Your wedding is rapidly approaching and the time has come to submit your family list to your photographer, but who exactly do you include? While this part of the day is not typically the most creative, we feel as though they are some of the most important photos of the day. These are the people who have always been there, will always be there, and when your future kids and grandkids are flipping through your wedding album it's who they'll be looking for (besides you, of course)!
With all that said we like to keep these lists as condensed as possible, and handle as many of the breakdowns as we can BEFORE family portrait time. We want you to have enough time for romantic portraits of you and your new spouse and make it to as much of your party as possible, including cocktail hour!
We've created the list below of what we think are the most important people/groupings. Every family is different and is going to come with it's own personality, dynamics, and maybe challenges which we'll talk about below.
If you'll be making one of these lists soon be sure to pin that list for later!
Spreading Family Photos Throughout the Day
So first let's talk about the groupings in pink. Earlier we mentioned that we like to handle as many breakdowns as possible before it's time for the actual family photos, and these are the ones we're talking about! Most often your parents and siblings (unless they're in your spouse's bridal party) are around while you're getting ready. This let's us capture you with them at a time that is maybe a little more authentic, adds variety, and shaves off some time from your family formals later. Plus these photos with your family will also be a little more meaningful if you're getting ready at your childhood home. Getting them done ahead of time allows us to concentrate on the family photos that require BOTH of you when it comes time for the family formal portraits.
Divorces, squabbles, step-siblings and parents, in-laws that don't quite get along? Hey, it happens (and more often than you might think)! Remember that WE are there to advocate for YOU! Partner with your photographer. Is it your dream to have a photo with your Mom and Dad but they absolutely DO NOT get along? We will find a way to make it flow without them having a chance to say otherwise. Hate your Step-Dad but don't want to ruffle feathers? Don't worry, we'll find a way to get one with and without him that way you're happy and he's none-the-wiser. The big key here is COMMUNICATION. We can and have dealt with some crazy family issues, but the only way for us to get what YOU want is if you tell us! Don't forget, when talking to your photographer about your family honesty is the best policy. There is nothing like unknowingly putting you on the spot IN FRONT of the person in question on your wedding day... awwwwk-warrrrrd!
Boyfriends and Girlfriends
So what about immediate family members that have boyfriends or girlfriends but are not married? Well again, it depends on your relationship with them and what you want. Often times they are important people, but the worrier in you secretly desires a photo without them 'just in-case' and that's totally ok - and normal! We can make this happen easily and without making anyone feel left out. It's all about knowing who the key players are and what you want ahead of time!
Personalize the List!
It would be more meaningful and important for me to have an individual photo of me with each of my grandmothers than with both of them and my husband together. When you think about what means the most to you don't be afraid to prioritize. Don't feel like you have to do every breakdown under the sun and spend ALL of your time doing "grip and grins". It is for this reason that we start with the bigger family groupings, that way at least everyone has been captured if halfway through you're over it and decide to pull the plug on family formals. Sometimes the MOST important people to you aren't your immediate family. Maybe you have an aunt that was like a mom to you, or a family friend that you're closer to than your siblings. Although these people will typically be around during other parts of the day (prep, bridal party, etc.) don't be afraid to let your photographer know so that a formal photo with them is not missed!
If an extended family photo is a MUST make sure you let your photographer know! The worst feeling is having a group of 40+ people sprung on you in the spur of the moment. It can turn into no romantic portrait time, or missing all of your cocktail hour, and it could have totally been planned for!
Some Final Thoughts
- Be sure to let your photographer know if any VIP's are coming late, or leaving early. We would want to know ahead of time to be sure to photograph them while we can!
- Inform ALL of the people included what the start time is. You'll hate being pulled aside later to do 5 different family photos because someone didn't get the memo and now you need to do them over, including the MIA family member.
- While we're talking about timing, you know your family best! Mine is 15 minutes late to everything, so if I was planning on starting family photos at 4:15 you better believe I'd be telling them 4... maybe even 3:45, haha!