Planning Your Bridal Session Photography
No item of clothing will ever mean more than the pieces you wear as you walk down the aisle, and many say you will never look as beautiful as you do on your wedding day. It’s for this reason that I recommend scheduling a pre-wedding Bridal Session with your photographer.
Many couples don’t know what a Bridal Session is, and we as wedding professionals take for granted that sometimes our brides and grooms do not speak the same language we do. So what IS a Bridal Session?
A bridal session is a dedicated, private fashion shoot that typically takes place prior to the wedding day. This tradition began overseas, and was adopted heavily in the South before moving up the coast and across the country. This was an opportunity for the bride to get fully dressed, complete with hair, make up , and accessories. Designed as a trial run, this time would allow the bride get comfortable with her final look and in front of her photographer. The photos would be kept a secret, only to be unveiled as a large print at the wedding reception.
I love scheduling styled shoots for my brides and grooms; both together and separately. We make a big production out of it! The clothing is set up on model forms, we bring in music, champagne, snacks, and props. The hair and make-up teams we have schedule for the wedding come in to do a final dress rehearsal, and we spend the day together relaxing, bonding, and enjoying the excitement of those final pre-wedding moments! Sometimes we try out different looks, getting gorgeous shots that are fashion-forward and fun, and different from the couple’s final wedding day styling.
When planning wedding portraits, communication is key! Let the salon and tailors you are working with know that you are planning a portrait session, and that you will need your final outfit and all accessories prepped and ready in advance. Most couples don’t schedule their session too far in advance; typically not more than a few days out. If you plan to schedule your shoot for substantially earlier, make sure that you have your attire ready and in hand.
Planning in advance is so important. Wedding pros tend to book early and often, so schedule your teams as far in advance as possible. You want to know that you have the exact same hair and make up team on hand for the portrait session as you will on your wedding day. The same thing goes for your photographer, any video teams, props, etc. Not only will this give you a true, accurate representation of what you will look like on your wedding day, you will give your team a chance to come together and get comfortable working with one another.
Remember to consider location, location, location! Many of my clients come from areas with gorgeous outdoor settings. Las Vegas, however, is a desert. Many of our outdoor settings are covered in either dust, dirt, or concrete. I always worry about something happening to the dress, and if a couple really wants to be photographed outside then I move the portrait session to a day or two after the wedding. Not as a trash the dress session, but post wedding there isn’t as much of a risk of getting a hem dirty or pulling a seam. That said, Las Vegas has so many beautiful spaces you can book for your portrait session. Suites, studios, ballrooms, and nightlife venues can be gorgeous during the day.
Once your pull together your teams, your attire, and your location you can get into the details. Focus on your accessories. This is your chance to fully run through your wedding day attire before you walk down the aisle to make sure that every inch of your styling is absolutely perfect. Beyond that, however, take this opportunity to play! Make a statement with something unexpected. If you plan to be a classic bride on your wedding day, try a different hair style. Or maybe you can play with texture and fabric. Many brides love to don a leather jacket, while grooms have been know to mess up their hair and rock a five o’clock shadow. Consider bringing in props for your shoot. A bouquet, a vintage chair, or a floral wall can transform a fairly basic space into something magical.
Are you planning on wearing two dresses? Then a Bridal Fashion Shoot is a MUST! On the wedding day, you’ll take most of your formal portraits in your reception dress simply because you won’t have time to pose in your reception dress. A Bridal Session ensures that you will have just as gorgeous portraits in your second dress as you will in your first. As a bonus, you won’t be sweaty, tired, or stressed! You’ll love being in your second look and get perfect pictures to keep on the mantle and share on social!
Another bonus is that you may be able to get a few boudoir shots in while getting ready! These are nothing compared to the full experience you would have if you styled a sexy shoot with multiple outfits and soft lighting, but a few images of you all dolled up in a pretty lace robe never hurt anyone!
Even with the very best planning and timeline, you will be pulled in various directions on your wedding day. Your wedding planner, photographer, guests, and new spouse will want your time and attention. Emotions will be running high, and all you will want to do is run into your reception and see all of the magical, wonderful things you have been planning come to life. Standing for portraits will be the last thing you will want, and yet after the wedding you will wish you had more photos.
A Bridal Session is hands down the best way to ENJOY your time in your dress, unwind, and know that when you walk down the aisle you will look exactly the way you want to!