Welcome to Queerly Beloved, a series of personal essays about my journey as an LGBTQ+ person planning for my wedding in June 2023. Through this series, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, experiences, and advice as I navigate the joys and challenges of planning a wedding. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help make weddings for queer couples a little bit easier and a lot more fun. So whether you’re getting ready to tie the knot, have already taken the plunge, or just want to join me on my journey for a bit, I invite you to come along for the ride!
Early in the wedding planning process, I was super excited to get engagement photos taken; I think the idea of having a concrete representation of our decision really appealed to me. After some stressful online searching, I found Tristan of Wander West Photography. I loved her bright, clean photos (I’m not a fan of artsy wedding photographers – I want to see people’s happy faces!) and the fact that she had photos of same-sex couples in her portfolio.
I am so grateful to have chosen Tristan, because she has made the whole experience comfortable and fun. Some of the things I most appreciated about her are:
- She is part of the rainbow mafia, and she expressed excitement about having the opportunity to shoot a queer couple.
- She asked how comfortable we were with PDA, especially in the context of being queer women showing affection in public spaces. She made it clear that we could nix any photo ideas that made us feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- We made it clear from the beginning that neither of us are naturally good at modeling or posing, and she offered simple instructions throughout the shoot on where to stand, how to hold each other, and where to put our hands or faces.
- She took a broad range of shots and tried different things, but she moved quickly so that I never felt stuck in one position or like I wasn’t get a particular idea correct.
I cannot stress how much I went into the engagement photo shoot feeling overwhelmed and unsure, but she turned the experience into something really fun and comfortable.
Consider These Practicalities
- As with all things wedding related, do not Google “wedding photographer” or “engagement photographer.” Instead, search for photographers and check their website to see if they shoot weddings. This will open up your search to cheaper options!
- Use your wedding photographer to take your engagement photos. This gives you a chance to see their work (and choose someone else for the wedding, in a worst case scenario) and to see what it’s like to work with them.
- Look for evidence that they work with same-sex and/or gender diverse clients. Additionally, ask them how their experience working with queer clients; their answer will be illuminating!
- Choose a photographer that you will feel comfortable around. Are you able to state your opinions, desires, and wishes? Do you feel listened to? Do they make you feel comfortable?
- Choose outfits that complement each other, either in style, colour, or both.
- This is definitely just my opinion, but we wore outfits that are pretty much just us on a regular (though slightly elevated) day. I wanted to be able to look at these pictures and see the everyday aspects of our relationships, as the fancy versions of ourselves would be documented at the wedding.
- Use your engagement photos in Save the Dates, invitations, your wedding website, and Christmas cards.
Taking Photos in Stanley Park
Our engagement photo session lasted just one hour, and because we chose a location in Stanley Park with diverse backdrops, we came away with a lot of really cool photos in a short amount of time!
No photoshoot is complete without the pictures that didn’t QUITE achieve the desired outcome. I loved that Tristan included these in the finished photos she sent us; they make me crack up every time I see them!
Beautiful photos of you both – what a brilliant time you must have had!
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