INDIANA WEDDING & BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Alison Mae

INDIANAPOLIS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

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A stress free photo of a family on a wedding day. They are in a room with white walls and and blue carpet.
Photo taken at Sycamore Hills Golf Club

Family formals can easily be one of the most stressful parts of any wedding day. Most couples have a long list of family members they’d like photos with. But with so many people, things can get tricky. Over the years we have learned a few tips to keeping this part of your wedding day organized and the key to stress free family photos on your wedding day!

Communicate.. and Communicate Again

I know this one might seem straight forward. But trust me on this. If your family is anything like mine, you may need to tell them multiple times that they will be needed for family formals on your wedding day.

Be Specific

The more specific you can be, the better. Let them know an exact time and location for where and when to meet. When we create the photography timeline with our couples, we provide this information so that it can be share with with family members. We aim to complete family formals in thirty minutes so let them know that this process will be quick if everyone is present. Encourage them to hold off on wandering off to mingle or grab a drink until after family formals are present. We will start with the largest groups and dismiss family members as soon as they are finished.

Ask for Help

As your wedding photographers, we do our best to get to know your friends and family through out the day. However, when it comes to multiple members of your family, we just aren’t going to know who is who. So a great way to help with this is to assign someone on either side of your families to help with gathering family members and pointing people out. Chances are, your family will be eager to help you on your wedding day, so don’t be afraid to ask! Cousins are usually great for this!

Skip the Announcement

I’ve photographed some weddings where the officiant instructs family members to stay behind following the ceremony for portraits. That might seem like a good idea in theory. However, this will lead to every single family member staying back. And if you don’t have them on your list, that can get awkward really quick. Again, communicating the plan for family formals personally ahead of time is much more efficient.

Discuss it with Your Parents

One of the quickest ways we see time add up during family formals, is parents wanting to add more groupings than previously discussed. On occasion our couples will not go over this part of the day with their parents. As a result, the time allotted for this part of the day is stretched considerably. We are all for getting as many photos of family together as we can, but searching the list to see if that particular name is on it and then finding a way to work it in can soak up precious time. And it can also cause confusion which gets us off track. Discussing your family formal list with your parents ahead of time really helps keep thing streamlined on your wedding day.

Keep it Small

Another way that time adds up during family formals is including too many groups. Therefore we have found that keeping your family formal grouping list to somewhere between fifteen to twenty five is ideal. Use the example below to help create your family formal list!

Sample Family Formal List

Bride’s Side

  • EXTENDED FAMILY
  • PARENTS + BRIDE’S SIBLINGS + BRIDE’S GRANDPARENTS PATERNAL
  • PARENTS + BRIDE’S SIBLINGS + BRIDE’S GRANDPARENTS MATERNAL
  • GRANDPARENTS PATERNAL
  • GRANDPARENTS MATERNAL
  • PARENTS + BRIDE’S SIBLINGS
  • MOM + STEP DAD + BRIDE’S SIBLINGS
  • DAD + STEP MOM + BRIDE’S SIBLINGS
  • SIBLINGS
  • PARENTS
  • BRIDE + MOM
  • BRIDE + DAD

Groom’s Side

  • EXTENDED FAMILY
  • PARENTS + GROOM’S SIBLINGS + GROOM’S GRANDPARENTS PATERNAL
  • PARENTS + GROOM’S SIBLINGS + GROOM’S GRANDPARENTS MATERNAL
  • GROOM’S GRANDPARENTS PATERNAL
  • GRANDPARENTS MATERNAL
  • PARENTS + GROOM’S SIBLINGS
  • MOM + STEP DAD+ GROOM’S SIBLINGS
  • DAD +STEP MOM + GROOM’S SIBLINGS
  • SIBLINGS
  • PARENTS
  • GROOM + MOM
  • GROOM + DAD

Other

  • OFFICIANT
  • BOTH SETS OF PARENTS
  • ALL PARENTS (IF YOU HAVE STEP PARENTS INVOLVED)

If you found this post helpful and are looking for more wedding tips, be sure to check out these other helpful wedding day tips!

Stress Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

Tips for Stress Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

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