I love capturing family wedding day formals for my couples! It’s one of the very few times, you are able to get everyone together. Sometimes when brides think about about family formals, it can be stressful at times. Trying to get everyone together, making sure family knows to stay after the ceremony, or are we missing anyone, can be overwhelming!
I get it! I remember on our wedding day, we had family that drove all the way from Georgia to spend our special day with us. It meant so much to us that they came, but they forgot to stay after the ceremony for family formals. That is one photo, I actually miss from our special day! One of my recent brides, I was able to capture a family portrait of her grandma and her on her wedding day. A few months later, her grandma passed away and she posted the portrait of her and her grandma from their wedding. Tears filled my eyes when I saw the image and thinking about her sweet grandma. I know that family formal of those two meant the world to my bride! Family formals are special heirlooms to capture on your wedding day!
The good news, is there is a way to not miss those family formals on your wedding day! Family formals need to be thought out in a well, organized way. I know my couples don’t want to spend all day after their ceremony, taking family formals. They are ready to celebrate this new journey with their new husband and wife. As a wedding photographer, it is my goal to serve my couples in a way that creates a stress free wedding day! I wanted to share a few tips in how to create a family formal list for you wedding day!
I send out a wedding questionnaire 8 weeks prior to my couples’ wedding day! In that questionnaire, I have places where my couples list out their 20 family formal groupings they want. Some happen before the ceremony and the rest are after the ceremony! Timing will also be determined if you do a first look too! If you do a first look, a lot of the immediate family groupings can happen before the ceremony. The extended family would be after the ceremony.
I love connecting with my couples’ families and it feels like they are family members to me. Some families are small and some are big and you have dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles. I would stick to those immediate family members-parents, grandparents, siblings, and then that will allow you to have time for your portraits as husband and wife!
My role as serving my couples during this time, is to step in and help organizing family formals. Some family members like to step in after the ceremony and start taking photos with your new husband and you. Sometimes, it’s hard to say “No” to your family members because they also want to celebrate with yall!
This is where I come in to help my couples. My goal is to get you to the party quickly, but also capture those family heirlooms for you. I usually tell them I would LOVE to get a photo of yall with the bride and groom, come find me at the reception and I would be happy to take it for you! A win for both!
When my couples finished filling out their wedding questionnaire, they know who are going to be in their family formals. I would give those family members a heads up before the wedding to let them know about family formals. I would also tell the officiant to make an announcement after the ceremony to tell “immediate family” to stay for family formals. This ensures that your family members will stay for them!
Once your have filled out your wedding questionnaire, your wedding photographer prints that out and brings it along with your wedding day timeline. During the family formals, my second photographer is calling out the names and making sure everyone is listening and ready to go. This makes the flow of family formals go smoothly and quick!
One last tip to creating family formals in under 25 minutes, is have a bridal party member help you in case one or many family members accidentally head to cocktail hour. This is something, I forgot to designate on our wedding day and I missed out on a family formal that I wanted. Having a bridal party member help and knows your family members, will help ensure you have those love ones in your wedding day photos!
I hope you find this guide helpful in creating your organized, family formal list so you can celebrate with everyone!
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