February 9, 2022
Honestly, for the couple, getting those formal family pictures at your wedding is not usually the most enjoyable part of the day. It’s a lot of standing, looking at the camera and smiling while we swap the people stood around you.
But let me be clear, family photos are very important photos! And I do advocate for having some of these types of classic group shots because other than occasions like weddings, when is your whole family together in its entirety with you all dressed up looking lovely too? And when you are all in one place at the same time, when do you make the effort to actually get a photo together anyway? So we’ll do a few. Trust me, these photos are going to increase in importance and value as time passes and people are lost. (Sad, but true!)
But don’t worry, I have the process streamlined now so that with effective planning before the wedding and efficiency on the day, it will go ahead as smoothly as possible.
Here are the five tips for nailing your family photos at your wedding.
- Keep the number of groups concise – Real talk, group wedding photos can take up a big chunk of time! Realistically, each group shot takes about four minutes to execute. So imagine the euphoria you’re feeling from just getting married and then going straight from that into ticking off a list of 20 groups photos, which is going to take over an hour! All you will want to be doing is savouring a canapé, clinking glasses with your friends, having a drink and enjoying a wonderful time with your guests. So I recommend a maximum of six to eight different groups to keep things short and snappy.
- Be honest with yourself – Ask yourself the question, ‘Are these people important enough that I would print this photo out or include it in an album?’ If the answer is no, what are you ever going to do with that picture? Maybe we don’t need it. If you’re mum is after a photo of herself with all of her friends or your dad wants a photo with all of his siblings, of course that’s more than fine but these don’t need to be accounted into your group photos. I’m always open to people tapping me on the shoulder during the reception and asking if they can have a photo with their family or group of friends.
An example family shot list for your wedding day might look something like this:
- Couple with Partner A’s parents
- Couple with Partner A’s parents & siblings
- Couple with Partner A’s parents, siblings & grandparents
- Couple with both sets of parents
- Couple with Partner B’s parents
- Couple with Partner B’s parents & siblings
- Couple with Partner B’s parents, siblings & grandparents
- Prepare your groupings ahead of time – Give each group a title, e.g ‘grooms immediate family’ and then list each of the people required for the photo by name. It makes it so much easier on the day if I can just shout out, ‘Groom’s immediate family please,’ and then check off each person by name.
- Give people a head’s up before the wedding day that they’re going to be required for some group photos and tell them at roughly what point of the day they’re going to be happening. So many times group photos have been delayed because we’ve had to send someone off to retrieve someone from the bar/toilet/hotel room because they didn’t think that they were in any of the photos. It’s also useful to brief one or two ‘helpers’ ahead of time that know most of the guests and will be able to help with rounding people up. I find it works well to choose one helper from either side of the family!
- Timing the group shots is key – Experience has taught me that the best time to get the group shots done is when everyone is naturally gathered in one place. As I mentioned already, it starts to unravel when we’re having to pull people away from the bar or asking them to turn the car around because they’re on their way home to change their trousers (yes, this has happened!) so when everyone is all in once space is best. Either this tends to be straight after the ceremony or right before you’re seated for your meal. My recommendation is following the ceremony for two main reasons: they’re done and dusted then so you can more fully relax without having to keep tabs on people and also people will not have started drinking properly yet. Trying to coordinate people who have had a few is like herding cats!
I really hope that my tips for streamlining your family photos ahead of your wedding day made a difference.