Haven't heard of a bridal session? I'm a big fan! They're commonly known as a southern tradition where the bride and photographer meet up prior to the wedding to take photos, usually in a unique location. It allows you to shake off the pre-wedding photo jitters, dress up in your wedding attire, and take photos without the stress or distractions of the big day. We don't see these super often in the western states, but I always encourage my bride (or the couple!) to consider it.
Bridal sessions look a little different in Colorado than they traditionally do in the south. Sometimes couples do a bridal session together to capture wedding portraits in one of their favorite places or while doing something they love like hiking or skiing, but most often, it's just the bride. You as the bride have put so much thought and energy into your wedding day and you know that it'll go by in a blur of emotion. You'll be shedding happy tears, laughing with your best gals, and dancing the night away with the love of your life...which doesn't always leave a lot of time for those Insta-worthy shots and editorial style poses you've been saving up since long before you were ever engaged. And that is why you're going to LOVE a photoshoot all to yourself. If you need more convincing to do a bridal session, send me an email and I'll talk you into it, but if you're already sold on the idea and how FUN it can be, here are 5 tips for an amazing shoot:
BE 100% YOURSELF
While your wedding might be more structured and elegant - a style both you and your fiancé love and agree on - your bridal session is a great time to have fun and be 100% yourself, whatever that looks like for you! Are you a little bit wild and western? Let's head out to a horse ranch and put your boots on to capture your cowgirl side. Do you adore an urban city vibe? Let's play in the streets of downtown. Is black your favorite color? You don't have to wear your same wedding dress. Be a little alternative and wear a black gown for your session. Love craft breweries or cute wineries? We'll find a place to take amazing photos and have a drink while we're at it!
Bottom line - make this completely about you. While your wedding is a romantic celebration of you as a couple, let your bridal session be representative of you as a woman, all your many sides and amazing attributes.
CHOOSE YOUR STYLE AND MAKE A PLAN
Refer back to the first point if you're stumped on where to start! Start with diving into who you are and what you love! Then check out my Pinterest boards here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm happy to help you put a design together. First things first, choose the style or theme that you're going for and the things you absolutely must have.
Figure out your location and schedule next. If you're heading to the desert for your bachelorette party and would love your bridal session to be among the saguaros, plan around that! If you love the fall but are getting married in the winter, schedule your session around the time the autumn colors will be in peak form. If you want to do photos at your favorite coffee house but they're only open on weekday mornings, figure out a time that works best for you, your photographer, and anyone else involved. Take care of those big ticket items first and plan around anything or anyone you want to include.
Once you have those things nailed down, start to put together the details - the fun stuff - and all the logistics of how the session will come together. (HINT - this is what your photographer is for!) Figure out what you're going to wear, how you want your hair and makeup styled, if you need to contact further vendors, what details you're going to bring, and more. Don't let it feel like planning a second wedding. Relax and have fun, enjoy making this all about you!
HAVE YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP PROFESSIONALLY DONE
Want to look and feel your best for your session? Get your hair and makeup professionally done! If you have the opportunity, it's super convenient to do your bridal session in conjunction with your hair and makeup trial, but if that's not possible, contact your favorite salon or a local artist if your bridal session is far from home. It'll add an extra special element to the entire experience. You can always choose a style completely different from your wedding look that matches the theme and feel of your bridal session. Go on girl, be a little extra!
BRING THE DETAILS
Who says you can't have decor, flowers, cake, cocktails, & ALL the details at your bridal session too?
It's pretty common to bring along your standard wedding details like your shoes, jewelry, and veil but you can do more if it fits your vision! While your budget might not permit details as extravagant as those incorporated into your wedding, you can still bring in the elements you love that will fit the theme and design of your session.
What about a cool vintage couch and macarons for a Marie Antoinette inspired shoot? Or an over-the-top bouquet and matching floral hair piece to turn an industrial space into a colorful boho dream? Want to wear the antique turquoise jewelry your grandma gifted you, even though its a little too heavy for wedding day? By all means, do it! Bring a drink, a fun jacket or other accessories, your dog, a record player with your favorite album, shoes that are so totally impractically you, or anything else you love. Your bridal session details can be a great expression of your personality and interests.
There's no limit to the things you can do! Many vendors - including those you may have already booked for your wedding - have an option to add on a bridal session package. Just ask! Turn your entire bridal session into a full styled shoot if you want or offer to model for a shoot that fits your style. Or DIY some decor and flowers to make a small, simple shoot exactly what you want it.
INVITE YOUR BEST GALS (OR YOUR MAN)!
Already planning a bachelorette weekend to your favorite place in the world? Rented a super cool Air BnB? Having a party to celebrate your last few days as a Miss before you become a Mrs? If you're already going to have your best gals surrounding you for an occasion, why not make a whole shoot out of it!
Or are you and your man heading on a trip prior to the wedding? Do you want to do a first look and portraits totally alone so you can make out shamelessly without the whole family around? Invite your future hubby to come along, in wedding attire or anything else that fits your style.
While bridal sessions are typically just the bride and the photographer, hopefully you're seeing that my point in all these tips is to do whatever you want and make this photo shoot completely about you! There are no rules here to what you can and cannot do. Incorporate as many or as few details, people, and ideas into this special celebration. Relax and have fun, get to know yourself in front of the camera, try out those poses you've saved, and make memories that will last forever.
Planning & Photography: Broken Antler Photography
Model: Anastasia Frentress, Hooked AF
Hair & Makeup: Glammed Up Designs
Hat: Greeley Hat Works
Dress: Rent the Dress CT
Lounge: Wallflower Rentals & Decor