Here’s a little known tip from me to you: Sometimes one of the most hectic parts of your wedding day is family formals. Corraling everyone, getting everyone where they need to be and to listen can sometimes be a bit chaotic. Here are some tips that in my opinion, help family formals go smoothly, quickly and yield the best results:
Make sure everyone in the requested photos knows that you want a photo with them and they need to stay at the ceremony site. I have all my couples fill out a list for family formals two months before their wedding day takes place. Most of the people in these photos are at rehearsal dinner the night before. That’s a great time to let everyone know that the following day they will be needed for a few family formals and to hang around after the ceremony for a few minutes before heading to cocktail hour.
Designate a bridesmaid or close family friend to help gather people. This person should know family members and who everyone is to help the photographer (me) make sure everyone is around that’s needed for each shot. Remember, even though I have a list that tells me you want Aunt Sue and Uncle John in a photo, I have no idea what Aunt Sue and Uncle John look like. Having a family friend nearby who is familiar with everyone helps this process go much smoother.
Be open to your photographer’s suggestion on where the best location is for family formals. Sometimes the altar or ceremony site doesn’t provide the best lighting or background for family formals and even a short one or two minute walk to another area might make the world of difference in the photos.
Keep your list to must-haves only. My couples want family formals to be quick and not long and drawn out. Guess what? So do I! I promise I always do my very best to make this process of the day go quickly and easily. Just remember that the more people and more groupings you request the more time we will have to dedicate to this portion of the day. I suggest including immediate family and grandparents in the family formals after the ceremony, and leaving photos with your friends, etc. during the reception. This way, you are able to get to your reception quicker.
Sometimes family formals aren’t the most fun part of the day, but these photos are incredibly important and years down the road you’ll be glad you have them.
I hope this helps!