In general, when people hear ‘family portraits’– they groan. Family portraits can be boring and can also be point of stress on your wedding day. Here are 5 tips for making sure your whole wedding day isn’t spent doing family portraits and you can get back to more important things… like cake!

1. Ask your photographer for guidance: Most photographers have taken enough family portraits to know what is realistic to shoot in a given time period. Have your photographer give you an idea of what their timing is like and decide on shots from there.

2. Build your shot list: Typically, the shot list is as follows:

  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s extended family (mother and father’s side)
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s immediate family (mother and father’s side)
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s extended family (mother and father’s side)
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s immediate family (mother and father’s side)
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents
  • Bride & Groom with both sets of parents

But that doesn’t mean you need to stick to this! Have a conversation with your partner about what pictures are ‘must haves’ and put these at the top of the list. Remember, every family is different so don’t feel like you have to take the same photos for both sides of your family!

Family PortraitsPhoto Courtesy of Inna Yasinska Photography

3. Communicate with your photographer: By the time your wedding day comes around, you will know your photographer pretty well… but that doesn’t mean they know your family. Be very clear about who needs to be paid special attention and what special considerations need to be accommodated such as divorce, conflicts or relationships.

4. Assign a photo wrangler: Let’s be honest, getting your families together for photos is often akin to herding cats. On the day, your job is not hunting down Aunt Karen so she doesn’t miss out on the photos. Grab a friend, or other trusted guest and have them collect everyone. They should have a list of all the pairings as well as a good understanding of who everyone is.

5. Give your family a schedule (and stick to it): Make sure your family knows when they are expected to show up for family portraits. Make it clear that they are expected to show up at a specific location and that you will not be waiting for them.

BONUS: Get clear on who will be in photos – is your cousin’s girlfriend of three weeks expected to be in the photos? What about that random friend of your uncle’s who insists you call him Uncle Charlie? Get clear with your partner about who will be included in the family photos and who will not be. If you don’t want to offend anyone, feel free to take a photo with and without these people (just in case)

The family portraits from your wedding day are going to be treasured not only by you, but also by the other members of your family. With a little planning, they can also be fun and stress-free!