I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I LOVE BRIDAL PHOTOS!
Bridals Photos have always been my favorite thing to photograph, and Utah has some great places to utilize for that purpose. There's something for every type of bride, truly. There are TONS of great options, but I'm going to focus on a few of my personal favorites, though the list is always growing.
Utah State Capitol
Let's start with a classic. The State Capitol building is an absolutely beautiful -- and free! -- place to take bridal portraits. The classic white marble, the columns, the grand iron double-doors...even the grounds are fabulous. The dome in the center can create the perfect spotlight on the bride or the couple. Helpful hint: Make sure to call ahead to ensure there isn't already an event happening on the day you want to go!
White Willow Reception Center
This little darling of a venue is located in Provo, and while it may be small, it gives you some very nice options. The bride room is gorgeous, there are usually lots of flowers around, there's a grand fireplace in a richly furnished den, and the garden is enchanting! They charge about $25 for bridals, which is a very reasonable price.
Lots of brides have used this option, and for good reason. The stonework in the amphitheater is gorgeous, the grounds are extensive and give plenty of open-space options, and there are lots of little nooks and crannies to make use of. There is a small fee, but nothing that will break the bank, and it's totally worth it.
Castle Park in Lindon
And speaking of Castles...the beautiful Castle Park in Lindon is a fabulous option! Their castle is adorable, and offers plenty of great options for bridals, including a fabulous and unique gazebo. (I'm a sucker for gazebos.) The staff will also generally allow a bride the use of one or both of the ballrooms, depending on whether or not there is an event they are preparing for.
International Peace Gardens
This was one I discovered more recently, and it became an instant favorite! Salt Lake's International Peace Gardens comes with a myriad of great options for photos. Each individual garden represents a different land, so you can go with a Japanese zen garden feel, one with classic Roman columns, or a soft romantic Parisian look. You can opt for a vineyard or a garden, bold red or soft patterns and textures.
Probably one of the most commonly represented venues in bridal portraits, it really never gets old. Thanksgiving Point just has an incredible array of options. Bridges, rocks, gazebos, floral carousels, rose-covered archways, hidden gardens, fountains, vineyards, and more! Yes, you do have to pay for this one; Thanksgiving Point charges around $100 for bridal portraits, but I promise it's worth it! For all the options you get with this place, you get a lot for your money.
Historic Wheeler Farms
This is perfect for the rustic or country vintage bride! The grounds are pretty extensive, with plenty of great places to choose from. You can use rustic wooden buildings as a backdrop, or a variety of trees and tall grasses. There is, of course, a large barn where weddings are held, and it's totally charming. For a really "country" feel, there's even a couple of wagons and a classic truck. Don't forget your cowgirl boots!
Ironically, NOT located in Provo. It's a bit out of the way, but this place is lovely, I've taken several brides there. The waterfall itself makes for a beautiful backdrop, and if you're brave enough (and careful enough) you can even venture out into the water for a great view!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
This is a fantastic spot if you want to capture the feel of the Utah desert. Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a state park, and well worth the trip. You'll have to do some small amount of trekking through thick sand to get a good spot, so I might suggest this as a shoot after the wedding, not before. But it creates some fantastic backdrops and if you're lucky enough to get a desert sunset, you will not be sorry!
Arches National Park
Utah is known for its red rock, and Arches is probably one of its most famous national parks. If you're an outdoors-y type, and a bit of an adventurer, I highly recommend Arches. That white gown against a red-rock landscape offers a wonderful sense of drama. Again, I might wait until after the wedding for this, and be careful with your dress. Chances are, it will get a little dirty.
Hare Krishna Temple, Spanish Fork
This beautiful Hare Krishna temple has lots of character to it! The architecture offers a really unique and exotic option for bridals. They do ask for a donation to the temple, usually around $40 or so. And ask ahead for good dates, as they are sometimes picky about that. Also, if you're a trash-the-dress kind of bride, I have done some AWESOME sessions during the annual Holi Festival of Colors!
Midway Ice Castles
This is, of course, only a seasonal thing, but it is a beautiful option for the winter bride. I was actually the first wedding photographer in Utah to photograph a bride here, several years ago, and it has since become a really popular option, drawing photographers and brides from miles around. It's gotten pretty pricey as a result, but the photos you can get will amaze everyone!
La Caille has been on my own personal wish-list for years, and I finally got the chance to do a bridal series there recently -- and it was so worth it! Fair warning, this is an expensive venue, even for bridals. If memory serves, it's about $200 for three hours of use. But it is ridiculous how gorgeous this place is. From the entrance to the location, it is total eye-candy. And if feels like you are walking right into a scene from Europe, you totally forget you're actually near Salt Lake. The building itself makes for a beautiful backdrop, especially with the fountain. There are wonderful aspen groves, unique blue bridges, an awesome gazebo, and even a greenhouse where you can hold receptions. This place has so much to see! They even have live peacocks wandering the grounds. I fell in love instantly.
There are plenty of other great places, some I've used and others I'm still eager to try out. But hopefully this starts to inspire you as a bride!