Outdoor embrace at Rachel's Knoll in Sedona
Engagement photos are one of my very favorite kinds of portrait sessions! As I shared in a recent blog post, I feel strongly that getting engagement portraits taken is extremely valuable for couples. But once you have your engagement photos back from your photographer ... then what? Don't just let your beautiful photos languish on your hard drive! It's my hope that every couple will use and enjoy their engagement photos throughout their wedding season and for years to come! Here are ten ways to use and get the most out of your engagement photos:

1. Save the Date Cards
This is one of the most common uses for engagement photos that I encounter, and I think it's a perfect fit. So many of my clients incorporate their engagement photos into their save the date cards, and I absolutely adore getting them in the mail! Using your photos in this way allows you to create beautiful and personal cards to announce your upcoming wedding to your guests.
Save the date card with custom watercolor map
Above: Save the Date cards by Roots and Rain Creative

2. Wedding website
A wedding website is more than just a place to celebrate your engagement -- it's a useful resource that your guests will visit again and again as they check details on where and when events will take place, and to find the links to your registry. But while it's important that your wedding website be informative, you don't want it to feel generic or boring! Utilizing your engagement photos throughout your wedding website is a great way to prettify it and make it feel unique!

3. Thank you cards
Just as with your save the dates, thank you cards seem like a clear choice for using your engagement images! You can work with a designer to incorporate your photos, or use one of the many online options to create a beautiful card yourselves. The combination of your engagement photos and a personalized, hand-written message will make your guests feel so touched and connected to you!

4. Photo stamps
I use photo stamps all the time! They're such an easy and unique way to make the outside of my envelopes feel just as special as what they contain! Once you create and receive your own distinctive photo stamps, you can use them on your save the dates, invitations, thank you notes, holiday cards, water and electric bills ... anywhere you would use a regular stamp.

5. Guest book
This is one of my favorites! It's so much fun to create a custom guest book for my clients with their engagement photos, and I always make sure to leave plenty of space for guests to write their messages and wishes. By using your engagement photos in a guest book, your guests will have so much more fun signing it when they arrive at your wedding than they would if it was just a traditional guest book with a bunch of lines. PLUS you get a beautiful keepsake with personal messages from your guests to look back at after the wedding.
a photo guest book at a wedding
6. Holiday cards
Because your engagement portraits give you a chance to be yourselves and take photos in something other than your wedding clothes, they're not restricted to wedding-based uses! You can use them on holiday cards during your engagement and even after you've been married.

7. Social media
Let's face it, you will probably be sharing a LOT of wedding updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the weeks and months leading up to your wedding. Your engagement photos offer the perfect visual to accompany all of these posts. They're a gorgeous way to draw attention to your updates, and they allow you to skip the process of meticulously posing for the perfect selfie. :)

8. Personalized favors or wedding decor
The options here are endless! One of my clients had their engagement photos printed on sugar sheets and used them to decorate cookies as favors. Another created a sweet seating chart with their engagement photos amidst the seating arrangements. Another (below) printed custom wine labels. Nowadays you can have a photo printed on practically anything, so you're only limited by your own imagination.
Handwritten tag on a wine bottle, wedding favor
wine bottle with custom labels for a wedding
9. Gifts for your parents & grandparents
Parents treasure photos of their children, and grandparents even more so! And if they love the awkward snapshots of you they have saved on their phones and in albums, think of how much they will appreciate a gift of your lovely engagement photos! A sweet shot of you printed and nicely framed will make an amazing gift for a birthday or for Mother's Day.

10. Print them and hang them on the wall!
This is the biggie, the use that I most hope you'll get from your engagement images. There's a special thrill to seeing your photos in print -- and it really IS a different experience than seeing them on a screen. Printing your photos and using them to decorate your home allows you to truly live with and enjoy them in your everyday life. Seeing your engagement photos as you make your morning coffee or while you relax on the sofa will help to keep the joy of your relationship alive in your heart for years to come!

I hope that you feel inspired to put your engagement photos to use! After all, an engagement shoot is a once-in-a-lifetime portrait session, and it provides an array of stunning images. Those photos can (and should) do SO much more than sit on your computer! If you have additional suggestions on how you and other couples can use your engagement images, please share them in the comments below!

------> If you are thinking about engagement photography, you are probably also thinking about wedding photography! The engagement shoot is the perfect time to get comfortable with your wedding photographer! Click here to download a FREE checklist of 12 important questions you should be asking any potential wedding photographers you meet with! We've created a convenient form for you to print and take along as you talk with photographers. Make this big decision a little easier! Download your copy today!
12 questions to ask potential wedding photographers
10 great ways that you can use your engagement photos!
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