As a CT engagement photographer for over 15 years, I’ve been all over the state of Connecticut for engagement sessions. And I can tell you from experience, Connecticut literally has something for everyone when it comes to finding the perfect location for your engagement session. Nature preserves, beaches, mansions, college campuses, breweries, wineries, lively downtown centers. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to planning your CT engagement session

In this article, I’ll highlight my personal favorite CT engagement locations as well as some unique ideas for your engagement session. 

 

 

Table of contents

how to choose a location for your ct engagement session

I tell all my couples to think of their engagement session as a fun ‘date night’ where you just happen to have a photographer along for the ride. Choose a location that has some sentimental value and/or a place you’d be excited to hang out in with your partner. Bonus points for including some kind of activity – a picnic, a wine tasting, beer flights, etc. Being engaged (no pun intended) with each other helps to minimize the presence of the camera and results in more natural, candid photos. 

On to the list!

where to take engagement photos in connecticut

1. ct state parks

CT has over 200 state parks that are open to the public. Hiking trails, wooded preserves, open fields, beach front – there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes. 

Harkness Memorial

One of the most popular spots for engagement photos, Harkness Memorial Park is in a class all by itself. It boasts the historic Eolia Mansion as its main attraction, the mansions’ carriage house, a massive lawn that stretches to the shores of the Long Island Sound, and, of course, a beach. While it may be one of the most popular engagement locations in CT, it never feels crowded. Might have something to do with the fact that it’s over 300 acres! There’s always a secluded spot for photos as Harkness.

Address: 275 Great Neck Rd, Waterford, CT 06385

Topsmead State Forest

Built in 1925, Topsmead was home to Miss Edith Morton Chase, daughter of Henry Sabin Chase, the first President of Chase Brass and Copper Company in Waterbury and the reason why Waterbury is known as the Brass City. Tucked away off the beaten path just outside of Litchfield Town Center, Topsmead feels like a secluded English countryside inn and its hilltop perch offers an the perfect vantage point to take in the estate’s fields and country views. 

Address: Buell Road Litchfield, CT

Rocky Neck State Park

Located on Long Island Sound in the town of Niantic, Rocky Neck is over 700 acres of pristine beach and park grounds situated between a salt marsh and tidal river. The park’s varied terrain offers something for everyone. 

Address: 244 W Main St, Niantic, CT 06357

Silver Sands State Park

Silver Sands State Park is a lovely area that’s great for a relaxing stroll by the sea. You’ll find a picturesque 1.5-mile boardwalk that runs along the coastline and a well-maintained beach, marsh, and grassland to explore. It’s perfect to visit year-round. 

Address: 1 Silver Sands Pkwy, Milford, CT 06460

Hammonasset State Park

With a two-mile sandy stretch of beach, a bustling campground, and serene nature preserve, Connecticut’s largest shoreline park offers prime real estate for swimming, surfcasting, strolling the boardwalk, or just soaking in the rays and sweeping views of the Long Island Sound. 

Address: 1288 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443

Sherwood Island State Park

Connecticut’s first state park is still one of its finest. Located on the state’s picturesque shoreline, the park is a popular destination to swim in Long Island Sound, play a round of disc golf, fly a model airplane, collect seashells along the mile-long beach

Address: Sherwood Island Connector, Westport, CT 06880

Lighthouse Point

Known for its lighthouse (hence the name) and carousel, Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven features a soft sandy beachfront, astretch of rocky shoreline, miles of walking trails, and an observation deck that overlooks downtown New Haven. Owned and operated by the city of New Haven, there are parking fees to access the park. 

Address: 2 Lighthouse Rd, New Haven, CT 06512

 

2. ct mansions and estates

Most town municipalities and/or historic societies throughout the state of Connecticut own and maintain the local mansions and estates. Often located in park-like settings, these buildings are not only accessible but are frequented daily by local residents. With stunning architecture, ample grounds, and recreational options, these historic buildings are a great option for an engagement session.

Waveny House

Constructed in 1912 for the Lewis Lapham family, Waveny House sits on three hundred acres of manicured grounds in the hamlet of New Canaan, Connecticut. This historic Tudor mansion is an architectural masterpiece, boasting endless views of the immaculate Waveny Park, beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, flagstone walkways, a charming Walled Garden and fish pond. Waveny House makes for a stunning backdrop for your engagement session .

Address: 677 South Ave, New Canaan, CT 06840

Gallaher Mansion

Built in 1930 by industrialist/inventor Edward Beach Gallaher, this lovely limestone Tudor Revival mansion is styled with carvings, stained-glass windows, and walnut-paneled rooms. It includes a large flagstone terrace and adjacent gardens that make it a perfect location for an outdoor engagement session.

Address: 300 Grumman Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851

Branford House / UCONN Avery Point Campus

Branford House is a historic mansion located on the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus in Groton, CT. Built in 1902 for Morton Freeman Plant, a local financier and philanthropist, as his summer home, Branford House is one of the premier mansion wedding venues in CT. But you don’t have to get married at Branford House to have your engagement session here! Avery Point Campus and the grounds of the Branford House are open to the public. 

Address: 1084 Shennecossett Road Groton, Connecticut 06340

3. CT Colleges and universities

While Steely Dan famously wrote that they were “never going back to my old school”, I’ve had plenty of couples return to their alma mater’s campuses for their engagement sessions. Campuses are great choices for engagement sessions because they offer beautiful aesthetics and strong sentimental connections. Having your session at your alma mater is a great way to tell your story. 

Yale University

There are so many locations to choose from at Yale when it comes to your engagement session. A few of my personal favorites – Beinecke Library, Schwarzman Center Courtyard, the Institute of Architecture and Art (pictured above), the Old Campus quad, and or course a bunch of cool cafes and coffee shops in and around New Haven. 

Address: New Haven, CT

Fairfield University

The main campus is beautiful, but my favorite location at Fairfield is Bellarmine Hall and its the surrounding grounds. More private and secluded than main campus, you’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself! And after your session, you can enjoy a stroll through downtown Fairfield. Maybe even venture over to Jennings Beach. 

Address: 1073 N Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824

Sacred Heart University

Address: 5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, CT 06825

University of Connecticut

Address: 2100 Hillside Road Storrs, CT 06269

Trinity College

Address: 300 Summit St, Hartford, CT 06106 

Connecticut College 

Address: 270 Mohegan Ave Pkwy, New London, CT 06320

Wesleyan University

Address: 45 Wyllys Ave, Middletown, CT 06459

Quinnipiac University

Address: 275 Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden, CT 06518

4. CT Vineyards and Wineries

Cork dorks unite! What better place to have your engagement session than one of CT’s own wineries? Enjoy a tasting, walk amongst the vines, or just sit outside and enjoy the sun while you sip some wine. CT has some absolutely stunning vineyards and wineries throughout the state. 

Jonathan Edwards Winery

Located in North Stonington, CT, Jonathan Edwards is situated on 20 acres of vineyards and features rolling hills, stone walls, and farm country views. The winery offers a warm, cozy, rustic atmosphere, perfect for relaxing and unwinding. 

Address: 74 Chester Maine Road, North Stonington, CT 06359

Saltwater Farms Vineyard

With it’s sleek, modern airport hangar exterior, Saltwater Farms is arguably the most distinctive winery in the state. But don’t let’s it’s modern flair fool you, Saltwater Farms offers a relaxing and welcoming vibe. Located near the Wequetequock river, an inlet for Little Narragansett Bay, Saltwater Farms has a decidedly coastal feel.

Address: 349 Elm St, Stonington, CT 06378

Check out CT Wine for an extensive list of the state’s wineries and vineyards.

Bishop’s Orchards Winery – 1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT 06437

Chamard Vineyards – 115 Cow Hill Road, Clinton, CT 06413

Gouveia Vineyards – 1339 Whirlwind Hill Road, Wallingford, CT 06492

Hawk Ridge Winery – 28 Plungis Road, Watertown, CT 06795

Hopkins Vineyard – 25 Hopkins Road, Warren, CT 06777

Kingdom of the Hawk Vineyard – 113 Pendleton Hill Road, North Stonington, CT

Stonington Vineyards – 523 Taugwonk Road Stonington, CT 06378

6. ct breweries

Having your engagement session at a brewery is a great option! Breweries are fun, laidback, and lively and usually have some sort of games to play (cornhole anyone!) to keep yourselves active. If you are thinking of doing your session (or part of your session) at a brewery, I would suggest picking one that has ample space outside or has some open space nearby or is in a downtown area (like New Haven). 

CT Breweries

According to the CT Brewers Guild, there are 120 breweries in the state of Connecticut. So, there’s plenty to choose from – https://www.connecticut.beer/ctbreweries

Two of my personal favorites …

BAR New Haven

BAR (as the locals call it) is a modern industrial brewery and restaurant. Great beer, great pizza (I mean it is New Haven after all!), and features an open air dining area that has views onto the historic streets of downtown New Haven. BAR is a great option to take a break and refuel during your session or as a last stop to end your session.

Newsylum Brewing

Most engaged couples don’t live in Newtown or the Connecticut suburbs for that matter, but I list Newsylum here as an example of the perfect brewery for an engagement session. Newsylum is located in Newtown’s Fairfield Hills complex which is a park-like setting that has walking trails and tons of open space and fields. An ideal spot to have your hops and your photo ops!

 

6. Nightlife and Hotspots

Is an urban setting more your vibe? Connecticut has plenty of hot spots if you are looking for some night life to have a ‘night on the town’ type engagement session. 

New Haven

With a Rich history, vibrant culture, and excellent food scene, New Haven has a lot going for itself. It’s also a great choice for your engagement session because of all the variety it offers – New Haven Green, Art Murals, Bars and Restaurants, and, of course Yale University. 

Fairfield

Perhaps the ‘quietest’ on the list, Fairfield is a great option for your engagement session. One of the more walkable city centers in the state, you can stroll up and down Fairfield’s main street, duck in and out of its cafes and bars, visit its historic homes, and enjoy a sunset walk on Jennings Beach. 

Stamford

Stamford has a lot to offer! Personally, I love the new Stamford Village (2021) along the downtown waterfront. Home to The Wheel, Cisco Brewers, and a killer rooftop, the village and it’s surrounding area makes for a fun and lively area for your engagement session. 

South Norwalk (SONO)

SONO has long been known as a hip enclave in downtown Norwalk, CT. Not surprisingly, this area is known for it’s lively nightlife scene thanks to a plethora of bars and restaurants in close proximity to one another. My personal favorite is the industrial vibe and cobblestone streets of the Ironworks Building just off Washington St.

Hartford

Don’t sleep on our state’s capital city! It’s hard to beat the combination of a stroll down Pratt Street, a walk through Bushnell Park, and a stop at Trumbull Kitchen to catch your breath.  You could even do a winter engagement session when Bushnell has it’s annual ice skating rink during Winterfest. 

West Hartford

West Hartford has long been known for it’s thriving nightlife scene and with the addition of Blue Back Square in 2008 it’s become the soughtafter hot spot in the area. Chocfull of restaurants and bars, you’ll have no shortage of options. Add in a visit to the West Hartford’s famouse Elizabeth Park and you have the makings of a dream engagement session. 

 

7. Destinations and Getaways

Wanna get away? Connecticut has several destinations for the perfect little getaway setting for your engagement session.

Litchfield, CT

Located in the Northwest corner of Connecticut, the Litchfield Hills has served as a bucolic country retreat for over a century. Towns like Kent, Cornwall, Morris, Bethlehem, and Litchfield offer an enticing mix of cafes and restaurants as well as wide open farmland and nature preserves. The ideal mix for a weekend escape. 

Mystic, CT

Mystic, CT is a tried and true standby for a tourists and locals alike. Learn a little about Connecticut’s seafaring history in Mystic Seaport, take in all the aquatic sea life at Mystic Aquarium, and grab a bite in Mystic’s famous downtown village. And make sure you save room for dessert at Drawbridge Ice Cream!   

Essex, CT

Located on the CT River and home to the Essex Steam Train and Connecticut River Museum, Essex is a charming historic town with a relaxing atmosphere. Stroll the main street, take in the water views from Main Street park, and grab some refreshments at the historic Griswold Inn. And if you are up for a truly unique experience, make a dinner reservation on the Stream Train.  

Stonington, CT

If you’re looking for a quaint, quiet, and historic escape, Stonington just might the perfect fit. Downtown Stonington, known as Stonington Borough is lined with 18th and 19th century homes, cozy restaurants and pubs, and, has its own beach area (Dubois Beach). And, perhaps, its best feature is its close proximity to two of the best wineries in the state – Saltwater Farms Vineyard in Stonington and Jonathan Edwards Vineyard in North Stonington.  

 

CT Engagement Photos

 

GET IN TOUCH!

Looking for a photographer for your engagement session? Fill out the contact form below and let’s chat!