What You Need to Know About Southern Bridal Portraits

Learn more about the benefits of this tradition.

While most brides will be sure to have their photographer snap some solo shots on the wedding day, in the South it is traditional to have bridal portraits – also called “bridals” – taken in advance, so the stunning photographs can be displayed at the reception. Often, these photos are less done for the bride herself, and more for the matriarchs in her family to add to their collection. However, the pictures certainly have additional benefits, such as having fewer must-haves on your shot list to rush through during the hours before your vow exchange. This both allows you more time to take family photos and gives you more time to guarantee you’ll have the perfect picture of yourself as a bride.

Bride in pretty long sleeve wedding dress southern bridal portrait ideas advice
Photo by Karlisch Photography

Learn more about this Southern tradition below:

- Traditionally, these portraits were taken at photography studios, but now they can be taken anywhere in order to lead to more personalized photos, much like an engagement session. The reception venue is a common choice.
- If you plan to get the portraits done outside, allow for enough time before the wedding to have your gown professionally cleaned. Generally, about a month before is best, so be sure to confirm that your alterations will be complete by then.
- However, if you have any beauty treatments you're doing for the big day, make sure you start in time to see the affects for your bridals. For example, you definitely want to have the same hair color in these photos and the wedding.
- You’ll also want to book additional hair and makeup appointments, although you may be able to utilize your trials for that purpose.
- Decide if you want a bouquet or not, because you’ll likely have to order an extra one. That said, some southern florists will include a complimentary one, since bridal portraits are so common in the region.
- You may need to consider choosing a weekday, as most top photographers (and venues!) will be booked on the weekends.
- Make your expectations with your photographer clear. If you’ll need a large print in time for the wedding, you need to make sure you’ll have the edited images in time.
- Have the portraits done in the late afternoon or early evening – remember that you’ll need plenty of time to get ready. Plus you’ll be able to take advantage of “golden hour,” when natural lighting is at its best.
- Bring a local bridesmaid or your mother along to help you out with your dress and accessories. It’s also another bonding moment, and your photographer can focus on getting the perfect shot.

Find out what you need to know before doing a boudoir session and how to have a perfect first kiss photo. 

Authored by: Emily Lasnier