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Bridal Portraits? Yes, Please!

On the fence about planning for bridal portraits? Don’t be! I highly recommend taking the time for a full dress rehearsal. In fact, my primary wedding photography package includes either a bridal portrait session or engagement photos. Some couples hire me to shoot both additional sessions. It’s so helpful to spend time with your photographer before the wedding day!

It’s no secret bridal portraits are somewhat popular for brides in the South. Find out why I think they’re great no matter where you live.

A gorgeous spring bride, Shelley, shared her feedback. “Sneaking in a bridal portrait session before the wedding was the perfect way to get excited about the big day! It’s easy to get lost in the land of wedding planning so having the chance to get dressed up in the gown you searched for high and low is a great way to stop and enjoy everything you’ve been planning for for so many months. Not to mention the fabulous pictures you get to look at for the rest of your life!”

Five Reasons to Schedule Bridal Portraits

1. You can do a hair and makeup run-through before your big day. By scheduling a practice run with your stylist and makeup artist, you can ensure your vision of wedding day style comes to fruition. Maybe the sleek updo or boho braidfest you think you want isn’t true to your personality or well-suited for seaside breezes. Try it out first!

Considering airbrush makeup or false eyelashes? You still want to look like yourself on your wedding day, and that means being comfortable in your skin. Have you ever had glue painted onto your eyelids to adhere fake lashes? Do you ever sport a bold red lip instead of tinted lip balm? It’s best to give it a whirl and make sure you can embrace your glam self. The more at ease you are, the more elegant you’ll feel. This ensures relaxed and beautiful photos – on portrait day and on your wedding day.


2. You’ll star in some breathtaking photos at a gorgeous venue. Dreamy Charleston backdrops are so plentiful that it’s worth taking an extra hour to make gorgeous portraits in a favorite location. It could be a quiet hour at your wedding venue, but it could just as easily be another location that is meaningful to you such as your family home, or a spot that contrasts where you’ll be on your wedding day.

Marrying in a church and heading to a ballroom reception? Outdoor bridal portraits are a great way to get more Lowcountry beauty in your photos without taking up precious time on your wedding day. Stroll streets, a garden, a plantation or amble along a dock at sunset. Can’t figure out how to have your pet participate in your wedding day? Consider having a friend bring your furry friend along for a few sweet portraits instead. Anything goes!

Stunning-natural-bridal-portrait-timeless-Charleston-cobblestone © Carolina PhotosmithTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-016

3. You can spend a leisurely afternoon twirling in your dreamy gown before the wedding. You’ve heard it from friends and read it in mags, but a wedding day can be a blur of preparing, transporting, assembling and all the other compulsory elements that surround the main event of exchanging vows with the one you love. Remember that fist-pumping feeling when you found the perfect wedding dress? (My daughter would say “hashtag The One!”) By scheduling a portrait session, you get to hold on to that a lot longer.

After your final fitting, it only makes sense to model your gown, and you may as well do it on the day of your hair and makeup trial. You’ll be relaxed with a friend or your mom along, and it’s a great way to make sure the gown is as comfortable (and hug-friendly and dip-worthy) as you hope. Not sure whether the satin sandals will work better than the rhinestone wedges? Spending a little time doing a full dress rehearsal will ease your mind. It may even help you identify any final adjustments needed before the wedding day.Modern Trousseau bride at Lowndes Grove by Carolina Photosmith

Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-004Charleston bridal portraits by Carolina Photosmith4. We’ll have fun! Most every bride who has taken the time to create bridal portraits recommends the experience. We’ll get to know each other a little better, and you’ll come away with a newfound ability to feel at ease as I follow you around with cameras. And once you see the images, I hope you’ll be confident that you look stunning from every angle. And if you look this beautiful by yourself, think how much you’ll glow next to the man of your dreams!

Elegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-005Bridal portraits in Warrenton, Virginia by Carolina Photosmith

5. You’ll get a jump start on enhancing your family’s legacy with some beautiful portraits. Of course Mom wants one, maybe your grandmother does, too. And your almost-hubby would be happy to receive a small framed portrait for his desk. Even if you have no plan embrace the very Southern tradition of displaying a large portrait at your reception, you will enjoy having them. Your grandchildren might someday get a kick out of seeing a few portraits of your youthful elegance, too! So enjoy some more Pin-worthy loveliness, and call me when the stars align.

Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-011Elegant historic Charleston bridal portraits © Carolina PhotosmithTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-005Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-001018-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-002Breathtaking bride in golden light on CharlestonTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-013Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-006Charleston-winter-bridal-portrait in IElegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-004Elegant Charleston bridal portrait by Carolina Photosmitherica-twirl-1Historic Charleston bridal portraits by Carolina PhotosmithTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Columbia-001Five reasons to make Charleston bridal portraitsTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-014Elegant bridal portrait at DeBordieu Club and Atalaya by Carolina PhotosmithRomantic bridal portrait at the elegant gates of Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC. © Carolina PhotosmithElegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-001

I hope you’ll reach out when it’s time to find your dream gown. I’d love to photograph you in it! And check out a favorite bridal portrait session in Virginia, including a “first look” with her dad. It’s worth a trip through the archives of my little blog.

Check out more of my wedding photography, too. Here’s a small wedding gallery and some blog posts featuring full weddings. Read some client feedback, too. I look forward to meeting you!




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