6 excuses to break out your wedding finery for a post-wedding portrait session

Guest post by Emma Gavelis
All photos by Josh Lasko Photography
All photos by Josh Lasko Photography

My husband and I got married a little over a month ago now, and I have realized that one of the best decisions that we made was to have a second portrait session after we returned home from our honeymoon. Since I'm a photographer myself, getting good wedding photos was important to me, and I was stressed that perhaps the short timeframe in which we needed to get all of our “perfect wedding portraits” wasn't going to be long enough, was going to be too stressful, or was going to be too hot.

So I decided that having more photos of us taken when we didn't have those stresses or constraints sounded like a much better idea, and man were there a lot of benefits to that choice…

1. Quick photo turn-around time

Our wedding day photographer is highly sought-after, and therefore very busy. We won't be seeing our wedding photos for another few weeks yet. The photographer that we hired for our second portrait session does primarily family sessions, was able to get us a sneak preview the next day, and we got our full session photos back within two weeks. And now, even though we don't have all of our photos from our wedding day, at least we have photos of us in our pretty outfits. Plus, we were able to get pictures of us with our “Thank You” sign to send out our thank you cards ASAP.

get you thank you photos early

2. Speaking of our pretty outfits…

There are very few times in life when wearing a wedding dress is fitting for the occasion. So getting to fancy ourselves up once again, and get a little extra use out of the outfits was great. I also did my own hair and makeup for the second shoot, but some photographers offer portrait sessions that include hair and makeup.

3. Awesome photography on a budget

We had a tight budget for our wedding, so we weren't able to afford the big, fancy wedding photography package that I so desperately wish we could have. But single-hour portrait sessions tend to be fairly affordable — depending on the photographer they can be between $150-$300.

Josh Lasko Photography

4. No pressure

By having a second session we also had a whole hour in which I could be sure we got every pose that I had wanted, used every prop, got lots of angles — and I didn't feel rushed to get everything done before the ceremony started. With just us and the photographer there, there was no pressure to make sure that we had photos of the bridal party or anyone else. It was all about us.

5. Control over weather and lighting

We had much more desirable weather for the light during our second session. Our wedding day was supposed to be rainy, but turned out to be hot and sunny — which can be difficult lighting for photography. On the day of our second session it was perfectly overcast with a fantastic diffused light. This gave us a lot more images of us where we aren't all sweaty and squinting into the bright sun. Plus if the weather had been bad, we could have rescheduled.

Josh Lasko Photography

6. Total privacy

My husband has social anxiety, so being able to relax with just one other person and not worrying about a whole lot of people watching us while we took photos made it much easier to get fun and comfortable pictures of us.

In the end we got more budget-friendly photos back earlier, and including all of the poses I had dreamed of, with a laid-back session that wasn't under a time crunch, and I got to wear my beautiful dress again before hiding it away in a bag!

Would YOU do a separate post-wedding portrait session?

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Comments on 6 excuses to break out your wedding finery for a post-wedding portrait session

  1. As a wedding photographer, I would be THRILLED to have the chance a couple in their getup without the time crunch of the wedding day. I usually only get 15-20 minutes with just the couple on the day except on rare occasions where nothing runs late, etc… that’s not to say that they aren’t getting awesome wedding pictures, just that if your biggest photo priority is lots of fun, creative portraits of the two of you, this might be the way to go.

  2. We did one, about 2 months after the wedding! Best decision ever. We were able to go to more locations, I did my hair and makeup differently, and I didn’t worry about getting my wedding dress dirty. Plus, we got to run around in our wedding finery and even eat in Chinatown with our photographer for lunch. Takes so much pressure off and those are some of our favorite photos.

  3. This is exactly what we did. We had an 18th century themed costume wedding, and we went to williamsburg, va on our honeymoon so we took our costumes with us and dressed up again and hired a photographer to take pictures of us there.

  4. Yes, this and this again! A wedding is rarely all about the couple. Being able to spend an hour with just a couple to relax and pose and take some really nice photos in really interesting and meaningful locations is something I try and get every couple to at least consider. Some of my favourite images come from these sessions.


    When I was a kid, my parents, sisters, and I would always talk about having our family’s favourite classic cars present whenever one of us girls got married- no limos for us, we’d roll up in a classic Alfa Romeo Spider! However, as I decided to host my wedding three provinces and two time zones away from my parents, we weren’t able to get any Alfas present on the day of. I was toying with the idea of flying back to my parents house one day and doing a shoot with a local photographer, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Good to see I’m not the only one who has been thinking of this!

    (Also, for those who were wondering, there weren’t any limos on the wedding day. We ended up driving around town in my husbands Subaru with the “I Zombies” bumper sticker)

  6. I’m thinking about doing this too. there are some things I would love to do, but there’s no way I can on the wedding day. (Like pictures at the tree my grandfather planted when my dad was born.)

  7. As a wedding photographer, I can tell you this is wonderful advice. Although, I would suggest going through the same person who did your wedding (if you hired someone to cover your wedding) because you already have a comfort level with them, and the style and quality of photos will be consistent.

    I would suggest even going to a completely different part of town than the one you were at for your wedding. Maybe consider getting your outfits a little dirty, go to a gritty part of town, or maybe some water!

    I have done these sessions before and I have to say, they’re so much more relaxed and fun than during the rush of a wedding day. No family, wedding party, or rushing to stay on schedule. Also, it can be rescheduled if it rains!

    Another option is doing this before the ceremony, leaving plenty of time for pictures and sending wedding party and family away – just you two and the photographer.

    • We got married in Portland but live in Vancouver, Canada. It was more convenient to have two different photographers.
      We tried to book our original photographer for a shoot during our honeymoon but she was too busy. Luckily it all worked out for us.

      • That makes total sense! I think there’s such an added value if, let’s say, you live in a different place than your wedding is, but you want wedding portraits that also reflect where you now call home! In that case it would definitely make sense to hire someone different. Such a great idea, however you can make it work.

  8. I LOVED my wedding photos! They are beautiful and elagant! Everything that I wanted for my wedding day! However, I am a bit of a tomboy at heart… So, I did a “trash the dress” photo shoot on my one year anniversary! I waded in a river! Played around in trees! Climbed rocks! I had a blast! And these turned out just as beautiful!

  9. Our photographer threw this in to our package because she would normally include an engagement shoot but we weren’t in the same place ahead of time to make that happen. It was perfect – we did it just 2 days after our wedding, and drove an hour to the beach because I really wanted that backdrop but it would’ve been too far to do on our wedding day. I had my hair up for the wedding, and wore it down for the beach shoot. Very nice to get two sets of backgrounds and looks. We had so much fun just posing and enjoying the relaxed time with our photographer – and we got lots of onlookers and ‘congrats’ for a second time around!

  10. All kinds of yes to this! I’ve done a few post weddings shoots – i spent an afternoon with a couple who got married abroad and had terrible shots from the resort photographer, a bride i photographed who wanted some more photos of her in her beautiful designer dress before she sold it on and I’m soon photographing a couple who want an excuse to get dressed up again in their wedding finery!

    I think when I get married I will definitely book my photographer for 2 days and spend a few hours doing some photos shortly after the wedding. I know how manic and stressful things can be on the day so it would be ideal to take some time to do more relaxed photos. Also great if the weather isn’t what you hoped for on the day – happens all the time in Scotland!!


  11. Oh my god, I so want to do this. We just got our photos back and were feeling a little unhappy with them. We hired a coworker of my husband’s who does photography on the side, so it was very low-cost, but they didn’t turn out as well as the photos he’d shown us that he’d taken at someone else’s wedding. Plus we were only able to get a few outdoor photos before the light mist became full-out rain. Time to start researching photographers, I think…

  12. You had me at “pretty outfits” but can I add another reason?

    As a wedding guest I don’t always enjoy waiting for the bride and groom to take their staged shots after the ceremony. Sometimes they’re thoughtful enough to provide the guests with something to do, like drinks and canapes in a garden. Sometimes I’m standing around in the bitter cold, making small talk with strangers because we can’t even get into the reception hall.

  13. Our wedding took place in August and just two days ago we were talking about doing this! Our photographer was a friend who has his own business and we hired him due to budgetary constraints. Unfortunately, the photos that we received were generally poorly done and we don’t even have one outstanding shot of our big day. We also did not receive special shots that we requested which is a big deal since our family and friends all live in various countries and our parents met for the first first time two days before the wedding! We were talking about hiring a more professional photographer to compensate for the loss of our big day and this couple has definitely inspired us to go for it 🙂

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