Wedding tip: How to prep for family groupings on your wedding day.

Family…. we all have one and some of ours are a little more complicated than others. Family dynamics are fun, interesting and sometimes a little challenging but it’s a big reason why I love what I do.

Weddings tend to bring families together which is why a small portion of the big day is dedicated to formal family portraits.

Because of all the excitement and emotions this can get a little stressful.  It’s my goal to help minimize all that and make it run as smooth as possible.

Here are a few tips to help get you through those family formals stress free!




Keep it simple.

A typical wedding day will allow for about 1-1.5 hours of portrait time.  This includes time with the couple, bridal party and family.  The time goes fast so we want to be sure we have a clear idea of who we want to include in the shots.

I usually recommend keeping the list simple for formal family portraits.

Most often this would include the following from both sides:

parents (and step-parents)

siblings (and their families)


It’s not uncommon to have a very close aunt or cousin who is more like a parent or sibling and if that is the case I would include them during formals.

Otherwise, any extended family could be done during reception.


Designate a family wrangler!

Because of the heightened emotions on a wedding day, getting the family to calm and listen for their turn to be photographed can be a lot like herding wild cats.

Since (for the most part) I wont know who everyone is I always suggest designating a family member to help identify members for group shots.

Tricky combinations.

Occasionally we run into some interesting family dynamics that could potentially cause some big feelings on the day.  It is extremely helpful to know about this ahead of time to ensure that I am aware and sensitive to any issues that could arise.

I am always very tactful when dealing with these types of things so don’t be afraid to let me know!

Communication is key.

Letting the family members know ahead of time when photos will be done is so helpful in making sure everyone is on the same page about when and where to go.

If possible I try to designate the spot for family photos ahead of time so there is no confusion when that portion of the day arrives.

Relax and have fun!

This part of the day can be one of the most stressful and hectic but it goes by very quickly.  Just remember to relax and have fun!

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