Wedding family formals can easily be one of the most stressful parts of this process. 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.
The more specific you can be, the better. Let your family members 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. However this is totally dependent on everyone being prompt and present. Encourage them to hold off on wandering off to mingle or grab a drink until after family formals are complete. 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. But there are ways to help keep this part of the day running smoothly.
Many planners will help orchestrate this part of your wedding day, so be sure to reach out to your planning or coordination team about this.
However, if you do not have a planner or coordinator, it is a good idea 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.
Talk 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. It causes 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!
Wedding Day Family Formals Suggested List
- BRIDE’S EXTENDED FAMILY | MATERNAL SIDE
- BRIDE AND GROOM WITH BRIDE’S MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS
- BRIDE’S EXTENDED FAMILY | PATERNAL SIDE
- BRIDE AND GROOM WITH BRIDE’S PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS
- BRIDE, GROOM, BRIDE’S PARENTS AND BRIDE’S SIBLINGS, SPOUSES AND CHILDREN
- BRIDE, GROOM AND SIBLINGS AND SPOUSES
- BRIDE, GROOM, BRIDE’S PARENTS
- BRIDE + MOM
- BRIDE + DAD
- BRIDE, GROOM + ALL SETS OF PARENTS
- GROOM’S EXTENDED FAMILY | MATERNAL SIDE
- GROOM AND BRIDE WITH GROOM’S MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS
- GROOM’S EXTENDED FAMILY | PATERNAL SIDE
- GROOM AND BRIDE WITH GROOM’S PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS
- GROOM, BRIDE, GROOM’S PARENTS AND GROOM’S SIBLINGS, SPOUSES AND CHILDREN
- GROOM, BRIDE AND SIBLINGS AND SPOUSES
- GROOM, BRIDE AND GROOM’S PARENTS
- GROOM + MOM
- GROOM + DAD
If you have step parents and step siblings, be sure to share this information with us in your timeline questionnaire.
All in all, we are here to help. For more wedding day tips, connect with us here.