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Wedding Checklist | Formal Family Photos

We suggest you think about what combination of relatives you would like in your formal photos and recommend you make a list of what formal family photos are essential for you (both now and to look back on in 20 years time).
The time spent planning the different group shots you require ensures that no one is missed, and it speeds up the process. Even if you just spend ten minutes putting a list together before your wedding, that’s way more thought than if we wing it on the day!!

1. Formal family photos: Suggested group checklist

– Feel free to copy and paste the following into a word document, and edit and delete as suits your family!
– The order suggested below works well, with each group starting small and getting bigger – that way your parents end up next to you, your siblings in the front row, and all the extended family in the back row.
– We also recommend you add specific names if you can as that way we can ensure everyone is actually there by calling out specific names, instead of just asking for “extended family”.

* Bride only and Family (Usually taken before the bride leaves for the ceremony)

  • Bride + Dad
  • Bride + Mum
  • Bride + Mum & Dad
  • Bride + Mum & Dad & Siblings

* Groom only and Family  (Either taken before the ceremony or usually after the ceremony)

  • Groom +Dad
  • Groom + Mum
  • Groom + Mum & Dad
  • Groom + Mum & Dad & Siblings

* Bride & Groom + Brides family

  • B&G + Bride’s Parents
  • B&G + Bride’s Parents & Siblings
  • B&G +  Bride’s Parents & Siblings & Siblings partners (+ nieces & nephews?)
  • B&G + Bride’s Parents & Siblings & Extended Family (Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents)
  • B&G +  just Bride’s Grandparents

* Bride & Groom + Groom’s family

  • B&G +  Groom’s Parents
  • B&G +  Groom’s Parents & Siblings
  • B&G +  Groom’s Parents & Siblings & Siblings Partners (+ nieces & nephews?)
  • B&G +  Groom’s Parents & Siblings & Extended Family (Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents)
  • B&G +  just Groom’s Grandparents

* Bride & Groom + both of your families (optional)

  • B&G + both set of parents
  • B&G +  both set of parent &  all your siblings
  • B&G +  all of your siblings

2. Before the wedding, let your relatives know that they will be required to stay after the ceremony for their formal photos.

Do not assume they know they will be required – grandparents may disappear early, parents may rush off to do last minute tasks for the reception,  and others might not realise you want them in your photos.

3. Ask someone who knows with a loud voice to be in charge of helping us get everyone together.
Ideally someone not in many/any of the actual photos. Bridesmaids or Groomsmen are a good choice for this! It’s great if they can get the next few people in the photo organised and ready to go as we are shooting the previous combination. That will help us ensure that we do not miss anyone, and the formal photos are as quick as possible.

4. Ask your helper to bring your list on the day. (or send it to me so I can check it/ print it and put it in my camera bag).

5. Please also consider

– A group shot of everyone. We usually take a photo with all of your guests after the ceremony, we suggest that the celebrant let’s the guests know this is happening so they know not to wander off, or you can put it in the ceremony booklet if you have one. We take the group photo of everyone first before the other family photos so all your guests don’t need to wait around.
– Have children? If you have kids yourself, (or your siblings do) then you’ll probably want to also include your children in most of the combinations listed above. Also if you have kids don’t forget to add a photo of just your immediate family to the top of the list:
Bride + groom and your kids.
– If you have elderly relatives may need to take their photo first if they are unable to wait around. For example we may need to take the photo of you and your grandparents first, or ask someone in the bridal party to bring a chair from the ceremony location for them to sit :)
– If mobility is an issue for any of your guests who will be starring in the family photos please let us know so we can take that into account when we plan where to take the family photos.
– Kids in the bridal party? If there are any young children in your bridal party who wont be coming along for the bridal party photoshoot then we would normally do a group photo of all your bridal party at the end of the formal family photos so you have a photo of the whole bridal party together.
– God parents, overseas guest or any other VIPs you would like a photos with? Try and keep your list as short as possible as you’ll be the ones standing there smiling. But if you do want a particular photo combination, then the most efficient way is to do it with the family photos (plus everyone is still dressed and sober at this time).
– Special friends or relatives not included in the above list. It’s usually best to do group photos with friends- (uni friends, school friends, work friends, sporting team friends etc) at the reception, as otherwise it takes too much time and involves too many people waiting around after the ceremony which slows things down, and these groups work well as slightly less formal photos. At the reception these combinations can either be done impromptu , or you can plan them into the evening, or even get the MC to announce it.
– If the group with extended family is huge, you might want to break it down into smaller groups, for example brides mum’s side extended family, then the bride’s dads side extended family.
– Have separated parents, or step-parents? We suggest a photo with your parents together, and then with each parent (and their new partner if applicable). Please let us know if this applies to you, and see below for a specific example of how to put the list together.

6. What if my parents are separated or divorced?

If you parents are separated or have new partners, then we recommend the following order for formal photos, which is slightly more complicated than the above, but pretty fast when we are just following the list. This way both your parents get a photos they would be happy to frame, and you do too. The following list assumes it’s the brides parents are separated, just follow the pattern if its the grooms parents who are separated… Also, let us know if this applies to you, so we can tactfully arrange the posing or be sensitive to any politics.

* Before the ceremony (depending on who is there):
– Bride + Brides mum
– Bride + Brides mum + partner
– Bride + Bride’s Dad
– Bride + Bride’s Dad +partner
– Bride + Siblings

* After the ceremony, starting with your mums side:
– B&G + Bride’s mum
– B&G + Bride’s mum + Brides mums partner (if applicable)
– B&G + Bride’s mum + Brides mums partner + siblings
– B&G + Bride’s mum + Brides mums partner + siblings + siblings partners (if applicable)
– B&G+ Bride’s mum + Brides mums partner + siblings + siblings partners + extended family on your mums side
– B&G + Bride’s mum + Grandparents from Mum’s side

* Then your repeat for your dads side
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Brides dads partner (if applicable)
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Brides dads partner + siblings
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Brides dads partner + siblings + siblings partners (if applicable)
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Brides dads partner + siblings + siblings partners + extended family on your dads side
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Grandparents from Dad’s side

* And also  photo for you, if your parents are ok with being in a photo together…
– Bride + Groom + Bride’s dad + Bride’s Mum + siblings

7. More questions?

I hope our suggestions can be of assistance. :)  Please contact us you have any other questions or there is anything we may be able to help with.

To find out more about us you can view our wedding blog , our wedding portfolio or wedding packages page. 


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