5 Reasons to Book a Bridal Portrait Session

So you may be wondering - what even is a bridal portrait session? In sum, it’s basically the best thing you’ll do for yourself prior to your wedding day! For bridal portraits, brides will meet up with their wedding photographer a few weeks before their wedding and get portraits taken in one/ or a few beautiful outdoor locations. You’ll meet with your hair and makeup artist that will also be there on your big day and get all dolled up and throw on your wedding dress as if this was your actual wedding day and get your photos taken.

They are such a nice keepsake for both you and your family. On your wedding day, your photographer will definitely take a few portraits of you, but more and more brides are opting to have a full bridal portrait shoot.

Here are 5 reasons that you should have bridal portraits taken before your wedding:

1. There’s No Rushing or Stress Involved


Weddings are uncontrolled events that follow a strict timeline. It’s important that your photographer sticks to your wedding timeline, so that all of your wedding festivities stay on schedule. This means that your photographer is going to have to move relatively quickly to capture all of the photos on your photo shot list. Sometimes this can mean only having 15 minutes to capture all the portraits of you as a couple and with your family. Having bridal portraits taken before your wedding will allow your photographer to spend more time on the shoot. They will be able to take their time, take tons of photos, and give you plenty of options to choose from. Moving more slowly through the shoot, will help you feel more relaxed and allow you to try out many different poses.

2. It’s a Great Test Run


Bridal portrait sessions serve as the perfect opportunity to see how your entire bridal ensemble [ wedding gown, hair, makeup, accessories ] comes together. You can make any necessary adjustments before your actual wedding day. I also think this is a great opportunity to do a bouquet test run as well. Have your florist make up a mock wedding bouquet for you to use during your portraits, that way you can make sure it is exactly what you wanted. This was one of my biggest regrets for my own wedding, because come the day of I was left 30 minutes before my ceremony with a caked on face of makeup and heavy eyeliner that definitely was not my personality and left me in shock but no time for changes!

3. You’re Able to Go to More Locations


Having your bridal portraits taken before your wedding gives you so much more flexibility. On your wedding day, your photographer will be somewhat limited with where they can photograph you -- they will want to keep you hidden from guests and from your groom before the wedding. If you have your bridal portraits taken before your wedding, you can take full advantage of your entire venue space. Your photos will have so much more diversity to them. You can also have your photos taken somewhere other than your wedding venue if you would like. For those that are limited on space at their venue or lacking beautiful outdoor, nature spaces this can be a dream! You just have so many more options!

4. Immediate Sharing


If you have your bridal portraits taken before your wedding, you will have the opportunity to display those photos at your wedding reception. You can work with your wedding photographer to choose your favorite bridal portrait. They can assist you with printing and framing, so that it can be a focal point at your wedding reception. Guests will absolutely love it! Want to keep it a secret? Share your portraits on social media during or right after your wedding for immediate sharing to family and friends that couldn’t make it!

5. You’ll be more Confident and Comfortable on Your Wedding Day

You will feel so much more at ease posing for photos on your wedding day if you have bridal portraits taken before hand. By that time you will have a better idea of what to expect and know which poses are most flattering. You will also probably feel very comfortable working with your photographer by that point.  One of the most common things that brides tell me is how awkward veils can be! Take your portrait session time to get used to walking around with a veil on and just having that extra something on your head!

So You’re Convinced You Want a Bridal Portrait Session, Now What?

When to have your session:

  • You should have your bridal portraits taken 3-4 weeks before your wedding if possible. By that point all of your final alterations on your dress should be finished. That also leaves plenty of time to have your favorite portrait printed and framed to display at your reception or to make any necessary changes in style/ who you want to do your hair and makeup if you aren’t 100% in love with the look they create for your portrait session.

Where to have your session at:

  • Your wedding venue is a really great spot to have your bridal portraits taken because there will be sentimental value. You can also travel to other locations around the city that you like but won't be able to get to on your wedding day. Some brides choose to start the session at their wedding venue then finish it off at a outdoors - adventure spot, such as at an overlook point or near a lake.

Incorporating you wedding bouquet:

  • It’s totally up to you on if you should have your bouquet or a mock bouquet in your photos! I think it is a great idea to include your bouquet in some of your photos. It will add more variety and you will be able to make sure you are 100% happy with how your bouquet looks before your wedding day. Some florists offer discounts for ordering additional bouquets and will happily create smaller versions of your wedding day bouquet for a more affordable price point.

All the Unique Accessories to Make Your Bridal Look that Much More STUNNING

I Eloped, Why Should You?

When my husband and I got married I was still finishing my last semester of college and he was in the military. This meant a long distance relationship and low budget. Being in different states was the biggest hurdle. We knew we were going to get married in Hawaii, where he was stationed, but I had only been there once before on vacation. At the end of the day eloping just made so much sense. It was something we could do with the budget we had and the simplest thing to do with us being in different states. Today my husband and I have been married for two years and still love our decision to elope. Reflecting back on it all now, here’s some points to consider if you’re also on a budget, looking for something more lowkey, or just like the idea of eloping in general!


It’s budget friendly.

The average cost of a wedding is between $19,323 and $32,205. My elopement was all in under $1,000. Generally when a couple elopes it’s just the two of them, the officiant, a witness if needed, and maybe one or two close friends or family. That means you don’t have hundreds of mouths to feed, no cake, dj to hire, gifts, and all the other random things that come with receptions, securing a venue, etc. The expenses involved with elopements are: your attire, officiant, marriage certificate, and photographer. Some extras you can include are: an arch to get married under, videographer, bouquet, dinner afterwards. Even with all the extras you’re looking at an incredibly budget friendly wedding.

Eloping leaves room to spend more on what’s most important to you.

What was most important to me for my wedding was getting a photographer whose work I absolutely loved and looking beautiful the day of. Photographers have lower costs for elopements so even hiring my favorite was still within my budget. I also pulled out all the stops getting eyelash extensions, my hair and makeup done, gel french tip nails, and choosing a gorgeous dress from Bloomingdales. My dress was $100 and I didn’t even have to worry about shoes because I’d be on the sand! I had my elopement on a beach so I was looking for a dress that was long, flowy but not too flashy or formal. It was a simple white dress with a lace top, open back, and long body. The great thing about eloping, though, is that if you want to shell out major bucks on having the perfect dress you totally can because your budget for everything else is so much smaller!


It’s so much more intimate than a large wedding.

It was just me, my hubby, an officiant, ukelele player, and my photographer on my wedding day. I was so comfortable with my hubby, didn’t feel the normal stage fright, wasn’t afraid of PDA, and so in the moment. We danced to the traditional wedding song, whispered words of love into one another’s ears, and said “I Do” in the most intimate and truly about us moment.

You get to relax and actually enjoy your wedding day.

There’s no stress in planning, no bridezilla moments, no worrying about how you’re going to pay for it all afterwards, and it can truly be a fun day for you two! You can wake up late, grab a nice breakfast together, and then just get ready and drive down to your elopement spot together hand in hand and just excited to be getting married. Eloping is the easiest way to have a stress free wedding.

You can have your wedding and honeymoon all in one -aka the best destination wedding!

Because you don’t have to worry about how your friends and family will all get to your wedding venue, you can choose to elope at the destination spot you want to honeymoon at. For example, you could choose to get married on the beaches of Byron Bay in Australia and then stay there and spend your honeymoon afterwards. It’s the perfect way of getting your dream destination wedding and honeymoon all in one!


10 Things to do to Receive Wedding Photos you Absolutely LOVE


1. Figure out your style

First things first, Figure out what style you like While it may seem like all wedding photos are similar, because they all highlight a couple, ceremony, cake cutting, etc., the style in which it’s all photographed varies so much. Before you even start looking for a wedding photographer go on Pinterest and do a quick search on wedding photos. There’s many different styles: light and airy, moody, photojournalistic, editorial, etc. Photographers all choose a certain style they shoot and edit with. Figure out what kind of photos you love first, then look for a photographer in that style.


2. Choose a friend

Choose a wedding photographer you could see yourself being friends with You can typically tell within the first few chats with someone if you share a connection with them or not. Make sure the emails you’re getting back after inquiring with photographers are genuine and friendly, and if you’re really unsure of them make sure to set up a Skype or in person meeting. If the photographer sounds like an automated robot chances are they are all about business and may make you uncomfortable the day of. Think of your guests. If the photographer seems friendly, approachable, and down to earth they’re more likely to feel comfortable with their photos being taken. This is someone who will be with you all day, so choose someone you mesh well with and could see yourself being friends with. A true smile is impossible to fake so choose wisely.


3. Budget for quality photos

Budget for your photographer This may seem like an obvious thing to point out, but make sure you don’t skimp on your photography budget. Remember, after the wedding day is over all that’s left is your spouse, the ring, and your photographs. The food and cake will all be eaten, and your dress, as beautiful as it may be, will not be worn again. If photography is your lowest cost of you big day it’s likely time to rethink that. You should expect to spend anywhere from $800-$1500 for full coverage of your wedding day with a professional photographer, and this is on the budget friendly side.

4. Do your research

Do your research. When you find a photographer whose work you love make sure you spend some time going through his/her website. The initial impression will likely help you tell if you like their style or not, but also take time to read their “about me” page, glance through some galleries, and check out their social media pages. Make sure you fully love their work and even let them know what galleries or photos you love most when you inquire so they can get an idea of what exact style of shooting and editing you like. While it’s important to find a photographer that shoots in the style you love, it’s also equally important that that photographer have the experience to back it. If it doesn’t already say on your photographer’s “about me” page or website make sure you ask about their experience and how long they’ve been photographing for. You’ll want to hire a photographer that knows their gear well. If your on a budget, hiring a photographer with less wedding portfolio experience can be a good choice to getting good photos without blowing your budget. I’m thankful for all the couples that loved my other work enough to believe I’d shoot their wedding just as well. Even my very first couples have left loving their photos! All that being said, it’s possible to get great wedding photos you love without hiring the most expensive, 10+ year industry pro.


5. Create a wedding timeline

Talk about your wedding timeline. Most likely, you have a wedding coordinator and have discussed a day of timeline of when things will occur and where by the time you book your photographer. You’ll want to share this timeline with your photographer along with your coordinator’s contact information so your photographer can plan their shots around it. You don’t want your photographer pulling you away for portraits when you were supposed to be seated for an important toast from your father, and you wouldn’t want your photographer to not get a chance to squeeze in portraits of the two of you because you’re so busy needing to be somewhere else. It’s always best to find an agreed upon time to step away for quick portraits of you two and your close family with your photographer before your wedding date. Typically, right after the ceremony is the best time for these.


6. Have a shot list

Make sure your photographer knows everything you want captured There’s a lot that goes on during weddings, and your wedding photographer will make sure to capture all the big moments, but make sure they know what small moments you want captured as well. Maybe you want to have a portrait taken with a special family member there, or you have a hand sewn quote hidden on your dress, or maybe you want first looks done or are exchanging gifts before the ceremony. All those little things are important for a photographer to know and it’s always better to mention them beforehand so you don’t forget to ask for it on the day of, or worse when you’re looking at your gallery and realize you wish you would’ve had photos done of it.

7. Add on a second shooter

Consider having a second shooter at your wedding Wedding photographers know how to set up a timeline for your big day to ensure they get all the main photos covered, but one person physically cannot be everywhere at once. There are many moments that one single photographer cannot cover completely alone. Your first kiss cannot be captured along with the tear in your mother’s eye at the same time, for example. Almost all photographers offer an add on option to have a second shooter included in your wedding photography package, if it’s not already included. If you’re having a wedding of over 50 guests I highly recommend stepping up your photography package to include a second shooter.


8. Have fun!

Have fun during your wedding day Relax and have fun on the day of! Think of your photographer as just another good friend you have by your side to celebrate your love. If you feel uncomfortable or are treating the day like a photo shoot you’re going to be too in your head and thinking about what you look like vs. enjoying the moment. The uncomfortableness and fake smiles will show through in the photos , trust me. Your photographer is there to capture candid moments of the big day and most of the time they’ll aim to be a fly on the wall capturing it all from a distance so you can have space to enjoy and be with friends and family.


9. Be patient

Be patient Patience is key when it comes to the delivery of your wedding photos. Most photographers will delivery sneak peek galleries the day after your wedding with a handful of photos for you to share on social media and with loved ones, but after that it can often be a waiting game on getting the full gallery. The turnaround time varies between photographers, but most take around 3 weeks to fully edit and deliver. Sending those, “Hey, just checking to see the status of my photos?” emails will not make your photos come any faster. Your photographer is constantly working on them and has to go through and cull, edit, and upload them all which takes a lot of time. Just the upload process can take a full day, so it’s important to wait it out so you don’t rush the photographer so you receive the best images back.


10. Order your prints + albums through your photographer

Order prints and albums through your photographer Your wedding photographer will be the only person with the full RAW images of your wedding photos. While you’ll still get delivered high resolution images from them, your photographer will be able to produce the best quality prints and albums of your wedding photos. They already have an eye for what will look good, know your photos in and out by the time your album is delivered, and have worked with many printing labs and materials to get the best quality work produced for you. Rather than taking your digital images to Costco to be printed, spend a little extra and have it done through your photographer for the best quality. Trust me when I say it makes a huge difference in how they come out, plus it’s zero work for you so you can just relax and enjoy your newlywed period.