1. DON'T TEST DRIVE! We encourage all our brides not to look at their bridal session like a test drive for the big day! If you look the exact same on the big day as you do on your bridal session then there's nothing special about your bridals! Any good photographer should be able to find a few minutes on the big day to get you away from everybody for a few pretty shots of just you, but your bridals are a chance to match your photos to your wedding in a little bit more extreme way then you might on the wedding day! If you're having a vintage wedding, plan a VERY vintage bridal session! Wear a few extra strands of pearls, some lace driving gloves, and a crazy up do that makes you look like you should be on the red carpet in the 40s.  Work with your photographer to come up with a  location that shows off your theme and get into it! It's a once in a lifetime chance to play model in your very favorite dress ever!

2. DITCH THE NERVES! Confidence is key on your bridal shoot. If you don't FEEL pretty it doesn't matter what magic your photographer pulls off. No photoshop tricks can completely do away with insecurity so show up excited and feeling pretty! Schedule a hair and makeup appointment with stylists you love and spend the morning getting pampered. Have a glass of champagne, get a manicure, whatever it takes to help you calm down.  Bottom line you shouldn't feel like you're working near as hard as you did on your engagement shoot because your groom isn't with you! Your only job : look pretty! A good photographer should be able to do the rest!

3. SCHEDULE AHEAD! We all know that alterations can take forever. Truth is that typically when you buy your dress the completion date for your dress is as early as possible (as long as it's before the wedding day). If you're scheduling a bridal session with a killer photographer they may need time to edit your photos, order your photos in, and get you on their calendar!  Plan at least 3 weeks before your wedding to get these shots done, that way if the dress needs to be steamed again before the big day there's plenty of time! On your shoot day number 1 rule for every photographer is show up on time! We know you've spent the morning trying to look perfect and we're excited about your shoot too! BUT if you show up 30 minutes late with your dress hanging in the backseat it may throw off the rest of our shoots or meetings for the day! I feel like I say this all the time on blog posts but a happy photographer = good photos! We're OF COURSE paid to take care of you, but the more you think about us, the better the product tends to be. (Though very few of us would admit it)

4. ASK TO SEE A SHOT OR TWO! You can definitely go overboard with this, AND I know a lot of photographers are all about the "surprise" but my opinion is that nothing you see on the 4 inch screen on the back of my camera is going to ruin your excitement when you get the final product. I love to show our brides a few shots here and there so that they have the confidence to push their comfort level a bit! A great photographer should have you WANTING to push the envelope a bit, but that works best if you like what you see and let's all admit that sometimes "poses" can feel a bit awkward. If you see a photographer get excited about a shot - it's ok to want to see a quick glimpse.

5. BRING BACKUP! It's your bridal shoot! This is kind of a big deal and we want you to be able to laugh, feel pretty, and most of all share it with somebody! We know that most of our brides are SUPER relational people and any experience is better with a bff on board! SO - whether it's your mom, maid of honor, or a girlfriend from college bring an entourage! The key to a good bridal groupie is simple. They need to be somebody that makes you feel super comfortable, wants exactly what you want out of this shoot, and can tell you about every 30 seconds how pretty you look! A lot of mom's are the PERFECT choice, but if your mom stresses you out, it's ok to ask her to sit this one out! The key here is comfort! We like to teach you how to carry your own dress and get around a bit on your own so that you don't have to have a bridesmaid follow you around train in hand all day on the wedding day, so you don't really need an assistant as much as just a cheering section!

6. SHOW THEM OFF! We have a few shoots every year that leave us completely speechless. If you're a bride who bring their absolute A game on the bridal shoot you've GOT TO work them into the wedding! Even if it's a 4x6 tucked on every other table, or a few big prints near the cake table it's NOT selfish to have photos of yourself at your wedding! YOU are the bride! Everybody is there to see you and your guy say I DO and if you're proud of your photos you'd be surprised at how big of a conversation piece they can be! It's our FAVORITE kind of compliment to walk into a reception FULL of beautiful details and see a crowd of people checking out the bridal photos and bragging to the bride about how pretty she looks.

7. COOL SHOES! Ok so you spent a small fortune on those red soles and you want to show them off right? Picture those fancy heels sunk 4 inches deep in the dirt in the big pretty field you're shooting in! YIKES. EASY fix though - bring the fancy shoes! BUT also bring something you can walk in!  9 times out of 10 if you're just standing straight up your shoes won't show anyway, but if you want to work those shoes into a few shots you'll want to have them handy. (THIS is the perfect thing for your backup to do!)

8. GIRLS DO SWEAT! Whether it's 100 degrees out or 10 you want to prep for the weather! SO - think ahead about what it feels like outside if you're shooting on location somewhere and plan for it! NUMBER ONE THING you can have with you in the heat is of course water, after that pack a few of those little instant cold compress packs (putting one of those on the back of your neck will cool you down instantly) and some tissues for catching that little sweat bead before it runs your foundation down your face. If it's cold out a big warm coat is a must. Bring some hot hands and gloves and bundle up! A cup of coffee or tea is always a nice add on (and totally something your backup can help carry for you).

Bottom line this should be the prettiest you ever feel! We love watching the transformation from pretty girl to bride. It's one of the biggest reasons we love our job watching a girl's confidence explode when she puts her dress on!  If you're working with a pro there's no question they shouldn't be able to answer and we totally understand this is most likely your first crack at this! SO let us help you with all the planning and details! All my girls hear me say it over and over "YOU just look hot, I'll do the rest!" {miles}