Before diving into this Research Paper of a Post (kidding…kinda) can we just take a moment to appreciate this sweet bride Melissa’s dress? Especially the detail in her sleeves! These guys were great. And major troopers hauling their full bridal ensembles out to the pokey desert with me. For the record we only got weeds tangled in the dress once and it was an east fix. And I only got one cactus thorn in my foot!
Ok, so there is apparently some controversy over where the first Bridal Portraits originated. Some from the Southern states claim it as a Southern original idea as a way to provide a gift to the Brides parents, on the day of the wedding, usually displayed at the reception. Some say it was brought over from Europe. Additionally this tradition is rumored to have began during World War II when it wasn’t typically realistic to have photographers in attendance at the wedding.
Another controversy is over WHAT exactly Bridal Portraits or a “Bridal Session” are. The traditional Southern Bridal Portraits are of only the bride and anyone who might suggest otherwise might make grandma faint. I love the south and their strong respect for tradition but I’m a South West girl and I think there can be a happy medium found between tradition and embracing new things.
Around here (in Arizona) we occasionally do Bridal Portraits, and if they are done, they are rarely done without the groom. I know so many people from the South would say “That’s not what Bridal Portraits are!!!” But hey, in my book Orange isn’t pronounce “ARR-NGE” but I don’t bug you about that. Haha, just teasing, if you’re from the south and reading this I love you, promise.
So this is what I’m referring to when I say I’m shooting a “Bridal Session”. Around here it’s hot, like REALLY hot, and the sun is Bright, REALLY bright. And in case you didn’t remember it’s the desert so there aren’t really a bounty of trees like other places.
If you’re not from here we get these things called Excessive Heat Warnings. So I’m not talking about “oh it’s hot and sticky today”. I’m talking about “Do not go outside or you WILL die”… ok maybe that was a little dramatic but just a little.
This makes it a little difficult to plan an entire wedding day in the reasonably cool hours of the day. You can’t have the ceremony, reception, cocktail hour, AND Bridal Party Portraits all 30 minutes before dark.
This time of the year is beautiful, and winter weddings are amazing, but people can’t always schedule their wedding day around winter or ‘spring’ weather. (I grew up in the AZ mountains so it’s still a little weird to me that people call February Spring here in the desert).
Trent and I got married in March which in my hometown is still just starting to warm up, but was already BLAZING down here. I can still remember the sweat mustache I was trying to keep at bay, like it was yesterday haha.
It was so nice to be able to do Bridal Portraits on a separate day because it took a little pressure off.
If the groom will be in attendance, then this is typically where the first look happens. Anywhere from a few days to a week before the wedding.
Heat isn’t the only reason you might want to do a Bridal Session. It’s also a great time to practice hair and makeup, get rid of some nerves, and get back in the swing of pictures since sometimes it’s been a while since your engagement session!
This is also a great time to get a little video footage if you want something extra.
Another reason, although this doesn’t happen often, is occasionally couples will choose to do a Bridal Session because they know they want to invest in high-quality images but they can’t afford full wedding day coverage. I completely understand this! I am a big Dave Ramsey fan myself so I completely respect people making decisions to not live beyond their means.
Lastly (my least favorite reason, because it breaks my heart) is sometimes a Bride and Groom dislike their wedding photos so much that they are looking for their best attempt at a re-do. Something they can hold onto that represents their day. Like an anniversary session where some people choose to hop back in their wedding clothes, or some version of them and get a bouquet of flowers. This type of bridal session may happen for my least favorite reason but the images I produce are some of my favorites to share because it’s so exciting to see them repair a small part of the broken, misrepresentation of their day clients received from someone else in the past.
P.S. It’s like 2:00am right now so that is my disclaimer for any rambling or confusing speech but I didn’t want to wait any longer to share these images!!