What To Wear: Engagement Photo Outfits

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

We’re over two months post-engagement (which means less than one year out!) and people are often asking me how wedding planning is going, to which I reply with a very honest, “Amazing!”. I know there are plenty of things that could (and probably will) make preparing for our big day stressful, but I haven’t ran into too many of them – yet.

It probably helps that I knew a lot of the vendors I wanted long before Ryan ever stepped foot in the jewelry store. One of them being our photographer, the incredibly talented Decora Topp.

I found her on Pinterest about 2 years ago, and knew I had to have her whenever our big day came. (Seriously, Pinterest is an AMAZING resource for finding a wedding photographer. Try searching photographers based on cities near you. For example, search: Chicago Wedding Photographer, Minneapolis Wedding Photographer, Madison, Milwaukee, Omaha, etc…try states too!)

Decora was the very first vendor I messaged and the first one we booked. I love seeing her photos pop up on my social media feeds and literally could not wait until I saw a photo of Ryan and I on her site.

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

When she reached out to discuss locations for our engagement session, Ry and I agreed we both wanted something a little more natural and “rural” for our shoot. Before we moved to Des Moines, neither of us were “big city people”, so we opted for a gorgeous field and a pretty lakeshore over our more urban options.

With locations finalized, it was time to pick out our outfits, which was no easy feat. Based on the GORGEOUS photos we just got back, I’d say we did pretty darn good. To help you love your own photos as much as we do, here are my top tips for picking your ‘fits.

Please remember, these are tips based on my personal style and opinions and in no way are a definite rulebook anyone has to follow for their photos. Go with what feels right for you, your relationship and your style!

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography


What’s Your Style(s)?

Are you most comfortable kicking it in jeans and boots? Do you feel your best in a sexy dress or maybe something a little more loose and flowing? What colors do you gravitate towards? Are you a risk-taker or prefer to play it safe? What is your favorite outfit to wear and why? Think through these things for both your partner and yourself. Knowing what styles, fits and colors you like will help be a great starting point!

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

Keep Your Locations in Mind

As a general rule of thumb, it can be nice to match the vibe of your outfits to where you’ll be getting photos taken. For example, photos downtown in a big city with skyscrapers as your background would look awesome with swanky, fancier outfits. On the contrary, I love laid-back, more boho or country-inspired looks for shots done out in open fields or natural landscapes.


Movement Matters

Part of why I love Decora’s photos is that there is so much natural movement and a very laid-back, authentic vibe. I knew I wanted myself to wear flowy things in both my outfits because a) that’s all I am ever comfortable wearing anyways and b) they would help create movement in the pictures.

NOTE: Don’t wear anything that’s so tight you’re going to be worried about it looking or feeling unflattering. The last thing you want to be doing is uncomfortably picking at your outfit or sucking in instead of just feeling beautiful and confident.

Solids vs Patterns

Because I wanted flowy movement, I ended up ordering two dresses, rather than any jeans and tops. I knew I wanted one of the dresses to be white, to really lean into that “bridal” aesthetic. I quickly found a white dress I loved from Princess Polly.

Engagement Photo Outfits

NOTE: You really can’t go wrong with solid colors in photos. They tend to be more timeless than prints and patterns.

My next dress required a little more digging, because I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted. I ended up finding a dress from Shop Stevie that really spoke to me – which is surprising because it’s somewhat colorful and has a busy pattern – a far cry from my closet full of solid black clothing. I ordered it, tried it on, and immediately loved it. 

Engagement Photot Outfits

NOTE: If one partner is wearing pattern, I suggest that the other sticks to something solid so the photos aren’t too busy! If you really want to mix patterns, make sure they are different in type and size. For example: if he is in large plaid print, she should be in a smaller floral design.

I decided on my outfits first: white dress for the lakeshore and patterned for the field, and then moved on to Ryan’s and created looks that would be cohesive in photos.

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography


For as long as we’ve been together, Ryan’s style has revolved around slim fit pants/jeans (dat butt tho) and button-up shirts. It’s what he loves to wear, so we stayed true to his style for both his outfits.

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

Nail It With Neutrals

For the lakeshore, I liked the idea of us wearing varying shades of white and cream (how nautical), so we paired together his favorite blue jeans and a casual cream colored Henley top. (Since it was chilly, I last-minute grabbed a cream colored sweater I already owned to layer over my white dress and am SO happy I did – it created the coziest vibe. Neutrals are so easy, people!)

NOTE: Cream/White + Denim = a timeless combo!

Colors that Complement

My patterned dress is a palette of warm oranges and yellows with hints of brown in the outlining. We chose a pair of khakis in a similar shade of brown for Ryan’s outfit to tie our looks together. His light blue denim button up was the perfect pop of color and looked so pretty against the orange/yellow fabric. (Makes sense, considering orange and blue are complementary colors)

NOTE: If you can’t quite figure out which colors will “complement” each other, try this color wheel.

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

Final Thoughts

Don’t Try To Be Too Trendy

Remember guachos, thick waist belts and oversized beaded necklaces? We thought those were really cool way back when, but now…not so much. Just like you wouldn’t want to look back and see THAT in your engagement photos, the trends of today will soon be gone tomorrow. Instead of trying to be super “in” to impress everyone on Instagram, think of looks that have stood the test of time. Denim jackets, neutral colors, jeans, flowy dresses, vintage inspired patterns, etc. Don’t wear something just because it’s “trendy”, wear what feels the most like YOU and your style. When in doubt, simple is always a safe bet!

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography

Inspiration Is Out There

A quick search on Pinterest of “Engagement Photos” or “Engagement Photo Outfits” will give you hundreds of pictures to look through. If you find some outfits that speak to you, do your best to mimic them!

NOTE: If you aren’t following me on Pinterest yet, you totally should be ;)

Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography
Photo credit:  Decora Topp Photography
Erin GallagherComment