Family Photos: Why they’re important and how to do them!!
It’s your wedding day!!!! You’re marrying the love of your life, you’re re-connecting with friends you haven’t seen in AGES, you’re sooo hungry and can’t wait to start eating and drinking … but it’s time for formal family photos.
It can be super duper tempting to say “screw it!” to what is arguably the least fun part of your day. I get it. BUT there are ways to make it go by as quickly and as efficiently as possible!!
Before we get into these tips, I want to remind you just how incredibly important family photos are. It’s not every day that your entire family is gathered together in one place, dressed up super nice and willing to sacrifice a few minutes of their day to smile at a camera. It’s vital that we capitalize on the moment and get family photos taken!!
Also — this is a little sad, but it’s true – you never know if your wedding day is one of the last times you’ll see one of your loved ones. A few months after a wedding I photographed, the bride’s sister unexpectedly passed away. Some of the most recent photos she posted in honor of her sister were from her wedding day. While I felt incredibly honored to have taken pictures that now meant so much to the bride and her family, I kicked myself for not focusing more on family photos in the moment and giving the family even more photos to remember their loved one by.
So now that we’ve established formal family photos are a “must” on your wedding day, let me fill you in on the BEST ways to go about doing them to save time and stress so you can focus on dancing the night away!!!
How to organize & plan for family photos:
🥂 Create a family “shot list” of all the specific combinations of people you want included in formal family photos! (These are the “must-haves” — you can still take more pictures the day of!)
🥂 Set aside one specific time for family photos to take place. A wedding day can already be a bit chaotic with all that’s going on — keeping the plan as simple as possible ensures we don’t need to send out a search party for Uncle Bob!
🥂 Plan to do the family photos BEFORE cocktail hour. I repeat: Family photos must be done before cocktail hour!!! Once food and alcohol start being served, it becomes a thousand times harder to organize large groups of people!
🥂 Have family photos listed on the wedding agenda at the CEREMONY. You know those little pamphlets that are handed out to the guests at the ceremony? Include a phrase like “[immediate] family photos to follow immediately after the ceremony”.
🥂 Ask the officiant/pastor/priest to announce that family photos are happening immediately after the ceremony before sending you back down the aisle as a married couple!
🥂 Finally, make sure your family knows that they will be needed for photos *before they even arrive at the wedding*!!! Include an extra slip in their invitations or send out a massive group text. If your family already has it in their mind that they’ll be taking pictures before the cocktail hour, there’s much less of a chance they’ll forget and run away towards the food!!
Though they might not be the most fun photos, formal family photos are an incredibly important part of your wedding day. It’s not every day that so many loved ones are gathered together in one place all dressed up, and you may not know the next time that will happen! Trust me when I say prioritizing these photos will be well worth it in the long run 💛