Advice on wedding day family formals

Even if you are just looking for beautifully natural wedding photography, we encourage you to take the time on your wedding day to get photos with your close family. We are sure your parents or grandparents would really appreciate a few family photos, and it may be the only time you and all your family are together for a long time to come. You don’t need to have an individual shot with every single guest, unless you have a particularly favourite aunt or cousin, a group shot should be fine. But when it comes to family photos on your wedding day, how many is too many? We want you to get the balance just right!


Every wedding is different, the client’s expectations & needs are different, but we are starting to see the same pattern with family formals, so we thought if we created a template to work from, it can really help you plan a stress free wedding day whilst still getting those all-important family photos. We advise to have up to 8 different combinations for the day and to get these as soon after the ceremony as possible. Then you can have a separate list for more relaxed photos with your work colleagues/friends at your reception.

James & Kerrie Photography-234.jpg

We always make sure we have a family formal list before the wedding day from our clients which helps us get through the family photos in an efficient manner. However, the list is only as good as its participants, and you need to make sure enough time is allocated for your photographers to get the shots. Each photo can take up to 5 mins depending on the number of people in them & the time locating them. We advise to allocate a member of your bridal party (or a bossy aunt!) to help the photographers gather family members. Guests are far more likely to listen and respond to them than to your wedding photographers!


And don’t forget to schedule in at least 30 minutes for couple portraits. This can be done after your family formals, or maybe a little later in the day depending on the time of year you are getting married. Golden hour photos are our fave, that’s one of the reasons we are relocating to become wedding photographers in Somerset! Use our template list below, we want to get your family photos done in a timely manner so you can enjoy the rest of your day.

This is our template to work from, amend to suit your specific needs:

1: Grooms immediate family-mum & dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephew, grandparents

2: Grooms mum & dad

3: Both sets of parents

4: Brides mum & dad

5: Brides immediate family- mum, dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephew, grandparents

6: Group shot

7: Bridal party

8: Bride & Groom portraits

Evening Reception

1: Friends

2: Work colleagues

If you want more advice on family formal photos, we covered this in more detail on our Facebook live here