Parents of the couples, bridal party, friends, distant family members, the list goes on and on for all the people you want to have a photo opportunity with on your wedding day. And who can blame you? You're looking your best and this is the rare occasion that everyone you know is looking their best will be in the same place at the same time! But, with all those guests, orchestrating your formals can become a chaotic mess, which may result in not getting all the photos you hoped for. To avoid the chaos here are some simple tips that will set your formals up for success.
The first thing you want to do is make a list of all the people attending your wedding that you want photos with. You don't want your photographer left guessing which guests should be included in family formals. Have a list ready for them prior to your wedding day. You'll also want to consider the combinations you would like to have with certain family members. Do you want just a group photo with all your siblings or would you like individual shots as well?
Having a list of names before hand and the combination of shots you want with each person will assist the photographer in devoting enough time to get all the shots you want.
Once you have your list and all your possible combinations you want to make sure you set aside enough time to get all the shots in. Typically each group shot will take 3-5 minutes but you want to also give a little extra time to gather everyone for the formals. Confirm with your photographer about how much time he or she needs so you don't end up having to forgo some of the important shots on your big day.
Make sure you keep everyone in the loop for when they can expect to be needed. The last thing you want is to be missing that one sibling when everyone else is posed for a big group shot. Inform the guests you want to have formals taken with prior to the wedding day so they already know to expect it.
It is usually best to get the bigger group photos done and out of the way first. Then you can take formals with your older family members and friends since most often standing for too long can be a burden on them. Kids tend to be pretty fidgety so they are also some of the first photos photographers like to get done as quickly as possible. Extended family members tend to go on the later end of the timeline to ensure all your immediate family gets their time with you.
Ask a bridesmaid, best man or trusted friend to be in charge of rounding up everyone for the formal shots. You don't want to be wasting your time checking the bathrooms or party bus for everyone since this is the time your photographer could be photographing you. Make sure that person has the list of people that are needed and let them handle getting everyone together.
You friends and family taking pictures with their camera can be a huge distraction for everyone involved. You don't want your photographer fighting with your aunts and uncles to get everyone to look at their camera. You hired a professional photographer for a reason, so kindly remind your guests of this fact; otherwise, you are going to end up with images where not everyone is going to be looking at the right camera and a lot of time will be taken up if they are posed for everyone else's picture.
It's your wedding day! No matter what remind yourself to have fun! Don't stress about the screaming flower girl, the weather, or that Uncle Joe is at the bar instead of next to you. You want your beautiful smile to shine in all your formals so focus on just enjoying the moment!
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