What is a bridal session? Do you need a bridal session? If it were up to me, YES! But in this blog post, I will give you some reasons to do a bridal session. But, also, I might give a reason or two why you shouldn’t schedule one. I will also add some tips on how to make the most of your bridal session.
First, what is a bridal session? I was a history major in college, so I love the history that I have learned about bridal sessions. They started in Europe because there weren’t cameras and so the brides would go get their portrait painted. How cool is that?
Somehow that tradition made it over here. It is popular just in certain regions in the U.S. When I started shooting weddings in Utah, back in 2005, bridals were extremely popular, and remain popular there. Pretty much every bride did a session and I LOVE it (more on this later)! In California, this tradition was non-existent; I would only do them when my brides came from Utah. Then we moved to Texas! Oh boy! I was beyond excited that this is a big tradition here. Bring it on!!! Let me tell you all the reasons that I love them!
While I was writing this post, I thought of the most fantastic idea and you should most definitely steal it! While you are shooting your bridal session, have a painter come to paint your portrait while we do your session! I love this! The connection between the historic roots and the modern photographic style of the bridal session makes my history major heart flutter. I just happen to know an amazing live painter, definitely check out Brushed Script!
Why I Love Bridal Sessions, My Top 4 Reasons
It’s a Trial Run.
You get to put your dress on and make sure all the alterations are feeling right in a real-life scenario. You will be walking around and posing during your session, this trial run will help you figure out how much help getting aroundare you going to need on your wedding day. Walking in a wedding dress is no easy task. Plus, is there anything that needs to be fixed or altered?
You get to have your hair and make-up done just like it’s going to be on the wedding day. Do you like the way you had them do it? The curled tendrils that you have down, are they going to work with the wind? Is having your hair all the way down too much for the whole day in the heat. I absolutely hated (still do) fake eyelashes. Your makeup artist swore that they would make all the difference in your pictures, but is it worth it? Etc.
Can you walk in your shoes? They are gorgeous, but are they going to last all day? Do you need to have a pair of stand-by shoes ready while you are walking around and taking pictures?
All of this is not possible to know for certain without a bridal session!
Special time with your Mom.
The wedding planning process and the wedding day are hectic to say the least. This is such a special time that you can spend with your mom, or your grandma, aunt, best friend, whoever you would like to be with you on that day. On my bridal session day, being with my family was so perfect.
Not only did I have my mom with me, my dad, sister, niece and brother came too. We rented an extra golf cart and everyone piled on in. Looking back now, this might have been a little overwhelming for my photographer, but these are memories that I will never forget. Especially now that my dad is not with us anymore, my mom has Parkinson’s Disease, my niece is a teenager now and my sister and brother both live across the country.
These memories would not have been possible with a bridal session.
Connect With Your Photographer.
Now, as a photographer, I need to put this in big bold letters: THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION!!!! Go ahead and read that again. This is in addition to your engagement session with YOUR photographer. A bridal session is another opportunity to spend more time with the person you will spend the most time with on your wedding day, your photographer. Literally, any opportunity you have with them will make that day run more smoothly.
You will also have more opportunities to see yourself in portraits and see if there is anything you would like to change. With your hair and make-up done is there a side that you prefer to be photographed on? Do you not like your picture taken sitting down in your dress? There are a million things that you could notice during and after your bridal session that would not be possible without it.
There are so many things that you and your photographer can work out that day to make your wedding pictures everything that you dreamed.
Location, location, location.
You can do your bridals at your venue or you can do them somewhere completely different for an alternate look. The sky’s the limit.
Are you getting married at a barn, but you would love to do some pictures with a cityscape? Or is your wedding at a hotel and you would love some green trees and Spanish Moss? Or how about renting a natural light studio?! With the rain we’ve been having here, a studio may not be a bad idea.
Ladies! You literally spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your dress, the most beautiful dress you will ever own. Wear it more than once! Rock that dress in an open field! Spin in it on a rooftop, overlooking downtown Houston.
A bridal session will give you an excuse to wear it more than once!
My last bridal session that I photographed while I was still living in California was at Balboa Park in San Diego. Oh it is not to miss! Click HERE to see the beautiful Mackenzie’s bridal session.
Tips For Your Bridal Session
Have YOUR hair and make-up people that are going to do your hair and make-up ON your wedding day do your hair and make-up for your bridal session.
Why is this the first tip I am giving you? Because I have a personal testimony of this. I LOVED my hair for my bridals, it was exactly what I wanted. But the girl that did my hair was not going to be able to be there on my wedding day, but she said that her associate could do it. DO NOT DO THIS!!!!! I hated my hair, especially on my wedding day. It still haunts me and it is the one major thing that I would change if I could.
Wear your veil.
Just do it. It adds so much. A huge part of this bridal session is that it is a trial run and your veil is part of your bridal look. Plus, it’s a great time to see where you want to wear it in your hair, how easy it goes in and out, and if it is heavy and you need to bring extra bobby pins or Tylenol if it gives you a headache.
If a veil is not part of your bridal look, ignore this piece of advice.
Have your florist do a trial run of your bouquet.
Flowers complete a bridal portrait. They just do! I’m not shy about my belief in the importance of flowers on your wedding day! Hannah at Cali and Bloom made several of the bouquets in this blog post and is AMAZING! Check out her site HERE.
At one bridal session, I had a bride not like her bouquet and she was able to have her florist tweak it and she had her dream bouquet on her wedding day. Seriously, bridal sessions are an amazing trial run.
Plan it well in advance of your wedding.
There are a few reasons for this; first, Texas weather is crazy. If a tropical storm or a hurricane is coming through, you can adjust your bridal session day or location. This isn’t possible on your wedding day! So, if said tropical storm or hurricane happens to land on your wedding day (it won’t, I promise it won’t, sending only good vibes your way), then you will still have the most beautiful bridals in your wedding dress.
Next, if your wedding dress gets a little dirty, you can wash it. You guys, personal story, the toe of my shoe got caught in the lace of my dress AND I FELL AND RIPPED THE LACE ON MY DRESS!!! It’s true, I am still traumatized by it! But because I planned far enough in advance, I could fix it and it was as good as new by my wedding day. And, no, no Mollie Jane brides have ever fallen in their dresses.
Another reason, if anything needs further alteration, you have time to fix that. Sometimes those things take time.
Reasons NOT to do a Bridal Session
A bridal session isn’t for everyone. I really don’t think you will regret it, but only you know your personality and if dressing up for a 2nd time does not sound like it would add to your wedding experience, then it is probably not for you.
A bridal session is definitely an added expense and if there is no wiggle room in the budget for it then a bridal session may not be for you. But if you can work it into your budget, it is always worth it!
Rice University Bridal Session
Last month, I had the opportunity to do Clare’s bridal session at Rice University. She is married now, so I can post them! Whoosh! That felt like forever!
Clare’s bridal session at Rice University was everything that I wrote about in this blog post! I loved it so much! It made me so excited about doing so many more of these beautiful sessions.
We were able to do her bridal session on one of the first weekends Rice University was open for photo sessions, after C*vid, so that was super exciting. It is such a beautiful venue! I am now a registered photographer there now, so you can message me on how to set up your session, you do have to have an appointment.
If you are a Mollie Jane bride (or any bride) consider doing a bridal session. Contact me on how to add it to your collection!