On most wedding days, couples choose to set aside a little time for formal family portraits. This is a unique day when your immediate family is all in one place, dressed their best, and excited to celebrate you! Taking the opportunity to photograph you all together is a wonderful idea and a really special way to honor your loved ones. That said, this portion of the day can also become very exhausting for a couple who has been going non-stop all day, and if you try to do too much at once, it can also cause your wedding day schedule to run behind, meaning less time for portraits of you as a couple, etc. These are all important things to consider when deciding how you’ll incorporate family photos on your wedding day. I have a few tips I love to share with couples to make this part of the day as seamless and stress-free as possible for all of those who are involved.
Limit your list. This is truly the biggest factor in ensuring your day is smooth and stress-free. Trying to squeeze too much into a tight timeline is a sure way to create stress for the couple, and that’s the last thing we want on your wedding day. Yes, family portraits are important. However, these formal photos do not need to include your entire lineage! I encourage couples to limit family photos to immediate family (grandparents, parents, and siblings/sibling families.) Photos with cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. can happen candidly throughout the reception and cocktail hour. Of course, this is always left up to your discretion. If you want to include more people in your photos, we absolutely will! It just means we need to add time into your wedding day timeline to accommodate.
Provide an “assistant.” Assign a designated “family photo helper” on your wedding day who can help during the time set aside for family photos. Ideally this is a person who knows both families by name and is comfortable reminding them when and where they need to be. As photographers, we are working off a list of names but often haven’t met all the people on the list yet, so having someone present who can help us rally your family members is really helpful and allows us to get through photos more quickly.
Prepare a list. I provide all couples with this suggested list for family photos. We will of course, customize this to suit your unique family situation.
Siblings: 9. Couple with Partner 1’s Siblings 10. Couple with Partner 1’s Siblings and Parents 11. Couple with Partner 2’s Siblings 12. Couple with Partner 2’s Siblings and Parents
Grandparents: 13. Couple with Partner 1’s Grandparents 14. Couple with Partner 2’s Grandparents
Review with your photographer. All my clients have a pre-wedding consult about one month prior to the wedding day. During this meeting, one of the things we will review together is your family photo list. This is a great opportunity for you to share any special circumstances, nuances, or considerations that would be helpful for me to be aware of when interacting with your family. We will also go over name pronunciation to ensure I can respectfully address your loved ones.