What to Wear For Your Pre-Wedding or Engagement Session | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Photo of Jack and I by  White Sails Creative.

Photo of Jack and I by White Sails Creative.

I know what it’s like planning an outfit… I can’t even plan one on a daily basis, let alone for a special occasion like your pre-wedding session photos or your engagement session photos! As a result, I’ve decided to put together a bit of a guide / my top five go-to tips of what you could look to wear, what you should avoid, and how to feel your best self! Oh, and this guide is based not only on what my past clients have worn, but what I’ve worn to my own couple sessions with my boyfriend. I’ll include photos of how we co-ordinated our wardrobes for the day, so I totally know how you feel, trust me!


Pretty dresses, smart shirts and funky patterns always look good!

Pretty dresses, smart shirts and funky patterns always look good!

You heard me, you want to look your best self, right?! When I searched for what to wear for Jack and I’s couple photos with Emily Tyler Photography, I knew I wanted to wear a flowy, boho dress, and I knew that black is usually my go to struggle… So those were my main cocerns. Only I also knew it would be a struggle because I’m only 5ft tall and most midi dresses are maxi dresses on me! I actually ended up getting my dress second hand but it was brand new (I am a savvy bargain hunter!) on depop, so definitely check out auction sites.

Flowy dresses and windswept hair are the best!

Flowy dresses and windswept hair are the best!

My best advice is to dress up, as if you’re going to a wedding, or for dinner. You want to have your hair and makeup all done (whether you do it yourself of have someone do it, if you’re feeling extra fancy!) so that you feel your best. When we dress well, we feel confident, even if we don’t feel like we know what we are doing in front of the camera (but don’t worry about that part, you’ll soon feel comfortable enough to forget I am even there!) So definitely search out the most fabulous outfits you can. For women, this might be a beautiful flowy dress (flowy dresses always look beautiful!), and for men it might be something as casual as chinos or smart jeans and a shirt, or you could even go as far as wearing a relaxed suit (or a suit jacket and jeans for that ‘casual-formal’ look!)

You should always make sure you take care of those details too… That means cleanly polished shoes, neat nail polish and accessories that match!

Tip #2: Let your personality shine through (with colours and details!)

Jack and I co-ordinated with red as our main theme! Photo of us by  Emily Tyler Photography.

Jack and I co-ordinated with red as our main theme! Photo of us by Emily Tyler Photography.

For our couple’s session, I co-ordinated everything with red as the main theme, because it’s a colour that looks fab on both of us. It always looks super co-ordinated when you wear colours and patterns that work together! I wore a black and red floral print maxi dress, with matching nail polish, made sure I’d re-dyed my hair pastel pink, and donned my Doc Martens (as if I would wear any other shoes!) Jack wore a red shirt with smart black jeans and clean trainers, and he wouldn’t be him without his Great Frog rings. We wanted to go for a smart but casual look, so this balanced us out super well! I did originally have red lipstick on, but I took it off because it didn’t feel quite ‘me’… Which leads to my next point…

Tip #3: Make sure you’re comfortable!

I always wear my Doc Martens so naturally I wore them to our shoot! Photo of us by  Emily Tyler Photography.

I always wear my Doc Martens so naturally I wore them to our shoot! Photo of us by Emily Tyler Photography.

I know, I know. We all have that pair of shoes we LOVE but they’re SO painful to walk in, right? Please don’t wear those shoes to your shoot, no matter how beautiful they are! Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable enough for walking (and running!) around (or in my case climbing onto Jack’s shoulders!), and ideally aren’t SO posh that you’ll regret wearing them if they get a bit sandy / muddy / dirty. My Doc’s were COVERED in mud and sand after the shoot, but nothing a little wash wouldn’t get off! You might be dressed for the nines but please make sure you can walk and have fun without worrying about tripping, or feeling uncomfortable. Which also brings me to…

Tip #4: Accessorise!

I love a good cardigan, or pair of sunglasses or a hat - it can TOTALLY change up an outfit. Jack opts always for rings, he just loves them, and I wore my Grandmother’s 21’st birthday bracelet in our photos too. I always suggest bringing things that you can add into your photos too, like little handbags, scarves, or umbrellas if it might rain, and a chunky knit cardigan or coat to switch up your look is always good too. Please just make sure you’ve got an alternative so that you can be warm enough if it’s going to be chilly!

Tip #5: Colours, Contrasts, Patterns and Graphics

Remember the photos of the 90s, in matching blue wash jeans and white t shirts? You don’t want to look like that, do you?! (If you do I may not be for you!) Most of my couples either opt for neutral tones (which always look lovely at the beach!) or brighter colours. Think primary colours for the most part, as these always photograph well, and never ever anything fluorescent. Matching too much can look a bit odd, so try to stick to alternatives - by which I mean don’t both turn up in bright yellow garments. However, a yellow dress for a lady and a white shirt and black jeans for a man can look smart. Similar colour pattern, but not so matchy that you look like siblings!

Blue at the seaside always looks good!

Blue at the seaside always looks good!

That said, you also don’t want to opt for tops with branding, logos or slogans on. Plain is best, and ages much better too! You’re welcome to wear patterns too, but ideally don’t both turn up in checkered garments. Florals always look lovely, and you can usually pull out some of the colours in them to accessorise or co-ordinate with each other.


If you’d like to get some more inspiration, I have a Pinterest board here chock full of outfit ideas, so have a browse and see what takes your fancy!

As always too, if you’d like to get the latest news and special offers, you can join my newsletter here!

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