Ask Mike: How Long Before My Wedding Should I Schedule My Bridal Boudoir Session?
Hi, I'm Michael. I am a womens portrait and boudoir photographer from New Jersey who works with wonderful women from all over my home state and the NYC area. I've been doing this for nearly ten years. Boudoir is my thing! I'm here to help.
One of my most frequently asked questions is, "How long before my wedding should I schedule my bridal boudoir?" Great question. This article may be on the short side, but I'll lay out a few practical tips for planning and scheduling your bridal boudoir so everything will be on time for your event.
Weddings are growing bigger and bigger by the year. Being a bride can be a hectic time! Despite all this, each year I seem to book more and more bridal sessions. In my opinion there is no better gift you can give your groom. A beautifully designed album is a unique and personal gift that is not only fun to make, but will be treasured for years.
The key for a successful (and enjoyable) bridal session is planning. As you get closer and closer to the big day, your schedule becomes more and more crowded. Brides have a whole calendar of details to plan from flowers, invitations, guests lists, gowns- the list goes on and on.
Where does your boudoir shoot fit in to this seemingly unmanageable tangle of events? --As early as possible. The best bet is to schedule your session 2-3 months before your wedding-- at least. Scheduling is one thing... but the actual planning of the session may even require more time than that-- let me explain.
How many of you are getting married in the spring? *Raise your hands.* Quite a few, huh. There are lots of spring weddings planned each year. Spring is the busiest time of year for me for weddings, anyway, and my spring can be booked weeks, if not months in advance. I always feel bad getting a call from a bride who first reaches out to me in early May... and is getting married just a few weeks later. My scheduled may be booked by that point.
How far out you need to contact your photographer to book, may depend on what time of year your ceremony is planned. In winter-- you may not need too much lead time and scheduling may be easier. In the spring-- I start getting calls and emails in January for spring dates. Tip: If you are a spring bride start planning several months before you plan on booking. Start talking to photographers and get feedback on when to schedule. Trust me, the earlier you plan, it will lead to a much smoother scheduling all-around.
As far as the booking of the shoot, regardless of what time of year you are getting married, 2-3 months is a safe bet. Why so far out? Well, as we stated earlier, the closer you get to your wedding, the tighter your schedule becomes. I've had brides come in real late...and sometimes they are feeling the stress-- and it shows.
Giving yourself ample lead time not only allows your shoot to take place before the crunch of wedding stresses, but your final photography products may take a few weeks to process and ship, as well. There is a ton of work for a photographer after a shoot is completed. It may take two weeks for him/her to prepare and present the photos, and it may take another two for you to pick favorites...and another two for book production and shipping. See where I'm going here? It may take 1-2 months after your session before you have your treasured album in hand.
Of course these are just guidelines, and your scheduling may vary. Some other considerations are:
Bridal Lingerie: I don't shoot women as much in bridal lingerie as I used to, it seems. Some brides would want to do part of their session in whites, and bring accessories such as their veils in for photos. These items photograph beautifully, but not every bride may have their veils months out... If you plan on including these items, schedule accordingly. Tip: Don't have your veil, yet? Some bridal shops will loan you one for a day or so... I've done it!
Bring Your BFFs: What does seem to be becoming more of a "thing" is the bride bringing along a few BFFs to share the session. My women bring wine, have a drink, snacks, and literally make an afternoon out of it. Sometimes these sessions are arranged by the bridesmaids...and they bring the bride along as a gift. Even members of your party don't want to take part, its great to bring someone along for the moral support.
Hopefully, this helped...if just a bit! With a bit of planning, your boudoir session is a great mini "break" from your hectic bridal lifestyle.
Got questions? Send me a note, or visit my website at Mike Cassidy Photography.