He proposed, I said yes…. now what?!

I have been asked time and again how brides should navigate the shoals of engagement and wedding planning.  Let me start out by assuring,  all is possible.  Since I offer a complimentary engagement session, this is where it usually beings.  We start with a relaxed, casual engagement shoot about 5-6 months before the date, around the time couples tend to send out their Save-the-Date cards.  For those not sending out the cards, I recommend scheduling something 3-6 months out.

Engagement shoots usually take about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. sometimes more if the couple makes multiple wardrobe changes or if we travel to other locations outside of Des Moines.  I like to make sure we go wherever the couple desires — whether it’s the East Village, the capital, Grey’s lake, or to a barn 45 minutes away.  The East Village is very popular with couples as is my studio!  All of my couples are different — some want to go to several locations, others are happy just staying in the studio.

Regardless of where we go, how many shots we take, how many outfits, etc., THE most important thing (besides great images) is getting to know how we will work together come wedding day. I tell every couple, an engagement shoot is an amazing way to work through camera shyness.  It’s also a great way for me to see how couples interact with one another in front of the camera. Some couples are reserved, some will canoodle on my couch.

I have lots of grooms who walk in, wonder why they are even there, sigh when they are asked to change into their first outfit, go change… then about 5 minutes into the shoot, they are having having a blast!  They realize that this IS important and that it IS fun.  I have had grooms say, “Honestly Amy, I was so dreading this day. I didn’t understand why people get engagement pics taken — now I know why!” Another couple remarked that they hadn’t done this much cuddling and kissing in quite some time! They had been so busy lately, that they felt they were losing touch with each other (due to the amount of time they were expending on the wedding planning process).  So when they actually sat down and looked into each others eyes, they immediately started connecting…. ahhhhh it was amazing!

Leading up to the wedding I have had bride’s-to-be ask me to maybe do a fun boudoir type shoot (for his eyes only!)  Most brides will make an album for their hubby-to-be to present to him the night before the big day!

As far as wedding weekend coverage goes, I have done a few weddings where I started the day before (at rehearsal dinner), shot the wedding day and then woke up the next morning for a Sunday brunch gift opening.

Guest books are also very popular..many of my couples use these at the reception for guests to sign in! They are made up of engagement images and custom signature pages.

It may all sound pretty confusing, but I have a variety of packages to choose from, as well as customizable options, to make things easier on the couple’s overtaxed brains as well as wallets.  As for the pictures themselves, I offer image hosting online, where all the images from the day are posted on a website. It is a password protected site.  Friends and family can order at anytime and I will ship directly to them!

In addition to the digital collections, I also provide what I call a “coffee table album” over which the couple has complete control regarding the design.  They get to choose the images, the cover design, etc… I have a great graphic designer who will make a proof of the book for the couple to view and approve prior to completion.

The entire process is very simple!

Anthony - March 29, 2011 - 5:56 am

Wait, since we did not do an engagement shoot, how in the world did you know we were going to get along great? Oh wait, I know, it’s my Asian charm, AND the guarantee of some of the best cake you’ll ever have in your life! Ahahahahaha.

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