Shelly Pate

The Best Reasons Why You Should do Wedding Bridal Portraits

You’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Imagining what the experience of your wedding day will look and feel like is already a clear picture in your mind. After the countless hours you’ve spent thinking about and actually planning your day, it makes sense that you expect a payoff for your efforts. In addition to your new spouse, you’ll walk away with memories and the wedding photography capturing those moments. Another piece you can take with you, that I would argue is essential, are your wedding bridals. Here’s the purpose behind wedding bridal portraits and why I highly recommend them!

Why it’s Worth Doing Wedding Bridal Portraits

bridal portraits at Goodstone Inn garden wedding venue

You’ve invested so much time and money into your unique wedding dress and how it fits into your wedding day plans. You may have even spent a lifetime dreaming up what your dress would look like and how you would feel wearing it. Your dress or other unique wedding clothes are so important to the fabric of your day.

This dress shouldn’t be worn for a single day and then put into a box. But, the reality is that most brides won’t wear their dress a second time. The wedding day goes by so quickly and you both will be pulled in many directions. It’s worth having some dedicated space to document you in this dress beyond wearing it on your wedding day.

There will be a ton of photos captured during the entirety of your wedding photoshoot and these will include individuals. But, that is very different from an entire bridal photography session dedicated to yourself. Bridal portraits are an amazing opportunity to capture you and your dress on this important occasion!

Your Options for Wedding Bridal Portraits

bride poses in tub during  bridal portraits

What it will look like depends on you! Generally, bridal portraits are solely meant for the bride and sometimes will include your pup or other pet. With a bridal session, we can get creative using more fun and editorial vibes. Some venues like Dover Hall even allow you to use the space multiple times. We could do a before or after session and really utilize all the amazing locations!

Bridal Portraits on the Wedding Day

bride twirls white tulle wedding dress during  bridal portraits

Nancy decided to have dedicated time during the getting-ready portion of her wedding day timeline. Her venue was amazing to photograph with a huge tub and elegant doorways.

Wedding Dress Photoshoot Before or After the Wedding Day

Sarah took hers after the wedding day which happened indoors at a church. We went to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a place where she really feels at home and loves. We had fun combining nature with the historic bricks and colors of the neighborhood.

bride stands in rainy field during bridal portraits

Diane had a similar experience. She held a ceremony-only wedding with family and couple’s photos so she really wanted to celebrate her dress! We took bridal portraits at the Airlie venue and even though we had a rainy day we still made magic! Doing these outside after the wedding day removes the pressure of keeping the dress absolutely clean. These are some other benefits of before and after sessions:

  • BEFORE: Can use this as a hair and makeup trial with your HMUA to see the full look! The only downside is the extra care and potential time needed (if dry cleaning is necessary) to make sure the dress remains in perfect shape for your big day.   
  • AFTER: Can be combined with a “trash the dress” session since we don’t have to worry about getting the dress dirty. You could do a totally different look with your hair, makeup and bouquet. If your hair was down then try some wedding bridal updo hairstyles.
bride sits under veil at wet salt flats

Bridal Portrait Ideas: Boudoir

bride cheers with bridesmaids wearing matching lingerie

Another direction that your bridal portraits can take is a boudoir session! This is usually the style chosen when your bridal portraits are done on the wedding day. I consider these mini bride sessions and they are usually 30-45 minutes incorporated into the wedding photography timeline. There are several options for what this could look like, be used for, and the benefits!

bride gifts groom boudoir bridal portraits
bride sits with bridesmaids in wedding venue tub
  • You don’t have to do this for anyone but yourself! It can be empowering and feed your inner confidence.
  • These are not only another memory you’ll have, but also my recommended reward for a well-planned wedding!
bride sits with bridesmaids in wedding venue tub

Take Advantage of the Time to Take More Photos Together

bride holds groom from behind at outdoor field wedding

A special session with the two of you can also be done on the day or through a day-before or day-after session. This is when pre-wedding photos or a post-wedding photoshoot happens:

  • These can be done still in your wedding attire literally the day before or after the wedding at your destination wedding or elopement location.
  • Can also happen in a different location than your wedding destination or venue. 
  • If you are having your wedding in the city, but also love being out in nature, then this session can be outdoors with more of an elopement feel. 
  • Works as a longer portrait session extending the 15-30 minutes from the wedding day. You don’t have to worry about keeping that session short and can focus on more moments with your people!

On the day, you can opt for both of you to have separate individual portrait sessions (with a second shooter) even simultaneously on the same property like Kelly and Brian did! They chose to do theirs at their ceremony venue and we made sure they didn’t see each other before their first look! Planning even some extra private moments together apart from the first look can serve as additional portrait time.

During our first chat, we can explore the various wedding package options that include a bridal photoshoot and day-before or day-after sessions!

couple kisses under veil


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