We got engaged in August and it took us only a couple of weeks to pick a venue and a date: June 4th, 2011. We had barely nine months until The Big Day, but nine months didn’t seem like a short engagement until I opened a bridal magazine and read my first dreaded Wedding Checklist.
The average wedding checklist starts at 12 months before the big day, and Josh and I had seven items to check off the list in order to get caught up to month nine. Two of those items, “announce your engagement in local newspapers” and “send out your save the dates” seemed easy enough, except for the fact that we hadn’t had our engagement photos taken yet.
Enter Matt Sepeta, the photography godsend that is our wedding photographer. This guy fit perfectly in our budget, but didn’t skimp at all on creativity or service. He endured weeks of my blabbing e-mails and even met us for coffee before we actually set up a photo shoot. Matt did an amazing job of helping the creative vision and ideas in my head come to life, and it was so much fun coming up with the locations, themes, and ideas for our shoots.
Our photos turned out exactly as we had imagined; we couldn’t be more pleased. The first of the two shoots was at The Millennium Garden in Plymouth. The labyrinth within the garden has a special significance for the two of us. Last September we visited the garden, and upon entering the labyrinth we were greeted with a plaque. The plaque explained that before entering the labyrinth you should think of a question you have been trying to find the answer to, and by the time you reached the center the answer would come to you. Josh and I walked hand in hand through the winding path of the labyrinth and when we reached the center I said “I love you.” Josh’s question had been whether or not I loved him, and mine had been whether or not I should tell him that I did.
For our second shoot we simplified things a bit: No props but we wanted more rugged surroundings and an urban vibe. Once again insert the genius of Matt Sepeta, who did some research and came to us suggesting Mill Ruins Park. Admittedly I have only been a city dweller for 18 months, but I was shocked that I hadn’t so much as heard of this amazing location in Minneapolis! It was exactly what we were looking for. The two shoots completely contrast, but I love that they are each so different.
For those of you out there that have yet to smile for the camera, here are my “Five Tips for E-Photos” and “A Closer Look” at a few of our engagement photos.
FIVE TIPS FOR E-PHOTOS:
1. Set a budget for photography and stay within it. You don’t have to drop $5,000 to have beautiful photos. Consider younger photographers that are less experienced and therefore have lower prices, but are often just as skilled as a seasoned photographer (and sometimes full of creativity and a fresh vision).
2. Do something creative, and something with meaning. Yes, we have photos of us both wearing jeans, but in our first shoot I wore a vintage gown by Gigi and got to wear a huge petticoat. We took them in a significant spot and we incorporated a very sentimental prop: the five-year journal that we write in every night.
3. Don’t skip the manicure. Regretfully the week leading up to and week of our photos was hectic and I didn’t manage to squeeze in a manicure. Instead I ended up throwing on polish as we ran out the door. Flash photography catches every little flaw, and with engagement photos your hands tend to get photographed a lot.
4. Find examples of photos you like and send them to your photographer. I think this is a huge help for exchanging ideas with your photog and also helps to make you a bit less awkward in front of the lens.
5. Bug spray. If you are photographing outside or in a garden during mosquito season, don’t forget the bug spray. This was something we completely overlooked and we got attacked during our first shoot (see below).
So, now we are officially finished with engagement photos---one more big check on that ever-so-daunting checklist, and on to the next challenge: designing our Save The Dates and getting them into the mail. Thanks for taking the time to check out the first installment of my Aisle File blog. I'll be back soon, but until then you can keep tabs on my wedding planning by searching “Aisle File: Dani & Josh” on Facebook and becoming a fan.
A CLOSER LOOK:
As mentioned above, mosquitoes played an annoying role in our first photo shoot, they even managed to pose in a few of our shots.
This is one of our favorite photos, and I thought it was particularly awesome when zoomed in. If you look close enough at my eye you can see a startlingly clear reflection of our photographer, Matt.
--All Photos by Matt Sepeta Photography (www.mattsepeta.com)