Engagement Photo Shoot: Our Advice

Several weeks ago, we had our engagement photo session with the lovely and talented Brooke from Brooke-Allison Photography.

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1. Find the right photographer

Finding a photographer was a bit overwhelming, so I just assumed we would use my sister’s wedding photographer. (I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to most things in life. Ask the girl who does my hair. Shocker, I know.) I casually asked JuliaDags during a blog-session for a wedding photographer recommendation. Without hesitation, she recommended Brooke, and after a quick Instagram search, I realized she recently shot the wedding of someone I know. I remember being in awe over the photos as I saw them on her page. We talked to Brooke once, and it was instant magic. If you follow her on Instagram, you know what I’m talking about. When we first met in person to shoot our engagement photos, it was like we had known Brooke for years. She really made it easy to just ‘be us’ as she took a million pictures.

2. Do your own hair and make-up

We met Brooke at 8:30am on a Sunday morning. I tried to schedule a blow-out and the receptionist laughed at me. They weren’t willing to open two hours early to blow my hair out on a Sunday. I had no choice but to do my own hair and make-up. I decided to get my lashes done and opted to wear minimal make-up. I’m happy with that choice! I’m also glad that I just simply dried my own hair. I switched from a casual sweater and jeans into a holiday dress. I was able to quickly throw my hair into a low-bun for a completely new look.

3. Don’t over think the location

Ben and I spent weeks debating the location for our session. The beach? The city? The park? All roads seem to lead us back to New Canaan, and it is such a special part of our life together. We decided to shoot the photos on Forest Street and spent the morning strolling around as Brooke followed with her camera. The pictures are 100% us. The smiles are genuine and the laughter was hard to contain at times. I love how Brooke captured it all.

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4. Embrace the awkwardness

Major PDA isn’t our speciality. It really was far-less awkward than we imagined. Twenty-years from now, we want to look back and perhaps nauseate our children with these kissy photos. If Brooke can make these photos work for an awkward gal like me- anything is possible.

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5. Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We will have these photos forever, and we are so glad that Brooke took the time needed to edit them. They are better than we envisioned.

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8 months until I get to turn my best friend into my husband.

PS You can shop both of our looks by following me on the LiketoKnow.it App!

Dear Parents…


This week, I will have 19 parent-teacher conferences. After nine years as a first-grade teacher, you might think conference week is a breeze for me. This is definitely not the case. Preparing for conferences and organizing my thoughts can be a challenging task. I always struggle with the desire to ‘make it perfect’ so that the you leave with a true depiction of your child as student in my classroom. I want to have time to explain the difference between ‘CVC words’ and ‘sight words’ without making it seem like an overwhelming mess of educational vomit. I want to talk about more than just academics, because, after-all, it is first-grade. Human interaction is an important part of life. I want to share the stories of all the cute things your child does. I want to tell you that your child is so determined, hardworking, and thinks deeply. I know these traits will take him far in life. I also need to tell you that your child sometimes rushes through his work or doesn’t eat his lunch when you pack a turkey sandwich. (I also don’t want to sound rude, because I commend you for finding the time to make your child’s lunch in the first place.) The list goes on and on….and on.

But then, after talking to my sister about her upcoming conference for my niece, I realized this is a big deal for parents, too. While I might not be able to quiet my busy mind tonight as I try to fall asleep and mentally prepare, I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips for parents.

  1. Ask Questions

You won’t look like you’re stepping into a business-meeting if you bring a notebook and a pen. Write down anything you want to discuss. Bring your child’s report card as a reference. Just like I tell your children, It is okay to ask questions. Personally, I don’t think it’s rude to inquire about report card scores or even what your child reports to you at home. Most teachers are happy to explain and talk about truly anything.

2. It’s okay to show emotions

Sometimes children struggle- at home or at school. Sometimes they struggle in both places. They can struggle behaviorally, emotionally, or with academic content. Sometimes it’s indicative of something major that will impact your child’s life in school for years to come. Sometimes, it’s just a bump-in-the-road. Sometimes children say things like, “My work is too hard. I don’t like to read.” or “I don’t have any friends on the playground.” I’m not a parent, but I can imagine how painful and difficult those things are to hear. It’s okay to tell me that you’re worried. Chances are, I might be worried, too. I care about every aspect of your child.

3. I can’t see everything

Boy, I wish I could. Sometimes I miss something- like an unkind word muttered from one student to another. I encourage your children to talk to me when something is bothering them. I hope you will do the same.

4. Interrupt me

Well, maybe not literally, but you know what I mean. Sometimes I get on such a roll.  Please feel free to jump-in whenever necessary.

5. This is not ‘it’

We can meet again. (And again and again.) We can meet as many times as we need to. It is never a bother to have a phone conversation or meet in person. Yes, I do have 18 other students, but they all matter. We will be together for another 100+ days, and I know we can find time.

***Here is my favorite website created by a teacher. I have been following her for over ten years. (Insane, right?!) She has tons of incredible resources for teachers (and parents).

Mrs. Meachum’s Classroom Snapshots