Weddings are a time of love, joy, and excitement for new beginnings. But they can also come with an unexpected pang of sadness to be leaving your “old” family behind. Many of our couples have been blessed by family members who are very active in helping them plan, pay for, and carry out their wedding day, and we enjoy making sure you have gorgeous pictures of the people who matter most to you on your wedding day.
That being said, formal family pictures can be one of the most stressful parts of the day. To ensure you love the pictures and don’t want to pull your perfectly styled hair out by the end of them, here are four of our best tips!
1. Set Your List in Advance
A good photographer will work with you to determine which groupings are important to you BEFORE your wedding day. This enables the photographer to take the pictures in the most efficient order, and it will avoid you having to remember all of those groups on your wedding day!
2. Double Check Your List with Parents
If you have an immediate family member who might be prone to making special picture requests on your wedding day (you know the one!), save yourself some stress and simply go over the list with them in advance. That way if they have group pictures to request, you can either calmly and privately explain to them that the timeline won’t allow for the additional pictures OR you can get the additional requests to your photographer so they can factor in an appropriate amount of time!
3. Consider Taking Immediate Family Pictures BEFORE the Ceremony
Traditionally, family formals are taken immediately following the ceremony inside the church or ceremony venue. It is typically dark and everyone is rushing to finish so they can get to the reception and have fun! We highly recommend having a first look, and one of the many perks is that you can avoid some of the stress of cramming a million family pictures into the 20-30 minutes right after your ceremony. If you plan to take pictures with your immediate family prior to the ceremony, you can take them outside in pretty natural light and make time to do several variations with the same people in addition to the whole group. For example, you may take a picture with your whole family but also grab individuals of you with each of your grandparents, parents, and siblings. These are awesome for when you want a beautiful picture of you and your mom to print for Mother’s Day or a fun picture of you and your brother when you’re bragging on his exciting new promotion on Facebook. Most of our brides cherish the pictures of their immediate family members, so it just makes sense to ensure we can take them in the best lighting and plan enough time to get all the variations you want!
4. Tell Your Family in ADVANCE When To Be Picture Ready
If you decide to do some or all of your formal family pictures after your ceremony, remind everyone in the pictures not to go anywhere! One easy tip is to announce to the people at your rehearsal when and where they are needed for formals so it is fresh in their mind the next day! You can also send them an email. Forward the timeline along to anyone who might need it, and don’t hesitate to put your maid of honor or an immediate family member on the job of gathering family members for pictures on your wedding day! If you’re in a rush to make it to your cocktail hour or reception, you can even do some of the larger groups at the reception if you prefer. The DJ can announce the groups, we can take the pictures quickly, and you can all get back to partying!
So often, formal family pictures can feel like an obligation. With a little bit of planning, they can be pretty painless… and you may be left with your new favorite photo of you and your daddy, a photo you’ll treasure forever of your grandma at your wedding, or a professional photo of you and your little sister who grew up to be your best friend.