Alice in Weddingland – The Engagement Session

This month Rock n Roll Bride intern and columnist, Alice headed out with her fiance Graham for their very first photo shoot together – their engagement session with photographer Sassy of  Assassynation. The engagement session can often be a bit of a nervous time for a soon-to-be-wed couple, as for the majority of people it’s the first time they’ve had a processional photo shoot. So, this month I asked Alice to tell us all about her experiences and why, when you’ve got your perfect photographer on the job, there really is  nothing to be afraid of!

I am seriously chuffed to share Alice & Graham’s engagement session with you today…seeing these is making me super excited to see their wedding photos too! Also…is is weird that I’m a little bit proud of my Alice when I see these? Awww love…

♥  ♥  ♥

A couple of weekends ago Graham and I ventured into the heart of the Cotswolds, for our engagement shoot.  We drove to Sassy’s house, where she settled our nerves by cooking us bacon sandwiches with cups of tea!  After Graham got to know her a bit (I had met her for the first time the day before at the Designer Wedding Show) we discussed possible ‘venues’ for the days shoot.  Thankfully the weather was beautiful, and we decided that outside would be best, so we could make the most of the natural light.  Sassy explained that the shoot would last around a couple of hours, and that what we did in that time was pretty much up to us.  When she mentioned an abandoned RAF watchtower and runway a few miles from her house I was beyond excited: I am a bit of a War History buff so the thought of being able to include that element in our engagement shoot was amazing!  We got in her car and drove to the tower.

Now all I can say is boy am I glad that I wore ‘proper’ shoes (well, Converse!) as we hiked our way over mud piles and through crop fields to find the watchtower!  When we got there I felt quite nervous and awkward; unsure of what I was expected to do, and uncomfortable at the thought of having my picture taken.  However I soon discovered that the mark of a good photographer is not just based on their technical ability, but rather also in their ability to give artistic direction.  Sassy talked us through each shot, and by the end it became a collaborative effort, with both Graham and myself piping up with suggestions for shots!  I also found that a natural direction evolved, in that I needn’t have been worried about being awkward in front of the camera.  Some couples are great at smiling for the camera, and are comfortable from the word go.  Well, I wasn’t, yet it didn’t compromise the quality of the photographs.  Sassy said that our shoot took more of a ‘moody model’ direction, which I found so funny as I am so far removed from a model its unreal!  It just goes to show, that with the right photographer even someone as camera-shy as me can get great images!

When I was emailing my top three photographers (Emma Case, Lisa Devlin and Sassy) I found that all of them offer engagement shoots in some form or another, either as part of their standard package, or for a couple of hundred pounds extra.  I really urge you all to consider investing a bit more money and going down this route, for a number of reasons.  One, the more comfortable you can become in front of the camera before the W-day itself, the more natural your wedding photos will look.  Secondly, it is an awesome way to get to know your photographer on a personal level, and learn how they work, and what to expect on the big day itself.  Finally, we are having some of the images blown up and mounted to display on easels around the reception venue, making for a lovely talking point for our guests, and a unique way of decorating your reception space.

All of these reasons, in my eyes, are super valid reasons to have an engagement shoot, but above all others, it was so fun! I really felt like Graham and I became friends with Sassy on that day, and when it ended with us sitting by a river outside a pub in a quintessentially chocolate-box village in the Cotswolds it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.  We’re even going to stay with Sass and her husband in April for a mini-break!

So I’m going to let the photos do the talking for themselves.  For a girl who was so nervous and felt awkward in front of a camera I think they’re pretty darn rocking!  And I must stress, that when looking at other people’s engagement shoots its easy to sit there and think “yes this is awesome, but I know ill never look like that in a photo”.  Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! This is exactly what I thought, but I discovered that each couple has their own style and personality, and with the right photographer that style and personality can be translated into truly personal and beautiful photographs. Go for it, I say!!

You can see the rest of Alice’s adventures in weddingland here.

Be sure to also keep up to date with her on her wedding blog, DIY Darlings.

Photography Credit: Assassynation


  1. Love these shots, I am a BIG fan of sassy’s work and she has deliverd as normal with this lovely collection of photographs. sometimes pre wedding shoots can be a bit dull to look at, but these pictures really bring out the couples personality and you can really tell they are having a good time.
    I can not wait to see the wedding pictures xxxx

  2. Love these! I’m a strong believer in your photographer should create photos that truly reflect your personality, and these photos sure show plenty of personality! Can’t wait to see the wedding pics!

  3. Katie

    Another excellent post Alice! Great advice- we did an engagement session and became good friends with our photographers. I won’t have to worry about being uncomfortable around them on the wedding day and we’re excited that they are going to be such a big part of our big day.

  4. It is so lovely seeing your wedding in progress, fantastic images from Asassynation, and I love the location it is aces. Great images with loads of energy 🙂 Great stuff – so excited to see your BIG day.

  5. Post author

    dont you just love all the ‘eeeeks’ im gonna be sad when alice is married and not doing her planning posts anymore!
    so looking forward to seeing my brighton lassies for some cocktails on thursday!!

  6. this was the best day! Sassy is a genius, and now we know (and love) her; i can already see myself feeling so much more relaxed on the big day. yesss!

  7. Thank you everyone for you lovely comments, thank you Kat for featuring this on your wonderful blog but most of all thank you Alice and Graham for chosing me to photograph your big day. We had such fun creating these images….if only the model village had been open hey Graham, Hot Fuzz tastic!

    Can’t wait till the big day!!!


  8. Really interesting post (and amazing photos^^) – thank you Alice! Me and my fiancée had dismissed an engagement shoot as we’re similarly camera shy, so it’s really interesting to read why it’s potentially a good idea depsite (or because) of that:)


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