This Winter Wonderland Photoshoot Will Have You Wishing for Snow

Planning a winter photo session? Check out Elena LaQuatra’s insanely romantic engagement shoot by Brittany Lee Photography.
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PHOTOS BY BRITTANY LEE PHOTOGRAPHY

When WTAE reporter Elena LaQuatra’s boyfriend Jordan proposed in September of 2019, she was totally surprised. 

Before they left to go out to dinner one evening, Jordan told her he needed to show her something in their living room, where there were red roses, champagne and the ring displayed on a table. There, he asked her to marry him.

“It was just perfect,” LaQuatra says. “I always told him, ‘I will know when you’re planning the proposal. You will not be able to hide it from me. I know you too well. We’ve been together five and a half years now.’ … I’m shocked he did it. I really had no clue.”

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While the couple originally planned to hold their wedding in February 2021, they postponed it until January 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We were coming up on the winter months … so I was thinking, ‘Well, we better get our engagement pictures, but it’s gonna be winter, and it’s not gonna get nice until April or May. They would have to be winter pictures,’” she says. “I said, ‘Yep, let’s just do it.’ … I felt crazy.”

Photographer Brittany Elliottowner of Brittany Lee Photography, didn’t think their idea was crazy at all. She’s been a photographer for nearly 11 years and loves working outdoors.

“I don’t mind the cold,” Elliott says. “I choose to sit outside and hunt in the freezing cold at five in the morning.”

The couple decided to hold the photoshoot at Jordan’s family camp in Erie.

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“We knew we wanted [the photos taken] somewhere with snow,” LaQuatra says. “Of course, when we took these it was the year where there was no snow. Brittany was so sweet and just played it by ear with us. We literally were looking at the forecast the day before and had all these other dates when we were both free to do it.”

At first, the couple was unsure of what to wear, but LaQuatra knew she wanted to do something “a little bit glamorous” for the photoshoot.

“[Jordan] was under the impression that I was going to pick nice, warm, normal outdoor winter clothes,” LaQuatra says, “and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna wear a red gown, and you’re gonna wear a suit.’”

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LaQuatra loved the crimson Sherri Hill gown she wore, although it left most of her arms and shoulders exposed. Elliott says she works quickly and the shoot didn’t take long, but it can be hard to get a good photo of someone if they’re very cold because their noses and cheeks are red.

“We were rushing out of the car and then running back to the car to warm up in the heat,” Elliott says. 

“We were freezing,” LaQuatra adds. “Our noses were running, and our teeth were chattering. I mean, it was so, so cold that I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope this wasnt a terrible idea.’”

It wasn’t; LaQuatra says the photos are so pretty she’s had people tell her they appear photoshopped. 

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“I’m so glad they turned out how they did,” LaQuatra says. “We still, almost two years later now, cherish them so much. We have a big canvas print [from the shoot] hanging in our home. We’re so glad we went through with a unique engagement photo idea.”

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