You think you have it all planned out for your totally gay wedding. You have the wedding site picked (James Turrell Skyspace), brunch menu decided upon (fajitas and margaritas), and your own gay Houston hipster dessert (churros) all set for your spring nuptials.
Then it dawns on you that within six months you’ll have to send out save the dates or wedding announcements, and that means engagement photos. Even in our Instagram-, Facebook- and SnapChat-obsessed world it never occurred to me that I would actually pay someone to take my photos, but I soon realized that if I wanted something other than a mirror selfie, me eating breakfast tacos, or me drinking whisky cocktails, I’d best hire a wedding photographer.
There are plenty of sites that offer advice on how to pick a good photographer, but where I struggled was figuring out where to actually hold our photo session. It has to be somewhere pretty, or at least photogenic, but should it be a recognizable Houston landmark? In front of a mural? Which mural? (Note: When you start looking you realize Houston is lousy with murals.) Or should it be somewhere more personal? The options are endless, but your photo session probably isn't.
(Note: If you’re a 14-year-old Hispanic girl, this list is also applicable for your quinceañera photos.)
1. Pick somewhere meaningful to your relationship
All relationships have to begin somewhere, whether it's a bar or a mixer or a restaurant. Why not commemorate your love by going to the place where you first met, had your first date, or proposed? Unless you met at Club Houston or the Ripcord, because then it’ll difficult to explain it to abuelita who those other dudes are in the picture.
2. Pick a Houston-based landmark
How many engagement photos have you seen of two people in a park? Houston has it’s fair share of noteworthy places to take a photo. Like something architectural? There’s the Julia Ideson Building or the Buffalo Bayou Cistern. If you’re getting married in Houston, you can try to get an image in front of the I <3 Houston sign. Have racists or homophobes coming to your wedding? Try getting an image near the Remuv hate sign off the highway. Is your dad a history buff? Pose by those giant presidential heads.
3. Pick a Classic
If you’re not feeling too adventurous and just want classic, you can go for the typical Houston spots: the Waterwall, Hermann Park, Rice University or the Japanese Tea Gardens. There's a reason why these are popular—because they all make beautiful backdrops. Now that gays can marry, there’s no reason why we can’t have the same traditions that straight couples have. Better get there early, though; you don’t want the quinceañeras taking all the good spots.
4. Go for the Gay
Make your engagement photos a testament to Houston Pride. While Montrose is getting more diverse (i.e., gentrified), honor the old gayborhood with some images from around the Montrose area—chances are some of these places might not be around by time you hit your 20th anniversary. Some spots include posing with the drag queens at Michael’s Outpost, the couch at Crocker near the photobooth, and the recreation of the Mary’s mural at Copy.com.