I believe our couples would agree that prior to their wedding day they dreaded the thought of ‘group shots’ but during and after they have such a giggle that they all comment they loved them! One thing is for certain: these group photographs are the most downloaded and loved by your family and friends and an important part of documenting your day to look back on and cherish in years to come.
Family photos traditionally happen after the ceremony ends but that is not a hard and fast rule. Some couples like family portraits captured before the ceremony starts and others wait until after dinner (usually this is in the summer when the sun is still out and there's a pretty area around the reception).
Others split it up—they might take photos with immediate family before the ceremony begins, photos with grandparents and close relatives directly after the ceremony and huge group photos right before the dancing starts (this is also a great way to capture a more casual photo with a big group of friends).
Here are a few tips for planning your ‘wedding group photos’
Sit down and put together a full list of all of the family combinations that you might want.Rather than stressing about what you're supposed to do, think about the photos that you might actually want in an album or framed on your walls. Who are the people you want to remember being there when you show your wedding photos to your kids in 30 years? Most couples have 5-10 groups, plus a few more casual groups at the reception later. You can absolutely plan for more or less, but make sure that you leave enough time
Send the list to your parents to make sure that you haven't missed any combinations.There might be photos that they want for their own homes that you hadn't thought about. Just make sure the list doesn't get so long that this will take over a huge chunk of your wedding day. Again, a max of ten groupings is ideal.
Put the list in order. We like to start with the largest groups so that they can leave first and clear the area out, but sometimes it makes sense to prioritise grandparents and who may have a hard time standing or need extra help or children who will have short attention spans. It's also helpful to note who is "finished" after each grouping so the person calling names can tell them that they're all set to go.
Assume that groups will take an average of five minutes each. It only takes a few seconds to take the photos once everything is set up, but it can take a few minutes to get everyone in place, especially large groups. Smaller groups can usually jump in and out within two minutes or so, but we always leave a buffer in case things run over or we can't find someone who we need (it does happen).
Share the list with everyone who is on it, and let them know where they need to be and when.You can email out the master list to everyone ahead of time, then print out copies to pass out to family members so they know when to be ready.
Find your ‘group caller’ Identify the person knows the most people. This person will get a copy of the photo list to help gather the groups.
And here are a few other things to keep in mind:
If your parents are separated, don't feel pressure to put them in a group photo together. Again, if you wouldn't frame it, don't feel like you have to capture it. This is really a personal decision.
Think about special occasions that you might want photos for in the future. Don't forget to have a photo with just you and your siblings that you can give to your mum on her birthday. The same goes for photos with just you and each parent individually. These can make simple gifts for Mother's Day/Father's Day.