FAMILY FORMALS 101

January 2, 2018

Family formals… Yes, I know everyone’s favorite portion of the wedding day. Whether you’ve been at a family wedding before, or if you’re planning for your own wedding, this is most likely the black sheep portion of the day. Some people just want to avoid family drama, while others just really dislike standing and smiling for the next eternity, or maybe you just want to actually make it to cocktail hour. Guess what! I’m here to help! It doesn’t have to be so bad! Honest! There are a few keys to create faster, less stressful family formals on a wedding day:

 

1. LOCATION : Go outside so you can start them immediately! Instead of waiting 15-20 minutes for all of the guest to leave the ceremony location, you can gather the family after they recess out of the ceremony and immediately jump into portraits and save time! (Of course I let the bride and groom have a few moments of “Oh my gosh we’re MARRIED!!!” … then we get to work!

2. COMMUNICATE : Make sure everyone in both families knows to stay put for family photos after the ceremony ends. I’ve even had the officiant make an announcement right after the ceremony reminding family members to stay for photos. By communicating with your family before the wedding day it helps to avoid the need to search for someone who should be in the group family photo while everyone else is ready and waiting.

3. ASSIGN SOMEONE TO HELP : Having a designated family member or family friend who won’t be in the family photos is another great way to keep track of everyone. This person should know which people need to be in the photos, knows all their names, and is good at rounding people up!

4. LIGHTING : I’m a natural light photographer which means I LOVE shooting outdoors. The light indoors can often be dim and a bit yellowed, depending on the ceremony venue. By shooting family portraits outdoors, you are guaranteed to have better coloring in your images and better light to work with!

5. SHOT LIST : This is the only part of the day I request a shot list for and it’s the most important thing you can do to speed up family portraits! I’ve put together a list of combinations and you may not want all of these, which is absolutely fine. However, if your family wants more than these, it is best to take those during the reception for time’s sake. It’s always my goal to get all the family formals done in 30 minutes or less (preferably less).

 

 

 

BRIDE’S FAMILY

Bride & Groom – complete extended family group photo (parents, step-parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc)

Bride & Groom – step-parents, parents, grandparents, siblings
Bride & Groom – parents, grandparents, siblings
Bride & Groom – grandparents
Bride & Groom – parents, siblings
Bride & Groom – parents (then add step parents)
Bride & Groom – siblings (then add any nieces, nephews)
Bride – grandparents (mom’s side)
Bride – grandparents (dad’s side)
Bride – mom (then add step dad)
Bride – dad (then add step mom)
Bride – each sibling

 

Bride & Groom’s side – all parents (then add step parents)

 

GROOM’S FAMILY

Bride & Groom – complete extended family group photo (parents, step-parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc)

Bride & Groom – step-parents, parents, grandparents, siblings
Bride & Groom – parents, grandparents, siblings
Bride & Groom – grandparents
Bride & Groom – parents, siblings
Bride & Groom – parents (then add step parents)
Bride & Groom – siblings (then add any nieces, nephews)
Groom – grandparents (mom’s side)
Groom – grandparents (dad’s side)
Groom – mom (then add step dad)
Groom – dad (then add step mom)
Groom – each sibling

 

*Filling out everyone’s names is a great way to make this list even better!

I believe these tips will make family formals as efficient and painless as possible for everyone and then we can all get to the reception and celebrate your BEST DAY EVER!

 

This post idea was originally taken from The Brittany Bishop Photography blog! 😉

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