As a photographer, when talking to couples about all of the options and pieces there are for a wedding day, it’s easy to get stuck in auto-pilot mode as if everyone knows what we’re talking about.
However, our couples *most of the time* are planning a wedding for the first time and it’s our job to educate when needed.
One of the things that often gets a few blank stares on occasion is when we bring up a “bridal session” (a.k.a. “bridals” in the photography industry).
What is a bridal session?
For those of you that don’t know, a bridal session is a separate photo session with the bride, in her wedding dress, before the wedding day.
A bridal session is typically done right after you get your dress back from alterations, about a month before your wedding day.
Traditionally, I feel like a bridal session is more of an old southern thing where the bride prints out a photo from the session and puts in it a beautiful frame to display at the reception. Printing a photo out for the reception isn’t common where I’m from in Pennsylvania!
However, today, it’s probably done more for taking the stress off of the wedding day but that’s just my opinion!
Doing a bridal session is great for a few reasons…
It’s a great “trial” to see how you will look on the wedding day. For the first time, you get to see all of the pieces put together. But it does take a little coordination between your vendors though!
For a bridal session, you’ll schedule hair and makeup. This could be the first time seeing yourself done up this way. It’s a great opportunity to give feedback to your hair and/or MUA for any tweaks you may want to make. Professional makeup does feel a little heavier than your typical daily routine but that’s because it shows lighter in camera. If you have questions, discuss with your artist(s)!
Then, you’ll also coordinate with your florist to get a bouquet (or even a slightly smaller version it) that will match your style and colors for the day.
More often than not, we hear “I don’t know what to do with my hands!” But do NOT worry — we. got. you.
For the same reason we love engagement sessions, a bridal session gives us extra time together. It’s great to see how your dress moves, how you feel in it, and for us to get to know each other better. The more opportunities we have to get together, the more comfortable everyone feels on a wedding day.
Timeline stress reliever
The truth is, wedding days fly by so fast. We try to cram so many memories into one day that it can feel like a blur. So, being able to take one thing off of the wedding day timeline is so, so helpful. A bridal session is an opportunity to get creative photos of you as a bride, feeling the most beautiful you’ve ever felt, with no timeline obligations.
We often tell our brides to expect 1-2 hours for a bridal session. We like to move at a relaxed, slower pace and there is often extra time being spent getting the layers of your dress and veil to lay just right.
Here’s a list of what to plan for when it comes to a bridal session:
Schedule a time with your photographer (hey!)
Choose a location (this can be your venue or an entirely different location)
Schedule hair and makeup
Coordinate to get a bouquet with your florist
Pick up your dress from final alterations
Have all of your accessories selected and purchased (veil, jewelry, shoes, etc.)
Choosing to do a bridal session is a great way to feel even more like a bride during this season of your life and have fun doing it! And as with anything wedding-related, whether or not you want to have your “bridals” done is totally up to you!