For those of you who are unfamiliar with bridal sessions, this is a Southern tradition (that seems to be getting more popular in Ohio, as nearly 100% of my local brides choose to do them) where the bride does a portrait session in her full wedding day attire: hair, makeup, jewelry, veil, bouquet, and of course, the dress. Generally a large portrait from the session is displayed at the reception, typically near the wedding cake. In many cases the large photo is given as a gift to the Mother of the Bride after the wedding, with smaller photos being given to the Father of the Bride and the Groom, as well.
I'm a strong believer in bridal sessions myself. Not only is it one of the few times that a woman gets to get all gussied up and primped and polished and take gorgeous portraits of herself, which in itself makes the whole experience worthwhile, but it's also a great trial run for the wedding day look. It's one thing to put an ensemble together in your mind and imagine how it will hold together after hours of hugging and talking and dancing, it's quite another to actually test it out. I would say that the majority of brides who shoot with me end up changing something about their wedding day look after the bridal session. Maybe they realized the dress was too big, or the shoes gave her blisters, or the eye makeup was too intense, or the hair kept falling in her eyes and annoying her, or the hydrangeas in the bouquet wilted and browned after five minutes. These are all things I've seen happen many times over at my bridal session, and each time, the bride was able to make adjustments BEFORE the wedding day. After all, most brides do a trial run of hair and makeup anyway at least put that beauty to good use!
Once you've decided to do your bridal session, there are a few things that will help to ease the process and make the experience smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.
DON'T do your hair, makeup, or flowers yourself (unless you also plan to do that for your wedding day). Half of the point of a bridal session is to test out your wedding day look, so make sure that the same people who will be doing your wedding day hair, makeup, and flowers will also be a part of your bridal session.
DO bring a sister, bridesmaid, or friend to help you during your session. Every regal woman needs a lady in waiting to fluff their train, fetch them water, and help them up and down stairs, and you my dear are no different!
DO eat a good, solid meal before your session, and bring some cold water bottles and a big of healthy snacks such as fruit or granola bars. This is especially important. You probably won't be hungry on the day of your session nerves usually take care of that but it is VERY important that you eat a good, big meal and bring water and snacks regardless. Modeling is hard work, doubly hard when youre doing it in a heavy, thick dress. I've had more brides than I can count get lightheaded and have to quit for awhile. It's not a fun feeling, so make sure your energy level is high, and take as many snack and drink breaks as you need to during your session.
DON'T try to tough it out if something feels wrong during a session. If you feel like your veil is hanging weirdly, or you're having trouble breathing, or you start to feel lightheaded, or the poses just aren't you, please please please SAY SOMETHING. This is not a big professional model shoot where you're expected to suck it up and do your job, this is YOUR session, and YOU make all the rules. Communicate with me, let me know how you're feeling and what you want, because the most important thing to me is making sure that you enjoy the experience as well as the end result.
DO bring props, if that's your thing. Some girls like to include their dogs in their session, or perhaps a football or baseball bat that is special to their fiance, or some beautiful vintage headpiece or parasol, or a few fun pairs of shoes. Many brides are content with just themselves, and that's perfectly fine, but if you want to mix it up a little bit, go for it! If you like this idea but aren't sure what to bring, talk to me and we'll come up with some ideas together.
DO consider your bridal session when purchasing your dress and having alterations done. Most dresses take 6-8 months to come in once purchased, and then require another 1-2 months for alterations. Remember that it will usually take 3-4 alterations appointments to get the dress fitting perfectly, so don't expect to take the dress in two weeks before your bridal session and have it ready. Ideally your dress should be finished and ready to go no later than two months before your wedding, which will give you time to do your bridal session and have any final alterations done. I have done bridal sessions as late as the Monday before the wedding, but I definitely don't recommend it, and you will pay hefty rush fees across the board.
If you have questions about your bridal session or want to get one scheduled, please contact me!