Family formals are one of the most important parts of a wedding. Usually couples want formal pictures with their family on the big day! As important as it is, it doesn’t have to be stressful. With proper planning, we can get them done in 20 minutes and send everyone on their way to enjoy the party!
Family formals typically happen right after the ceremony. I like to photograph them at the ceremony site, but I also leave that up to my couple in case they had another spot in mind. Two-three weeks before the ceremony, I send my couples a questionnaire that goes over the wedding details, timeline, and asks for a list of names for the family formals. I require that this be filled out so that my second photographer can call out the names during formals and we can breeze through them.
I always suggest to tell the family involved in photos to stick around after the ceremony! That makes it so much easier on me and my second photographer so we don’t have to hunt anyone down. It is also part of the reason that we are able to photograph them all in 20 minutes. Another way to make formals go fast, is to only have 10 groupings of family members; which is usually just the immediate family. If you want a photo with your cousins or extended family, I suggest leaving that for the reception!
I try to get family formals, wedding party together, and bride and groom portraits done all within cocktail hour. I hate to take up a lot of time and make guests wait to eat. No one likes to be hangry! Sometimes formals take longer than expected if there are more than 10 groupings or if we have someone run off, but all it takes it a little prep and there’s nothing to worry about!
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