May 23, 2018

How To Prepare For Family Formals

As your wedding photographer, along with your planner if you have one, it’s part of my job (yes, it’s part of my job, one that I take very seriously!) to help keep you on schedule so that you can actually enjoy your wedding day.  Planning so meticulously for such a short portion of the day may seem unnecessary, but it’s one of the most important parts of planning your photos.  It is a short period of time, but an important one, so knowing how to make the most of it will help things move as efficiently as possible. Here are the top 5 ways you can prepare for your family formal portion of the day:

1.) Make a list (or allow your photographer/wedding planner to) –

Whether you create one yourself or allow your photographer/planner to, it’s important to have a plan in place because even with a near-decade of wedding photographer experience, you still know your family better than I do and know who is important to you and your family. It bodes well for me that I love lists as it’s one of the ways I help you plan.  I send a family formal shot checklist over to my clients about a month and a half before the wedding day for them to fill out, and then run down that list the day-of to ensure that the formal photos the bride and groom want are taken.  It’s the only part of the day that I love to work from a list, so that no photo is forgotten.  However you choose to do it, a list of family members, along with who they are to you and what their names are, can help your photographer tremendously in getting through formals quickly and painlessly, so you can get on to your cocktail hour and back to the fun.

2.) Keep the list short –

The longer your formal list, the longer it will take to get through photographing it. I highly recommend sticking with immediate family (mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, siblings’ spouses, and nieces and nephews), and if a large group photo of extended family is important to you, then one for each the bride and the groom’s families respectively.  Too many large group photos take time to set up and keeping track of everyone can start to become stressful for the bride and the groom.  Remember, this day is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so keeping this list simple makes this part of the day stress-free and easy to manage.

3.) Inform everyone on that list ahead of time –

Once you’ve made your choices on who you’d like a formal photo with, let them know to stick around after the ceremony or what time you’d like them there according to your timeline.  That way, they know not to wonder off into the cocktail hour after the ceremony, or to be on time if your formals are set to be taken earlier in the day.  The less people the bride and groom, their wedding day go-to person, or your photographer have to go looking for, the faster the the formal list can be gotten through.

4.) Choose a go-to person to help gather people the day of –

I mentioned a “go-to” person in number three, and this is a good one.  I strive to really get to know you as a couple, but I still won’t know your family like you do. I will have your family formal list in hand the day-of, but having someone there that can help gather family members that I’ve never met before can be really helpful.  I’ll call out names and I am super efficient in getting through the list, but having a go-to person who knows everyone can make my job just a little easier.

5.) Let your photographer take it from there –

After all of the planning and preparing, the day of the wedding will roll around, and your job is to relax and enjoy it. That’s it! Let your photographer (and your planner, your other trusted vendors, and your “go-to” people) take care of you on your special day. Having a seasoned pro there means that you can trust they will get the job done and then some, and you can really soak up every amazing second of your beautiful day, including family formals.

That’s it! I hope this helps you just a little and you enjoy this part of your day!

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