A Practical Guide to Your Group and Family Photos

One of the most stressful parts of the day for a couple is the group and family photos. People who haven’t seen each other in years are gathering in small groups after the ceremony, others are walking up to the bride and groom to offer their congratulations, and some of the older folks have already begun to make their way to the parking lot or reception hall to get out of the heat and grab a cold drink or snack, all the while you are trying to corral everyone for the group shot because the photographer is waving their arms from the top of a ladder trying to get everyone gathered before the lighting changes. 
It doesn’t have to be like this. Here are a few tips to make this part of the day run smoothly. 

Group Photo at Beantown Receptions

Make a Plan

There is no wrong way to do this, but if you have a plan you will know exactly what needs to be done. Work with your wedding planner and photographer to create your timeline so that you know EXACTLY when and where the group and family photos will be taking place. Make sure that your key people know when this is happening, and ask your officiant to announce at the beginning or end (or both) where and when they are to gather for photos. This avoids people leaving or gathering in an area creating congestion. A receiving line is fine, if planned in advance, but be sure to announce it so that people don’t start coming up to you randomly throwing off your timeline. 

Group photo and family photos

The List

The List 

If everything else falls apart, a list of photo groupings is the single most important piece to get you back on track. Months before the wedding, you should make a list of all of the important family and friend photos you would like. Start with older people first as it may take them longer to get to the venue and find their seats, then large groups, (Bride and Groom’s families). Keep making the groups smaller and smaller until you get to individual shots. These are the people closest to you, and they won’t mind waiting for their chance to get a shot with you. Once the guests are done, it’s time for the wedding party, then the bride and groom (unless you’ve done a first look, in which case, let the party begin!) 

Bridal party photo

The Helpers

The best way to get this plan to work is to get someone to run the plan for you. Your photographer does not know who your aunt Sally is. Or who is and isn’t on the Bride or Groom’s side of the family. Have someone from both the Bride’s side and Groom’s side gather people and have them waiting their turn with you. 

Winter wedding group photo

With a little preparation and help, you can streamline the time it takes to capture the moments with the people closest to you and get your party started earlier. And you can make sure that you don’t miss any photos that can’t be recaptured later. 

Bridal Party photo

If you need help figuring out the order of your list, we would be happy to help you. Click below to book a consultation with us.

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If you found this useful or think it may help someone else, feel free to share it on your blog or social media.

Guylaine and Gord
Avalon Wedding Photography

April 15, 2021

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