Chances are that if you are planning a 2019 wedding and have not had your engagement portraits done yet, you are going to be doing them in the winter - or maybe early spring if you have a fall wedding date. While engagement portraits don’t actually have to be done at any specific time, most people like to have a little bit of space between their engagement pictures and the wedding.
One of the questions I get asked the most is when should you have your engagement portraits done? And while that is not the reason for this blog, it does go along with why you may end up having a winter engagement portrait session. There are two different options:
If you are looking to use your engagement portrait images for your Save-The-Date cards (or, as one of my favorite brides called them, her STD cards), you want to have your portraits done at least 6 weeks BEFORE you want to send your STD cards out. This gives enough time for your photographer to edit them, you to pick your favorite pictures, your photographer or stationary graphic designer to design them (along with any revisions), to have them printed AND mail them out. STD’s should be mailed about 4 months before your wedding (as long as it’s local)
If you are not looking to use your pictures on your STD cards (I really just laugh every time I use that acronym), then try to have your portraits done at least three months before your wedding date - just so you can enjoy the pictures from your engagement session before all your gorgeous wedding pictures take over and blow you away!
Ok, so it’s winter in Buffalo, and as most Western New Yorkers know, this season lasts until mid-April sometime. Which means, unless you are getting married in October or beyond, and you want to use your engagement portraits for your save the dates, you will probably be planning for some winter time engagement portraits. Fortunately, snow looks stunning in pictures. Unfortunately, most parks look less than beautiful this time of year. That’s where I come in! Below is a list of my five favorite winter time engagement portrait locations!
1. Chestnut Ridge Park - This park is covered in evergreen trees, usually has a good covering of snow, and has a ton of different options. It’s located in Orchard Park, which means it’s not too far of a drive for anyone. I could do portraits here a hundred different times, and I would still find new places to call my favorite every time. Chestnut Ridge is one of my top favorite Fall Engagement Portrait locations as well. :)
These first couple were taken at a wedding, but this snow was so stunning that I couldn’t help but include them in my engagement portrait location. This is at the “main” park.
My second Chestnut Ridge location is actually at the trail for the Eternal Flame. While I wouldn’t suggest walking the whole Eternal Flame trail for your winter engagement portrait session, I definitely love the first part of it! No matter if it’s snowing or even just muddy (yup, this spot works in mud too!), this location reminds me of the Pacific North West more than any other spot in WNY (I spent the first half of childhood in PNW, so anything that reminds me of there reminds me of home).
2. Botanical Gardens - because really, who is up for freezing on those super bitter cold days? The Erie County Botanical Gardens are absolutely stunning, and as long as you realize that they are open to the public and you may have to wait for other visitors to move, and be kind and considerate to others while you are there, this is one of my favorite “we live in WNY and the weather isn’t always the best” locations. We are so lucky to have this amazingly gorgeous indoor location in Buffalo! Things to know: They close at 5pm most days, and there is a fee to get in.
Outdoors at the Botanical Gardens is on my list of favorites too, especially if you want some killer outdoor portraits without freezing for your entire session! :)
3. Downtown Buffalo - Even if it’s bleak and bare on all the trees, downtown looks amazing no matter what time of day… or no matter what time of year! And the top of parking garage roofs are always my favorite!
Cobblestone is another one of my favorite “Downtown” areas for engagement portriats!
4. Delaware Park - While most of Delaware Park will look a little bleak in the dead of winter, the steps to Albirght-Knox Art Gallery will look amazing. I normally shy away from these during weddings - not because they aren’t beautiful, but because I hate wasting my couples precious time on a wedding day by waiting for other couples to be done with their wedding pictures - and those steps can be BUSY on a Saturday in the summer…. but in the winter? They are perfect!
5. Your home - what better way to feel connected and get close with each other than in your home? This allows you to snuggle and cuddle on the couch, cook together, play video games, or whatever it is you guys do together on a regular night. It makes your engagement pictures 100% personalized, and is always an awesome spot no matter what the weather is doing outside!