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For Brides & Grooms, Photography, Weddings

September 14, 2012

The Benefit of Bridals

Monday night of this week I met up with Ashley, one of my fall brides, who lives out of town.  She and her fiancé will be getting married in Greenville though and so she came down for several days to get some things taken care of… one of those being her bridal portraits!  And it’s going to be SO HARD to not be able to share them until after their wedding :-)  For ME, that’s the hardest part about bridals. The really fun part is that I get to see the bride as she’s going to look on her wedding day before anyone else!  But then, it’s like sitting on one of the best secrets ever!  Now don’t get me wrong… I’m an EXCELLENT secret keeper.  But when it’s something this good it just makes it so hard!  One year, I was so excited about the gift I was giving my roommate for Christmas that I gave it to her on December 5.  TWENTY days early!  That’s how hard it is to sit on good secrets for me.  BUT, this is a tad different.  So Ashley, no worries.  Your secret is safe with me!

But being the photographer isn’t the point of this post.  Being the bride is.  Not every bride has bridal portraits done before the wedding and from what I’ve learned over the past couple of years, they’re more of a southern thing.  I had no idea!  But my question is why don’t more brides get them done??  After doing my own bridals last fall and then having our wedding a month later, I would 100% do all of it all over again.  Not only was our wedding day the best. day. ever. but it was the second time I’d been able to look and feel like a bride!  Which is awesome since most people only really wear their dress once.  Bridals give you two whole days to be a bride!!  This may also be a southern tradition, but many brides will have a portrait on display at the reception, which they then hang in their home.  I couldn’t for the life of me decide which portrait I wanted hung in our house (plus, I’ll be the first to admit, it feels a little odd to have a picture of just me… but my kids will love it! ;-) ), so I let my mom pick one out for the reception and I had it made into a canvas, which she took  home with her as my gift to her for being such an awesome mom :-)  Then, after the wedding, Ben chose the one to hang in our house.  It was a lot easier to let other people choose it for me!

One thing you might hear a lot about as you’re planning your wedding or helping someone plan their wedding is the timeline.  I try to help my couples plan out their timeline for their wedding day because not only will it help us get the time we need for portraits, but it will help everyone be on the same page.  I send my brides a questionnaire about a month before their wedding. When they send it back with all the information I’ll need to know about their day, I get to work on laying out the timeline.  After I send it back and she has a chance to go over it with her planner or maid of honor or mom, then final tweaks are made and we finalize it.  And it helps the day’s flow so much!  But, regardless of how much planning is done and how much time we allow ourselves for portraits, we’re always constrained by the time we have allotted.  Which is perfectly fine!  But this is one of the best parts of engagement pictures and bridal portraits… there’s no time constraint.  At all!  Ok yes, we will wrap it all up in about an hour and a half, but you know what I mean :-)  There is absolutely NOTHING else on our agenda for that session than to have fun and get some amazing portraits.

And then there’s the benefit of having a dry run.  Oh my goodness, this is so great!  How many brides have gone to the salon the day of their wedding, full of excitement and anticipation, only to arrive at the church disappointed because their hair isn’t what they had in mind?  Or the flowers??  You’ve talked with the florist countless times, but your wedding day arrives and the flowers in front of you were NOT what you had been dreaming about for months.  Having a dry run will help alleviate those worries!  You hair dresser will know that you’re coming in for your bridal portraits, so she’ll schedule some extra time so that the two of you can figure out just what you’d like your hair to look like.  And if you arrive at the florist and the flowers weren’t just right, you might love what they ended up designing or you may have the chance to ask for changes.  But it’s stress free because this is a dry run!  Ok, there may be a little stress, but it’s always better to work out the kinks beforehand if you can :-)

Another benefit is just plain having fun!  And maybe to get some more practice in front of the camera (and walking around in your dress!) before your wedding day.  Like I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I love engagement sessions with my couples because it gives me time to know them as a couple.  But bridal sessions are just the girls!  And the bride usually has an amazing entourage she brings with her.  Which also helps me as the photographer because then, when I show up on the wedding day, not only have I hung out with the bride a couple of times already, but I’ve also met a bridesmaid or two and sometimes her mom!  Which just makes the day even more amazing!

Four of my amazing friends came along for my bridals… and we even met up with our favorite mascot!!

I’m not going to lie… I’ve always been more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.  But, after our engagement pictures and then my bridal session, I felt like a pro the day of the wedding.  It was so. much. fun.  Have I mentioned that before?

Happy Friday and happy weekend, everyone!

  1. Ashley Hall says:

    I LOVE this post. At first, I only agreed to do bridals because my mom wanted a “book” of them like she had put together when my sister got married two years ago. I kept saying how nervous I was having these pictures taken all by myself. After putting on the dress with my hair and makeup all done, I fell in love with being a bride. Being in my dress and being photographed makes me that much more excited for my wedding day! The only thing that could possibly make it any better is my groom. ;)

  2. Susan says:

    I loved having my portraits done!! Granted, I assumed it was “the thing to do” but the whole experience really made the fact I was getting married real. I went around Clemson which was a special place for B and me even though we didn’t know either other there and even went to places I never went to as a student. My mom kept the canvas wrap of my bridal portrait and she loves the keepsake. It was definitely a way to capture the experience without having to worry about it the day of my wedding. I would definitely recommend bridal portraits for brides to be. It really does make everything feel like it’s happening for real :)

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