Ahh families. Everyone has some drama in their family, and interesting dynamics. Sometimes you can’t be in the same room as someone for more than five minutes without a fight breaking out. When it comes to your wedding though, you probably want to keep all the drama at minimum. Unless you are like Donna from Parks and Rec and you secretly want LeVondrious to show up and throw a microwave on the floor at the reception. Family photos at your wedding may not be the most glamorous part of the evening. I get it, they certainly aren’t the most fun for me either. There’s usually very little creativity in them. But that’s okay! They are really important photos. It’s not often that you will have so many family members together in one place.
I often tell my couples that family portrait hour can be really quick and easy, or really long and painful.. like herding cats. Someone is always wandering off and someone else has to go find that person and you end up with people missing from lots of shots. It’s the bride and groom that end up frustrated and annoyed. One of the responsibilities I give myself on a wedding day is to help remind my couple that everything is fine, and to be calm and laid back. That being said, with just a little preparation you can hopefully minimize (or eliminate) the stress of getting those family shots. Here are three tips that I cannot stress enough, to help you out.
Sounds simple right? It is. Whether it’s via email or phone call, before your wedding day give people a heads up. “Hey, we are going to be doing family photos right after the ceremony and I would love for you to stick around and be in a few.” If people know they are going to be in them, they are already ahead. You can even delegate this task to a parent or sibling. Which leads me to my next tip.
I give all my couples my standard list of of groupings I try to hit. Mainly parents, siblings, grandparents and one extended family shot. I also tell them to send me back a list of anyone special if they aren’t on that list. Maybe you have step parents, or special aunts and uncles. I don’t know your family dynamics. Send that list to your photographer. It’s even better if you have names and titles. For example: Bride + Mom & Dad (Jim & Carol). I don’t mind calling her mom, but sometimes if you yell out I need mom! About 12 women are going to answer me. I’m really good at these lists because that totally relates to my third tip.
Oh man. If you don’t do any of the others, this is a big one. Have someone like a best man or maid of honor who knows your families well to help your photographer. I might have a list that says you want a photo with Aunt Lisa, but I don’t know what Aunt Lisa looks like. Having that go-to person is key. I can say to them, next I need these three people, and after them these four. If they can go grab them for me and have them waiting, this process becomes soooo quick.
Hopefully this helps both you, your family and your photographer on your big day. If you need other tips or advice you can see my other blogs in this series here: Best Wedding Ever!
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