The last thing that you want the day of your wedding (or leading up to your wedding) is stress for you, your fiancé, or your family and friends. One part of your wedding that can be a bit stressful are your family portraits. While you know who you want to get formal family portraits with, your family may also be throwing other combinations at you. It's easy to be overwhelmed and not know where to start or draw the line when it comes to family portraits. Here are a few tips to help lessen that stress.
The first thing that you can do when starting to come up with your family portrait list before the wedding is to set expectations. Really think about the family members that you want those formal portraits with and let your family know. Maybe your parent's really want you to include in a formal portrait with your extended family that you aren't necessarily that close with. Don't be afraid to say no. At the end of the day you want your wedding to be joyful and you want your portraits to be ones that you will really love, print, and use. Start with those must have portraits and then you can add in additional ones if you still have room on your list. The rest of those portraits can be taken during the open dancing portion of the reception, if needed.
Consider Family Members Who Are In The Wedding Party
If you have family members who are in your wedding party (sisters who are bridesmaids, brothers who are groomsmen, etc) then you will take photos with them during the wedding party portrait time and won't need to add an additional photo with them during the family portrait time. During wedding party portraits, you will be taking photos with the whole wedding party as well as individual photos. You can easily make sure your photographer captures those family members who are in the wedding party during this time to help free up some time during family portraits.
Make A List And Stick To It
Once you know who you want to include in family formals, the next step is to make a list. Take a look at the list and see how many grouping there are. I usually recommend no more than 10-15 different groupings. 10-15 groupings will take around 30 minutes to photograph so you will want to keep that in mind because you won't want to be stuck taking family portraits for hours on your wedding day. If you have a lot of groupings, see what ones you may be able to combine or cut. Once you have that list you can give that to your photographer and your family so they will know who is on the list. This also makes sure that other family members won't ask for additional images or groupings during family portraits and will help you stay on schedule.
Inform Your Family Who Will Be A Part Of Family Formals
The day of your wedding, the last thing you want to do is have to wrangle family members when it comes time for the family formals. Before the wedding, inform every family member who will be part of family formals. Let them know when and where they will need to be for these portraits that way they are aware and can make sure they are present. I always recommend that my couples do their family portraits immediately following the ceremony. This makes it easy because everyone is already present and can easily circle back to the alter after being dismissed after the ceremony.
Politely Remind Family Members Of The Time Restraints
During family formals some family members may request additional groupings or want to add in more photos. Politely remind them that you are on a tight schedule and do not have any time for additional groupings. You can let them know that they can grab you during the reception for a photo instead. You won't want your family portraits to cut into the time that you have scheduled for other events. This is especially true if you aren't doing a first look because then the family portraits will cut into the time that was scheduled for your couple portraits!
Appoint A Helper
Even if you tell your family members to stay close-by for family formals some may wander a bit or be talking to guests and not be paying attention when their name is called for portraits. Your photographer will not know who all the members of your family are so if someone is missing they don't know who to look for. An easy way to combat this is to appoint a helper who knows your family. Give them a list of your family portraits and they can help your photographer wrangle any family members who are missing as well as help line up the next family formal grouping.