Tipsy Tuesday | What Family Photos Do I Need At My Wedding?

Today's Tipsy Tuesday post is brought to you with the hopes of helping you plan out a simple family shot list at your wedding and sample cup of Viognier at the farmers market. 

Family formal photos at a wedding can get pretty chaotic. Especially with big families. Elderly grandparents. Crying babies. Stressed mamas. You name it. Everyone seems to want a photo with the newlyweds, but the bride and groom can only hold those smiles for so long before those happy cheeks need a break. As the photographer, I ask each couple to provide me their family shot list of who is the most important for them to have photos with. The responses are different with each couple. For few, it's important that they get their entire extended families all together in a photo with them. Others, would rather keep it short and sweet and have maybe 4 photos total.

When asked for tips on how to plan a good family shot list, I try to keep it simple and easily flowing to keep everyone from being burnt out from too many photos and recommend the couples to choose only the photo combinations that will probably be printed and framed or ones they can't live without. While every cousin, aunt and old classmate may want a photo with you, I suggest keeping family photo time for your closest family members and getting the rest of the photos with your other guests during the cocktail hour or reception. Despite contrary belief, there are no rules to what you do or don't have to do when it comes to family photos.

Below are the 10 most common photos I typically try to aim for during family formals in 30 minutes or less. If you have more time, you could break these down further (i.e. Bride + her Mom or Groom and his siblings) and if you have less time, you can combine some of the combos to make sure everyone gets in who needs to. Because the day is about the Bride and Groom marrying into each other's families, I like to take a majority of the family photos with both of them together unless they've made different requests.

1. Bride with Bride's Parents

2. Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents

3. Bride and Groom with Bride's Entire Immediate Family*

4. Bride and Groom with Bride's Entire Immediate Family* + Grandparents

5. Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents

6. Groom with Groom's Parents

7. Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents

8. Bride and Groom with Groom's Entire Immediate Family*

9. Bride and Groom with Groom's Entire Immediate Family* + Grandparents

10. Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents

*= immediate family indicates a bride or groom's parents, siblings, spouses and children

Maybe you're wondering what to do if you have bad blood with someone in your family who will be at the wedding. I would never force a bride or groom to take photos with anyone they don't want to, but I highly encourage having at least one photo with immediate family members you may not be close with if they show up to your wedding. Someday, it may be important to you to have a photo of them and you don't want to end up with regrets over any short term family issues. If you're extremely uncomfortable, don't worry about it. You only have to take the photos you truly want

To sum it up, keep it simple. Don't schedule yourself to smile in the same spot for an hour (I assure you'll get annoyed/bored/tired). Don't plan for super lengthy shot lists just to please each guest. Remember, you still have to take photos with your wedding party so don't burn out your beautiful smile in one sitting. It's your day, celebrate it how you want!