Wedding Planning Tip: Family Formals

Family Formals

 Classic Charlotte Wedding at The Ivy Place

A well-crafted timeline is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day. Do not assume that everyone will be in one location at any point during the day. Carefully plan your family formals to include the most important people in your life.

Your family formals will be some of the few keepsakes that include your dearest loved ones. Photos that you will cherish as time and people pass. This is a special opportunity to capture your family’s legacy as each of you formally become a part of one another’s family.

Each grouping takes about 3 minutes to photograph. We highly suggest no more than about 5-8 formal groupings. Also, to cut down on confusion, all extended family photos are best handled after the main events of the reception. The MC/DJ is always willing to help call the "___ extended family to the front for a photo." This way you don't have 20 people standing around slowing down the process of getting your more important and personal photos captured.


The 20-25 minute portion of the day immediately following the ceremony is usually used for getting the following family formal shots:

 Bride & Groom + Bride’s parents

 Bride & Groom + Groom’s parents

 Bride & Groom + Bride & Groom's Parents

•  Bride & Groom + Bride & Groom's Parents + Siblings + Grandparents


Prior to the cermony, we craft out time to get these groupings: 

  Bride’s parents

  Bride’s parents and siblings

  Bride, Bride’s grandparents

  Groom, Groom’s parents

  Groom’s parents and siblings

  Groom, Groom’s grandparents

Typically, family formals are taken after the ceremony, but you can capture them before the ceremony and after your first looks if you wish. Regardless of when you decide to have your family formals taken, there are a few tips for ensuring a seamless session. As always, communication is key to the flow of your wedding day.

 Classic Charlotte Wedding at The Ivy Place

1. Let your photographer choose a location outside; we know what light looks best and how things photograph; a good planner will help make sure that guests aren't interferring with this process. 

2. Clearly communicate when and where your family should arrive the day before the wedding for the family portraits. Having to search of people will slow down this process making you miss other important moments. Plus, the bride & groom shouldn't have to wait on others--it is their day!

3. Communicate any special circumstances to your photographer. Divorces, deaths, etc... 

4. Assign a person/planner ahead of time to be in charge of finding any missing family members when it is time for your family portraits.


These photos will be an heirloom that will live on for generations to come. Be patient with your family and remember that everyone in attendance is there to celebrate the love between you and your new spouse, so smile and glory in the two of you becoming one. These photos will be treasured keepsakes that you and your spouse will forever cherish.