4 Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Bridal Session

What Exactly is a Bridal Session?

There seems to be a variety of definitions floating around when it comes to what a bridal session actually is. Some people say bridal sessions are the portraits taken of the bride and groom the day of the wedding, some say they are the portraits of just the bride on the day of the wedding. My definition of bridal portraits are photos that are taken of just the bride in full wedding attire prior to the day of the actual wedding. 

Typically, my brides will see that I have bridals included in one of my packages, and they won’t understand why it’s a separate session. I’ve had many brides ask me, “What are bridals? I think I have an idea, but I’m not really sure. Why would I want a totally separate photo session for just pictures of the bride?” I know it sounds a little redundant, but it’s not. Trust me, here’s why.

Why Should I Have a Bridal Session?

1. You get to test your hair, makeup, and florals before your actual wedding day

A lot of brides think they know exactly how they want to look on their wedding day long before their big day arrives. They’ve already ‘said yes to their dress,’ and they’ve already picked out their hair and makeup style. A lot of brides even have a hair and makeup artist selected, as well. That’s great! That is a great example of a bride that is super prepared. However, what I’ve found in my experience so far, is that even if a bride knows exactly what she wants, it still really helps to have a bridal portrait session. A bridal session allows the bride to can actually see the look that they have in mind on their own person with their own two eyes before they walk down the aisle. 

Of course, this does mean a little extra planning. Having a bridal session requires reserving a day/time to have your hair and makeup team work their magic on you prior to your actual wedding day, and a bridal session also means having a florist put together a bouquet similar to what you think you want to carry as you walk down the aisle so that you can see what it looks like in real life before your big day, too. Yes, this is also a little more money, but it’s totally worth it when you find out that what you originally had in mind doesn’t actually look the way you thought it would. 

I’ve had brides try makeup at their bridal session and realize that the dramatic smokey eye they thought they wanted is actually a little more dramatic than what they wanted for their wedding day, so they decided to go with something a little more natural instead. I’ve also had brides realize that the bouquet they originally thought they wanted was actually waaaay too big for the minimal look they were going for that day, so they chose something super simple for their actual wedding.

It’s better to find these things out early on than to realize on your wedding day that you have a look you don’t really like and you’re stuck wearing it in the photos that you’re going to look back on for the rest of your life.

2. You get to practice bustling your dress

Bustling a dress shouldn’t actually be that hard – but it can be. When brides pick up their dress after alterations, I always recommend that they take a video of the seamstress bustling the dress. This video will make it a million times easier for the next person bustling your dress to get it done quickly. When you’re at your bridal session, you can practice explaining to someone what to look for when bustling your dress and show them the video to make it easier. Practice makes perfect, and you probably won’t put the dress on again until your big day.

I have worked weddings where seven girls go into the bathroom with the bride to bustle her dress and it takes them 15 – 20 minutes to get it done. You don’t want to miss out on any parts of your wedding day, which also means you should get that dress bustled quickly so you can get back to your party.

3. It will save you some time on your wedding day

Let me clear up some confusion about taking bridals on your wedding day. Many couples ask me, “Why can’t we just take photos of the bride on the wedding day?” Of course, we’re going to take photos of just the bride on her wedding day, but those photos are meant to capture more of the emotion of the big day. The full bridal “look” is one of the most important decisions a bride has to make for her wedding day. From the wedding dress all the way to the hair and nails, this look is ultimately an expression of her style and, most likely, she put a lot of time, effort, and money into this decision. The bridal session allows the photographer to catch the details of the bride’s final look in every form. The detail in the hair, the nail polish she’s wearing while holding the bouquet, the fabric of the dress, these are just a fraction of style choices that the photographer will capture at a bridal session. While these details can be captured on the wedding day, wedding days are very busy and there are many other details that also need to be captured before the couple says ‘I do.’ A bridal session allows everyone to take their time and really capture the bride’s look without any interruption.

Also, if for any reason the couple is running behind schedule, sometimes it comes down to prioritizing the timeline. If the photographer had been able to take bridal portraits prior to the wedding day, those photos could be eliminated from the timeline to make up for the lost time while running behind schedule.

4. You will have photos for your reception

Most couples add photos from their engagement session to their reception in addition to photos from special moments before they got engaged. However, like I mentioned above, the bride’s final wedding look is one of the biggest ways the bride gets to express herself on her wedding day. This should be celebrated and put on display! One beautiful touch I’ve really enjoyed seeing at weddings is when couples enlarge a photo or two from the bridal session and display it at the reception, too. It can go on its own easel next to the gift table, and/or it can be smaller and sit on a table near the guest book. Either way, it’s a beautiful touch to the reception as your wedding dress is such a big part of your special day. 

meet ila


As a fine-art wedding photographer, I enjoy photographing every one of your special moments. On your wedding day, I will be both your photographer AND your right-hand man. I will be there to make sure everything runs smoothly and seamlessly, all while capturing the story of your wedding day from beginning to end. My goal is to create timeless, uniquely-you photos that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. 

search the site

featured posts

post categories