We’ve successfully checked off 2/2,000,000 our wedding planning checklist, y’all! I said “YAS” to the dress and last week we finally had our engagement shoot. Traditionally, brides take their engagement photos 1-2 months after getting engaged (ya know, unless your entire livelihood depends on the NFL draft in which you watch helplessly in Alabama only to find out you’re moving to Ohio for 6 months that later turns into beginning our lives Kansas…in that case, you take them 5 months later.) With so much traveling and our lives revolving around football, it took me 3 months just to PLAN the photoshoot. It was all up in the air, too – because there was always the possibility of being traded and us not living in Kansas at all. So fun – aaaanyways, I contacted Daniel from Luxe Studios after seeing tons of 5 star reviews on The Knot + Wedding Wire. Luxe had that light & airy, whimsical vibe to their portfolio that I absolutely love – so after months of scheduling and waiting, our engagement shoot was about to begin!
thus brings us to:
DILEMMA #1: THE HEAT
While end of September weather (for Ohioans) is all about pairing your ripped jeans with a cute long sleeve, a pair of ankle booties and a pumpkin spice latte – the Kansas/Missouri boarder is often still experiencing swim suits and sweaty armpits. “The end of September is PERF,” I told myself as I added a white long sleeve chunky knit sweater to my online shopping bag. I had an adorable fall outfit planned and made sure G had a button down and pants ready to go. THEN…WE WOKE UP AT 3:00AM THAT MORNING DRIPPING IN SWEAT AS OUR BULLDOGS SNORED THEIR HOT BREATH UPON US! Sweaters and long sleeves were not gonna do.
I had a short sleeve dressed picked out all along, but that didn’t account for two “casual” outfits! I panicked. I ended up begrudgingly throwing my favorite romper into the mix and pulling out a short sleeve button down for G.
DILEMMA #2: THE EFFING HEAT
So it’s already completely wrecked our “seasonally neutral fall photoshoot” attire, but it wasn’t done wreaking havoc upon my plans just yet. If y’all have followed me or my blog, you know that we have two sons (french bulldogs) who are my heart and soul. The boys had to be in the engagement shoot – I mean they experience every other moment of life with us, they were there (jumping on G) as he got down on one knee and proposed, how could we document this important life event without them? In my eyes, frenchies are flawless. But due to their genetic makeup, they are highly heat sensitive and can’t cool themselves down like a normal dog would by panting – any temperature higher than 75 degrees means we’re keeping them inside, feeding them ice cubes or dressing them in their cooling vests. Daniel’s plan for photographing the dogs was to have a family member or friend transport our boys to the photoshoot location and then drive them home afterwards. Well – we’ve only lived in KC for two official weeks, so I wasn’t really sure who we were going to ask to do this. Gehrig’s BFF Eric just happened to be flying in for the weekend to visit, so he offered to take and pick up the babies as we continued to shoot.
DILEMMA #3: A DELAYED FLIGHT
Eric was going to save the day and chauffeur the boys around, but the wedding planning gods were not on my side – so of course, his flight was majorly delayed! The heat index hit 90 and their classic navy and white bowties did not match their neon cooling vests. Lou, the baby, has a really hard time in the heat, so as the day grew hotter (and my nerves, more shot) I was moments away from calling the whole thing off.
DILEMMA #4: NO WINE. LIKE ANYWHERE.
I called my mom countless times to spew my frustrations about this whole frickin’ day, and while she calmed me down to an extent, I just needed a moment to breathe (and suck down Moscato.) I ventured into our local Target and oddly enough: no vino! Last year we lived in Alabama, so I’m no stranger to the South’s strict alcohol laws. No biggie though, right? I had to get gas anyways, so I brushed into the corner gas station, slide my flip flops across the sticky floor to the coolers and AGAIN. NOTHING! “Excuse me, I’m just trying to find a bottle of wine,” I screeched at the cashier who gave me a once over, glanced at her watch (ya – it’s barely noon lady, I know) and she told me they aren’t allowed to sell “hard liquor” but they did have a 40oz. Lime-A-Rita on sale. Fuming, and choking back lime-infused memories of freshman year, I laid on the gas pedal to the liquor store and ran inside (feeling like a total weirdo desperately searching for, as Kansas called it, my “hard liquor” / a $5 bottle of Barefoot Moscato.)
I finally found a little pink bottle and held it above my head victoriously as the cashier probably questioned what my drug of choice was. I flew home, uncorked the wine, attempted a breathing exercise and gave myself a pep talk – we weren’t gonna cancel. Not after so much thought and planning, not when we couldn’t easily reschedule because the NFL doesn’t let us plan anything. I’m a wedding blogger, I got this.
I took a moment to relax while my fabulous MUA Annie DeVol perfected my hair and makeup. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to attempt to curl my hair in the humidity and have a mental breakdown trying to apply false lashes. Annie did a wonderful job and the mini pamper sesh was MUCH appreciated. Thankfully, Luxe Studios came to the rescue and agreed to meet us at our apartment complex so that we could photograph the dogs, put them inside and continue on our way.
DILEMMA #5: AN ART FAIR
I was so relieved to have the first little part of the shoot over with. Our next stop was The Nelson, KC’s prized art museum with stunning outdoor features and beautiful greenery. As we were making our way into downtown, Daniel & Mendell called us to let us know that our location was overrun by thousands of people, beer stands, a stage for musicians and hundreds of tents for art vendors – trying to capture our love on camera wasn’t gonna happen at that location.
My heart sank, but of course our KC native photographers weren’t going to let a little venue change affect anything! We drove a few more minutes into the city and arrived at Loose Park. I loved that this was the location for some of our photos because it was at this exact park that G & I walked around aimlessly for hours, trying to rid ourselves of nervous energy, waiting for the phone call that determined our fate of becoming part of the Kansas City Chiefs.
We also took photos downtown and at the WWI memorial, a place we visited back in May – when I fell head over heels in love with KC! Throughout the rest of the session, things finally went well. Daniel & Mendell posed us naturally, made us laugh and we conversed like new friends exploring the city (instead of awkwardly dragging a photoshoot out 4 hours long.) After such a hectic day, I was thrilled with the results and the previews Daniel had showed us on his camera. We ended the shoot with a couple shots of downtown all lit up, hugged Luxe Studios goodbye and got in the car to head home. I finally realized that despite my best efforts to control things and plan ahead, there’s always SOMETHING (or 5 major dilemmas) that will change the direction of what you expected. This is what millions of brides go through during their planning process and the big day – but to put it simply, it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we react to it.
SEE OUR FULL SESSION BY LUXE STUDIOS
TIPS FOR A [LESS STRESSFUL] ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
- Hire fabulous vendors – I found my photographers & MUA through Wedding Wire and Thumbtack, trust those honest reviews, y’all!
- Plan ensembles accordingly – If you plan an engagement shoot that falls between seasons, have two lighter outfits and two with heavier layers picked out just in case.
- Including your pets? Have a designated “handler” ready to transport them/take them home following the first session of your photos.
- Have a back up venue in mind!
- This is not even wedding-centric – just always have an emergency bottle of wine on hand.
- Prepare to go with the flow! This is a great lesson leading up to your wedding day. Little things will go awry, but the end result is what is most important!
CHEERS TO AN EASY, FUN & LOVE-FILLED ENGAGEMENT SESSION!