Four Tips For Smooth Family Formals
I truly believe that family formals are some of the most important photos to come from a wedding day. Unfortunately a lot of couples and their families get stressed out just thinking about them. And if you don’t have a game plan beforehand, they can get hectic pretty quickly. Here are my tips for creating a smooth family formals process!
Make sure your photographer has a list ahead of time.
I send out a questionnaire about 6 weeks before the wedding where I have my couples list out their family members. From there, I create a cohesive list for them to approve or edit. Don’t count on just being able to remember who you need a photo of - someone will be forgotten!
Designate a non-family member to wrangle people.
Preferably someone loud. ;) This should also be someone close to your family that knows who’s who. I’m at a disadvantage because I often meet the families on the wedding day and it can be difficult to keep track of names and relationships past the immediate family.
Communicate who needs to be where and when!
This one can easily slip through the cracks. Make sure you tell everyone on the list BEFORE the wedding day if they need to be at the venue a couple hours early for photos, or if they need to hang back after the ceremony. Too often we need Uncle Bob for a photo and we find him at the bar!
Keep it simple.
Try to limit your list to your immediate family, your grandparents, and then a big one of your extended family. Family formals often take longer than you expect, and usually by this point in the day you’ve been on your feet for hours, you have a lot of emotions going on, and you’re STARVING. Sadly, I’ve seen too many family formals cut short because everyone was exhausted and just wanted to be done. Try to keep the list to about 15-20 groupings total. We can always get some of the extended family photos at the reception, too!
Here is my basic template for family formals:
Couple with Bride’s immediate family
Couple with Bride’s parents
Couple with Bride’s grandparents
Bride with parents
Bride with mom
Bride with dad
Bride with siblings
Bride with immediate family
Bride with grandparents
Couple with both immediate families
Couple with both sets of parents
Couple with Groom’s immediate family
Couple with Groom’s parents
Couple with Groom’s grandparents
Groom with parents
Groom with mom
Groom with dad
Groom with siblings
Groom with immediate family
Groom with grandparents
Couple with everyone!