Should you have family group photos on your wedding day?

For many couples, family group photos are an important part of their wedding day. These photos serve as a way to capture memories with loved ones and document the family connections that are being celebrated on your wedding day. For some couples, these photos may hold particular significance if they have family members who are unable to attend the wedding due to distance, illness, or other circumstances. It means you have some family photos which can be shared after the day of your wedding with those people who couldn’t travel to make the day.

It also means that you get some photos with some of your nearest relatives on your wedding day. Even with a documentary approach like mine it still won’t guarantee a photo with specific family members that you might want some photos with; although I always do my best to try for you. Having some formal group photos will guarantee that you’ll get a photo you want with the people you want.

However, there are also some potential downsides to taking family group photos on your wedding day. One consideration is that taking these photos can take up a significant amount of time and potentially delay other parts of the wedding day schedule. This can be particularly challenging if you have a large family or if family members are difficult to coordinate with (a.k.a toilet and bar trips). However after over a decade of being a wedding photographer I have seen what works and what doesn’t in terms of numbers of group photos. I have a formula which works and an ideal maximum number of photos that should be taken to keep this time as low as possible, more on that further down.

Another consideration is that taking formal family group photos may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some family members may feel uncomfortable or awkward posing for photos, or may simply prefer a more relaxed approach to the wedding day festivities.

Ultimately, the decision to take family group photos on your wedding day will depend on your own personal preferences and values. If you feel that these photos are an important part of your family history and the memories you want to create, then it may be worth the extra time and effort to make them happen. However, if you’re more focused on candid, natural shots or simply want to prioritise time spent with your partner and other guests, then you may prefer to skip the formal family photos completely and let the day unfold organically.

If you do decide to take family group photos, it’s important to plan ahead and communicate with your photographer and family members to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This can involve creating a list of the specific groupings you want to capture, communicating with family members in advance to ensure their availability and cooperation, and coordinating with your photographer to ensure that they have a clear understanding of your vision and preferences. I will always be in touch with you around 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding day to pull together the list of family photos you would like to capture on the day.

When is the best time to take the family group photos?

The best time to take family group photos on a wedding day can vary depending on the specific schedule, timeline of the day and the type of wedding ceremony you’re having, as well as any other factors that may be at play. However, there are some general guidelines and considerations that can help you determine the optimal timing for your family photos.

One common approach is to schedule the family group photos immediately following the ceremony, before the reception or cocktail hour begins. This timing can work well because family members are already dressed up and in one place, and it allows you to capture the excitement and emotion of the post-ceremony atmosphere. Additionally, taking family photos immediately after the ceremony can help to ensure that everyone is present and accounted for, since family members may start to leave or wander off as the day goes on.

I often find myself that the timeline of a wedding day usually means that the best time to take the formal group photos is right after the confetti throwing has been done. This is sometimes dependant on whether the ceremony and reception are at the same venue or not. If you’re moving from one venue to another for the reception then it depends on the time that your reception venue are expecting your guest to arrive and also whether the wedding venue lends itself to group photos.

The only downside to not doing the group family photos after the wedding is that it often means gathering people at the reception can take a little longer. Simply because your guests will be engaged in conversion, enjoying the canapes and making sure they are staying hydrated; I mean I would be doing the same. But that doesn’t mean it can’t work because it can and it has in the past for me, but simply put it just isn’t the most efficient way to do it if you’re moving from one veneer to another.

What is the best way to gather everyone together for the group family photos?

I often get asked this by my couples and I explain that the most foolproof method that I have found to work is to employ the kind help of your bridal party. Often you guys have chosen bridesmaids and groomsmen who know you and your family really well or at least some of them anyway.

They certainly know your family much better than I do. This means they are often the best placed to help gather people together for the group photos without causing too much disruption to the rest of the guests. It also means that you’re not wasting the time that I could be spending taking the photos if I was to gather people together.

I’ll bring a list with me on the day along with a few spare copies for the bridal party to use, since I already know who you want in your group photos because I’ll have sent you a questionnaire to find out well ahead of the day. This way means that there’s no second guessing who we need photos of because you guys will have worked together to decide who you want to be on the photos and listed them by name.

What is the best number of group family photos to take?

The best number of group family photos to take on a wedding day can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of your family, the preferences of you and your partner, and the amount of time you have available for photos. However, there are some general guidelines and considerations that can help you determine the optimal number of family group photos to take.

One important factor to consider is the size and complexity of your family. If you have a large family with many different branches and extended relatives, you may need to take more group photos in order to capture all of the important relationships and connections. On the other hand, if you have a smaller family or if most of your family members are immediate relatives, you may only need a few group photos to capture everyone.

Another consideration is the amount of time you have available for photos. If you have a tight schedule and need to move quickly to get to the reception or other events, you may need to limit the number of group photos you take in order to stay on schedule.

In general, it’s a good idea to prioritise the most important groupings and relationships when planning your family group photos. For example, you may want to take photos with your parents and siblings, grandparents, and any other close relatives or friends who are important to you.

Through past experiences I have found that the sweet spot for formal group photos is around 10 as a set. You could absolutely do more but it’s about factoring in the time to gather people together and then take a great photo with everyone looking happy and enjoying themselves (with their eyes open).

Early on in my career and sometimes when couples feel they want to have more groups I have seen the genuine disdain and anguish on their faces when they have realised how much time a long list of group photos can take.

So I always make sure that I advise based on my years of experience as a wedding photographer on what I have seen to work best and what hasn’t worked so well. Ultimately I am there to make the best use of all of our time and have you guys maximising the amount of fun and time to have with your guests.

Here’s a list of the top 10 most common family group photos I get asked for at a wedding

The 10 most common group family wedding photos can vary depending on the specific families involved, but generally, the following groupings are often included by most of the couples who choose me to be their wedding photographer:

Warwickshire wedding photo

Bride and groom with immediate family: This includes the parents and siblings of the bride and groom, and may also include step-parents or half-siblings if applicable.

Bride and groom with grandparents: This is a classic and cherished wedding photo, and can include grandparents from both sides of the family.

Bride and groom with parents: This is another classic and emotional photo, capturing the love and support of the parents of the bride and groom. Plus it can be done right after the immediate family photo.

Bride and groom with siblings: This can include both full and half-siblings of the bride and groom, and can also include siblings-in-law.

Bride with her parents: This is a special photo capturing the bond between a bride and her parents.

Groom with his parents: This is a special photo capturing the bond between a groom and his parents.

Bride with bridesmaids: This can include both posed and candid shots, and is a fun way to capture the energy and excitement of the bridal party.

Groom with groomsmen: Similar to the bride and bridesmaid photo, this can include both posed and candid shots of the groom and his groomsmen.

Bride and groom with extended family: This can include aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives who are important to the bride and groom.

Bridal party with parents: This is a fun and creative photo that can include the entire bridal party, along with the parents of the bride and groom.

Of course, the specific group family photos will depend on the family involved and the preferences of the bride and groom. However, these 10 groupings are a good starting point for capturing the most important relationships and moments of the day.

In the end, the most important thing is to make sure that your wedding day feels true to your own unique vision and priorities. Whether you opt for formal family group photos or a more laid-back approach, the most important thing is to celebrate your love and commitment surrounded by the people who matter most to you.

Losehill House wedding photo

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