Full transparency, I had no idea what a bridal session was until the first day we met with our wedding photographer. She asked if we wanted one, then had to explain what it was. We initially decided against it, mostly because we weren't really sure we needed to do it since we were going to have lots of photos on our wedding day anyway.
As our day finally got closer, our photographer generously gifted us a bridal session and I was so excited. I'd learned so much about weddings in the year and a half since that first meeting, and could not wait to finally take photos in my dress. My husband had also started talking about how much he liked the tradition of having a photo of the bride in her dress at the reception, so I planned to print and frame one of the photos from the shoot to give to him as my wedding day gift at our first look.
If you're like I was and don't know what a bridal session is, it's a photoshoot with the bride and photographer ahead of the wedding date, and an opportunity for the bride to take photos in her dress for the very first time. After having one myself, I highly recommend all brides do this, and today I'm sharing my top ten reasons why:
Get comfortable in front of the camera: If being the star of the show isn't something that comes naturally to you, it may be intimidating to think about having the attention on you for the entire day. Many brides feel nervous about having photos taken, so this is a great time to get a few photos without all eyes on you.
Give your hair and makeup a test run: Whether you've already had an initial trial or not, this is another opportunity to get all glammed up and see how everything comes together with your dress. It also gives you a chance to make any changes before the big day!
See your vision come together: This is the first time you will see your entire wedding day vision come together. In addition to seeing your hair and makeup with your dress, it's also the perfect time to make sure you love your earrings, necklace, bracelets, shoes, hair pieces, veil, or other accessories you plan on using for the big day.
Save some time: Your wedding day goes so fast. Everyone says this, but wow is it true. You and your photographer will be so busy on your wedding day and once the guests arrive it will be hard to step away to take photos. Bridals are helpful to get individual portraits out of the way ahead of time. Another great tip is to set aside time during your bridals to take photos of your wedding day details like your dress, rings, perfume, invitation suite, accessories, or other special mementos. This will help give you a little more wiggle room in your day-of timeline.
Learn how to move in your dress: Before my wedding, I didn't have any experience walking around in a giant dress, and honestly it's a little awkward. Bridals are a great time to figure out the best way to walk, sit, stand, and dance around with layers of tule and a long train.
Explore new locations: Selecting a location for your bridals is totally up to you! You could use your bridals to take more photos at your wedding day venue, or select somewhere totally different like a park, local landmark, or somewhere that's meaningful to you.
Connect with your photographer: If you haven't had a chance to get to know your photographer, this is a great way to connect with them before the big day. Many couples have their engagement photos taken by their wedding photographer, but if not, it's helpful to get to know them a little before the big day. I've been lucky enough to have the same photographer for both of our engagement sessions and a styled photoshoot, and I'm so grateful for the friendship we've built. A personal connection truly does go a long way!
Lots of stunning photos: As I mentioned, your day will go FAST. You won't have a lot of time to devote to each photo, so taking bridals in advance will give you the opportunity to take your time, find different locations, and get some seriously gorgeous photos!
Print photos ahead of time for the reception: Talk to your photographer before scheduling your bridals to make sure they will have enough time to be able to get you at least a few sneak peeks before the big day. Printing one off and having it displayed at the reception is a fun tradition, but make sure it stays hidden until after the ceremony!
Being a bride is fun! Adding an extra few hours in your dress only adds to the excitement. You also have a little more time to soak in the feeling of being in your dress, and being the bride!
Check out a few of my favorite shots from my bridal session with the fabulous Emily Boone:
Photography by: Emily Boone
Location: Woodbine Mansion
Hair/Makeup: Molly Makeup and Hair
Florals: Wild Bunches Floral
Dress: Winnie Couture
Alterations: Quality Bridal Alterations | Sole
Jewels: Kendra Scott