6.12.19 2

Our Engagement Photos

Engagement Session in Grand Haven, Michigan

I wanted to share our beautiful engagement photos by the ever so talented Samantha James Photography. We are officially four months away from our wedding (cue lots of freak outs and nightmares!).

Fun fact: Sam was also Stacy’s photographer for her wedding! I was having such a hard time finding someone I liked that wasn’t completely blowing my budget. Stacy and I were talking about vendors one day and I was in love with all her wedding photos, she suggested I reached out to Sam and the rest is history. I am so fortunate Sam is willing to travel from Michigan to Chicago for our wedding day!

From the first time we talked, there was an instant connection that I didn’t think I was going to find that with anyone else. Lucky for me since I was in Stacy’s wedding I was able to see the direct results of the beautiful images Sam captured. I am more than thrilled with how our engagement photos came out and I cannot wait to see our wedding photos!

My Tips as the Bride for preparing for your Engagement Photos:

Have a vision for your photos:

This will not only help with the location but what you wear. I have always wanted to take photos in the middle of the road or in a forest in a gown. When we found out we were taking pictures in Michigan I didn’t totally know where to go so I sent Sam inspiration pictures from Pinterest. She did some research and had a better idea of locations since we were from out of town.

Get your hair and makeup done:

If you can afford it and it’s within reason for your budget. Also, you don’t have to pay anyone but maybe spend some time on youtube before and put on a little more makeup than you would on a day to day basis. Since we traveled to Michigan and didn’t stay overnight. I waited to do my makeup until we arrived, but had practiced a couple of times before.

Make sure you are groomed and your skin is prepped:

Similar to the day of your wedding! Make sure that you shave all the parts that you should, moisturize, get a spray tan, get a manicure and pedicure, do a hair mask, shave your face, etc. Yes, I shave my face to exfoliate. No, not with the same razor I use for my body. A gross and B the skin on your face is much more sensitive. Here are the tools that I use, it’s a great way to prep skin before a shoot like this or any event!

Rosy Mound

Rosy mound was our first location and is located in the Grand Haven area. It contains beautiful tree-lined paths and stairs that take you right to the lake. Since I had heels and a dress on we stayed to a certain area and drove to our next location for easier beach access.

Outfit Details:

I rented this beautiful Jill Stuart floor-length ruffle gown from Rent the Runway. It was beyond comfortable but added a little bit of drama. As I had mentioned early I have always wanted to wear a gown in the woods. I have no idea why maybe the contrast of the outfit in the woods, that you normally wouldn’t see together.

Kirk Beach

Our Second location was at Kirk Beach, right on the lakeshore in Grand Haven Michigan. Sometimes I forget how stunning the Lakeshore is in Michigan! The further and further north you go the bluer the water gets. I swear it looks like Hawaii! By this location, we were pretty tired. We drove three hours to get there, shot one look already and we were pretty chilly from the cold temperatures coming off the lake. I think Rhys pretty much hit his quota on taking pictures at this point haha.

Outfit Details:

I rented this Parabal Garung dress from Rent the Runway as well. I knew I didn’t want to just wear white for every event we had for our weddings, so I opted for light blue. Since we were at the beach, I also made sure that the outfit I was going to wear I felt comfortable in without heels on. Rhys is wearing a Suit Supply Jacket, White Brooks Brothers button down, Vineyard Vines Chinos and glasses by Warby Parker. I thought he looked so handsome in this look 🙂

I honestly spend so much time looking at these engagement photos because they turned out even better than I had hoped. Wonder how much time I will spend looking at our wedding photos! If you are in the Chicagoland or Michigan Area, I could not give a higher recommendation than Sam. Not only is she talented behind the camera. She knows exactly how to make her subjects feel comfortable in front of it. Sam has a sweet soul. She will make you smile from ear to ear and the positive energy she radiates shows through her work! Thank you, Sam, and cannot wait for our special day this fall!

Shop our Engagement Session Outfits

Leave a Comment


  1. Sam wrote:

    You are so kind Maria and I appreciate your sweet words! I could not be more excited to celebrate such a wonderful couple!

    Published 6.24.19
  2. Muti wrote:

    aaaaw sooo lovely! both of you look so happy, congratz!

    Published 7.22.19