Southern Tradition of the Bridal Portrait

close up details of wedding dress

What is a Bridal Portrait?

So your wedding photographer offers bridal portraits but you are wondering what exactly is a bridal portrait session? A bridal portrait is a solo session of you all dolled up in full wedding attire complete with florals. Typically this is done a few months before your wedding date. .They are precious keepsake heirlooms that commemorate a once-in-a-lifetime experience that are passed down through generations of family.

Bridal portraits are particularly popular in the South as a family tradition. The tradition of these portraits started out as oil paintings that wealthy families and royalty had made to proudly display in their home. Eventually, paintings then transitioned to portrait studios and then into on location photos sessions in gardens or wedding venues as cameras became more portableToday it is fashionable for large prints of bridal portraits to be displayed at the wedding ceremony or reception of the Southern couple.


closeup and sitting pose of black bride

Bridal portraits at Magnolia Plantation


Benefits of Southern Tradition of Bridal Portraits

So why should you be interested in booking a bridal portrait session? Let me point out the many benefits to having your bridal portrait taken on a different day than your weddin day.

-It’s a great chance to get to know your photographer and an opportunity for you to get comfortable in front of the camera. You will arrive on your wedding day knowing what to expect and feeling familiar with your photographer.

After months spent purchasing everything you will need for your wedding day, you finally get to preview your whole look together. Does your dress, makeup, hair, accessories, and florals look cohesive together? If not you still have time to make tweaks. Additionally, you can figure out if your shoes are comfortable or if you need to purchase gel inserts. Furthermore, you can gauge how long it will take to get ready on your actual wedding day. Does your dress have a lace up corset or tiny button and eye hooks? Those types of dresses take time to get into. Now you will know exactly how long.

Moreover, this is a perfect time for your hair and makeup trial. You can see how it hold up to the humidity as well as how it photographs. What looks too heavy in person usually comes out looking natural and flawless through a camera lens.

It’s stress-free! There is no timeline to adhere to, you can use any location, if the weather is bad you can always reschedule. Wedding days are hectic and there’s not usually enough time for many posed pretty pictures of the bride. This way you get a whole day to soak up being a bride!

– Lastly it’s fun! How often do you get to dress up in a beautiful dress and pretend to be a princess? And what bride doesn’t want to wear the most expensive dress she has ever purchased twice in her life!

Interested in seeing a whole Bridal Portrait Session?


Charleston bridal portrait on Broad Street

bridal portrait with Merchant's Hall chandlier in background

bridal portrait charleston

 Click here to learn more bridal tips!


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About Leigh

Leigh Hayward

Leigh Hayward

Charleston Wedding & Engagement Photographer

I’m Leigh, a wedding & engagement photographer in Charleston, SC. I’ve been photographing great love stories for the past 13 years, and I LOVE what I do! It’s true: I love love, and I love telling love stories through photos even more!

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