This is a very hot topic that comes up during most wedding consultations with my brides, so I thought it may be beneficial to do a blog post about why! I gift every one of my brides and grooms a complimentary engagement session for booking their wedding with me, and I sometimes have potential clients that will ask to opt out of the engagement session for their wedding package, even in exchange for a discounted service. Unfortunately, each time, my answer will be no, and for a good reason!
Now, can I force you to take advantage of it? Of course not, you are more than welcome to opt out of your complimentary engagement session, but it will not reduce the price of your wedding package. I very much recommend taking advantage of this session because… well you’re going to allow me to maximize your investment and experience from the very beginning!
You see, when someone books me for their wedding day, on paper they are booking me as their wedding photographer. I’m hired to take beautiful images that take you back to the exact moment you said “I do” to your other half. But, early on in my business, I realized that the niche I had built was about the experience that I give my customers. I show up to every wedding ready to wear any hat they need to have the most beautiful celebration on their wedding day. Many of my past brides have referred to me as their personal hype woman, sidekick, professional dress bustler and boutonniere pinner, carrier of all of the things, unofficial coordinator, groomsman wrangler, flower girl bff, and so much more! Most important that I will always wear though, is your friend.
I still get butterflies before every wedding I photograph, I still cry at every wedding. I remember how all of my couples met, and can tell you all kinds of silly stories that happened at every wedding I’ve photographed. I see my brides at the grocery store and still hug them. It’s the best feeling to be able to be their friend at the end of it.
Over time, as I developed this experience for my couples, I realized how vital the complimentary engagement session really was to building the ideal relationship to my clients. I don’t make any money from this session, it really is a wedding gift to you!
It’s always a little awkward when a stranger tells you to get snuggly and smooch in front of them, but it’s a little more comfortable when a friend is hanging out with you right? This is the same with camera jitters! It’s not easiest thing to relax in front of a camera, so spending time together while I take some sweet pictures will allow us to jump right in on the wedding day.
I’m not going to pretend it’s all beneficial to you though, its actually extremely important to my workflow too. This engagement session helps me get to know you both better as a couple! I want to be able to remember your wedding timeline front to back, and recognize names of friend and family members that I meet on your wedding day, and how you both pose best. It’s helpful to be able to work through any insecurities (we all have that one good side!) and know if there are certain poses that aren’t comfortable or just are not a fan favorite. This allows me to nail all of your wedding pictures and spend more time getting the best ones!
Sometimes I’ll ask you to do silly things like touch your noses, race each other toward me, or ask which one of you is the most ticklish – and then tell you to prove it! Getting those camera jitters out will make it easier to play along with these silly things if you know they will turn out great because you have already seen the result! It will help you relax on the wedding day!
So, knowing all of this, I have yet to find someone to tell me why you would want to pass up the opportunity to hang out with your photographer prior to your wedding day. The person who will be by your side 90% of your day and will be capturing memories that you will show your grandkids one day.
In the end, you’re only engaged for a short amount of time, so you should celebrate it! Spend some time snuggling each other in front of the camera and enjoy this moment before it’s gone.