Growing up in the south, our wedding traditions differ than most of your "typical" nuptials. Large bridal parties, monogrammed everything, koozies in hand and a formal yet laid back atmosphere only slightly describe a big day below the Mason Dixon.
Oh yes...and a large framed formal portrait of the bride prominently displayed on an easel by the guest book.
One of the most important things on a southern bride's "to-do" list is having formal bridal portraits taken about 2-3 months before your wedding. Dress fittings, flowers, make-up and hair must all be perfect as well. Yes, it's that big of a deal! It's essentially a dress rehearsal for your bombshell bridal look on your wedding day. Not to mention, it's one more chance to wear your dress and act like you are a model for wedding magazine. What bride would not want that?!
How did the tradition start? Long before the early 1900's, it was uncommon to have a photographer at a wedding. Therefore, bridal portraits or "Bridals" were usually taken of the bride in her dress to commemorate the special occasion. When the tradition make it's way to the beautiful south, "Bridals" had soon become a rite of passage for Southern debutantes. Today, it is a keepsake that hung in the bride's parents home for years to come. My mother has a large framed bridal portraits of both myself and my sister-in-law hung up in her formal living room (both displayed at our weddings), as did my grandparents of my mom and aunt, and so on.
I purposely picked out my dress about 15 months before I got married and had my make-up/hair trial done 4 months before the big day strictly for the purpose of perfect portraits. You're probably thinking it sounds like more work than it's worth. For some it may be but if you're like me and love getting all dolled up, it's one more excuse to feel like you're Cinderella. Plus...you get to SEE your look in photos beforehand, that way you feel confident in that you look like a total bridal goddess on your wedding day. It gives the mother of the bride ultimate bragging rights, it's a historical tradition you can pass down to your children and grandchildren, and it makes for a great little gift to give your husband for his desk at work (just to remind him how perfect and beautiful his wife is). ;)
I had only met one photographer in Colorado who had ever heard of such of thing before I talked to Katie. Sure we had fears of a snagged dress or a torrential down pour mid-shoot, but Katie exceeded every expectation for the vision of my southern bridal look and created the most beautiful formal portraits every bride-to-be could dream of. We had an absolute blast shooting them! Thank you Katie for all your AMAZING work! :)
To learn more about Kate Marie Photography check out her bio here