The time has come to think about your family formals shot list for your wedding day.
You want to make sure nobody feels left out of these important photos. However, it is also important to keep in mind your timeline for the day. (Want to learn how to construct the perfect timeline for you wedding, click HERE)
There are some easy tactics to take regarding your family formals. We will cover everything just read all the way to the bottom.
After five years of shooting weddings, I am providing you the most important groupings for your formal shots list.
One of the most important tips I’ll give you today to ensure a seamless portrait experience though is when you make your list write out everyone’s names. For instance, instead of writing bride’s mom and dad, write “Jane Doe” and John Doe” under the category provided.
Now let’s get into your groupings.
Bride and Groom Together
Both Sets of Parents
Entire Family Group
Now that we have covered who to include during your family formals it is important to decide when to do them. In short, you have two times during the day to conduct them.
The first being before the ceremony. If you are doing a first look it is advised to do your family formals before the ceremony as well. Therefore, you can enjoy your cocktail hour and reception sooner as we will have most of your photos complete before everybody arrives.
Some of the benefits to doing family portraits in advance are~
No additional people looking to hop in “real quick”. Because when you are starting to run behind this can start to add up.
Nobody sneaking off to the party (see less distractions. 😉)
But, if you prefer to wait until after the ceremony some of these benefits include~
Not needing family to show super early
Your getting ready time can start a bit later
You don’t need to worry about family members showing up later because they will have already been there for the ceremony.
Now that we have covered the who and where of family formals we have finally made it to preparing those who need to show up. So, let’s dive in some you can know exactly how to prepare your family members.
Tell them when and where they need to arrive. Regarding the timeline of your day this might look like telling them the photos will take place after the ceremony and that they need to remain in the ceremony location. If we are shooting your family formals before the ceremony then tell them when to show up and the exact location they need to go upon arrival.
Go over your list with your parents. If anyone is likely to add additional groupings it will be your parents. But, this isn’t a bad thing, we just need to make sure these groups are accounted for so we can plan out an appropriate amount of time.
Remind everyone that we are on a timeline. This gets forgotten in the excitement of the day. However, a gentle reminder will get people back on track.
Remind everyone involved that they need to stay where they are until we are finished. There may be family members that they haven’t seen in years and just want to catch up with them. Let them know there will be plenty of time for that after photos are complete.
Family Formals Bonus Tips
After family formals, during your reception, is the perfect time to take additional photos with extended family member and friends. If you are wondering who this might include it’s people such as Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, close friends, etc.
If we choose to shoot before the ceremony your family members need to arrive 1.5 hours before the ceremony to ensure everything is covered with enough time for a break and lining up for the ceremony.
Don’t forget step-parents and children during this portrait time. Also, ask siblings if they are wanting to make sure their husband/wife is included. This actually happens a lot!
Finally, inform your photographer of any family dynamics that they need to know about to keep everything running smooth.
Elizabeth Kane Photography is a luxury wedding and lifestyle photographer currently scheduling 2023-2024 weddings in Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, Temecula, San Diego, Orange County, and the surrounding areas. If you are currently planning your wedding connect with me though the Contact Page for more information on packages and pricing.