I’ve started to include a Bridal Session into most of our Wedding Collections. What is it? Simply put, it’s a portrait session for the Bride (a gift from – yours truly) where the bride does a portrait session in her full wedding day attire (hair, makeup, jewelry, veil, bouquet, and of course, the dress). Pictures from this session can be used for many things during your wedding planning process. For instance, a large portrait from the session can be displayed at the reception, smaller prints can be given to the bridal party. In some cases, a large photo is given as a gift to the Mother and Father of the Bride after the wedding or smaller pictures can be incorporated into the table place settings.

Bridal Session Windsor Wedding PhotographerI really love Bridal Sessions… It’s an excellent way the Bride to get all “fancied”up and take awesome portraits of herself. Not only is this an awesome experience, but it’s a great way to do a “mock” run of the wedding day look. During the wedding planning process, you will be setting up appointments to do hair and makeup trials… So, why not take some great pictures of yourself before the day!

Sure you can IMAGINE your dress, hair, and makeup in your mind of how it will look after several hours of hugging, talking, and dancing with the guests. BUT it’s another thing to test it out. I would say that the majority of brides who have a Bridal session, end up changing something about their wedding day look after the session. Maybe they realized the dress was too big, or the shoes gave her blisters, or the eye makeup was too intense, or the hair kept falling in her eyes and annoying her. All of these minor details were discovered during these sessions, and each time, the bride was able to make adjustments BEFORE the wedding day.

Once you’ve decided to do your bridal session, here are a few suggestions to help ease the process and make the experience smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.

Here are some things to consider:

// Dress – First and foremost, accept the fact, your dress will get dirty. It probably won’t get mud or grass stains dirty; but yes, the hem or stitching may get a little brown and loose. I’ve had brides who brought towels, tide sticks, and sheets — all to try and protect the perfectness of the dress, and each time, the dress still managed to get a little dirty. If you accept and embrace this, you will have a phenomenal time taking pictures… Nevertheless, I promise you we will work hard to keep the perfectness of the dress. As a precaution, you can always leave a little money in your budget and time in your schedule for a dress cleaning before the wedding day.

// Hair & Make-up – Please DO NOT do your own hair, makeup, or flowers yourself (unless you also plan to do that for your wedding day). The point of a Bridal Session is to test out your wedding day look, so make sure that the same people who will be doing your wedding day hair, makeup, and flowers will also be a part of your bridal session.

// Viewing & Purchasing – Approximately 1-2 weeks after your session, you will have a personalized unveiling session to discover your beautiful images fully retouched. At this point you may purchase any prints, products and digital images. There is no minimum purchase. *Once you receive the digital images that you purchase, please know there is a no refund policy.*

// Friends – Try to bring someone to help you. Whether, it’s a friend, sister, or bridesmaid to help you during your session, it really doesn’t matter. Every special lady needs a helpful hand to brush the hair out of your face, fetch them water, or to help them up and down stairs, and you my dear, are no different!

// Mother – Please DO NOT bring your mother. I mean I love moms; but there is a time and place for everyone and this is no different. Although, the topic of moms is definitely a controversial topic; most moms are incapable of understanding the dress will get dirty. I find this only adds to the stress of the session and remember, this session is just for you!

// Preparation – Eat a solid meal before your arriving at your session. It’s always a good idea to bring some cold water bottles and some healthy snacks such as fruit or granola bars. You may not get hungry on the day of your session; but it is VERY important that you eat a good, big meal and bring water and snacks regardless. Standing in front of a camera is hard work, and harder when you’re doing it in a heavy, thick dress in the blaring sun.

Please DO NOT try to “tough it out” if something feels uncomfortable during a session. If you feel like your hair is off place, or you’re having trouble with a particular pose, then please please please SAY SOMETHING. Remember, this is YOUR session, and YOU make all the rules. Communicate with me and let me know how you’re feeling and what you would like, because the most important thing to me is making sure that you enjoy the experience as well as the end result.

// Props – Another great idea may be to bring props, if that’s your thing. Some girls like to include their dogs in their session, or perhaps a football or baseball bat that is special to their fiancé. Or a vintage headpiece or parasol, or a few fun pairs of shoes (or BOOTS). Many brides are content with just themselves, and that’s perfectly fine, but if you want to mix it up a little bit, go for it! If you like this idea but aren’t sure what to bring, talk to me and we’ll come up with some ideas together.

// Location – Most of the bridal sessions will take place in my studio (Windsor, ON). For those not in the Windsor area, try not to obsess over the location. While, a great background could be beautiful, we are here to shoot YOU! In most cases, you can’t even tell where the location was from looking at the images.

// Timing – Lastly, please try to consider the timing of your Bridal Session. You will want to schedule it as early as possible to your wedding date. It’s really hard and extremely stressful to schedule alterations that may need to be done as you approach your big day. Not to mention, the large rush fees across the board.