The dreaded family photos. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, but then you have to add your family into the mix and things can get a little crazy. If you do family photos before the ceremony, then you will want to get them done as soon as possible so you can get married. And if you do them after the ceremony, then you are wishing that you were at the cocktail hour. But trust us when we say that family photos are a very important part of your wedding day – these are the photos that mom and dad are going to print and hang in their home. And honestly, these are some of the photos you are going to show your great, great grandchildren when you talk about your crazy uncle Bob.
Here are some tips to help make the Family Photos part of your wedding day go as smooth as possible.
1. 99% of the time, family photos will occur directly after the ceremony. Why you ask? Because it is the easiest way to wrangle family members. We know that a wedding day can be super busy for the bride and groom, but it can also be busy for family members. Sometimes, family members have a hard time getting to the ceremony venue on time. Shocker, I know! But, they usually are there in time for the ceremony and therefore they are there for family photos immediately following.
If you prefer for family photos to be before the ceremony, plan on having your family there and ready to start 15 minutes for the original “start time.” So, if your family photos are to be at 4:30pm, then make sure that they are there, dressed, and ready at 4:15pm.
2. Before your big day, please talk with your photographer about exactly what you want for family photos. Lists are great. We love lists. Having a list of the family members that you want photographed allows us to know exactly who is who. This part of the wedding day can get a little chaotic for us, especially when people are yelling out for the Brown Family to come up to the altar. We have no idea who the Browns are, and how many people are about to flood the ceremony site. Getting a list together before hand allows us to see if the Browns are a family of three or a family of thirteen. This helps us prepare in how much time we need to devote to family photos…and how much space we need at the ceremony site!
Here is an example of list of family photos:
Bride with mom
Bride with dad
Groom with mom
Groom with dad
Couple with Bride’s parents
Couple with Groom’s parents
Couple with all parents
Couple with parents and grandparents
Couple with parents, grandparents, and siblings.
Couple with parents, grandparents, siblings, and any additional family
Couple with grandparents
Couple with siblings
3. It’s super important for your family to know that they are to stay at the ceremony site after the wedding. You know that family photos list that you made for us? Send it to your family. Make sure that they know how many photos they are going to be in and in what groups. It helps them know when they can, and cannot go meandering to the bar.
Speaking of meandering, this is where coordinators come in handy. Or a really bossy family member. You know that family member; she’s the one who likes to be involved in everything and who also knows everyone in the family. We need her to corrall the family at the ceremony site and keep them there.
As a final tip, ask the officiant to make an announcement after the ceremony that reads something like this, “The bride and groom request your presence at the reception area. Please, all family members remain at the ceremony site for photos.”
4. We need to know the dynamics of your family. There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to fit 20 family members into one shot and then realizing that you have put dad’s new girlfriend next to mother. And they’re not friends. We need to know if these encounters are likely to happen and how for us to avoid them. We don’t want to add any more stress to a whirlwind of a day.
5. After the ceremony, make sure that you go to a secluded place. You just got married! Now go hide yourself for a minute. You guests are all happy and giddy from your nuptials, and they will want to give you a hug, kiss, and congratulations. There’s nothing bad about that, but if we send you into the sea of congratulations, it’s going to take some time to fish you back out. And that can add some time to your timeline.
6. If we can’t seem to drag Aunt Mildred from the bar during the formal family photos, make sure that you catch us at the reception and we would be more than happy to snap a photo of you and your auntie.
Speaking of the reception, that will be the topic of our next post!