographers will include engagement portraits in one or more of their packages, so you’ll likely have to choose if you’ll be getting engagement photos when you book them.
When To Schedule Your Engagement Photos
So, you’re in for engagement photos, you found the photographer of your dreams (I mean the way they can tell a wedding day story **chef’s kiss**), and now you’re wondering WHEN?!
It would be an excellent idea to talk with your potential wedding photographer about that when you’re wedding planning. Communication is key, am I right?
However, with the typical length of an engagement somewhere between 13-18 months, you should be thinking at least 6-9 months before your wedding. You should know, though, that wedding announcements usually go out around 6-9 months before a wedding, so you’ll want to give yourself time to take care of that.
Also, if you really want a photographer, like there’s no one else, you might want to even book 12-15 months out just to get the team you’re drooling over.
Another good way to think about it is to book your actual engagement shoot anywhere up to 3 months after locking in your wedding photographer.
Yea, but what if you’re not in a rush? I mean, we’re talking about saying yes to forever here, so why rush through all the excitement? You’re about that long engagement.
Having a long engagement can certainly help in the wedding planning process. It gives you the ability to book before most people who will be getting married around the same time. And what does that mean?
You get the pick of the vendors!
I would still highly encourage you to start booking your vendors ASAP so you can take advantage of your longer timeline. But it also means you don’t necessarily have to rush into engagement photos.
I mean, you absolutely can if you want to (do your thing), but you don’t have to feel the pressure to do so.
Ideally, you’d book your engagement session around 9-12 months before the wedding day during a longer engagement.
Well, you could do it right after you got engaged. You’re probably riding the high of saying “yes,” but since your engagement is longer, you may feel somewhat disconnected from your wedding planning afterward.
If you wait until you’re within a year of your wedding, an engagement session can help you get in a wedding frame of mind. You can use it to kind of kick off your wedding year.
Sounds fun, right?
What if you’re somewhat less… patient?
Hi. Hey. Yea, that’s me too.
For those of us who like to sprint toward that finish line with all the excitement of a slightly derailing train, you’ll need some advice on a short engagement.
A short engagement is usually considered anything less than 6 months. My engagement was all of 3 months, and phew, what a wild ride that was!
If this is you, and you still want to book an engagement shoot, then friend, you need to hop on it, like yesterday.
Unless you have the luck of the gods on your side, you’ll likely have to start with a longer list of photographers you like. Why? Because they’re all going to be almost booked or completely booked for the season.
Once you find a photographer that you love, book ’em. For real, don’t hesitate.
If you hesitate this late in the game, then there’s a good chance they’ll be booked for your date when you finally get around to booking them.
Don’t make that mistake. And once you’ve got them locked in, see when they can get you in for an engagement shoot.
The name of the game here is flexibility.
You’re going to have to work with the dates they have left. They’ll likely all be during the week, so just prepare to take the day off or make a mad dash of it after work.
Book the Engagement Shoot for YOU
What I mean by this is that all of the advice (yes, mine, but also others) can be majorly overwhelming and may make you want to quit weddings (can you do this?) and just go take a nap.
Don’t give up, friend.
Take the advice I’ve laid down here and any other advice you seek out (or is given to you without your consent, thanks for all the wisdom random person on the street), and take it with a grain of salt.
You could scrap all of this and decide to elope and book around your photographer’s availability, and none of this would matter.
What I’m trying to say here: take what you need and leave what you don’t. Build your perfect experience your way; it’s your wedding journey!
Since there’s only one of you, have confidence in your vision, and do what feels right for you!