Real Weddings

The Engagement Shoot

An engagement photo shoot is an indelible way to celebrate your life-changing decision. Often, this popular option kicks off the next phase of your relationship: planning the wedding. In some cases, couples hold the shoot and them send out one of the photos to let their nearest and dearest know the engagement news.

A compelling benefit of booking an engagement photo session is the opportunity to get used to working with a photographer. If you’re not fond of getting your picture taken, this is your chance to get comfortable. Typically, your engagement photographer will also be the one capturing your wedding day.

Jessica and Matthew, though? The added a new twist to the timeline. “On August 25, Jess and I went to City Hall to become legally married,” Matthew explains. After, they met up with Ottawa photographer Agatha Rowland,, along Sparks Street for a photo session. “It was pretty special, as we were legally married right before our ‘engagement’ photo shoot.”

In fact, Matthew adds, “We kept it a secret from our wedding guests and extended family.” That’s because they wanted their sisters to be the officiants for their official wedding day a little over two weeks later—September 9, 2023—at the Fairmont Château Laurier.  So when Agatha shared the striking images from the session on social media, @agatharowland, they asked her to identify them as photos from an engagement shoot. And she did.

“We had so much fun with Agatha,” they note. “She is the greatest of all time, a true master of her trade in every way.” For Jessica and Matthew, the timing and location of the session allowed them to show their style. “I wanted to wear a hat with a birdcage,” Jessica mentions. “It had to happen even if I had to make it myself. I was inspired by Beyoncé’s Lemonade album, specifically the hat she wore in the Formation visual album. I also drew inspiration from the movie Parent Trap.

“For my dress I knew I wanted a dramatic or fun element, and ultimately feel like I had that experience in my Sachin and Babi dress from Anthropologie. Matt’s linen look was clean and streamlined. A coastal James Bond if you will. I wanted it to feel sharp but still be light and airy.”

 The bonus?  “Agatha picked locations around downtown Ottawa that had a European touch.” They loved that.

Jess’s look:

Hat: Monrowe from Revolve

Dress: Sachin and Babi from Anthropologie

Shoes: Amazon

Makeup: @masha.glow



Vitamins: @illuminatemedicalaestheticsrn

Nails: @polishnailbarottawa

Matt’s look:

Suit: Zara

Shirt: La Maison Simons

Shoes: Aldo

Vitamins: @illuminatemedicalaestheticsrn

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