Taking Bridal Portraits Before the Wedding: Tips & Advice

Your wedding is fast approaching, and you’re deep in the wedding-planning wormhole. We’re talking cake testing (not the worst thing in the world), dress fittings, place settings, and of course, the dreaded wedding timeline. 

Working out the timeline of a wedding can be an arduous project, but it’s essential for getting the flow of the day right. When you get it right, you can simply enjoy what you’ve set in motion on the actual wedding day. 

A crucial part of the wedding timeline is setting aside time for the bridal portraits before the wedding. 

A wedding is traditionally centered around a bride, but, let’s be honest, bridal portraits are the real-time for you to shine. 

But, if you’re new to this whole wedding thing, you may not even know what bridal portraits are. 

Well, friend, I’m here to help. 

Bridal Portraits Before Wedding

What Are Bridal Portraits?

beautiful bride posing near a large clock
Photo by: We The Blackwells

Bridal portraits are your time, sis. 

Even for those who are painfully introverted (raises hand) and rarely ever “work” the camera (hi), bridal portraits can be a fun, confidence-building process. 

It’s a time for just you and your wedding photographer. No distractions. No craziness.

Sure, you can bring someone for moral support if you want, but typically, it’s a bit of one-on-one time with your favorite wedding photog. 

When Do You Take Bridal Portraits?

bride laughing posing with her wedding bouquet
Photo by: Nichole Babiez

Bridal portraits are typically shot right after the getting-ready photos and before the bridal party shots. 

Your hair is fresh, your makeup is flawless, and your friends and your wedding team have pampered the hell out of you. High five, team! 

You’ll also have just put your dress on, and you might be feeling some kind of way. You’ll probably just want to pause, appreciate this moment, and dedicate some time to documenting all of this.

Unfortunately, a million other things also need to happen during this time (especially if you’re running late), so it’s not uncommon for the bridal solo shots to be somewhat quick. 

Why Are Bridal Portraits Important?

gorgeous bride spinning in wedding dress
Photo by: Nick Mehn

So, why even make time for the bridal photos? 

Because we humans are sentimental schmucks. It’s true, and it’s wonderful. 

Think about that photo you have of your grandmother on her wedding day; you know the one? Her veil is set off her shoulders just right, and you can tell that she knows full well she is owning that dress. 

You look back on that photo every now and then, and you’re hit with the realization that you come from a line of gorgeous and fierce women. You’ve never been prouder. 

Wait… you don’t have that photo?

Don’t you wish you did, though? 

Bridal portraits are essential for the same reason that your wedding day photos are essential. You care about documenting your story. You care about continuing your family history. 

You care about giving your kids and grandkids something to look back on and think… damn, Grandma was fierce. I guess I’m pretty fierce too. 

Why Should You Consider Bridal Portraits Before The Wedding?

beautiful young bride posing in a wedding dress
Photo by: Rose Arrow Photography

We’re on the same page, yea? The idea of setting some time aside to revel in the fact that you’re a bride? Important. 

As I said, though, wedding day schedules are beasts, and they’re not always kind to these little pockets of time that we set aside for ourselves. When things start to run late (and, please just assume they will), these precious little moments will be the first to erode. 

What’s the solution, then? 

Bridal portraits before your wedding day! 

Not so sure? Let’s break it down. 


beautiful bride's portrait
Photo by: Alysha Miller Photography

One of the most significant factors here has to be the wedding timeline. 

If you haven’t already started working on one, as soon as you do, you’ll see just how chaotic they can be. A lot is going on! 

Remember that whole running late thing? It’s the unfortunate side-effect of including many people in your wedding and actually trying to enjoy your time with them. 

People get distracted. You get lost in good conversation. You cry, have to get your makeup fixed, and then cry some more. 

It’s just the way of it. 

Protect your bridal portraits, and simply take them out of the wedding day schedule. 

The Stress of the Day

gorgeous bride looking at the window  holding a wedding bouquet
Photo by: Jenny Marie Photography

A lot is going on during your wedding day. 

Everyone is always all “I’m going to be the chill bride. I’m going to be soooo relaxed.” But listen, you don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know is that you’ll probably get a little stressed on the day of. And that’s okay. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s pretty normal to feel some stress when you’ve put up thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars and endless planning into a day. 

It’s not weird to feel stressed when your whole family is in one place. It’s okay to feel stressed when you want everyone to have a good time. 

Listen, significant events are stressful, no matter what they are. Please don’t unwittingly put more stress on yourself by guilting yourself about it. 

Own it. It’s probably going to be a little stressful. So then, it might be a good idea to move bridal portraits to another day.

That’s one less thing to fit into the wedding day timeline, and it’s something that you get to cherish without everything that comes with the wedding day. 

Test Out Your Vendors

pretty bride posing showing off her wedding dress
Photo by: Kalena Photography

If you choose to book your bridal portraits before the big day, you get to test drive your vendors. Work out the kinks, if you will. 

You’ll get your hair, makeup, and nails done, and maybe you’ll even snag a bouquet for the day too!

This will not only be helpful for you to get a grasp on how long everything will take on the big day, but you’ll get to figure out if there are any touches you don’t like. 

Ooof! Don’t love the way your bangs flip when your stylist pins them up like that? Well, there’s time to fix it, and now you know! 

Dry Run

charming bride posing on the stairs
Photo by: Becca Louise Photography

It’s also an excellent time for you to go through a dry run. 

When you’ve already gone through all the prep once, you’ll get to sit back and enjoy it on your wedding day. 

You won’t be thinking about the styling, or that the nail color isn’t quite what you were expecting, or that your bouquet accidentally included some lilacs, and WHAT? You hate lilacs. 

You’ll have already handled that lilac debacle during your bridal portraits, so you’ll get to sit back and relax. None of it will be new to you, so you’ll be able to just enjoy the company of all your family and friends. 


More Time to Revel in Your “Day”

elegant bride posing with her back raised her hands up
Photo by: Kanoa Photography

This is a twofer. You’ll not only have more time to revel in your actual wedding day (since you won’t have to worry about bridal portraits), but you’ll also have more time to revel in your bridal portraits (since you won’t have to worry about your wedding). 

There’s less worrying anyway you look at it, and I just can’t see how this would be a bad decision. 

No rushing. No panicking. No weird timeline hiccups leaving you with about 2.5 minutes to pose your ass off for the camera before running to the field and posing your ass off with your bridal party. 

Nope. You just get to pose your ass off and then enjoy it. 

Find the Right Solution for You

portrait of an incredibly joyful bride
Photo by: Jennifer Mercier Photo

Can booking your bridal portraits before your wedding save you the stress of having to fit them in on your wedding day? Yes. For sure. 

But it will also cost more money and take more of your time. 

Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss the pros and cons with your partner and decide what’s best for you. 

Whether it’s on the big day or scheduled someday prior, you’re sure to end up with bridal photos you’ll treasure for a lifetime. 

More From Blog

Bryanna and Branden’s Big Day (Oh, and Bo the Dog Too!)

Top 10 Craziest Culinary Experiences at All-Inclusive Resorts

11 Things That Totally Annoy Housekeeping Staff – And What to Do Instead

Thank you!

This feature will be available shortly, we’ll notify you when it’s ready. For now, please take a look at our hand-selected vendors.

Enter to win a free All-inclusive honeymoon

4 days/3 nights at any Sandals resort (airfare not included)