Bridal Portraits: On the Fence?

Bridal Portraits: Are You On The Fence?

At first, I thought the whole idea of bridal portraits was kind of stupid. You mean I put on my wedding dress, get all dolled up, pretend it's my wedding day, and take fake wedding day pictures?? That's silly! Besides, I'm definitely not going to display any of these portraits at my wedding. Why would I have a framed photo of myself in the very dress I'm wearing when I'm right across the room? No thanks.

As I was planning my wedding, I was constantly searching for ways to cut costs and save money. I've mentioned in another post the top 5 ways we saved money on our DIY wedding, but one component I ultimately decided not to skip? Bridal Portraits.

Rather than thinking about my portraits through the lens of "fake wedding photos" (pun intended), I was challenged by someone to think about everything as a trial run (around a month prior to the wedding, so there's time to fix any uh-ohs).

Here are 3 reasons to go ahead and book those bridals:

1. Dress Logistics or Alteration Needs

If you have a lace-up dress (or bustle), bridal portraits are the opportunity for your mom or MOH (whoever will be assisting on the Big Day) to practice lacing up the dress or fastening the bustle. This is also your only opportunity to wear the dress for longer than 5-minutes and in a more active situation than standing in front of a dressing room mirror. This is key! You might discover that your dress needs some final alterations, or that your MOH really does need to lace it even tighter to keep it from falling down once you've worn it for an hour.

Mine got pretty loose during the hour of wearing it, so we learned our lesson for the real thing. Another bride I know of actually had her dress literally falling apart during the bridals, with beads coming loose and the photographer getting an eyefu. If she hadn't done bridals, she wouldn't have realized that she needed a new dress until it was too late!

2. Trial Run for Hair & Makeup

Not only will your trial run let you and your hair/makeup artist figure out what exactly you want, but it will also help you to estimate how much time to allot on the wedding day for each component. Having your hair & makeup done ahead of time will also let you see how they turned out in photos & make sure that you're completely in love with your look. I knew that I wanted some sort of side ponytail with cascading curls, but I didn't realize how much I wanted more volume on the top until we had tried it once.

3. Bonding Session with Your Wedding Photographer

You should absolutely book your bridal portraits with the same person who will be shooting your wedding if at all possible. Not only will the pre-session let you get comfortable with each other (which makes for way better pictures), but it will also let you see how their shooting style jives with your pickiness.

My photographer (Kaitlin of Zac & Kaitlin Photography) was amazing, and I'm absolutely in love with our wedding day photo album; but if I'm honest, I actually hated the majority of my bridal portraits at no fault of of Kaitlin's! I discovered just how picky I was about "my bad side" and how much I really hated my dress from a certain angle. The bridal session was such a great thing, because I was able to share with Kaitlin which pictures I liked and why ("I feel skinny from this angle"), and more importantly, which ones I hated and why ("I look like a giant marshmallow!"). Kaitlin was a gem and promised to keep both opinions in mind as she posed me and shot on our wedding day.

Because I want so much to convince you that bridals are a good thing, even if you don't love all them, the first 3 photos were on my "NO" list and the last three were on my "YES" list.

What are your opinions about bridal portraits? To do or not to do? How much have you used your actual portraits?

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