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.