Welcome to one of the most exciting times in your life: the sweet engagement phase. The time after the proposal when you are still suspended in the clouds from the happiness of knowing you finally get to marry the man of your dreams. Also, the time when you undertake the laborious yet exciting process of planning your dream wedding. No wonder this phase is one of our favorites!
Now that you engaged it’s time to start thinking about engagement pictures. If you are like most couples then you probably have NO IDEA where to take them! Don’t worry, we have created this blog just for you with our favorite locations for engagement photos. Even if you aren’t one of our brides, this blog post will give you many ideas of where to take dreamy and romantic engagement pictures.
Grand Rapids and West Michigan Engagement Session Locations
Fortunately, there are SO many amazing locations for engagement photos in our area! It’s just a matter of determining what sort of look you want and what time of year you want to take them. We have grouped our favorite spots by the best season to shoot at them. We also included our recommended start time per season to help you plan your session.
So without further ado, let’s start with perhaps the most popular season to take engagement pictures….
March – May (but mostly just May)
Start time: 3:00 – 6:00 PM
If you are considering doing your engagement pictures in the spring, our first piece of advice is to check with your photographer EARLY! And we mean several months in advance! Not only will your photographer likely be shooting other weddings in May, but most people like to do engagement pictures in May so that month books quickly. And it’s not hard to see why. We have waited all winter for it to finally warm up and now the weather is PERFECT! To make it even better, the trees are starting to flower which makes spots like the apple orchards of Robinette’s absolutely stunning! The white apple blossom flowers create a magical and romantic feel to engagement pictures. There are even a few cherry blossom trees downtown Grand Rapids that are beautiful. And on the west side of the state, there is the beautiful peony garden at the University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum. Definitely worth the drive!
Best Spring Locations:
Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden
June – August
Start time: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Ahh, summer. Warm nights and long days, there is just so much to love about the summer. Hands down the most popular spot for engagement pictures in the summertime is the beach. Because we live on the East side of Lake Michigan, the sun sets below the horizon over the lake. These sunsets make for simply gorgeous and romantic engagement pictures. We shoot most often at the beaches near Holland because they are usually not too busy and easy to get to. But any of the beaches along the coast are beautiful!
Our second most popular location in the summer is the city! The warm glow of the sun against the well crafted architectural stone just gives off an ethereal look to summer urban sessions. It’s also the perfect opportunity for couples to dress up and bring out their elegant and fashionable side.
Best Summer Locations:
September – October
Start Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
For engagement photos in the fall, the city is still a popular location, but for couples looking to take advantage of the beautiful color change, we recommend visiting a more woodsy location. We love photographing fall engagements with bright and colorful foliage. This is the perfect time to bring a warm banquet to compliment your session or having a picnic at an apple orchard.
Also, for the lovers of all things floras. In early fall, the sunflowers are in full bloom and the fields make for amazing engagement pictures! Fall has so much to offer, is no wonder its a popular season for engagement sessions!
Best Fall Locations:
Winter Engagement Sessions
November – February
Start Time: 1:00 -2:00 PM
We like to split winter engagement pictures into two buckets, before the holidays and after the holidays. Before holidays you get to enjoy the holiday lights strung up all over. The soft glow from the lights dances beautifully off the snow and you can incorporate holiday elements. Places like downtown Grand Rapids or a Christmas tree farm are perfect places for this.
After the holidays, it’s best to wait for a sunny day after there is a lot of snow accumulation. Shoots before and during the holidays have a much more festive vibe while engagement sessions after the holidays are elegant and refined. We think it’s best to shoot outdoor at large, stone buildings that just look stunning during the winter for light and bright photos.
Because the weather in Michigan can be unpredictable, especially during the winter, we often recommend shooting indoors at places like Venue3two, which is a historic mansion that is both elegant and stunning. What we love most about Venue3two is that you and shoot both inside and outside. Another indoor option is inside Downtown Market Greenhouse, which is both comfortably warm and also bright which is best for photography during the dark winter months.
Best Winter Locations:
Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center
Think Outside of the Box
When picking your location, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. We encourage you to brainstorm unique places that you might have special access to that most people don’t. For example, maybe you (or someone you know) have access to an amazing location that would otherwise be off-limits, like a beautiful private estate, family ranch, exclusive country club or luxury resort. Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around with people in your personal and professional network. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with! If something seems out of reach, just remember: you never know until you ask!
For example, this couple below chose an airplane hangar as the location for the engagement session. Airplane hangers are usually off-limits for most people, but since our groom is a pilot, he was able to get access not only to the city but his plane as well. This made their engagement session not only EPIC, but also very personable as this couple enjoys spending time in the air together.
The Best Location For Engagement Photos
Often the best location for your engagement pictures doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. The best location is the one that is most meaningful to you and your fiancé as a couple. Did you first meet at a cute little Parisian style café? That would be a great place to start when getting your list of ideas together! Remember, your engagement photo session is actually of the most important parts of your wedding experience. For us, a Leidy & Josh engagement session is a full two-hour photography session with both of us! In it, we really get to know our brides and grooms and they get comfortable with how we work. We have learned that the engagement session is the secret to getting stunning wedding photos!
If you need some location ideas and inspiration, we have plenty! Check out our Instagram (@leidyandjoshphotography) and the engagement section of our blog. If there’s a certain session you really love, just let us know which one and we can go to that location! Also, don’t be shy if you would like our input on a location. Feel free to message us anytime: email@example.com
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