Our bridal shoot with Talyn and Kenny was nothing short of magic. Not only are they hilarious and absolutely adorable together, we had one heck of an evening!
You may have heard the term “bridal session/day after session” float around.
What is it and why does my photographer recommend one? Because you DESERVE one!
Seriously, I believe that every couple deserves a bridal session and here’s why.
What is it?
A bridal session is a session scheduled separate from your wedding day where you get pictures taken of you and your future spouse.
Won’t I get pictures of me and my husband/wife on our wedding day?
Of course! And even when my couples schedule Bridal Sessions I always take a few photos of just the two of them sometime on the wedding day, too. The thing that my couples love about doing their bridal photos on a different day is that it takes the stress off of spending forty-five minutes to an hour taking those photos on your wedding day.
Okay, Well i can carve out an hour for pictures, right?
Picture it! You two just finished your ceremony, you’re married! You want to go party and celebrate!
Well, not yet! Now we have to squeeze in family photos and a 45 minute bridal session after you get married! That means you may have to skip your cocktail hour altogether. And I don’t know about you, but a margarita sounds really good right about now!
Instead of missing your cocktail hour and missing greeting your guests you can schedule a bridal session. (Insert twinkling stars)
That means that instead of spending an hour taking photos after you get married, now you only need to spend 10-20! 10 minutes of family photos + 10 minutes of taking cute photos of the two of you at your venue.
Now you can go grab that margarita!
That does sound really nice!
Doesn’t it? Now picture your bridal session!
You have 1+ hours to leisurely have your photos taken at some place EPIC. Think Horseshoe Bend, Zion National Park, ICELAND! You can literally have your bridal photos taken anywhere!
Which is a great option for the couple who wants a wedding surrounded by friends and loved ones at a venue in your hometown, but craves those jaw-dropping photos in the scenic mountain range of Ireland.
You get the best of both worlds!
Okay, I’m SOLD! When should I schedule one?
Most of my couples choose to do their bridal session after their wedding, but it’s all a matter of choice when it comes to when you schedule your bridal session.
I recommend doing your bridal session after your wedding date if you
Don’t plan on going on your honeymoon for a few days or more after your wedding day
You want to go somewhere adventurous that may get your dress dirty, but you want to have your dress clean for the wedding day.
You have WAYYY too much to do before your wedding day and the sound of taking pictures the week before your wedding is giving you a headache.
Then, I recommend you do your bridal session after your wedding date! It will be totally relaxing because guess what? You’re already married and don’t have to think of it as crossing something off on your Wedding To Do List!
We will go somewhere epic and take stunning photos of the two of you and then go grab tacos and margaritas afterwards!
Now, I recommend you schedule your session before hand mainly if you plan on doing a First Look anyway!
If you planned on having a First Look before your ceremony on your wedding day, why not schedule a Bridal Session sometime the week before your wedding and do the First Look then? That get’s all of those photos done beforehand and now you get to chill!
I already got married, but a bridal session sounds so nice!
Do yourself a favor and schedule a bridal session! Even if you got married 5, 10, 50 years ago you can still have a bridal session!
I think it’s actually an awesome idea to do an Anniversary/Bridal Session where you two are back in your wedding clothes and taking more photos of the two of you. Because why not?
When couples do this, sometimes they’ll write new vows to share with each other or dig out their old vows. And sometimes couples will choose to do a bridal session years after they got married because their wedding photos didn’t turn out.
Whatever the reason, hop back in those wedding clothes, go somewhere epic, and do the thing!
DON’T LET OTHER PEOPLE DICTATE YOUR SPECIAL DAY
This can be difficult when you have parent’s who are extra pushy and want to take over your wedding day. Sometimes even your friends will try to push their ideas on you and try to sway your opinion on what YOU really want.
As someone who can be a big pushover, this can be hard! But it’s important to note that your wedding day is about you and your babe getting married, expressing your love for one another, and celebrating with your friends and family!
The most important thing is what you two want!
Not what your mother-in-law wants, or your best man wants, or what your opinionated dog wants!
Sometimes friends and family can offer good advice and great suggestions. But don’t let them dictate what you two do on your special day.
2. Smell The roses
You probably are having flowers at your wedding day, and you should probably give those roses a good sniff, too, but that’s not what we’re talking about here!
My advice to every one of my couples is to enjoy yourself! Slow down! And just soak in each and every moment of your day.
Most couples don’t realize how fast your wedding day will go!
One minute you’ll be getting ready, sipping mimosas, and the next minute you’ll be running through a sparkler exit.
Just like that your day can slip by!
(Another reason why it’s important to hire a great photographer and fabulous videographer!)
Some people might think, “What? No! I’m going to remember every second of my day!”
But lot’s of couples don’t.
That’s why it’s important to smell the roses.
Don’t just walk down the aisle! Look at everyone as you walk down the aisle. Take in everyone’s faces and smiles! Enjoy the presence of your friend’s and loved ones as you make your way to the love of your life.
After the ceremony I always advise my couples to go back into the bridal suite for a moment to have a couple of minutes with just you and your new husband or wife! This way you can relax, breathe, and be alone together right after your got officially married! Then you can step out and start taking photos and greeting your guests!
3. Unplugged wedding
Most couples don’t even think about this!
I advise my couples to have an unplugged wedding, but it’s not just for me as the photographer! It’s for you and your guests.
While this may sound silly coming from a lady whose job it is to take photos. I actually don’t like when people take photos and videos of special events!
Not everyone is going to agree with me here, but in my opinion, you are not fully present when you have your phone out and you’re taking photos and videos!
This isn’t just for weddings! I’ll go to concerts and see people videotaping the ENTIRE thing! I’ll be at graduations where people are taking photos the whole time!
I think it’s totally OKAY to snap some photos and take a small video at important/special events, but you’ll have many guests at your wedding who refuse to put their phone down.
Also, while some guests will be quiet in their seat and snap a photo here and there, some guests will get out of their seats and step INTO THE AISLE as you walk down!
(internally screaming for forever)
Talk about a nightmare for your photographer and for you as you wont be able to see your future spouse at the end of the aisle!
That’s why I think you should have your officiant kindly ask your guests (before the ceremony starts) to put their phones away!
My fiance and I plan on having our officiant say something like this,
“Rebekah and Trevor are so excited for you all to be here. They ask that you all please put your phones and cameras away for the duration of the ceremony. Rebekah and Trevor want you all to be present in this moment as their two lives come together.”
Something short and something sweet!
4. Make A list of family photos
This is something I tell all my couples to do! Make a list of what family photos you want!
“Newlyweds with Groom’s Parents”
“Newlyweds with Siblings”
“Newlyweds with Grandparents”
Lists like the ones above help your photographer to get the family photos done quickly! You, your family, and your bridal party don’t want to be hanging around trying to figure out who should be in what photo. If you have a list ready ahead of time, it will make the family photo part of your day go by in minutes!
I usually enlist the help of the Maid of Honor, or the Best Man when taking family photos. Usually, your Best Man/Maid of Honor knows most of the people in the family! They will help corral the appropriate people for each family photo which makes it be so quickly!
Get those family photos done ASAP so you can get into your reception and start drinking and partying!
5. Biodegradable confetti/flowers
Lots of couples love to have their guests shower them with confetti or flowers as they walk back down the aisle after the ceremony! However, lots of confetti isn’t biodegradable.
When purchasing your confetti check to make sure it’s safe on the environment and it’s biodegradable!
When purchasing flowers—please purchase real flower petals and not the fake ones from the local craft store! Trust me, the real flower petals look way better anyway!
Also, while rice is very traditional, try to avoid using it as it can be harmful to birds! Try tossing shredded coconut! I know, I know, that sounds super weird, but it’s not any weirder than throwing rice at people! Shredded coconut will give you the look of rice being thrown while not harming the birds!
Check out places like;
Ecofetti takes 5-10 hours of heavy rain to completely disappear! That’s pretty awesome! Plus, Ecofetti is made in the USA.
Sproutfetti is a colorful combination of seed paper and gold mica. If planted, Sproutfetti will grow into a gorgeous spread of wildflowers and/or herbs!
Shropshire Petals has a great selection of dried petals for using as decoration or for tossing!
6. Ask your photographer for help on your timeline
I can’t speak for all wedding photographers! But, for me, I want to be for you from start to finish—and then some! As a wedding professional I know a lot about how wedding days usually go!
For the most part, couples don’t think about lighting and timing! And that’s totally okay! But as a wedding photographer, I am always thinking about lighting and timing.
I love helping my clients build a wedding day timeline. I can help you with decided how long to give each activity on your wedding day. I also help with giving you advice on when is the best time of day to do your ceremony and first look!
While I am ready to tackle any part of your day at any time you choose! I want you to know that high noon isn’t a great time for photos. The sun is usually right above your head and it can cast really harsh shadows on your face. That’s why I recommend to all my couples to have their formal photos and their ceremony be done within a couple of hours of the sunset!
So, ask your photographer for help on your timeline! They know what’s up!
7. Write your own vows
Writing your own vows is so special, and in my opinion, you can’t skip writing your own vows!
Lots of couples say that they can’t write or that they’re not good at it! Don’t worry, my fiance says the same thing!
However, I recently photographed a wedding where the couple wrote their own vows. My fiance was there that day being my assistant, and he listened in on their vows.
After the ceremony, on the ride to the reception, my fiance told me that he HAD to write his own vows! While he’s still nervous about writing his own vows, he saw how special they made a ceremony.
It’s easy to pull a ceremony script off the internet that sounds nice. But it’s something else entirely to write your own vows to each other. They don’t have to be flowery and they don’t have to be anything poetic—they just have to come from the heart.
I recommend writing your vows off in three main sections!
Start off with a sweet and short story about the two of you. Something unique and special! It could be how the two of you met or the time you knew they were the one.
Then, I recommend talking about the things that you love about your partner.
And finally, I recommend finishing off your vows by, well, vowing to them! Think about what’s important for them to know and promise that to them for the rest of your lives together. Then just DO IT! (Insert Shia LaBeouf)
Seriously, writing your own vows will get the whole crowd laughing and crying. It’s great.
8. Consider day of coordination
Not all couples can hire a full on wedding planner, and that’s okay! However, consider hiring a planner for “day of coordination”.
On your wedding day you want to relax, you want to have fun, and you want to smell the roses, right? That can be hard to do when every one is coming up to you and asking what you want to do, what goes where, and a million other questions!
This is where your day of coordinator comes in handy! They will take care of all the questions! They will make sure what you want goes exactly where you want! They will make sure all the vendors are there! They will make sure that the entire day goes smooth like butter!
Hire a wedding planner for the day of your wedding! Trust me, you’ll be thanking me later.
and that’s it!
Not all of these tips will be right for you, and that’s totally okay! But consider implementing a few of these into your wedding day.
After photographing so many weddings and planning my own, these are my tips to make sure you have the best wedding day possible!
Congratulations on your engagement and I hope your wedding day is everything you have ever dreamed of!
Basic Invite is an elegant wedding invitation company where you can create custom invitation suites. A couple of months ago I created and purchased my own Save the Dates and wedding invitations on Basic Invite. So, when Basic Invite reached out to me to write a post about their wedding invitations I was like, heck yeah! I got to style my own invites through their site, and I got to style invites again for this blog post. I’d like to say I’m pretty much an expert now. Given my self-titled expert status I’d love to share with you 6 of my favorite things about Basic Invite.
A Color for Every Mood
Basic Invite is one of the few websites that gives you an almost unlimited amount of color options and any change you make you get an instant preview online! Getting an instant preview makes it perfect when you’re trying to match the text color to the warmth in the picture you’re using for your Save the Date! With over 180 colors to choose from, every element on every design is completely customized to fit your perfect wedding color palette. Even the fonts, and size, and placement is customizable so that you can have your invite exactly how you want it.
2. Who Doesn’t Love Samples?
Basic Invite is also one of the few websites that gives you the option to order a printed sample of the invitation you created so you can see exactly how it will print and check the paper quality before you place your order.
3. Peel + Seal Envelopes
That’s a thing? Yes, it is a thing! The Peel + Seal envelopes made putting together and sending out our Save the Dates and wedding invitations a total breeze! Licking envelopes is a thing of the past with Basic Invite!! This helps with making it germ-free, fast, and you no longer have to spend forever licking gross tasting envelopes ever again. Plus, the envelopes come in over 40 different colors so your envelope can be a bright pop of color in your guest’s mail!
4. Address Collection Service
This is personally one of my favorite things about Basic Invite! With Basic Invite you can share a link, collect your guests addresses, and get FREE envelope printing. I don’t know about you, but I have horrific handwriting and also mess up a lot when writing! This address collection service that Basic Invite offers makes this process so easy!
5. FREE Wedding Website
Basic Invite doesn’t just do paper! With Basic Invite you can create your own completely customizable wedding website! Basic Invite’s wedding websites are super mobile friendly and easy to use. You can use your wedding website as a way for your guests to RSVP, look at your registries, and also check out all your cute photos from your engagement photos! Best of all? Your wedding website can also match your invitation suite! I’m a total sucker for things that match.
You totally heard that right—wedding coasters! You can pick from over 90 perfectly designed themes. From there you can match your coasters to match your wedding colors and the rest of your invitations suite. Choose from over 90 professionally designed looks. Each design can be personalized instantly to match your wedding colors. Each coaster is printed on a premium 200lb matte cardstock so it will be perfect for setting a glass of wine on. Brb, going to go buy some wedding coasters.
Have you noticed the reoccurring theme with Basic Invite? They’re super user friendly! Basic Invite makes creating and sending out invitations so easy that it’s actually fun! Planning and working on your dream wedding day shouldn’t be a pain! Basic Invite is here to help make sure your that making your wedding invitations and mailing them out is a total breeze!
Also! Basic Invite isn’t just a wedding invitation company! You can basically get any stationary product you could ever need! They have holiday cards, baby shower invites, thank you cards, business cards, guest books, notecards, and much more.
7. Bonus Reason!
Basic Invite has given me a coupon code for all of you! I don’t know about you, but I love a good sale! Check out the code below to get 20% off your purchase!
A childhood friend hit me up on Facebook and asked if I could photograph her wedding and her bridal session at the Grand Teton National Park and I was like, ummmmm YES OF COURSE! She flew me out from Arizona to photograph the most beautiful bridal session at Jenny Lake before her wedding.
I flew in to Salt Lake City and drove to Rexburg, ID, to reunite with the bride, Darby, after almost ten years. Soon after meeting her then future husband, Ryan, we drove to Wyoming from Rexburg to do her bridal session!
With the sun beginning to touch the mountainside we started with their First Look. After their First Look we started on their two hour long bridal session.
Ryan and Darby could not have been more perfect for each other. They had the same sense of humor and the same laid-back attitude—they were MEANT FOR EACH OTHER.
While they wanted those dramatic and beautiful moody photos—they mainly just wanted to laugh and make funny faces and it was totally amazing. She brought her traveling gnome to sneak into some photos and she also wanted to have my brother (one of her good, old friends) in some of her photos in the background, because WHY NOT?? It was a beautiful and hilariously epic night in the Grand Teton National Park.