Advice

Winter Engagement Locations- Holland

Create enchanting winter engagement photos at these Holland locations

Whether or not you’re a fan of snow, there’s no denying that winters in West Michigan are absolutely beautiful. Seeing the freshly fallen snow laying upon the ground, trees, and forest sceneries found in the Mitten are an enchanting sight to see. For those lovebirds who just got engaged over the holidays and new year, winter is the opportunity to capture the beauty of Michigan winters, and your love, for engagement photos.

While summer is the most common time to take engagement photos, winter provides a unique, magical background for couples. With the contrast of a white, brown, and green scenery provided by winter, wearing an outfit full of color will make you stand out in your photos making you the center of attention. Plus if you’re fortunate enough to take photos on a day where there is light snowfall, that makes your photos even more enchanting and romantic.

If you love the idea of capturing your love in a winter setting, the next step is to figure out where you’re going to take them. An open field isn’t ideal for these types of photos; you want a background full of greenery and scenery so you and your love aren’t standing in a plain white background.

West Michigan is filled with hidden gems, nature trails, and local hot spots to create the perfect winter engagement photo. Check out these locations in Holland where the snowfall will make your engagement photo look like you’re in a winter wonderland.

Riley Trails

Riley Trails is 300 acres of rolling terrain with miles of nature trails, a small lake, and beautiful scenery located in Holland. Within the first couple minutes of walking into the trail, you’ll be surrounded by rows and rows of beech-maple trees and pine trees proving a background of whites, greens, browns, and oranges. About 500 feet into the start of the trail, there’s a giant stump where a huge red pine used to be, which is fun to use as a “prop” or landmark for couples. Also if you take a left on the path just before the bridge, you’ll find pine trees covered in snow. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the effect of falling snow in your photos since the wind rustles the snow loose from the high tree branches. 

Hemlock Crossing

If evergreens are more your style, another beautiful county park to take winter engagement photos is at Hemlock Crossing! The land was once an old pine plantation, which now is filled with six miles of trails for snowshoers, skiers, and hikers along the Pidgeon River. There’s even a few pedestrian bridges and scenic overlooks where you can make cute poses for your engagement pictures. There are two bridges located on the forest loop trail, and a second in the meadow loop near the nature center.

Van Raltee Farm Park

There are some winters in Michigan where the snow never arrives, and that’s okay! There are still locations in Holland where you can take engagement pictures with beautiful and rustic backgrounds without capturing the drabiness that comes with a green winter.

One of these locations is Van Raltee Farm Park, containing small nature trails and forestry as a scenic background for engagement pics. Along with the groomed trails, the Van Raltee Farm Park contains a historical landmark. The park is home to the Van Raltee Farm House, built by Benjamin Van Raalte, the son of Holland’s founder, as well as a couple of rustic-looking barns from when the Van Raalte family lived there in the 19th century.

These buildings provide a unique background for couples who are looking for something more homey for their outdoor engagement photos. The barns just a short ways from the Van Raltee house also provide backgrounds of aged wood, giving their photos a simple yet elegant look to them.

To get to the house and nature trails and house, be sure to enter through the 16th street entrance. The buildings are just a short walk away from the parking lot, or you can drive up the road and park on the side of the driveway towards the house.

Van Buren Street Dunes

If you’re going to take pictures by Lake Michigan, discover this “blink and you miss it” nature trail just along Van Buren Street in Holland. This gorgeous hiking trail is a mixture of Michigan forest and sand dunes near Lake Michigan, creating beautiful neutral backgrounds for winter photos. 

Downtown Holland

(Photo Courtesy: Downtown Holland)

If you don’t want any snow on the ground during your photo shoot, downtown Holland is the perfect place to go! Thanks to their underground sidewalk snow melting system installed throughout the entirety of downtown, couples don’t need to worry so much about their shoe and outfit choices for photos. 

The streets, buildings, and landmarks of downtown Holland can encapsulate enchanting engagement photos, especially at night! The trees along the sidewalks are covered in white holiday lights in the winter months, creating a magical fairy-light effect in the background of your photos. I highly recommend taking photos at this location on a Sunday night when there aren’t very many people or cars around. Spots in or near the downtown area that would make for great scenery include:

Centennial Park

This central park of Downtown Holland has trees covered in lights during the winter time. There’s a gazebo where you and your partner can pose while keeping out of the winter snow, and there are plenty of benches surrounded by shrubs and other plant life to sit on for a nice relaxed photo. Plus there are white arches on the south side of the park which make great places to pose with your love. 

Fireplace by Kilwins

What’s more romantic than cuddling with your fiance next to a fire? Bring a blanket and sit on the cement benches surrounding the firepit. With the white holiday lights on the trees in the background, this will make an adorable photo! 

Exposed Brick Walls

Wherever you turn, there are countless brick buildings and walls along the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. Couples looking for a clean and smooth background for their photos will find plenty of aged brick walls throughout the many buildings lined up on 8th Street and beyond.

Before running out to these locations to capture the magic of your love in these winter-themed engagement pictures, here are some tips to keep in mind to prepare for your photoshoot:

  • Wear colorful clothing; AVOID NEUTRAL COLORS.
    • Colorful sweaters and jackets will help you stand out against the white, green, and brown backgrounds of winter scenery. Basically, avoid blending in with the background.
  • Bring a pair of winter boots along, just in case the snow is deep.
    • Ladies, I know there’s a pair of boots or shoes you’re dying to wear with your engagemnet outfit. But we all know walking in boots with heels, especially for long distances in the winter snow, is going to be a bad time for you and your shoes. Be sure to bring along a good pair of winter boots that will keep your tootsies warm while walking to your photo shoot location, especially if you choose to take photos on the nature trail.
  • Wear a winter coat!
    • You can always take the coat off just before taking the photos! All that walking won’t keep you warm enough if you’re taking photos in 30-degree weather. You’ll regret not having your winter jacket with you.
  • If you can, plan your photoshoot around a day of, or day after, snowfall.
    • You want to have freshly fallen snow so the backgrounds look crisp with snow on the trees and few brown patches on the ground. Not a complete dealbreaker, but the fresh snow is what makes these winter engagement photos enchanting in the first place. 
  • Scout locations before the day of the photoshoot.
    • If you decide to go somewhere other than the locations listed above, be sure to scout the location first before bringing a photographer. You want to make sure you like the location and have an idea of where you want to take the photos before wandering around in the cold for a long period of time.

No matter what part of West Michigan you’re from, there’s bound to be a county park or nature trail within a 10-mile radius of where you live. Trees provide a neutral brown or green backdrop, which will be emphasized even more if there’s freshly fallen snow on the ground. If you and your main-squeeze throw on a bold-colored outfit, you’re bound to stand out! I highly recommend checking out these locations for engagement photos. Most locations are free and don’t require a recreational pass to enter.

Are there any locations we missed? Leave a comment below to help brides find the perfect winter engagement photo spot!

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Tue–Fri 12:30 pm–7 pm
Sat 10 am–5 pm
Sun by appointment only

hours:

(616) 990-7411

523 W 17th St, Holland, MI 49423 (W Michigan) 

location 2:

(734) 276-9370

2685 Coolidge Hwy, Berkley, MI 48072 (SE Michigan)

location 1: