The formal family wedding portraits are often where the most time is lost during the wedding day timeline. This is also a delicate tipping point that affects stress level; if your photographer isn’t organized, and you haven’t made a plan to keep things running smoothly… people will grow impatient. Large groups of people- particularly when there are relatives to greet, and occasions to celebrate- inevitably take longer to photograph. Here are four tips to combat the biggest issues we’ve experienced when trying to keep things moving for family wedding portraits.
1. First Look
Without a doubt, the best way to save time on the wedding day is to do a First Look! Formal group portraits usually, directly follow the First Look. You will already have your couple’s portraits accomplished, and you are free to do immediate family portraits together before the wedding. The more time you can save between the ceremony and the reception, the better! Also, from looking your best to creating a sacred experience for you and your fiance, there are so many benefits to doing a First Look! Read more about the advantages here. (Need more? See what this real groom had to say about his First Look.)
Communication with your Photographer and coordinator are key! Make sure that you discuss potential issues, and roadblocks before the wedding day. Are there relationship dynamics your photographer needs to be sensitive about- such as divorces, step-parents, or estrangements? Are there mobility issues with your elderly family members? Make sure your professionals have as much information as possible to insure a smooth experience for everyone.
Designate two family members or friends- one from the groom’s side, and one from the bride’s- to be responsible for crowd control. Much time is lost seeking family members who are catching up with loved ones, or seeking a snack. Portraits will be a breeze if everyone is kept present during the process. Make sure the “wranglers” are not your and your fiance’s parents parents! We go into more depth about why this is important here.
4. Write it Down
Again, communication is key. Compile a shot list for your photographer and coordinator. If there are “must-haves” on your list- such as your great-grandmother, or a special aunt- be as specific as possible when creating your list. Once your professionals have this list, share it with the participating family members and make sure they know the plan (where, when, etc). If they are informed, the process will be much easier on everyone involved… which means more time enjoying your reception.
Finally, consider discussing a cocktail with your coordinator. This will keep guests fed, and occupied while portraits are done between the ceremony and reception- which, in turn, takes pressure off of you.