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5 Steps to Picking Your Engagement Photo Dress


5 Steps to Picking Your Engagement Photo Dress (Plus Real Photos for Inspiration).

While some women like their engagement shoot to be less formal and more casual than their wedding photos, others love the idea of flowy dresses and fine art engagement photos that make them feel every bit like they’re about to grace the cover of Vogue. Find the 5 Steps to Picking Your Engagement Photo Dress below.

This engagement shoot marries a bit of both. The bride-to-be dons a long, layered navy blue engagement dress with lacy details yet keeps the vibe very playful, casual and fun throughout the photos. 

If you know you want to wear a long dress for your engagement photos, but are looking for inspiration in terms of styles and even backgrounds that pair well with a long dress engagement shoot, here are…

5 Steps To Picking The Perfect Long Engagement Photo Dress

Pick Your Top 3 Favourite Sleeve Styles

Just like wedding dresses, long engagement dresses come in a number of styles. Before you start looking for inspiration or shopping around, think through the sleeve styles you’re naturally drawn to.  When it comes to styles, there are many options, including: 

  • Long sleeves
  • Spaghetti straps
  • Halter top
  • Strapless
  • Cap sleeves
  • Sleeveless

Within those categories, there are also many other options. For example, when it comes to long sleeves, you have styles such as bishop sleeves or bell sleeves. You don’t have to get that specific now, but identify the top three styles you’re drawn to and take it from there. 

This bride-to-be chose a sleeveless, v-neck dress that highlighted her decolletage. 

Identify Your Top Colour Choices

What colour of dress are you looking for? When you can narrow your engagement dress search down by both the colour and sleeve styles, you’ll find more specific options and speed up your search. 

Do you want something sultry like a black engagement dress or something regal and romantic like a navy or royal blue long dress? Do you want to pick a dress in one of your wedding colours or have you had a style colour analysis done and want a colour within your wheelhouse?

By identifying the top three colours you’re interested in, you can really narrow your search by using the colours and style you want and searching for terms like “long black v-neck dress” or “long navy strapless dress.” 

Consider Your Personality, Style, and Wedding Style

Do you love vintage dresses, form-fitting dresses or flowy dresses? Think through both your style and your wedding style. Do you like lace, ruffles, deep slits or long trains? Your engagement dress gives you just as much opportunity to showcase who you are and what you love as your wedding dress does. In fact, when you want to wear a long dress for your engagement photos, it gives you an opportunity to be a bit bolder and get a bit more exotic or playful than you might otherwise with your wedding dress. 

Make a list of 3-5 style details you’re looking for in your engagement dress. Your list might look something like: 

  • Long train
  • Lace sleeves
  • V-neck
  • Flowy from the waist

Consider Your Background and Location

When it comes to selecting your engagement photo background and location, you can either choose a location where you sort of blend in with your long dress or stand out in a striking way. This location could be super meaningful to you or a bucket-list place you want featured in pictures that you’ll share for years to come. You might choose a regal hall with sweeping columns or a rugged beach that contrasts with a dark, sleek, long gown. 

This couple chose a rocky beach and in doing so featured a number of unique elements and textures to their photos. The green moss, the jagged rocks, the cliffs and sandy shoreline create a dramatic contrast against the bride-to-be’s deep navy dress.

Consider the Weather

Ahh, the weather! I wish we didn’t always have to keep it in mind, but it’s a good thing to check in with otherwise your engagement shoot could be uncomfortable and no one wants that. What season are you planning your engagement shoot? 

If it’s in November and a sleeveless dress is one of your top picks, you might want to consider accessorizing with a fur wedding wrap, overlay or jacket for your wedding dress. If you really love a long sleeve engagement dress, but your engagement shoot is in the hottest month of summer, you might want to swap the sleeve style or consider another month for your engagement shoot. 

While we gals are known to endure discomfort and go to great measures for beauty—and while there is an old french saying, “Il faut souffrir pour être belle” or “from beauty comes pain”—no one wants to be super uncomfortable during a shoot that’s supposed to be super fun and enjoyable.

If this couple was shivering to death or unbearably hot, it’s definitely not apparent from the smiles and comfort that’s written all over their faces. I’ve seen some photos where it is very obvious that an individual was really cold or sweating (hello, running makeup!) so just make sure to consider the weather as you’re looking for the perfect engagement dress.

Use these tips and you’re sure to find the perfect, long engagement dress that results in an amazing engagement shoot experience and beautiful pictures. 

Until next time….
Happy Planning!

Photography Credits:
Photographer  | Stepan Vrzala |

Contact Exalt Africa for more details or to discuss your upcoming wedding.

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