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‘Access Hollywood’ Fashion Stylist Ashley Tarkington: How to Style Your Engagement Shoot

Hey brides and grooms! It’s Ashley from Ash n’ Fashn back with another wedding planning post. This time, I’m zeroing in on one of favorite parts of the planning so far — styling the engagement pictures! From the time we got engaged, my fiancé Jeff and I started brainstorming about how we wanted to do them. We knew we wanted to take ours fairly early so we’d have photo options for our save-the-dates.

Once we decided on a location (a nearby beach town we spent a lot of time in when we first started dating), I could really focus on our outfits. We wanted to shoot two different looks. If you’re shooting multiple looks, go for a range of style. For instance, our first look was cocktail attire in the neighborhood while our second was boho-casual on the beach. This gives you lots of options and a great variety of pictures.

I personally think solid colors look best in this type of photo. Unless it’s something like a tie or an accessory, stick to solids. Another tip is to take your pictures about two hours before the sun sets if you have the chance. Around that time, the sun is much lower in the sky and you won’t be squinting or have weird shadows on your faces.

As a stylist, I spend my days dressing other people and as a fashion blogger, I spend a lot of time picking out outfits and styling my own personal looks. However, aside from the occasional help Jeff asks, for I don’t really get to style him. I took the opportunity to create two outfits I knew he’d love and be comfortable in, which is so important for the guys. We went with slacks, a dress shirt and a tie for the first look (a suit would be too formal). It also allowed him to roll up his sleeves for an even more casual look.

I knew I wanted one white dress and a colored option to change it up. I found this fun rose gold cocktail dress that was perfect since it’s one of my wedding colors. I also brought my white capelet to throw over the dress and shake up the look a little more. You can have a lot of fun with the styling for engagement pictures by bringing out the trends you’re loving without having to worry about it looking too trendy in pictures. The sky is the limit!

Since our boho looks were on the beach, I wanted to keep them casual. I put Jeff in his favorite gray and white (also our wedding colors) striped shawl-collar sweater and jeans. A cream crocheted maxi dress was the perfect option for me, since I could run around in the sand and water freely in it, plus the scalloped edge on the hem made me feel like a mermaid. I topped my look off with a floral headband in rose gold, of course!

If you’re going for a similar look, my advice is to find dresses that aren’t too tight or stuffy. You don’t want to be uncomfortable squeezed into a dress you’d wear to a Las Vegas club (save that for your bachelorette party!).

Also, props are a great way to add a little more into your pictures. We wanted our french bulldog, Macallan, in the beach shots, so we brought a serape blanket for us all to sit on. The best part about engagement pictures is anything goes! You want a bubble machine or a dozen balloons? Go for it! Just remember to relax and smile, these pictures are going to be with you for a long time!

– by Ashley Tarkington for The Knot

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington's engagement shoot

Aga Jones Photography

Ashley Tarkington is the voice behind the blog Ash n’ Fashn which encompasses all things fashion, beauty and home decor and lifestyle. In addition to the blog, Ashley works as a wardrobe stylist for the show “Access Hollywood” and is busy planning her summer 2015 wedding. Follow along with her on Twitter and Instagram.

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