• Emily Wilkerson

Engagement session: Yes or no?

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

The average cost of a wedding in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2019, was $40,000.

My own wedding in 2017 was about $4,000, the biggest portion being photography. It was a small wedding with our closest loved ones at a friend's home. We wanted to keep it private, intimate, and inexpensive.

Chances are you're hoping your wedding will be closer to my wedding budget than to the $40,000.

First of all, let's establish that I love saving money. I thrift almost exclusively. My entire outfit (jeans and a seater) was about $8 including my fuzzy socks. The only items I ever pay full price for is personal items and toiletries. I keep life as frugal as humanely possible. So I get it, you gotta keep your budget. I love that for you. I love that for everyone.

One way to save money when planning a wedding is to skip an engagement session. There are pros and cons to this and we're going to go over that.

Pros of skipping the engagement session:

1) Saving money.

2) Saving time.

3) Saving stress. Maybe planning a scheduling a stylish outing is stressful for some of you.

Before we move on, let's talk about how Jon & Kelley showed up to their session in Dunder Mifflin shirts. Hilarious. Love these two.

Now let's talk about the cons of skipping an engagement session.

1) You don't have professional photos of you for your wedding invite.

2) You won't be working with your photographer until the wedding day itself. What if you get your wedding album back and you realize the way they edit their greens really isn't your style after all? That would be unfortunate.

3) The photographer won't get experience with your bad angles before the wedding day. During an engagement session I take about 500 photos. About half of those show you blinking or it's not a good angle of you. I want to know about that bad angle before your wedding day. (That's why engagement sessions are complimentary to my wedding packages. It really helps me if I already know your bad angles before the wedding day.)

4) The photographer won't get a feel for your personality before the pressures of a wedding day. I ALWAYS meet up with my couples and/or do an engagement photo session before the wedding day. I want to hang out and get to know them so they're not a complete stranger to me when I'm taking photos of them on their wedding day. I goof around with clients a lot to bring out their personality, but if I'm taking bridal portraits and make a dirty joke to make the bride laugh, and the bride is offended, that picture isn't going to be good. I'd rather find that out during an engagement session than during the rush of a wedding day.

5) You'll miss out on an unusual date night. If you go on enough dates, you all of a sudden start having to do repeats. A photo session is a fresh way to go on a date.

7) You won't know the person who is in charge of documenting the day you've poured hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into. What if you hire someone who's work is stellar but their personality is horrible and they annoy you? That'd be a bummer, because you'll be spending 8 hours straight with your photographer on your wedding day. You'll only be spending about half that time with your husband on your wedding day.

If you read this through and decide it's still just not worth it for you to get an engagement session, that's all good, it's your choice, and you're going to make the best one for you. My performance and quality on your wedding day doesn't depend on whether I'm a stranger or your best friend in the world, and under every circumstance and combined with every personality I can work on the fly and deliver the same finished product, but there are definite perks to an engagement session. Most of my reasons for recommending photoshoots have to do with your own wedding-related stresses- and taking worries off your mind is a massive priority!

Either way, the choice you make is made with care and forethought, so whether you have an engagement session or not, it's still a lovely phase of life to be engaged and is so full of joy.

Jon & Kelley practiced their secret hand shake during this shoot and so far are planning on doing their handshake at the alter after their kiss! I 100% support that!

Well that's a blooper I'm not mad about.

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© 2018 by Emily Wilkerson because she is too fussy to let someone else do this. Proudly created with Wix.com

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Lifestyle photography, documentary videography. Authentic, unposed storytelling.