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how and where we shot our engagement photos

Location scouting for an engagement shoot: this, my friends, is what we call a first-world problem. But nonetheless, if you're like me, the possibilities Manhattan alone offer can seem overwhelming. Do you do the rowboat thing in Central Park? Take weird, arty shots on the Highline where you're not smiling in any picture? And let's not forget walking and holding hands on a cobblestone street in the Village (I'll admit we're guilty of that last one).

So how did we pick? It was a weeks' long process, but by design. As soon as we locked in our photographer and found out she included an engagement shoot in her package (the lovely Lilian Haidar, who you can read more about here and here), we started making note of our favorite townhouse stoops, restaurant windows, and yes, cobblestoned streets in the Village. Mike and I would text back locations and addresses and both of us kept a running list on our phones. A few days before our actual shoot, we sent all of these over to Lilian who then added them to her own extensive list.

We knew we wanted to take all of our pictures in the Village, as that's where we currently live, where Mike proposed and a lot more picturesque than Mike's former neighborhood of Murray Hill. Hahahaha, Murray Hill. For what it's worth, dear readers, I moved into the city below 14th street and, God-willing, I will DIE below 14th street.

Anyway, Lilian advised shooting during the late afternoon since the light would be the most golden. I may have mentioned this before, but I'm so happy we waited until fall to take the pictures, since I think the light and the temperature were much more agreeable than our original date of June.

We started in Washington Square Park, just about three blocks from our apartment.

Washington Square Park

The infamous "pigeon shots" were also taken here. How do you find the pigeons? Easy, find the pigeon man. The pigeon man is that, um, crazy guy who covers himself in birdseed and covers all the birds with kisses. He also, for a small price, will orchestrate massive pigeon takeoffs to make your engagement photos pretty.

Pigeon time! 

We also stopped for a quick game of chess in the park. I won, obviously.

I'm checking your mate.

We then ventured west, where the classic Waverly Restaurant sign struck our eye. In practice these didn't turn our quite how we expected, but I love that you can see the subway stop behind us.


Around the corner from there is the very beloved Joe The Art of Coffee. Our photos were taken at their West Village location.



Lilian loves to shoot here because they make such pretty designs in their coffee mugs:

It's a heart because we love each other.

On that same block are very classic Village apartments. This facade is on the lovely and quiet Gay Street.

We're working on helping Mike to stand less awkwardly.
Because we're superheroes, we did a quick costume change and then headed out to Patchin Place, which is an annoyingly cute alleyway off of 10th street. Note: there is a gate on the street, but it's always open. 



At this point I had packed flip flops, which came in quite handy since our next set up was a few blocks away at Jackson Square Park.

Gorgeous, late afternoon light.

We scampered over to Jane Street between Greenwich and Washington next. This street runs west, which came in handy as we could see the cars barreling towards us and dive out of the way just in time. Nothing like a little adrenaline to add that extra glow to your cheeks.


The last set up of the day was at Tea and Sympathy on Greenwich Street. We actually had a lot of trouble finding suitable windows in which to take pictures, but here the lovely English staff was nice enough to let us sip empty teacups for the sake of a photo. Thanks guys!


By the end of the shoot I couldn't feel my toes or fingers, but, guys, pain is beauty. And now when Gisele and I hang out, we'll have plenty to talk about.

the finished save-the-date!

how i chose my hairstylist