“You’re wedding day is full of small moments that deserved to be perfectly remembered in photographs.” You’ve probably heard or read this a million times. I definitely know I have said it a million times! And it 100% is true. BUT, once the wedding is over and you receive your gallery, what photos are going to be the ones that you print out to hang around your house?? Honestly, you’re most likely going to print your portraits over any of those other small moments. So as a photographer it is always super important to me that your couple portraits are the best they can possibly be and that you get as much of them as possible!
The unfortunate truth is that many times the couples portraits get pushed back by other things and we’re stuck with less than ideal conditions; less than 15 minutes for photos, rushing to beat the sun going down, and your family trying to … “really quick I gotta tell you this one thing”… you know what I mean. 😅It is for these reasons that couples have been trying to find a way to get around this so they can have photos where they feel relaxed and happy.
This brings me exactly to why I think a newlywed session is one of the most popular items that couples like to add on to their package. One of my couples told me “I feel like we were so relaxed, we got to run around, just be free, and have fun!” And like I always say, the best pictures of us are always when we are being ourselves and having a good time. So if you’re somebody who is considering asking your photographer to do a bridal session outside of your wedding day, here’s a few things that might help you decide if it’s the right thing to do.
There are so many beautiful wedding venues in Arizona that I am obsessed with, but only a handful seem to have it all. What I mean is that most venues do an amazing job of creating amazing ceremony spaces and ballrooms but sometimes can be limiting when it comes to great areas for the portraits. I always do a great job at finding hidden corners and beautiful spaces at the venues that fit what my couples are looking for but I have to say… I wish there were a lot more options. And when a golf course is my only option… ya know that’s not just really my thing😬.
So many people dream of having wedding photos in places like Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc. but don’t get those pictures because that’s not where the location of their venue. A newlywed session lets you have the best of both worlds; you get those amazing photos with you and your partner, while still getting to keep your chosen venue for the wedding. This is your opportunity to get the dreamy, golden hour photos in the mountains that I know you can’t stop thinking about!
Wedding Day Timelines
Wedding days can be a little stressful and the biggest reason for that is because you’re trying to fit so many things into a short amount of time. Feeling like there’s too much to do in so little time is really the worst feeling in any situation but that’s never what you want to feel on your wedding day. After the ceremony, you’re ready to kick back, relax, and hangout with your family and friends and the last thing I want to do is pull my couples away from having a good time. By the end of a busy day, your portraits may feel more like a task than something you’re excited for. A bridal session gives you the opportunity to take that task away from your wedding day and give you more time for other things.
By doing this you are no longer worrying about what time the ceremony should start in order to plan for perfect lighting and have enough time for all the photos after while also trying to get back in time for dinner (gosh I’m exhausted just writing this sentence). You’re now giving yourself an extra 40 minutes to enjoy other things! This means you can go and enjoy cocktail hour, you can start dinner earlier, and you can start chatting with your guests sooner. Basically, if you’re trying to plan your wedding timeline and you just feel like nothing is working out, doing a bridal session may definitely be the answer you’re looking for to make things easier.
Adding a newlywed session also means that we get to dedicate all of our energy during that time into being relaxed and capturing beautiful photos of your relationship. You’re not thinking about what your aunt said to you earlier or how there’s other things to get to. You get to just enjoy being with your partner and focus on the moment together.
Before or After the Wedding??
For most people the first question that comes to their mind is “Well when would we do the session?”. You have your choice to do it before or after the wedding. Most people like to do it a couple days after the wedding but doing it before brings a few benefits that you probably didn’t think of. First of all, it’s a great opportunity to do a hair and makeup trial with your makeup artist. You guys can figure out what you like and what looks best paired with your dress.
Most people then wonder “Okay, so what? We just show up to the session together?? I still want to get photos of his reaction seeing me for the first time.” Of course you do! The first look is a wedding photo MUST! If you choose to do your newlywed session before the wedding date, we set up a first look reveal just like how we would do a first look on your wedding day. I’ll get the photos of you walking up from behind and both of your reactions to seeing each other for the first time.
The last thing I always like to point out about doing it before your wedding is that you get the unique opportunity to actually have wedding photos displayed at the reception. I always deliver previews of sessions within 24 hours which means if we take your photos at least 2 days before the wedding then you will have a few to enjoy and can print to display at your wedding! It can be really fun for your guests to look at your newlywed photos and admire how amazing you look, because let’s be honest, you’re gonna look SO GOOD!
Despite these reasons you should definitely not feel pressure to do your newlywed session before your wedding. Like I mentioned, many couples choose to do it after. It’s a great way to take advantage of your time off of work and bask in all the newly married feels! By doing it after the date, you don’t take away from any of the moments you’ve been imagining forever (like the first look). Doing it after is also a fun activity to enjoy on your honeymoon. If you add some cool experiences (like what I get into next) then it really becomes something unique you will never want to forget.
Make It A Unique Experience
Similar to your engagement session, when you take advantage of a newlywed session, you are able to play around with a bunch of different ideas that can make it fun and unique. I always love to have couples write a letter and read them to each other at their session. It brings back all those emotions from your wedding day, and makes for some really special moments to be photographed. Picnics are also a great thing to add to your session. You can toast with a bottle of champagne and enjoy a few of your favorite snacks. Make it fun and feel like it’s your wedding day all over again! Venues are nice for more traditional photos, but a newlywed session gives you the option to be more creative! You get to make it very “you” which as you guys already know, I am all about!
You Want an Elopement AND a Wedding
If you’re like me, you are completely in love with all the photos from people’s elopements on Pinterest, BUT you also never want to give up the opportunity for a fun party! Bridal sessions are how you can have both! We can go to an epic location that you’ve been obsessing over, stand on a mountain top, read your vows to each other, have your romantic first kiss, toast with some champagne, eat some cake, go on a hot air balloon ride, or whatever else you want! You really have the opportunity to make it whatever kind of experience you desire.
If you are just wanting cute bridal photos in a cool location then perfect, we can do it! If you want to make an adventurous elopement out of it then we can absolutely do that too! The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can have for your big day!
If you’re interested in checking out a couple gallery examples of newlywed sessions, here’s a few links!
Superstition Mountains Day Before Newlywed Session: Kelsey and David decided they wanted to do their newlywed session before their wedding so they could display their photos at the reception. We went to the Gilbert Temple so they could photograph their first look at a location that was really special to them, and then drove out to the Superstition Mountains so they could get the golden hour desert photos she loves so much.
Aspen Grove Adventure Newlywed Session: Ashlee + Patrick decided to do a newlywed session after their wedding date when they realized that the busy wedding timeline did not allow for them to have the photos they really wanted. They really wanted to go up north to Flagstaff (the place where they met) and have their photos done at one of their favorite forest locations.
So if you’re on the fence of whether or not you should do a newlywed session, I always vote for yes. Doing your portraits on a different day only makes your wedding experience more fun and last longer.
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