“will you marry me?”
he asked….or she asked….well, someone asked &
the answer was a resounding & heartfelt “YES”….there is undoubtably a ring, perhaps tears, or laughter, or both….
kisses, lots of kisses…phone calls….and then at some point the wedding panning
begins….You have now entered your “engagement” period….a very special time…
now you know, for sure, that this is the person you are going to spend your life with…
maybe you had an inkling of it along the way, but now you KNOW…there is a beauty, a peace
in knowing….whether a brief or very long engagement, this is a very special time in every couple’s
relationship….chances are many discussions & most of your focus becomes the plans
for your big day….& certainly a wedding is a wonderful heartfelt celebration….
but what about your engagement?? a wedding is a day in our lives, a special day to be sure, but in comparison to an engagement (most engagements that is), it is a brief moment in time…that as we all know is most likely going to be very well documented…of course as a wedding photographer this is a very important part of my life…to be absolutely clear i LOVE weddings…i am a true romantic & love the variations of affection & vows & decor from couple to couple…i feel very lucky to photograph so many weddings….i just feel the need to point out that an engagement is just as important as a wedding…it is in my humble opinion, a right of passage… & as such must be honored & treated with respect….it is not merely a “waiting” period….but rather most couples are navigating the treacherous terrain of each other’s families & customs, & seating preferences, oh my….couple’s that stand side by side through this process  & remain reasonably unfettered are laying the foundation for a strong marriage…for we all know how complex family dynamics can be….anyhow, my point is this….
ENGAGEMENT is to MARRIAGE
as
PREGNANCY is to PARENTHOOD
i think we most will agree that pregnancy is a significant part for many people of becoming a parent…& birth all though a rather important moment in all our lives, is just a moment….pregnancy, just as an engagement is a vital period of growth before the special moment in time, your wedding…the life of a child & our journey as parents is most like a marriage, it is longer a more complicated than anyone can really imagine or explain…(i realize some people adopt & become parents in different beautiful ways, i merely trying to make the point that an engagement period is an important one)….with that said….i hope you view the the time before you exchange vows…..
your engagement is a vital magical part of your relationship…i believe that documenting this time in your love story is absolutely worthwhile….if you are able to set aside the time & are financially able, by all means hire a professional photographer to capture engagement photographs of you & your betrothed…if you are not, do not throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, & scrap the idea of engagement photos all together….instead recruit a friend or family member (preferably someone you feel comfortable showing your affection to each other in front of) to take engagement photographs of you….treat it like special occasion….photographs are art, whom - ever creates them…so be sure to honor your love & make a little art of your life…carve out some time, so you do not feel rushed….be thoughtful about your outfit…& pick a place that is beautiful, or has special meaning to you….do something that celebrates this incredibly meaningful time in your life….please…
i speak not only as a photographer, but as a former bride who did not do any engagement
photographs….at the time of our engagement, life was busy…plus i was trying to scrape together
every penny we had to put towards our wedding (which was indeed magical)…but i could kick
myself for not taking the time to do engagement photos…it was such a happy time for us…&
seriously i have so many friends that are photographers…what was i thinking???
in any case, let me leave you with this…no matter how beautiful & amazing your wedding is, & your subsequent wedding photographs are….you can only blow up & frame so many images from your wedding before you freak your friends out…engagement images have a more day to day feel & you can display here & there i think with more freedom….on a more personal note….after our wedding, on a trip to france, a dear friend took some sweet photos of my husband & i embracing…. last year i framed one & gave it to my husband as a gift….it now sits on his bedside & we both see it every day….the image captured a tender moment between us, one that reflects the sweetness of days gone by that are reminiscent of our courtship….which as most married couples will understand has now been replaced by the demands of day to day life & the realities of marriage…now don’t get me wrong, our marriage is wonderful, but it does lack some of the subtle & not so subtle sweetness of courtship…i secretly think that seeing this photo of us hugging every day before we go to sleep & again when we wake up in the morning helps us remember to “hug” everyday….
& please don’t tell but, i pretend it IS our engagement portrait…xoxo….elizabeth
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this article was originally published on THE HUFFINGTON POST

a little more sweetness...

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  1. Oct 23-2012 , 06:43AM
    how cute is the first picture:X:X:X
  2. Oct 28-2012 , 11:29AM
    it's like you rummaged through my thoughts!!! my hubby and i didn't take the time to do engagement photos either and at first, it was just a little blurb of a regret in the back of my mind that creeped up every now and then. but that little blurb grew, and i grew more and more upset over my carelessness. so we did the same thing. after 2 yrs of marriage, i couldn't take it any longer and had a good friend, who is a professional photographer (so it's not like i had a good excuse not to!!) take our "engagement photos," which I happened to be freshly pregnant in!! i soooo wish i would have done them during our actual engagement, and when people see them i just say they are our engagement photos, but i also secretly love that not obvioously pictured, is our little boy growing his way into our lives. we kind of covered the engagement is to marriage as pregnancy is to parenthood in one ;)

    this was a beautiful post with such a relate-able perspective, it's like you sorted my feelings out for me...only way, way more eloquently then i ever could!
  3. Nov 30-2012 , 07:47PM
    All are beautiful moments! Congratulations!
  4. Jun 08-2013 , 04:17AM
    [...] ♥ A lovely article by leading US photographer Elizabeth Messina about why you should consider having engagement photos taken. [...]