Formal Wedding Portraits: Ready. Set. Plan!

Formal Wedding Portraits: Ready. Set. Plan!

Arm in arm with Aunt Bev…

Side by side with Grandma and Grandpa…

Both sets of parents together with you and your (new) hubby…

Get ready to channel your inner supermodel because once you say ‘I do’ it’s photo shoot time! Besides the ‘Romantic’s’ you’ll take with your groom and bridal party, no wedding day photography session is complete without (at least a few) formal family portraits. But take it from our photography experts — deciding who gets to pose with you and groom post nuptials is something no bride should organize on the fly.

The Clock is Ticking

Most of these group combination photos will take place following the ceremony, especially when it comes to extended family members. Getting married at a church? Most will allow up to 30 minutes for formal images — this is where planning is key!  With each setup taking 2-4 minutes, that means you can expect roughly 12-15 wedding day formal images at the church. The next step is to…

family wedding portraits church

Prioritize Your People

Ask yourself, which images must be taken at the church and which can be taken throughout the day? Work with your wedding photographer to develop a priority list. There are some people whose presence in family formals is expected – you, your groom, parents and siblings. Beginning with your most immediate family members, you will begin adding in people that will form your blended families; both of you with each set of parents, combined parents, grandparents, etc.

Once you have completed your “must have” family formal combinations, it’s time to add on the photos of more extended family; a group shot of all the cousins, a photo with your aunt and uncle that traveled from the other side of the country to be at your special day. These photos don’t necessarily need to be taken at the church or chapel, but can be captured more candidly during cocktail hour or the reception.

BONUS TIP: Hiring two photographers helps… a lot. While your ‘main’ photographer can focus on core family, your second photographer can make friends or coworkers their priority — that way everyone is covered!  

family wedding portraits

The List

Keep in mind — each family has unique needs that don’t fit to a “standard” list — so adjust accordingly, that’s where your wedding photographer comes in (once again). They’ll work with you to create a customized list of the formal photos for your wedding day. Here’s a start:

Bride, groom and officiant

Bride with bridesmaids

Groom with groomsmen

Bride and groom with bridesmaids

Bride and groom with groomsmen

Bride and groom with flower girl/ring bearer

Bride and groom with entire wedding party

Bride and groom with entire wedding party with ring bearer and flower girl

Bride and groom with bride’s parents

Bride and groom with groom’s parents

Bride and groom with both sets of parents

Bride with her siblings

Groom with his siblings

Bride and groom with bride’s extended family (grandparents, siblings)

Bride and groom with groom’s extended family (grandparents, siblings)

Additional Combinations (not at ceremony site):

Bride with maid of honor only

Bride with each bridesmaid

Groom with best man only

Groom with each groomsmen

Bride and groom with maid of honor and best man

Bride with flower girl

Groom with ring bearer

Bride and groom with extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles)

Bride and groom with any special friends/guests in attendance

Bride and groom with pets, if part of wedding

Bride with groomsmen

Groom with bridesmaids

Generational photos (bride with her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother)

Bride with God-parents

Groom with God-parents

wedding portraits

Looking for that expert help from a professional wedding photographer (or two)? Guess what – YOU get chose the photographer you want to work with!

Mike Staff Productions has you covered! Feel free to give us a call (877.689.0777)

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