Planning the Perfect Bridal Portrait Session
Duke Mansion Bridal Portrait Session
Something wonderful I discovered when my business moved down south, the bridal portrait session! They aren’t just for your mom anymore, either. These sessions can be an experience like no other if you do it just right, so here are my tips:
Do you NEED a bridal portrait session?
This is a question that I get quite often when women see that I offer bridal portrait sessions. The thing is, you don’t HAVE to do it before the wedding. Yes, that is the tradition and if you plan to display your portrait at the wedding you’ll need to plan for the session in advance. What I suggest is starting your dress fittings 3 months prior to the wedding date so that your dress will be perfect and ready to take home 6 weeks prior. We would schedule your session around that time to allow for editing and image selection and then for the print to arrive and be framed before your wedding day.
If you do not plan to display your bridal portraits, however, you can still make one more special day with your dress. Get back into your wedding look and have some fun now that you don’t have to worry as much over the train or veil. To be clear: I am NOT suggesting a trash the dress. I am just saying it is easier to walk around if you can just simply walk in your gown and not have to carry it everywhere.
Timing and Location is everything for Bridal Portrait Sessions.
Like I said, perfect timing would be about 6 weeks prior to your wedding. But what about weather? Well, that is why I always suggest a location that has both indoor and outdoor options. My top choices are The Duke Mansion, Separk Mansion, Ritchie Hill. If you are getting married at The Ballantyne, you can also have your portraits there. Many locations require advance notice for planning and also have a fee associated, so I always suggest that you take that into account. It is always worth the fee! Often you can’t reschedule your hair and makeup, bouquet and don’t want to be left out in the rain!
What do you need to bring to your bridal portrait session?
Your bridal portrait session is the perfect time to try out your full hair & makeup look. Many brides opt to use a trial run for this occasion. What I do NOT suggest is using someone other than the artists you will use for your wedding day. You want your hair and makeup to reflect the same look you’ll have during your wedding, and this is your chance to perfect that look!
You’ll also need a bouquet, and again I strongly suggest this is done by the same florist you’ve chosen for the wedding. Often times they can make a slightly smaller bouquet if you are interested in saving a few dollars, but honestly, you’ll want to see how the whole combination looks so don’t just grab any old flowers from the supermarket and expect it to look good. You are investing time and money into these portraits and when done right, they can absolutely stand out!
Don’t forget your shoes, your jewelry and veil. These finishing touches will complete your look and as a bonus, you will get a better understanding of how it will feel on your wedding day. I have had brides go back for dress alterations AFTER bridals because of how a certain part looked, buy shoe inserts based on how walking felt…and even decide on a whole new bouquet!
What can you expect during your bridal portrait session?
Invite your mom, or your best friend to your session. That way you will have someone there to cheer you on, and also to make note of what went well, and what didn’t. On your wedding day that same person will be there to remind you that you loved a certain facial expression or pose more than others! Not to mention, on your bridal session we are extremely careful to carry your dress and veil and extra hands are always helpful!
I always think that bridal portraits are a relaxed and fun experience. You have a full session dedicated just to you! Believe me, even with the most laid back wedding day timeline, we do not get enough time for many bridal portraits.
I have my bridal portraits, now what?
After your session, you will love looking over your finished portraits. It will get you excited for your wedding day and help to build the anticipation (and maybe take away a bit of the stress!). You can select multiple images to display, most women choose one large portrait and have it framed, but I’ve had many brides decide to put several smaller prints at the gift table or to give as keepsakes to her parents on the wedding day.