Engagement photos are such an exciting and special time in the wedding process! Not only do engagement photos provide you a beautiful gallery of images to use for your Save the Dates and wedding website, but they’re also a great way to prepare for taking photos on your wedding day. Working with your wedding photographer during your engagement session is a wonderful way to get to know them and how they shoot, so that on the day of your wedding you know exactly what to expect when it comes to photography!
Choosing a location for your engagement photos can seem a bit daunting. Besides, there are SO many options! First and foremost, you and your fiancé should take some time to think about places that are meaningful to the two of you. Is there somewhere special you both love to go together? Where did you go on your first date? Where did you get engaged?
If nowhere comes to mind right away, or you’re just looking to switch things up a bit, today I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite places to shoot engagements in New Jersey and New York City!
Now, ask yourself two questions…
1. What type of location are you looking for? Garden? Park? Farm? Beach? Urban?
2. Are you willing to pay a permit fee, or are you looking for somewhere that does not require a permit?
The answers to these two questions will help you narrow down this list so that you have a few places that make sense to choose from. Because a lot of beautiful public spaces do require a permit (that typically cost an additional fee), it is very important to do some research ahead of time to determine a) how much the permit fee is, b) how you go about attaining the permit, and c) how far in advance you need to get the permit.
Once you have answered these key questions, it’s time to choose your engagement session location!
CROSS ESTATE GARDENS
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Tucked away in Bernardsville, New Jersey is beautiful and whimsical Cross Estate Gardens, one of my absolute favorite places to shoot. The garden has so many different spaces to shoot which adds so much variety to photos, and is a stunning backdrop for soft and romantic engagement photos. See more from Cross Estate Gardens.
DEEP CUT GARDENS
Middletown, New Jersey
Deep Cut Gardens is a gorgeous space for engagement photos, with acres of beautifully manicured grounds as well as an indoor greenhouse which makes for such fun and unique shots (greenhouse is unfortunately currently closed due to COVID). A permit is required to shoot here. See more from Deep Cut Gardens.
NEW JERSEY BOTANICAL GARDEN
Ringwood, New Jersey
The New Jersey Botanical Garden and Skylands Manor are absolutely stunning for engagement photos. Due to COVID the garden currently closes at 6PM, but hopefully those restrictions will be lifted soon for more sunset session! There are so many beautiful places to shoot here, and it’s the perfect romantic setting for engagement photos. A permit is required to shoot here. See more from NJ Botanical Gardens.
SAYEN HOUSE & GARDENS
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
An old world feel, Sayen House and Gardens is host of such a unique setting for photos. Because there is heavy tree cover, be prepared to begin shooting a bit earlier than we may normally before sunset to make sure we don’t lose the light too early. See more from Sayen House & Gardens.
Spring Lake, New Jersey
Divine Park may take the cake for my favorite public park to shoot at — especially in the spring when the trees begin to bloom! So much so that we took our own engagement photos here. I absolutely love the rustic bridges and light, airy feel at this beautiful park. Plus, it’s only a two minute drive to the beach! See more from Divine Park.
Morristown, New Jersey
Jockey Hollow’s historic setting is perfect for rustic engagement photos — and especially stunning during the fall. The small red barn, also known as the Wick House, was built in 1750 and owned by Henry Wick, the largest landowner in Morristown. In fact, his “trees attracted Washington’s army to the area as a winter encampment site because they needed logs to build cabins for shelter and wood to burn for heating and cooking.” See more from Jockey Hollow.
LIBERTY STATE PARK
Jersey City, New Jersey
Liberty State Park offers not only sweeping views of the New York City skyline, but also an expansive and beautiful park setting, a true gem so close to the city. I love Liberty State Park for its variety — as well as its gorgeous willow trees. See more from Liberty State Park.
VAN VORST PARK
Jersey City, New Jersey
Van Vorst Park is one of my favorite places to shoot in the Jersey City/Hoboken area. From its gorgeous fountain to color hydrangeas (in the summer, at least!) it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. See more from Van Vorst Park.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a setting with so much variety. Here you can find classic views of the New York City skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, an intimate garden within the historic brick walls of the Tobacco Warehouse, and a beach of pebbles — very appropriately called Pebble Beach. See more from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
New York, New York
You can’t get more quintessential New York City than Central Park. If you want to shoot here, I recommend opting for a sunrise session (and yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like — a session at sunrise) in order to avoid tourists and foot traffic. Bethesda Terrace/Fountain and Bow Bridge are two of the most popular places for engagement photos in the park. See more from Central Park.
HOBOKEN BROWNSTONES & COURT STREET
Hoboken, New Jersey
Living in Hoboken for several years has certainly helped me to explore and find the best spots for photos! For a city/urban vibe, the Hoboken brownstones and Court Street is the perfect backdrop without needing to go all the way into the city. See more from Hoboken brownstones and Court Street.
HOBOKEN WATEFRONT & PIER A
Hoboken, New Jersey
When I think of classic Hoboken engagement photos, I immediately think of the Hoboken waterfront, with beautiful views of the New York City skyline. Pier A is also the perfect place for engagement photos, and if you time it right with the seasons the trees are absolutely to die for. See more from the Hoboken waterfront and Pier A.
SPRING LAKE BEACH
Spring Lake, New Jersey
Only minutes from Divine Park is the beach at Spring Lake, with a beautiful, light boardwalk and soft, glowy seagrass that makes your engagement photos look like something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Spring Lake is my favorite beach at the Jersey Shore, and we took our own engagement photos here. Be forewarned — beach photos are windy! See more from Spring Lake Beach.
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton’s campus is one of the most stunning locations in New Jersey. You are limited to certain areas to take professional photos, but the architecture is truly worthwhile. Afterwards, plan a date night in the quaint college town at one of its many restaurants right next to the campus. See more from Princeton University.