​How to Plan Your Destination Engagement Session

Nov 10, 2020 | Engagements

Often couples choose to have their engagement session in their hometown or where they met but what if you could explore a new location? A place you’ve never been before or perhaps you have been a lifetime ago. Let your mind wander and start dreaming. Start dreaming of your engagement session in a beautiful destination that will give you sweet and intimate photos. Photographer and destination engagement expert, Sarah Sunstrom Photography is here today to let us in on all the tips and tricks you need to plan your destination engagement shoot.

I love to offer destination engagement sessions to my wedding clients. It’s an opportunity to explore a new environment and have great engagement photos to boot! I always begin with a questionnaire to gain more insight into who my couple is. From the answers to those questions, I come up with a list of three locations that really speak to my couple. It may be in the foothills of Scottsdale, the beach in Florida or a grand estate in Nashville. We enjoy meandering around our location, both exploring new locations, then casually stopping here and there for portraits.

I hope you are able to enjoy some time in a new location for your destination engagement session. Below are a few things that will help you plan your destination!

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1. Explore who you are as a couple. Where do you love to spend your time? What activities do you love to do together?

Start dreaming of what appeals to you as a couple. Are you more of a mountain couple or beach couple? Do you spend more time in a coffee shop sipping the latest latte of the month or do you love intertwining your fingers while wine tasting at your favorite vineyard. If you had a perfect date anywhere in the world, what would love to do?

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how to plan your destination engagement shoot Pin it

2. Explore different locations.

After exploring who you are as a couple, spend some time with your fiancé making a list of destinations that speak to you. Do a bit of research on those ideas and locations to find a spot that is perfect for you. If you loved wine tasting, perhaps research locations in Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley. If you enjoy spending time lounging on the beach, look into Malibu or even Tampa. Maybe you love the hustle and bustle of a big city, consider your engagement session in New York City.

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3. Reach out to your photographer or find a photographer in your new location.

Reach out to your photographer about a destination engagement session or find a fine art photographer in the area you are wishing to be photographed in and elaborate on your desires for your destination session. Perhaps you decide on a secluded beach in Oregon or even a grand estate in New Jersey. Explain your desire for the destination session and what it means to you. They will help you plan your session and bring your dream images to fruition. Check to see if they have any travel costs or fees related to the rental of the property or permit fees. Check with them to see what time of the day would work best for the session and even perhaps the time of year that would be best for that location.

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4. Style your session.

Pinterest can be a great resource for styling but consider diving deeper to take the location in mind as well. Engagement sessions on the beach begs for a dress that is free flowing. Having movement in the dress creates a sense of intimacy, romance and femininity in the images. A grand estate is the perfect backdrop for an upscale look. An evening gown and suit are great choices for that location.

Aley and Michael chose to do a destination engagement session with me at Cheekwood Estate in Nashville. We explored the property together. We took in all of the beautiful landscaping, the rich history of the estate mansion itself and reminisced about what it would have been like for the original family to enjoy the looking pond on the property. After our session, Aley reached back out to me and shared “We absolutely LOVED doing a travel engagement session. It gave us a chance to explore new places and capturing that in pictures gave us memories we can enjoy for a lifetime. We would definitely suggest a travel session for other couples, engaged or otherwise. We loved Cheekwood’s Gardens and the acres of beautiful scenery it had to offer. There were endless things to see as we were doing our session. Sarah, you made our engagement session such a fun and relaxing experience overall.”

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A huge thanks to Sarah Sunstrom Photography today for her expertise on making your planning for a destination engagement session so much easier! Head to Sarah's portfolio and more details about where she shoots, right here...

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