Weddings are exhausting. They are magical and beautiful, but they are also flat out tiring. After the ceremony, the family piles into the church, venue, ceremony spot and waits. Just sits there until they are asked to step into several different combinations of family groups. You have the groom's family, then the bride's family, then maybe a combo of both of them. Then you have the cousins, the nephew/nieces, and then your first-grade teacher who is like a grandmother, so you need to get a picture with her.
You know the drill. It seems like almost everyone these days dreads the family photos at weddings. As guests, it delays the reception starting, which means you don't get to eat until 2 hours later. As family or bridal party, you also just want to eat and PAR-TAY! Right? If your guests are waiting on you to eat, all they want to do is eat and stop having awkward conversations with the people at their table.
While these family pictures might not be the most fun task during the wedding day, they are one of the most important! Some of our favorite pictures from our wedding are the pictures of all of our loved ones together in one spot. If you're anything like us, family is very important. While we love our families, we never have them all in one place to take pictures since they live 3 hours apart. Not only that, but we want to remember them and how they supported us on that special day. That's what makes these wedding day family pictures so important to us.
Here is how I make family formals a breeze and get through them in 15-20 minutes MAX! You read that right. No hour long, drawn-out family photos here! Here are the ways I serve my couples well by making the family formals as quick as possible.
In the beginning stages of meeting with an engaged couple we talk through all the family members that they are going to want pictures with and provide a sample of possible group shots for them to think about. We offer different combinations of family members and we also ask about any members of the family that they don't want in the pictures or any awkward situations that we can help avoid BEFORE the big day. It's our goal to make this time a breeze and as organized as possible! After the ceremony, we have a whole list of names and combinations written down. We start with the immediate family members, and we slowly add loved ones. And then we start with the other side of the family. All of the organization keeps us from having to stand around and figure out who we haven't taken pictures of yet. It also keeps us from missing a family member that the newlyweds wanted to have in their family portraits. Mitchel has a list and calls out the order of photos, with names of who should be photographed while Katie takes the photos!
Our preference, if it's possible and the couple is doing a first-look, is to actually get the majority of the family pictures done before the ceremony. If we have the time, and the couple wants to, we take all of the immediate family pictures first. That gets a large chunk of them done before the ceremony and saves us time later, after the ceremony. Another great tip is to get some of the group photos at the reception, rather than doing them all right after the ceremony.
Here is what a family formal list could look like:
- Bride and groom with mom and dad- Charlie & Teresa
- Bride and groom with mom, dad and siblings - Charlie & Teresa, Bryan
- Bride and groom with sibling- Bryan
- Bride and groom with Charlie's parents- Ethel and Denver
- Bride and groom with Teresa's mom- Carolyn
- Bride and groom with both sets of grandparents, mom & dad, siblings
- Bride and groom with mom and dad- Wade & Karen
- Bride and groom with mom, dad and siblings - Wade & Karen, Kristy & Brad
- Bride and groom with siblings Kristy & Eric, Brad
- Bride and groom with Wade's parents- Earl & Mattie
- Bride and groom with grandparents, mom & dad, siblings
- Bride and groom with Aunt & Uncle- Beth & Phil
- Bride and groom with Aunt & Uncle- Sandy & Steve
- Bride and groom with grandparents, aunts/uncles, mom & dad, and siblings