This is how to make sure your engagement photography shoot is a BIG success!

So you got engaged at New Year? Congratulations!

One thing we'd really recommend you do soon is have some engagement photographs taken.

  • You can use them as Save The Dates
  • If it's a while before your actual wedding, then it's a way of telling the news and keeping everyone happy in the meantime!
  • Your engagement is a very special time in your life together and you should have something to remember it by.

So here are some useful tips to help you with your engagement photography planning. Follow these and you won't go far wrong! 

Thinking about the location

Aside from picking the photographer, you will want to pick a location.  Do you have a location that has sentimental value to both you and your fiancé?  Maybe it's the place where you had your first date? Or somewhere scenic, like a beach or an open field? Is there a location you have always loved and thought would be great for photos?  If you don't have such a location, you can have your photographer pick some ideal spots that will work for your engagement photos.

The time of year is important 

After you get engaged, it is important to decide the time of year (prior to your wedding of course!) that you want to take your engagement photos.  If you are looking to have your photos taken on a beach, summer or spring may be a good time to have them done.  If it is an apple orchard or the changing colors of the trees strike you, maybe you should consider fall.  If you are looking for outdoor pictures in general, seasons like spring, fall and summer are perfect. But! winter makes for some awesome outdoor photos too!

Yes - you need to consider your color palette

What you wear on the day of your photo shoot should have similar color tones. We're not saying they should be identical (although, how cute would that be?!) but similar color palette is important.   It's important that your clothing choices works well with the location you have chosen. Often times, couples will pick two locations and two sets of clothing for their shoot.  One set more formal and one set more casual.

Looking your best

You will definitely want to get your hair and makeup done for the photo shoot. If you are on a budget,  you can can do it yourself, perhaps have a friend who is a good at hair and makeup help you.  But take your time, because you will want to look your best for your engagement photo shoot.

Image credits all by Wedding Chicks. Click to see full post clockwise from top:  Top centre snowy engagement, middle desert engagement, bottom right Palm Springs engagement , bottom left beachside romantic engagement

Signs that you might get a New Year's wedding proposal. (And what to do if you do.)

Did you know that New Year's Eve is a prime time for wedding proposals? (Even though Harry proposed to Meghan Markle back in November.)

As soon as the clock strikes midnight, there's a lot of partners who get down on one knee and pop the question. 

  • Maybe they've been considering doing it for a while 
  • Or maybe the moment just seemed right 
  • Either way, it's a great way to start off a new year in style. 

 

What are the signs you'll get a wedding proposal on New Year's Eve?

  • Your other half seems to have been saving up for something
  • He's being very attentive and polite to your parents and family
  • He notices your girlfriends' engagement rings 
  • He seems to know a bit more about diamonds and precious stones than he used to
  • He asks you where your dream holiday would be 

 An idea we love

 
  • Being presented with an engagement ring in a box, all ready to slip on your finger is indeed romantic. 
  • But we've heard about a proposal where the fiance gave the girl in question a loose diamond. Wow. So that they could choose the setting together. Now, there is something really stylish about that! 

So if you do get a New Year proposal, what next? 

 
  • Brace yourself for the onslaught of people saying: "So when are you getting married?" Everyone is going to want to know WHEN. Even if you want to wait a little while, it's good to have a vague time in mind. So say something like: "well, we quite fancy having a summer wedding" or "we're just seeing when the family can get over from Australia". You don't have to commit to anything just yet. 
  • Seriously though, talk to your other half about dates because the time of year in which you get married is going to affect your venue, what you wear, the cost, the food you serve ...
  • Last-minute weddings are very romantic. You don't need to spend months or years planning yours. You could organise something very simple and impromptu and just invite the people that really matter to you. There's nothing to stop you having a bigger party later on if that's what you want. 
  • Quite a few family and friends with young children (and maybe the kids themselves) are going to ask if they can be your bridesmaid. You need to have thought about this one a bit. How young do you want your flowergirls to be? How young is too young? And would your best friend make the best chief bridesmaid? (It needs to be someone organised, unflappable who can commit a certain amount of time.)
  • What do you want as a wedding gift? Some people will want to give you engagement gifts. Lovely - so have a few ideas in mind. 
  • Enjoy this time - being engaged is a very special time in your lives. 
  • Think about having an engagement shoot photography session.
  • Think about your wedding budget and plan for it.
  • Finally - if manicures have never been a thing for you, then maybe now you'd better start. You have a lovely engagement ring to show off, after all! 
 

 (Image via Wedding Chicks/Good Morning America)

 

 

 

 

 

Engagement rings that will make you want to say yes, yes and YES!

diamond engagement rings

Aah. Engagement rings. Those pretty, sparkly pieces of jewellery that say so much.

Like "will you marry me because I want to spend the rest of my life with you". Sigh. 


How will you choose your engagement ring?

  • May your fiance popped the question, went down on one knee and surprised you with a ring already picked out.
  • Or maybe you both want to choose a ring together?

An engagement ring is a something that's probably going to be a significant financial investment. So you need to know you're buying the best for your budget.

Here's to know what to look for, what to avoid and how to choose a ring you're going to love for years to come.

Key tips for when you go out engagement ring shopping

  • Choose a style of ring your partner will want to wear forever
  • Look at the jewellery they wear everyday. There's no point in buying a vintage style if your partner prefers a contemporary style
  • Think about the stones you're going to choose. Will your partner want diamonds. If so how many?
  • How about colored stones?
  • Would a combination of diamonds and sapphires or other gemstones be more appropriate? Not all gemstones are hardwearing, and it might be worth avoiding those that aren't, such as emeralds or aquamarines.
  • When diamonds are the choice, color, clarity and size should all be taken into consideration.
  • However the most important is the cut of the diamond and the colour which will give it its bright sparkle. A twinkly diamond will always catch your eye.
  • The shape of an engagement ring is important too. Think about the style of wedding ring that is going to be worn with it.  You can fit a shaped wedding ring around your engagement ring but maybe you would prefer a traditional straight band?
  • Think about lifestyles.  A high-set engagement ring is beautiful but also more liable to get knocked or caught. So if the wearer has an active job something lower set would be more practical.
  • The ring metal is also a choice to think carefully about. Platinum will keep its naturally white colour for a lifetime, but is the most expensive and rarest of the precious metals. Palladium is also part of the platinum family, and is hypoallergenic and so won't irritate the most sensitive of skin and also stays naturally white.
  • White and yellow gold are still regularly the preferred metal, with rose gold becoming ever more popular. In its natural state, 9ct white gold is a beige colour and 18ct white is more of a dark grey and both require rhodium plating to give it a bright white finish. This plating will wear with time and the original beige or grey colour can be seen again. A re-coating will be needed to bring back the lovely white finish.
    diamond solitaire engagement ri
  • A six claw diamond solitaire engagement ring

Cleaning and caring for an engagement ring

  • As with all jewellery, avoid harsh cleaning products, chlorine and other caustic substances, especially if you have a white gold ring, as they can damage the rhodium plating.
  • Rings with gemstones can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush to remove the build-up of grime.
  • Take off your engagement ring if you're doing any activity that may scratch or catch it.

diamond and sapphire engagement ring

A classic diamond and sapphire cluster

Photo credits: All images and rings via CoolJoolz, infographic via Gemvara 

What you need to know about engagement diamonds

engagement couple

Diamonds really are forever and last a lifetime.

pear cut diamond

Know Your Budget

Buy the finest diamond that your budget can afford. The price of a diamond will depend on the combination it has of the four Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat.

 cushion cut diamond

Know Your Style

The style of your ring should express your personality. There are so many different styles of rings to choose from, you should be able to find something that you truly connect with. 

brilliant cut diamond

Note to grooms: You may not want to be quick to buy a ring. Consider proposing without a ring, all tradition aside. Shopping together for the ring could be as romantic as it gets, and she'll be certain to like the style. Make an occasion of it!

emerald cut diamond

Know who you are buying from

  • Buy from only reputable jewelers!
  • Get the ring appraised to verify all facts on your bill of sale.

 radiant cut diamond

Photo by Vasilis Lagios Photography. Rings by Betteridge.

A sunset engagement shoot that's going to inspire you

We love engagement shoots. Why?

  • Because ... They announce your engagement to the world
  • You can try out a photographer to see how the shots work for you
  • The two of you can have fun and relax, there's not that wedding day pressure
  • You can use the photographs for your save the dates, your wedding stationeryYou can send them to relatives and grandparents in advance of the wedding
  • You can experiment with different looks and you can get a fabulous photograph of THAT RING
  • You can wear different clothes
  • You can visit a place that's special to you both
  • You'll have the photographs to look at to remind you what it's all about, when you're feeling snowed under by wedding planning
  • You can put your dog in the photos if you want
  • Nobody is around to tell you what to do - it's just you, your partner and the photographer
  • You can try out different venues to see how they work for you

And so the list goes on. We picked out this engagement session by This Modern Romance because we thought it was the stuff dreams were made of. It's beautifully lit. There's a golden glow in the field - these photographs were taken at the perfect time of day (which is something to discuss with your photographer). We love the lighting, the couple - who obviously adore one another's company. The girl's dress is inspired - rustic and simple to reflect the surroundings of nature. The shots are simple and gorgeous and really show the love of this couple. The golden field and the sun setting just right...sigh, perfection. If you're planning an engagement shoot, cast your mind over where might work for you. If you both love the countryside, then something rustic like this could be perfect for you both. Enjoy!

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Images by This Modern Romance

Rules For Keeping the Love Alive Before the Wedding

Rules For Keeping the Love Alive Before the Wedding

Getting married is one of the most exciting moments in your relationship, but it can also cause quite a bit of stress on the both of you. It's important to focus on keeping the little fights to a minimum and maximizing the love in the air. Its's natural for the romance to fizzle during the long stage of wedding errands, however you don't have to wait until the honeymoon to rekindle that fire. From pre-engagement talk to wedding day events, follow these simple ground rules to deal with the changes to come in your love life.
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Be Open

Naturally, there are certain things about your partner that are going to bother you, and it goes both ways. From the beginning, establish a sense of honesty in your relationship. Go into the wedding planning process with the idea that you should both be able to express how you feel in certain situations. With an open line of communication, you will likely feel less lasting resentment.

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Date Night is Important

Talking about wedding plans at a local coffee shop does not count as a date! Carve out time in your busy schedules to actually go out and enjoy yourselves without thinking or conversing about the wedding at all. It's necessary to take a break from all of your to-do lists and focus on the true meaning of your marriage.
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Motivate Each Other

Stress does so much to our bodies and minds. When stress levels are high, it's the most critical time to focus on your health. Help each other stay active by going to the gym together, or taking a hike. Plan out nutritious meals and make a date out of cooking for each other. Not only will it keep your bodies in tip shop shape for the big day, but studies show you will feel less of the effects of stress when you are abiding by a proper diet and exercise routine.
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Get Away

Repeat: don't wait until the honeymoon to unleash the romance! Plan a weekend retreat, day trip, or even staycation to prelude the honeymoon. Think of your "mini moon" as an opportunity to unplug and just be together. Taking this time away will help your relationship flourish and also eliminate those pre-wedding jitters.
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Simple Reminders of Love

We tend to forget that whisper the simple words "I love you" really means so much. Especially when tensions have been high, stop to just show your love towards each other. Small things make the difference, like leaving a note out before your lover goes to work to simply remind them. Verbalizing those three words can negate all those harsh feelings that have been slipping into your mind.

Photos by M&J Studios and Logan Cole Photography.

Romantic Quotes to Share for Valentine's Day

Romantic Quotes to Share for Valentine's Day

With Valentine's day coming up next Sunday, there is love in the air. Valentine's Day is a day of expressing love to everyone around you and taking the time to appreciate the great love you have present in your life. Take the time to take a closer look at your relationship. If you are newly engaged, recently married, or celebrating your twentieth anniversary, there's a reason why the two of your souls were meant to be together. Sometimes it's hard to articulate exactly what that love means to you, so we gathered our favorite quotes about romance. Whether you incorporate them in your vows, verbally recite them to your partner, or write them down on a card, share them with your nearest and dearest this Valentine's Day!

tyler branch2

"To be brave is to love unconditionally without expecting anything in return." -Madonna

tylerbranch1

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." -David Viscot
merari photog

"Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable." -Bruce Lee
cole logan4

"I love you. I am who I am because of you. You are every reason, every hope, and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, every day we are together is the greatest day of my life." -The Notebook

arnaudubois"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it." -John Lennon
arnaudubois2

"I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn't matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together." -Julia Roberts

Photos by Tyler Branch Photography, Cole Logan Photography, Merari Photography, and Arnau Dubois.

What to wear at your Engagement Party

He popped the question, you said yes and now you're celebrating the fab news at an evening soirée with your nearest and dearest. So the burning question is...what to wear at your engagement party?

what to wear at your engagement party

If it's an evening do, I'd definitely go for something dark, figure-hugging and elegant; after all, you've taken a pretty grown-up step getting engaged, so why not go the whole hog and wear a grown-up outfit? And steer clear of anything remotely bridal - the time will come for that!

I love this Perseus dress (left) from Monsoon (Perseus was the brother of Helen of Troy, who was so beautiful that her face famously launched a thousand ships after she eloped/was kidnapped by Paris, thus beginning the Trojan War).

And I think that if you wore this dress, you really would feel and look incredibly beautiful and quite the radiant bride-to-be.

A less structured but equally as beguiling dress from Phase Eight is this Prima Rosa Maxi Dress (below), perfect to wear as you sip your champagne and circulate round the room, excitedly talking to everyone about your plans for the forthcoming nuptials.

Engagement Dress Prima Rosa Maxi Dress from Phase Eightwhat to wear at your engagement party

Alternatively you could opt for the understated beauty of this stunning full-length Dessy gown Style 6741 (left) with cut-away sides revealing a silver metallic bodice. The close-up is featured at the top of the page which enables you to see quite how alluring it is.

You don't have to wear long, of course. This high-lo dress (below) from Dessy is superbly glamorous, with its black fleur embroidery overlay, 3/4 length sleeves and deep V back. The modified circle skirt gives a glorious sweep as you turn and you'll feel the absolute Belle of the Ball.

What to wear at your engagement party

The floral jacquard Verdure Tapestry Dress from Hobbs (below) is the height of sophistication and is a perfect example of what to wear at your engagement party; simply cut, colourful without being garish, and classy - what more could you - or your fiancé - ask for?

what to wear at your engagement party

How to Celebrate Your Recent Engagement

How to Celebrate Your Recent Engagement

If you're recently engaged and ready to jump in head first, we recommend stopping to take the time to really celebrate what has just transpired in your life. Whether it's stepping away for a rejuvenating moment alone, or creating memories with family and friends, you'll want to cross off a few of these to-dos off your list before the main event. After all, your engagement is a milestone that should be cherished for years to come!

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Go On a Date

It may seem simple, but going on a proper date after the proposal will truly seal the deal. You want to be able to soak up the excitement alone without any other distractions. Treat yourselves to a day in the city or a romantic dinner to signify your own personal little engagement party.

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Show Off the Ring

The best part is having the pleasure of telling all your friends and family of the fabulous news! Take a creative photo of your engagement ring to send out and post to social media. It's always nice to say a little something sentimental along with the photo.



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Take a Trip

Your honeymoon may be a ways off when you get get engaged so make the time in your schedule to get away before all the big planning takes place. It doesn't have to be far away but it does have to be a trip that is both relaxing and romantic.

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Hire a Photographer

Oh the art of engagement photos! After you've said yes to the ring, start researcher a place, time, and theme for some sentimental photos of you and your beloved.

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Have a Party

Kicking off the wedding planning process is always the engagement party! Whether casual house party or formal soiree, let the champagne corks fly! Invite those closest to you to send you off on the journey to your special day.

Photos by Rhythm Photography, Black Hue Photography, Bonnallie Brodeur Photography, Arnau Dubois Photography, Open Iris Photography, and Valentina Glidden.

Most romantic way to propose

One of my best (male) friends recently proposed to his Russian girlfriend. Being one of the world's most thoughtful and charming of men (and a Virgo to boot, which I always find a huge help), he had planned the proposal enough to know the location and what he was going to say, but not so much that the romance of the moment was lost in a sheet of to-do notes.

most romantic way to propose With thanks to Ian Britton for this beautiful photo of a romantic sunset via Freefoto.com

As the two of them strolled back hand in hand from a late lunch in London on Christmas Eve, they stopped to watch the sun setting over the Thames and he said,

most romantic way to propose

It is the most romantic way to propose that I think I've ever heard!

He had wisely ensured that neither of them had had too much to drink at lunch, he had already decided that they would go to Paris to buy the ring together, and he really meant what he said - he wanted nothing more than to grow old with his beautiful wife and help her follow in the footsteps of her blissfully happy grandparents.

They told me how they had subsequently had such a romantic time in Paris the following week visiting many of the joyous jewellers in Place Vendôme before buying an exquisite, emerald-cut diamond set in platinum, flanked by a diamond baguette on each side - divine!

My friend laughed at his naiveté when, remembering that his fiancée's favourite colour was green, he had enquired about emerald engagement rings in one of the shops - the assistant had taken them downstairs to a vault to view an emerald ring that was absolutely spectacular. My friend discreetly enquired as to the price tag; at ‚¬70,000 he decided to hot-foot it back to the ground floor and stick to the diamonds!

While that happy couple were in Paris in the last week of 2015, I travelled to Rome which I find one of THE most romantic cities in Europe, if not the whole world. There, on New Year's Eve, I witnessed an American gent take his girlfriend's hand, studiously throw a coin into the fountain, pause to make a wish and then down on one knee he went before popping the question. After she had said yes and the surrounding crowd and whooped and given their congratulations, the new fiancee asked why he had thrown the coin in before he asked her. "I wasn't taking any chances so I wished that you'd give me the answer I wanted!" he replied.

most romantic way to propose

The romantic Trevi Fountain as capture by Stephen Lyons for Freefoto.com

So although summer is definitely the time when most couples actually tie the knot, winter is the most popular season for proposals in the UK. But fear not if you weren't the recipient of a romantic proposal this Yuletide. According to Chillisauce, the UK hen and stag party organisers, whereas boys think that Christmas Eve is the best time to pop the question, girls think that Valentine's Day is THE most romantic day to become engaged. So there's time yet...