DEAR TKB: “I’d like to do something different for our engagement session. Any ideas?” + The Apple Orchard E-Shoot of Melissa + Jon | By Megan Dandeles Photography

Happy Friday eeeeeevunink lovelies!  I hope you’re having a pleasant start to your weekend.  I have a one two punch for your peepers and your noodle tonizzle and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.  We’re going to see how tasty treats can be one of the most enjoyable ways to *propify* your shoot, but we’re also going to try to tackle a question from a reader that speaks to the difficulty and in some cases pressure that many new brides can experience when planning “that perfect engagement session.”   So if you have any ideas/suggestions for today’s reader, please do share at the end, as we’d love to hear whatcha gots to say.

Megan Dandeles, the brilliant talent behind Megan Dandeles Photography, submitted this fantasmagoric engagement session and I’m TELLING YOU, I realize this takes place at an apple orchard but those caramel apples make me want to run down to the amusement park six towns over and wait in line for some amusement.  And like, caramel apples too, as well.

But since I’d be waiting for around four months and change, seeing as it’s wintertime, I uhh– I won’t be doing that, probably.  But I seriously want to.  No, seriously.  NO SERIOUSLY.

But seriously, before we can get to the fabulous photos, there’s this question from a reader that I think fits perfectly into the tone of this engagement shoot.  See, Melissa and Jon, together with their photographer Megan, decided on an apple picking theme for not just any reason.  And her description of just why they did that, follows as well as helps answer today’s reader question….

Dear TKB: Real World Question!

Help! Neither my fiance nor I are very artistically gifted people (to put it nicely), but we have an engagement shoot coming up and I have no idea how to style it! We’re very beachy people – we live on the west coast, met playing beach volleyball, got engaged at the same spot, and will be married on the beach! So – I feel like we have that covered…and I’d like to do something a little bit different for our engagement session. Any ideas? And how do you possibly decide what to wear, or what props to bring (if anything?). Normally, I’m sure our photographer would have oodles of ideas, but she recently had a new baby (like – 2 weeks ago!), so I don’t really want to bother her in this super-sleep deprived state she’s surely existing in. I feel like I need an “engagement shoot for dummies” book, so any help you or your lovely readers could dispense would be MUCH appreciated.


- E.

Dear Miss E,

I paired the gorgeous e-session below with your question because I feel that Melissa, the lovely young lady featured in this shoot below, gives us some insight into how to go about it in a way that will be far better than any answer or specific suggestions I could offer you.  She speaks of incorporating their love story, thinking about places they’ve enjoyed during their courtship, and being sure to involve both of you in the planning and gathering for the shoot.  The thing I want you always to remember is this: the thing is meant to be fun!!  Tons of fun, nothing more, nothing less.  An engagement session shouldn’t have any pressure involved; this is sort of like a little dress rehearsal, and you don’t have to worry about everything being perfect.  In fact, I would stress trying to stay relaxed and letting yourself be natural so you can actually enjoy it.  You know, really letting your chemistry shine through, so that you have a great time, instead of worry about everything coming together properly.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE TO SEE PROPS in my engagement sessions.  I wish props were involved in ALL engagement sessions, to be honest, but that’s for selfish reasons — it makes them super fun to look at!  But if you’re the bride, what you really wanna make sure you focus on is that this is supposed to be a happy time.  And one of the things I MOST LOVE about e-shoots is the fact that they can truly capture the freshness of your love and the overwhelming excitement that comes along with having just gotten engaged.  And doesn’t that just totally rule so HARD?  Methinks it does.

So… just have fun with it, ok?  But also, read the following, like I wanted you to :) ……

Ok, here’s the story from the lovely Melissa, the bride in today’s shoot:

Jon and I met 8 years ago on the first day of band camp my freshman year and his senior year of high school! Yes, that’s right, we are high school sweethearts! He played the euphonium and I played the tuba so we ended up getting sat next to each other in rehearsals and we quickly fell in love! 

When trying to decide on a place for our engagement session we tried to think of all of the places that we visited in the beginning that made us fall in love. Our first date was homecoming so we thought about the high school but it didn’t really fit with the picturesque setting we were hoping for. Then we thought of our second date, Apple Picking! The actual apple orchard that our second date took place at was way too touristy for a photo shoot so we picked a quieter apple orchard that is owned by a family friend and it turned out to be the perfect location for our e-session!

Coming up with the concept of the engagement shoot from there was fairly simple. Fall is my favorite time of year and so I knew exactly all of the areas of fall that I wanted to feature. Apple cider, caramel apples, apple trees, cider donuts, pumpkins, hay rides, and all of the beautiful colors. I even made Jon (my fiance) go on a special shopping trip for new outfits for the both of us!

We could not have picked a better photographer for our engagement shoot. Megan is incredible! Not only did she take amazing pictures of us but we had a blast while shooting! She made us both feel so comfortable and made us feel like rock stars.

I am a professional wedding planner with Married By Melissa. Needless to say, I have had all of the ideas for my wedding brewing in my head for many years. I have only been engaged for about a month and I already have the venue, photographer, band, flowers, rehearsal dinner, and room block set up, plus a lot of other little details from the linens to the favors! It is such a rush being on the other side of planning. It is a whole different experience planning your own wedding as opposed to planning others. I am so unbelievably excited for June!

And here’s a bit from their photographer, Megan Dandeles:

I love dreaming up engagement sessions with my brides and designing a shoot that feels authentically them.  Finding a style that tells their story, picking a spot they feel connected to and a place they can relax, be in love and be themselves.

Because really that is what it is all about… documenting their love, just the way it is.

There are few more perfect places to be on an autumn afternoon than the New England countryside.  The orchard we picked for Melissa and Jon’s engagement session spreads across the crest of a hill soaking in all of the sweet afternoon light.  Rows upon rows of apple trees, heavy limbed with perfectly-ripe-for picking apples and the heady, sugary scent of an apple orchard soaking in the last warm days of autumn.

We set up a picnic, styled by Melissa (who is also an incredible wedding planner!) complete with antique details and delicious fall treats.  We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing, exploring and enjoying this gorgeous setting.  And Melissa and Jon got to do what they do best, be in love.

And I got to do what I love most.

Documenting their love.  Just the way it is.  

OMGSOTHOUGHTSDOYOUHAVEANY??!!  WHOA! whoa… sorry, sorry.  I think that coffee just kicked in.

xoxo  - Alison

Megan Dandeles Photography is a member of Vendor Love.  Explore more of her work here, in our guide.

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, {Engagement}

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  1. Greg on February 3, 2012

    Wow! This shoot is amazing!!!!!

  2. Emily on February 4, 2012

    I love how they came to a decision for their session. It makes it so much more meaningful that way, and that’s the whole point after all! I feel so inspired to start dreaming up a theme for our engagement session after seeing this. :)

    Congratulations to the couple!!

  3. Janna lee on February 4, 2012

    I am from New Hampshire and our wedding will be there but we live in North Dakota now, where sweetie is from. I am trying to decide between booking a session on our summer vacation to New Hampshire in the mountains that he loved when spending time with me there or a North Dakota session. I’m not really emotionally attached to anything here and he really isn’t either. Our wedding is going to be a rustic eclectic blend of antique/vintage color palette and props. The apple orchard I grew up working on and spending time at is an ideal place for a session and we have gone berry and apple picking there. There is another part of me that wants to do a session in Colorado, where we first met 4 years ago….There are so many decisions. This shoot makes me want the New England session most! They were styled perfectly!

  4. Cindy on February 4, 2012

    This shoot is amazing! Congratulations!

  5. Scott on February 4, 2012

    This approach to photographing an e-session is eye-popping! Best wishes!

  6. Keri on February 4, 2012

    Just gorgeous and great tips on creating a fab engagement shoot

  7. Lena on February 4, 2012

    A beautiful, romantic shoot with gorgeous details that tells a love story and requires no prop-making? I can get down with that.

  8. Kristina Juarbe on February 4, 2012

    Beautiful shoot and a great story to go with it! Love it!

  9. mazelmoments on February 4, 2012

    Gorgeous use of lighting! Amazing photography – thanks for sharing!

  10. Amanda on February 4, 2012

    OOH. YES. My favorite shoots are the ones where you can actually see how in-love the couple is. I’m all for a no frills e-shoot.

  11. Happily Ever After on February 5, 2012

    So Romantic! Love the setting! Lovely story!

  12. Isabel DreamWeddingItaly on February 14, 2012

    Congratulations, really beautiful session! And so… delicious!


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