Family and Bridal Party Pictures
We love them- Our closest friends and family, but how do we build this part of the day into the rest of the schedule without it becoming pure chaos? Well, we’ve developed a system to make this run as smoothly and efficiently as possible so that everyone can get back to enjoying themselves. *Keep in mind, we generally recommend doing a first look and knocking out these images before the ceremony, but even if you opt to not see each other earlier, the process is the same.* We recommend starting with the largest side of the family, and keeping it to immediate family and grandparents for now. If we mix in all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, etc at this point, it can get carried away and add significantly to the timeline. Well-intentioned family members will start requesting additional shots and pairings which can add way more time to the initial schedule, but it can also lead to shots happening that YOU don’t actually care about. We recommend doing any and all of the extended family shots during the reception when the timeline is more relaxed. If that is something you would like to do, let us know. Back to the immediate family and grandparents though- We start with the largest grouping and then take people out until it is just the couple and the one set of parents. We then add the other set of parents for a shot, remove the original set and build up the other side of the family piece by piece. We’re basically going from a large group, down to a small group, back to the other side’s large group. We get all of the pairings along the way.
When completing the questionnaire that we’ll send you in the coming months, we don’t want all of the family member’s names, but rather the relationship to you- “Bride’s Mom, Dad, Brother, Paternal Grandfather” etc. You do not have to write out every pairing either. Just tell us who they are and we’ll take it from there. More often than not, when couples try to itemize their own list, they wind up forgetting an important pairing, whereas when they leave it to us, we go through our system to make sure no one is missed. With all of that said, we know there may be a pair or two that is not traditional that you want, so as always, you’re welcome to put that down on the questionnaire. One of the most important things to remember is to inform all of the family ahead of time, and then remind them in the days leading up to the wedding, where and when we are doing the family pictures. We can help you develop the best game plan for the family pictures, but if they don’t know where to be and when to be there, it doesn’t work. We had a wedding several years back where the couple listened to almost all of our advice, but they didn’t inform the one set of grandparents where to be and when to be there. It became an issue because the groom’s parents were scrambling to get them there, which made it more of a challenge to get shots of those who were already present. The grandparents eventually showed up, but there was no longer time to get the rest of the family pictures done, so it had to wait until after the ceremony. The bride and groom didn’t make it a priority later on, so the shot never happened- even though we reminded them several times throughout the night. Long story short, the couple was ultimately disappointed they didn’t make time for it to happen, but by that time, it was too late. One easy way to inform everyone is to email them a basic itinerary stating where they need to be and when they need to be there.
After we finish with the family, we will send them away (whether it’s before or after the ceremony) so that we have fewer people to manage. We will then begin the wedding party pictures. We highly recommend doing only one formal bridal party session during the day. Let me explain- When a couple opts to not have a first look, they can be concerned that they won’t have enough time for everything during cocktail hour and want to do some bridesmaid and groomsmen shots before the ceremony. This doesn’t actually save a lot of time and can actually lead to a greater net time that it takes to get through them- let me give you an example: Let’s say the bride and ladies are getting reading in a hotel downtown and want to do all of the bridesmaids’ shots at a park across the street before the limo picks them up. Once everyone is ready, they exit the building, find a spot in the park, and begin some formal shots, which take 5-10 minutes max. They head back inside and go back to the room to gather belongings before the transportation arrives. The guys do the same thing at a different location. From the moment they leave the hotel room until they return, it can take around 30 minutes- which is then doubled when you take into account that the guys are doing the same thing. We just spent roughly an hour on two batches of images that will not have consistent backgrounds for the album, whereas if we do them all at the same time and location, we can get through the whole batch in around 15 minutes- Yes, you read that right- We can do all the wedding party pictures (whole group, ladies, gents, and individuals) in 15 minutes. For almost every wedding, we recommend doing a traditional wedding party picture to start, and then we’ll take a few others until we finish with a “group photo” style shot. This gives variety in the grouping but doesn’t take too much time to get through. We will then do a few poses of all of the ladies and then individual shots of the bride and each bridesmaid. We’ll repeat this process for the guys. Almost every time, these all happen in the same spot, or close to the same spot. When we have couples who really want to go to multiple locations with their entire wedding party, we are happy to accommodate, but keep in mind that it will add a significant amount of time to the process. Leading up to the wedding, we will schedule a phone call with you to go over all of these details again and make sure we are on the same page.
One thing to note on these two groupings of pictures- It’s your day and you get to call the shots, but be aware that if you have friends and family who begin to make special requests for pictures, it can significantly throw off the timeline. We have ensured that if you follow our format, you’ll love the results and be able to get back to the parts of the day that are the most fun!