5 Tips to Make Family Formals Easier

Most photographers and brides agree that the family formals portion of the day is the least fun… It’s not that we don’t LOVE your big beautiful families, it’s just that getting them all gathered up for a picture can prove to be a bit challenging! While there is no surefire way to ensure that Grandma doesn’t bolt out of the church before the pictures even start ;), there are a few things you can do before hand to make family formals just a little bit simpler! 

Make a Shot List Beforehand and Fill it in with NAMES 

About a month or so before the wedding, sit down (or email) with your photographer and get a list of all the family
combos you will be wanting after the ceremony! (If you want my basic family formal shot list as a starting point, you can download that HERE.) After you have your list made, fill in each and every combo with specific names! For example instead of having “Bride + Bride Mom” put “Andrea + Carla”. This makes it to where the photographer can call “Carla” specifically instead of just saying “Bride Mom” and waiting for Carla to realize that she is needed. 

Print 3 Copies of the List

I learned this little hack from Katelyn James and is so simple, yet so genius. Once you have your list made print 3 copies of that list. This way your photographer can have one, and can then pass out the other two to a cousin on each side who is willing to help. The cousins will know everyone names + faces and will be able to help move the process along quickly! 

Let People Know They are Needed

If you can, before the wedding day let everyone who is needed for formals know to stay behind after the ceremony. You can just shoot them a text, call, or email the week of the wedding and tell them why they are needed and where they need to be! 

Keep the List Short 

I know it’s easy to dream up a billion combinations and I definitely want you to get all the pictures that you want, but if you take to long on family formals it cuts into your portrait time with your sweet groom! I advise my brides to not add any more than a couple shots to my list and let them know that any big combinations can be done at the reception! 

Do the Kids and Grandparents First

When organizing your list, it might pay to think of the tolerance levels of certain people. By and large, kids and grandparents are over it first and ready to go! My suggestion is to do these photos first so that grandparents can head to the cocktail hour and kids can get home and take a nap. 

My hope is that these few tips will help make your family formals as efficient as possible and give you even more time to take portraits with your groom! :) 

For BridesAndrea Vehige