Updated: Sep 10, 2021
WHERE TO START????
If you are already nervous take a deep cleansing breath with me as we dive in.
Although there are a million different family combination for a million different families this is a useful guide to planning.
Think about your family as you read through and make adjustments accordingly.
Before we start getting into all the different combinations, please take note:
EACH COMBINATION WILL TAKE ABOUT FOUR MINUTES.
If we only have 30 minutes, coming with more than 12 combinations will put you really behind schedule.
This could bleed into your couples photos, and if you already scheduled them later in the day you might loose light.
I know the math doesn't work out with the 12 combinations being 4 minutes each, it exceeds 30 minutes. Butttt here's the catch. It's 4 minutes to get everyone in line and smiling, then about 30 seconds to move everyone but one person and get a photo with them. So say you are taking pictures with mom and dad. Getting them picture perfect beside you smiling then getting the photo- 4 minutes. Having dad scoot out and just mom and bride- a few seconds, mom steps out, dad steps back in- few extra seconds.
YOU NEED ADDITIONAL TIME FOR THAT
You need at least 30 minutes for these but hit THIS button to go to the blog about the bridal party because they are a whole other beast.
Here's some possible combinations to get in 30 minutes:
Couple + Partner One’s Parents + Partner One’s Siblings + Partner One’s Grandparents + Partner One’s Aunt(s) + Partner One’s Uncle(s) + Partner One’s Cousins (group photos)
Couple + Partner Two’s Parents + Partner Two’s Siblings + Partner Two’s Grandparents + Partner Two’s Aunt(s) + Partner Two’s Uncle(s) + Partner Two’s Cousins (group photos)
Couple + All Parents, Siblings, and Grandparents
Couple + All Grandparents
Couple + Both Sets of Parents+Siblings
Couple + Partner One's Siblings
Couple + Partner Two’s Siblings
Couple + Partner One’s Parents
Couple + Partner Two’s Parents
Partner One + Partner One’s Parents
Partner One + Each Parent Separately
Partner Two+ Partner Two’s Parents
Partner Two + Each Parent Separately
If you can imagine, this is ALOT!!
Settling on these photos, getting it approved by those involved, then sending it to your photographer is extremely important.
Getting your group photos, elders, and kiddos photos accomplished first is a must!!!!!!!
Here is the best tip I can give you. Even if you don't take anything from this blog but this, I'll still be a happy camper.
Instead of just copy and pasting this list above, tweaking it slightly, then sending it back to me. PUT NAMES. IDK who you choose to be partner one/two and who's parents are who. I have done really close families photos and I still couldn't "guess" who needed to be photographed with who. Putting Jenny instead of sister allows me to call for Jenny. It lets me hand the printed list to a friend and get the combinations goin! Another example of this is the kiddos. I don't want to be guessing which tall child is a jr. bridesmaids vs. flower girl.
THIS WILL ALSO CUT DOWN ON PHOTO-BOMBERS
If I am able to call Jay, Joe, and Jared & I spy Karen hop in.... the responsibility to kick her out is now on me!
EKS did you actually miss that^
Giving me names insures you get exactly what you want without any of the drama. You want just your parents, but not necessarily their partners? Even if people get upset all you have to say is-- The photographer has her list, lets just stick to it.
LETS CHAT ABOUT KIDDOS
I recommend getting these in before walking down the aisle while they are all together.
First things first right after the ceremony. The likelihood one of these cuties needing a potty break or in the case of the photo here- not wanting to keep clothed- increases with each child.
At this wedding, the kiddos didn't even make it through the ceremony. We got 2 of 3 kids with one of those two wanting to take her dress off.
They were actually the sweetest children ever so its not a personality trait its just a long, emotional day.
You shouldn't compromise these photos for an additional photo with your third cousin. When choosing your photo combinations your Elders need to be highest on the list. Enjoying the time you have with the people who are responsible for the rest of your family combinations is a must. But your third cousin is someone you can grab a candid with on the dance floor. Granny, (the brides great-grandmother) left shortly after these photos and weren't in any reception photos so these photos were pivotal.
You need to accommodate for them!!! Having your coordinator arrange for an additional chair is a must. Even if you take these photos first, they might need to sit down immediately after for a few minutes.
This also goes for those that won't be able to stand during the photos. A wheel chair is compactly acceptable, Ill do another blog about how to make these fabulous. Buttttt a walker is not. At that point they can use a walker to get to the beautiful on theme chair and be given that dignity. It is a personal preference but one I think you need to think about.
If you scroll back up to the groupings. I did this on purpose. You put everyone in the group photos and start to ask people step out until you get to your elders. This allows for the people who need to go sit down to get all their photos done at once so they can relax for the rest of the time.
BACK TO PLANNING
Okay you have your list of people- You have your time line- You have all the tips and tricks for the trickier family details.
Compare your list to your timeline 30 minutes for family, 30 minutes for your bridal party, and 30 minutes for your couples photos.
Do your lists match? No? Call me! Seriously, schedule a call. My bride or not, I WILL HELP. You are probably just wayyyyy to close to the issue. Your mom over your shoulder wanting certain photos... yada yada yada. I can make specific recommendations after I look over your timeline. There may be time to grab a few of the photos that you would like before the ceremony or during the reception. That opens up the time during the allocated family photo time.
Just like the kiddos above. We didn't even plan on getting any photos after the ceremony because we knew it wouldn't come out the way we hopped. But we still wanted photos of them so I made sure to add it to the getting ready photos.
We can do this with a few things in your wedding that again will help open up your timeline later on.
NOW GET WORKIN GIRLY
The faster you get this done the faster we can get it set in stone. Setting realistic expectations for yourself and your family is the key to being overjoyed with your family wedding portraits. If you don't have a list you might be left without.
WiTH LoTs of KIsssEs.....
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