Traditionally, saying "I do" marks the magical moment you and your partner become a family. But for those who have kids before they tie the knot, family life starts long before that walk down the aisle. It changes everything about the wedding planning process, but not for the worst. As you can see, these engagement photos that include kids offer next-level happy feelings that you don't get from typical engagement announcements.
Narratives around marriage are shifting, with cultural norms moving away from shaming "non-traditional" brides to celebrating those who choose to commit their life to another person, no matter who they're marrying, how they look, or how many kids they had before they chose to take that step. Romper gave voices to mom brides in its "We Do" issue, which sheds light on what it's like to get married when you already have children, offering everything from advice on how to include your kids in your ceremony to dismantling the notion that being pregnant at your wedding is cause for embarrassment — on the contrary, it's cause for even bigger celebration. And these engagement photos do the same, showcasing joyful soon-to-be married couples with their children.
Getting married when you have children might not be the way everyone does it, but kids don't make a wedding any less special, exciting, or full of love — their presence actually makes you want to root for these families even more. Keep reading to see the extra joy kids can bring to an engagement shoot, and check out "We Do" for even more parental wedded bliss.
1. Eyes On You
You can tell this little one lights up her parents' lives in this shot by Jason Thomas Crocker. Mom and Dad sit on a bench, with their daughter resting on their laps. Both parents look at the kiddo, grinning at her as they pose. She looks off camera, clearly at ease between the two people who love her most.
2. Stealing A Kiss
There's a casual air to the love captured in this photo, courtesy of Manilo at Oak Studio Weddings. Mom, Dad, and Toddler sit on a rocky shore. The child is out of focus in the bottom of the frame, looking at something on the ground, while Mom and Dad share a kiss in the back of the image. The black and white filter makes the image even sweeter.
In this picture taken by Clair Chang, a family of four bursts with joy while celebrating Mom and Dad's impending nuptials. The couple sits on a bench in the middle of the frame, grinning at each other and holding hands. Their daughter and son stand on either edge of the bench, gleefully throwing up leaves in place of confetti. Each of them sports an infectious smile, and the excitement is palpable.
4. A Life Full of Laughter
Romper's lifestyle editor Samantha Darby and her husband, Nick, only had eyes for their daughter, Alice, during their engagement shoot. Alice bears an openmouthed smile as bubbles (courtesy of Nick) float by her, and the picture feels like a glimpse into their happy life.
5. Caught Up In The Moment
This candid photo taken by V & H Photography is equal parts sweet and silly, capturing the love between this family of four. Mom and Dad crouch in a field with their two kiddos between them, focusing on something off camera. Their youngest looks in the same direction, while their older child sticks their tongue out and clutches a stuffed animal. You can't miss the parents' grins.
6. Holding On
Rosa Cuyun of Roma Vista Photography snapped a photo of a bride and groom-to-be walking with their two children from behind, all of them holding hands. Mom's dress flows out behind her, and one of her sons has his head turned towards her. The link between this fam is clear.
7. There They Go
Kiddo takes center stage in this photo captured by Molly Gallagher, but Mom and Dad aren't far away. The little one is at the front of the frame, smiling softly at the camera while their hair blows in the wind. The parents are blurry on the path behind, but you can tell they're looking back at their kiddo, keeping them close.
8. You May Kiss The Bride
An adorable pre-wedding smooch is the subject of this picture, taken by Rocki Hoops of Rockstarr & Co. A family of three stands in a field, with Dad holding their toddler. The little one leans towards Mom for a kiss, as Dad smiles. Their ease and joy together shines through.
9. The Ultimate Mood
Captured by Jaxonphotogroup, these three are bring style to engagement life. Mom, Dad, and their son stand on a staircase, leaning towards one another with mom's hand resting on her groom's shoulder. Dad and the little one have matching suits on (as well as matching grins), and Mom wears a complimentary floor length gown, staring at the camera fiercely. They're family and style goals.
10. Scene Stealer
This little one is the apple of her parents' eyes, especially at their engagement shoot. The kiddo is on her dad's shoulders, while Mom stands across from them with her hands resting on her soon-to-be husband's. Both parents have their eyes on their daughter, and she grins down at dad, excitement flowing out of all three. You can see Mom's engagement ring on her hand, hinting at the event to come.
11. All Smiles
Molly Jane caught this family mid-giggle during their engagement session. Mom and Dad sit side by side, with their older daughter next to them. Their youngest is on Mom's lap, and both girls look at their mom. The parents grin at their kids, with mom's engagement ring is in the forefront of the shot, calling attention to the impending nuptials.
12. The Three Best Friends Anyone's Ever Had
These moms are all smiles for their daughter during their engagement shoot, which was photographed by Rodney Sykes of Mr. Sykes Photo and Video. The brides and their little one walk down the beach together, the kiddo between her moms and holding hands with each of them. Mom and Mom both smile down at their daughter, and she looks towards the camera, showing off her adorable and toothy grin.
13. Let It Begin
Everything about this photo is beautiful and ethereal, from the greenery and shaded lighting to the relaxed family in the front of the frame. Mom and Dad stand next to each other, looking towards the camera in matching glasses. They hold their baby in front of them, who is kicking their feet, all three of them smiling. This dreamy shot was captured by Morgan of Campagna Creative.
14. Here We Go
Taken by Magda Stuglik of M. Stuglik Fotografia, this photo shows a family of four walking along a beach during their sunset engagement shoot. Mom, Dad, and their son walk with their arms around each other, as their daughter twirls a few feet away near the shore. Mom looks over her shoulder at the camera, smiling serenely.
15. No Peeking
Mom and dad try for a little privacy in this sweet shot by Nicole Durham. The engaged couple press against one another for a kiss in the background of the shot, with Mom sweetly touching Dad's face. Their son stands front and center, covering his eyes so he doesn't have to look at the PDA. It's fun and heartwarming.
16. Breaking News
Following the trend of making the kiddos front and center in engagement shoots, this family has their children alert the media about their impending nuptials. A boy and a girl stand in the front of the shot, holding signs that say "Daddy asked..." and "Mommy said yes!" with soft smiles on their faces. Mom and Dad hold hands and lean together in the back of the shot, smiling. Photo by Marissa Harlow Photography.
17. Look At Us
Love is about to take flight in Mariana's (of Mari Lozano Studio) picture of this trio. Dad holds his son in his arms, lifting him into the air, with Mom leaning on dad's shoulder. The little one looks towards the camera, sticking his tongue out in a silly gesture, while his parents smile at him. You can easily picture them recreating the shot on their wedding day.
18. We Do
You can tell this bride and groom are connected by their child, both literally and figuratively. Mommy and Daughter look at each other with giggles. Dad has his arm wrapped around them both, and he smiles towards the camera. Photo by Katherine Gillis.
19. A Family Affair
This shot of a family of three walking symbolizes how they'll be approaching their wedding day — as a family. Mom and Dad walk, linked by their son, down a wooded path. Photo courtesy of Dream World Photography.
20. When He Gives You That Look
Even with two kiddos in tow, Mom and Dad only have eyes for each other in this shot by Vanessa Barrett, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Dad holds the couple's children in his lap, but he smiles towards his bride on his left. She grins back at him and rests her hand on his, leaning towards her family.
21. Tickle Monster
Family is the focus in this engagement shoot photo, taken by Hannah Mayling of Maylings Photography. A toddler sits on Dad's lap in a field, and Mom sits next to them. Both parents tickle their little one with smiles on their faces, and the child giggles and leans into them. You can see Mom's ring glinting.
Edit note: This post has been updated from an earlier version.