Of the many things that annoy me on Facebook, posting engagement photos are undoubtedly near the top of the list. While on one hand I get why people take them, I also just usually ended up wondering “Why?” Why are you spending so much money on these? Why did we as a culture start doing this? Why are you on either side of that tree? Why are you walking on those train tracks? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT A TRAIN COULD BE COMING??
I don’t want to be a hater — I really don’t — because these are images of people who are obviously in love and I love love! I totally get that you’re young (I’ve never seen engagement photos of a couple over the age of 40) and pretty and this is the start of something new in your life. I get that you want to catalogue this moment; capture it in time. If you have engagement photos that you love and cherish, then that's awesome. However, if you're on the fence about them or dreading them, hear me out. I just feel like in this age of everyone-has-a-high-end-camera-in-their-pocket, the money and time spent on engagement photos could both be better spent elsewhere.
Also, what exactly are these pics for, other than showing off to your friends on Facebook? I was told that engagement photos were originally for engagement announcements in the paper, but I’m pretty sure most people just used snapshots even then, if they used a photo at all. According to The Knot, "an engagement picture is typically a professional photograph taken to use with your engagement announcement, to post on your wedding web page, or to decorate your wedding reception."
Unlike most wedding things that we do, I just can’t find a tradition to link it back to that makes me think, “OK, yeah, totally get it now.” (Or, conversely, oh, hell no.) Clearly I’ve done some thinking about this whole engagement photo thing, and here are the top reasons why you may want to reconsider this tradition.
1. They’re Expensive
While some wedding photographers include engagement photos in their package (or at least that’s what my googling has told me), plenty of them don’t, which means you’re dropping hundreds of dollars on these things. Depending on your budget, it just may not be worth it.
2. They Can Be Inauthentic
You don’t really walk on train tracks. Or stare at each other like that. Or hug trees or stand in the awkward prom pose or do one of the million other engagement photo cliches. Maybe a photo shoot is an excuse for you to do those things but doesn’t having someone follow you around with a camera telling you to gaze at each other lovingly kind of… Ruin the moment? Go have some authentic awesome experiences together! And if you happen to get a great snapshot out of it? Well, that’s a nice bonus.
3. You Only Really (Maybe) Need One Photo
If you’re doing an official wedding announcement or you’re like, important enough to be in the New York Times wedding section then, OK yes: You need a good photo of the two of you. But in this age of phone cameras and Instagram, how many of you really don’t have one good couple pic? And I’m saying this as a person who famously has a terrible photo face, to the point where I purposely just pull a mean mug these days or stick out my tongue because I just can’t master smizing or whatever. Pick one of the 8 million photos you already have of you two and use that as an engagement announcement!
4. They’re Another Contribution To The Wedding Industry Complex
The amount of money that couples are expected to drop on weddings these days just to keep up with the Joneses is enough to end a relationship before its even begun. In my home state of Vermont — which is obviously a wedding favorite on the East Coast — just mentioning “wedding” at a restaurant or event space immediately ups prices. From clothing to venue to food to those frickin’ tents, getting married can be expensive. Why add one more bill to the pile?
5. Do You Really Spend That Much Time In The Woods?
Probably not. I’ve seen all of your other Facebook photos and not one included you in the woods until I saw these.
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