Wedding Family Photographs - The 'Formals'

The wedding day family pictures (also known as the formals or family groups) are a necessary part of your wedding day, you do not want the day to pass without those pictures of two families coming together and pictures of family and grandparents, mementos that you will treasure forever.

I will be blunt many couples do not want ‘formal’ photographs and look for ‘reportage’  type wedding photography but who does not want pictures of their families and grandparents. OK some think it’s tedious and boring! They’re also the one part of the day that can tend to drag on for newly weds and can (in some) cases cause some angst and stress.

That’s why we should try and get the family group pictures done as quick and painless as possible, to get those mementos for you and your families.


Wedding Family/Group Pictures|The WHEN

RIGHT after you say “I DO!!”
Directly after the ceremony is the best time to take the wedding family/group pictures. I would normally plan for these portraits to take immediately after the ceremony as it’s the best time when everyone is together. I find that right after you get married, all your friend and family will want to come and congratulate you both and give hugs and kisses!
If we ask everyone to join you immediately after the ceremony (we will have discussed where the pictures are going to be taken) we can get a wedding group picture before letting your guests head for the bar /lounge to relax whilst the immediate wedding party get involved in the group portraits.
If we are tight on time,  during the cooler months, and the time of your ceremony, we start to loose light much earlier in the day so it’s important to get the group pictures out of the way quickly.

Wedding Family/Group Pictures|The HOW!

As soon as we can after the ceremony is the best time to take the wedding family/group pictures. As I will not be familiar with all your family and who is who, so it’s important to organise a helper who can round up and call out names if possible.

The helper is usually one of the bridal party or even a close friend who is not involved in the family/group portraits, we would discuss this at your pre-wedding meeting. It’s probably best if the ‘helper’ does have a loud voice! Herding cats can be hard! ??

Wedding Family/Group Pictures|The HOW LONG!

A group shot of all your wedding guests and family is a very popular picture for a page in your beautifully crafted hand made in Italy, wedding album. We would gather everyone in the right place and as long as everyone is nearby and ready, the group portrait DO NOT take a long time.
Once the group is in line, Bridal party and any children present at the wedding at the front, and everyone takes off their sunglasses, the actual pictures take a few seconds.
This will usually involve me hanging out of an upstairs window or perched precariously on top of stepladders while everyone laughs at me ….
The bigger the group, the more I will take to try and ensure that nobody is blinking! I will also ask you to kiss and everyone to cheer! We can also do some confetti at this time as well ??
It’s a matter of seconds to get this done!

Wedding Family/Group Pictures|The WHO

Combining family members or wedding guests into the same picture is a good time saving idea to get through the formal family pictures nice and fast!

You will want to plan for a few of the standard picture combinations, don’t go too overboard with the group shots! Aside from the time factor, your guests might get a bit restless if they are No 16523 on the list!
I will ask you for a list of MUST HAVE family group pictures at the pre-wedding meeting and would suggest that you do not give me a huge list of combinations.
Here is a list of the basic combinations I think every couple at least consider;
Bride with Mum & Dad
Bride with Grandparents
Bride with Family

Groom with Mum & Dad
Groom with Grandparents
Groom with Family

Bride & Groom with mums and dads and grandparents
Bride & Groom with both families

Bride and Groom with Best Man & Ushers (inc Pageboy)
Bride and Groom with Bridesmaids (Inc Flower girl)
Bride and Groom with Bridal party


Wedding Family/Group Pictures|The Where

Even on the sunniest of days , it’s important that we try and find a shaded spot to take the wedding family group pictures. It’s fantastic to get an even light on the family members in your photographs.

I will try and and take the family group pictures as close to the ceremony venue as possible, in a shaded area. If you have a church wedding and you want the group pictures taken at your venue I will get that done for you.
If we are constrained for time/space/weather or if there are elderly people in your wedding party who cannot walk easily I can take the picture inside the venue so we get the ‘must have’ picture.

Ultimately, it’s irrelevant if the group pictures look like a school picture – what is important is that all your family are in the pictures and they can see the camera ?- That means that the camera can see them!


Wedding Family/Group Pictures|Final Words

While it might be my awesome panoramic shot of you both,  your best man spinning on his head on the dance floor or you and your besties that you share on your Facebook or Instagram, it’s the wedding family group shots that you will treasure for the years to come.
The picture of you and your mum on your wedding day, the moments after putting a ring on your finger or the first kiss …. They are all priceless.
I will make sure I get it right for you ❤️

Now that you have read about the wedding family/group pictures, I would recommend that you take a look at my other advice on Wedding Bridal Photography too – It’s much more fun, and definitely an important part of your wedding day.


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Based in Lanarkshire, photographing weddings pretty much anywhere.

Tel: – 0044(0)7962071632
Face-time/Skype/In-Person consultations available
Office Hours – Very Flexible

Steve Gauld Photography
ML11 7PW


Call – 0044(0)7962071632
Email – [email protected]