By Christine Conroy
A Connecticut vineyard is a great place to take your engagement photos. With so many beautiful vineyards across the state, there is definitely one within a short distance from you. Whether you love wine or not, the scenery at our local wineries is vast and stunning. From the vines themselves, to luscious trees, rustic buildings and sometimes ponds, picnic areas, gardens, and flower fields you’ll have a wide variety of backdrops to choose from.
Why Get Engagement Photos
Engagement photos are great for use on your save the dates and wedding website plus they can help you start to be comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. If you’d like to submit a formal announcement to your local paper, a close-up of you two is essential.
An engagement shoot may be included in your wedding photography package, or you may be going a la carte for your session. There are plenty of great, affordable portrait photographers in CT so dig around their portfolios and chat with a few to make sure your personalities and visions mesh. Grabbing a decent camera and a friend works too!
Choose Your Vineyard
A very popular vineyard for engagement photos is Gouveia in Wallingford. In fact, that’s where I took mine! Their location is gorgeous and offers so much ground to cover. The dock & outhouse along the pond, wildflower fields, and rows of vines give so much variation to your photos. Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston or Chamard in Clinton also offer great scenery.
Some CT vineyards, such as Jones Winery, do not allow professional photography sessions due to space constraints so check out their website FAQ sections or give them a call. Speaking of calling, if you are going to schedule your photos, it is best to give a heads up to the vineyard at least 2 weeks ahead of time. They’re nice enough to let you use their well-manicured grounds for free so be courteous!
When to Schedule
The best time of year to get your vineyard photos would be early fall (September) just before the harvest season. The grapes will be ripened and the trees are still green giving you the best scenery. Waiting until October will allow you to incorporate the foliage to your photos. Springtime will bring some greenery but less developed vines.
You’ll have to work around the winery’s business hours for your session but there are many options throughout the state. If you want to incorporate the sunset head to Paradise Hills in Wallingford which is open until 8 PM daily. If you’d rather have the daytime brightness many open at 10 or 11. Scheduling for morning or evening will allow you to avoid the peak crowds and heat if you’re session is in the summer.
A bright and sunny day seems ideal, but it will cause you to squint. If you have a bit of flexibility with your photographer try to pick a partly cloudy day. The clouds give some depth to your photos and can help avoid shadows which makes photography difficult.
Dress to Impress
What you wear will play a huge role in your photographs so be sure to pick comfortable, flattering clothes you love. Solid colors photograph best and won’t take away from winery grounds or your smiles. Consider matching your groom and opting for colors in tne same family. Ladies, be sure to go subtle with your jewelry as you want the focus to be on you & your sweetheart and of course, that sparkly new engagement ring!
Don’t be afraid to pack a two or three outfits too. You can always switch a blouse or dress in your car or in the bathroom after a tasting. Go bold and bright, then neutral, or dressy then casual. You’ll be glad you have options to choose from when you get your images back.
You’re at a vineyard after all! Start with a tasting to ease your nerves, or mix it in midway through. Clink glasses together for some candid shots, stroll between vines, and if you can, grab an iconic ring shot with the grapes! Check out Pinterest for inspiration on other wine inspired photos.
Lastly, just remember to have fun. Your photos are all about you as a couple so enjoy them and showcase your love (of wine) together!
2-3 Months Out
- Choose a photographer
- Visit CT vineyards or browse their website to choose one that fits you
6 Weeks to 1 Month Out
- Solidify a date with your photographer
- Begin pinning photo ideas
- Visit your chosen vineyard and note places you’d like pictures
- Begin to think of props – Save the Date banner, wooden initials, hearts, signs- if you need personalization you’ll need time to order
- Schedule a hair and makeup appointment if you’d like it professionally done
2-3 Weeks Out
- Call your vineyard and let them know when you’ve scheduled
- Complete any DIY signs or crafts
- Go shopping for any new outfits
The Week Of
- Get a manicure
- Get your hair touched up if you color it
- Send your future hubby for a haircut
- Try on your outfit choices to ensure fit
- Confirm with photographer, share your Pinterest inspiration board
- Clean your engagement ring the day before
The Day Of
- Get plenty of rest the night before
- Pack bottled waters (keep in mind some vineyards don’t allow outside beverages)
- Pack tissues or oil blotting papers
- Bring makeup for touch ups
- Don’t forget your props and change of clothes
Photo Credit: ChelC Photography