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Organizing Your Wedding Day Family Photos

The Family Photos portion of your wedding day can be one of the most memorable and anticipated events scheduled in your wedding day timeline. These photos are often the perfect time to commemorate your wedding day with those you have shared your lives. These photos can be either enjoyable or chaotic and time-consuming events. It can go either way and in our experience, it all depends on how you plan for it! 

How to organize and plan your Family Photos  

  • We recommend blocking out a minimum of 30 minutes from your wedding day timeline to capture your family photos. Of course, this all depends on the size of your families and how many different groups you are requesting. We tell everyone to plan for each group to take 2-3 minutes. So if you planned 30 minutes total, that means 10-15 groups or photos is ideal.
  • Keeping your family photos to a max of 15 groups makes it so your families can not only still enjoy cocktail hour, but it will feel less chaotic and more enjoyable for everyone. So you will want to prioritize the most crucial family photos during that 30min time frame. 
  • We recommend all of our clients create a secondary shot list that we can photograph during the reception or once your main groupings are complete!

How to Set Up Your Groupings

The guide below is how we advise our couples on setting up each side of their family; this ensures family photos run as smoothly and quickly as possible. As you can see, we typically start with the Brides side of the family, then move to the Groom’s side. We encourage our couples to set their shot lists up like this for a flawless experience. 

  • Family Shot List Example: 
  • Shot 1- Bride & Groom, with Bride’s parents Joe and Beth 
  • Shot 2- Bride with Bride’s parents Joe and Beth 
  • Shot 3- Bride with Bride’s father, Joe 
  • Shot 4- Bride with Bride’s mother, Beth 
  • Shot 5- Bride and Groom with Bride’s entire family Joe, Beth, brothers Jake, Matt, and sister Becky.
  • Shot 6- Bride with Bride’s entire family Joe, Beth, brothers Jake, Matt, and sister Becky.
  • Shot 6- Bride with Bride’s brothers Jake, Matt, and sister Becky. 
  • Shot 7- Bride and Groom with Brides’ entire family Joe, Beth, brothers Jake, Matt, sister Becky, and all Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
  • Repeat the same for the Groom’s side of the family. 
  • Additional things to remember would be to list out during the Brides and Grooms’ families if their parents are divorced; if so, you will need to list each parent’s family and any step-siblings. 
  • Also, don’t forget to include all sets of grandparents or great-grandparents if they will be there. 

Other Things to Consider

  • We highly recommend that each of our couples delegate someone who knows your family and friends and is willing to assist in rounding everyone up for photos. They should not be an immediate family member, Maid of Honor, or Best Man; this is where all those close childhood friends can pitch in and help! 
  • Suppose our couples are planning on more than 15 groups. Typically, we would advise them to consider doing your immediate family photos before the wedding ceremony and your extended family photos immediately after. Doing so allows for a more open timeline and stress-free wedding day.
  • We ask our couples to communicate with their wedding planner or us directly to ensure there is sufficient time allotted to capture all of their requested photos.
  • And Lastly, if you are contemplating splitting up your family photos groupings before and after the ceremony, we encourage you to read our blog post on why you should consider a first look. Opting for a First Look is another excellent way to open up your timeline and add value to your wedding day while creating additional free time for family photos.  

To inquire about having us document your wedding day, visit us over at Joy and Ben Photography!

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