Here in The South, there’s this amazing little tradition of having a Charleston Bridal Portrait Session taken before the wedding day. So what is it, and why have bridal portraits taken you might ask!? Here are 5 reasons I LOVE Bridal Portraits!
1. A Charleston Bridal Portrait Session is a dress rehearsal … literally … before the wedding!
(Photo of Shay’s Bridal Gown during her portrait session at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.)
The best time to schedule bridal portraits is 6-8 weeks before the wedding day. That means that your final fitting should be scheduled before your bridal portrait session. Here’s why: your bridal portrait session will be like a test run for wearing the dress before the wedding day.
Also, you can test how your undergarments both feel under your gown and also if they are visible to the camera. You may decide the cups that are already sewn in are enough support or that the bra or bustier doesn’t dip low enough in the back.
PRO TIP: The key is to schedule your Bridal Portraits with enough time to both order prints and schedule another alterations appointment, if needed.
2. Hair + Makeup Trial for the win!
(Photo of Bridal Portrait Styled Shoot at The Gadsden House.)
Let me tell you: there’s nothing worse than feeling unsure about how your hair and makeup look the day of the wedding. Here’s the truth, MORE IS MORE with makeup when you’re in front of the camera. Highlight and contour actually have to be more contrasted to read on camera. For brides that don’t typically wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis, this can feel heavy! The great thing about a Bridal Portrait Session is that you’re able to wear the makeup, feel how well it stays, and ultimately see how it photographs.
The same goes for your hair style! You may find that the curls fall out and you want to go for more of a pulled back look. Or you may feel like the updo photographs too formal. The great thing about a Bridal Session is that there’s still time to make changes to perfect your hair and makeup wedding day look!
3. If the shoe fits … wear it!
It’s not every day you get to walk around in a ball gown and let alone in 4 inch heels. The bridal portrait session is a great time to see how the shoes fit. How do they feel walking in grass or up stairs? How do the heels feel in relation to the length of the gown.
PRO TIP: If you change your heels after your final alteration, you should keep the same heel height to ensure your hem length is still correct!)
4. Put a bow on it!
Accessories like belts and bows that are tied the day of the wedding can often take some practice. As the manager of a bridal designer’s flagship, I literally tied bows for a living. This means that your bows and belts probably looked effortlessly perfect in the bridal shop. The bridal portrait session is a great time to both practice tying the bow and also see how well it holds.
PRO TIP: If you find that the belt is sliding, riding up, or not staying centered along the waistline, your seamstress can actually tack it in place. This is an invisible stitch that holds the belt in place. There’s also the option to have a belt sewn into the dress. Bows can also be pre-tied and sewn, or you may just find that you need to pop back into the bridal shop with your Maid of Honor for a quick bow lesson!
5. Getting comfortable in front of the camera!
The final and best reason to schedule a bridal portrait session is that you can have time with your photographer before the big day. In my experience, this is such a confidence builder for brides leading into the wedding day. The bride has the chance to learn how your photographer directs poses. The result, you can go into the big day with confidence and just feel more relaxed knowing that the photos are going to be incredible.
I find that my brides are typically even MORE excited about their wedding day after their bridal portrait session. More confidence means better photos on the wedding day!