KNOW YOUR “WHY”
For many people “Tradition” is a fine reason. But it’s good to consider how any tradition fits with the priorities you hold for your wedding day. If the Family & Group photos are primarily for someone else you love (like parents or grandparents) do speak with them about the key groups they’re hoping to have beautiful photos of after the wedding. This may help you tailor the list or trim it down to just a polite handful of groups.
STREAMLINE THE FLOW OF PEOPLE
People can get a bit funny when they’re in groups; somehow they don’t follow instructions in the same way. I’ve found that by being smart in the way you order the different group photos allows you to manage the flow of people & makes life a little easier.
People are more able to do the right thing when they know what the right thing is. That’s why I order & number the photos & start with the larger group (meaning you’re thanking people & asking them to step out, rather than a lot of waiting around for the people you want to add to a group)
In a practical sense, the way this looks is to start with the whole group photo of all guests then invite the family members to join us at the specific location we’ve selected (at this point handing around the Family & Group photos list so people can exactly which photos they’re required for). We approach the family photos in two halfs; each representing the two people who are marrying. I suggest you begin with whichever family has the greater number of people & first up is 1. the whole extended family (for really large groups it may be best split this into 1a.Mum’s side & 1b.Dad’s side) followed by 2.Grandparents, then 3. Immediate Family (parents & siblings) which sometimes has two versions; 3a. Immediate Family (parents & siblings + their partners & kids) & 3b. Immediate Family (just siblings) then 4. Parents. The Parents photos are a good time to incorporate all the parents in one photo (4a. Her Parents 4b. Her parents + His Parents 4.c His Parents) before moving to the second half of the family photos.
[example from Detail Shot of Photo List, Ruakura home wedding tripod detail shot, candid from Casey&Troy?
YOU’RE IN (ALMOST) EVERY PHOTO!
Standing around waiting for people to come & go from group photos is probably not what you’re hoping for when you think about your wedding day. Ways to make it go smoothly include
- Call in a Crowd Management Support Person (or two) who knows your family & can help get people in the right place (just beside the photo area ) at the right time (just before they’re called for their photo). An ideal person to fill the role would be confident & familiar (usually a family member or long-time family friend) who isn’t afraid to be politely firm
- Mix it up. Group photos don’t have to all be standing; A nice bench can add an element of interest, a centre point to arrange different groups around & a comfortable option for you (& those older wobblier family members)
- Keep comfortable & Stay Cool. How you feel physically affects how your mood & ability to have a great time… so depending on what the weather’s doing let’s look for shade from the hot summer sun, or out of the wind.
- Recruit a Designated Personal Drinks Facilitator to keep you hydrated. Seriously! Everyone will be showering you with love & it’s not practical (or easy) for the main attraction to slip away to grab a beverage. This job is probably best given to a sibling, friend or bridal party member.
FUN WAYS TO GET PHOTOS WITH FRIENDS
It’s great to have a time (usually after the ceremony & before being seated for dinner) when you can catch up & mix & mingle with your guests. This relaxed setting allows you connect with your guests & also makes for great relaxed “event style” images. I would recommend you write a list in advance you can leave with me (or just email me a copy) to check groups off as you circulate through your guests to make sure you get to see everyone you’re hoping to. This is also a good time to get photos with smaller family groups like Aunts & Uncles, cousins & special family friends.
[example from Livia & ___, Nadia & Wilson,
QUIET MOMENTS (& MEANINGFUL PHOTOS) WITH SPECIAL PEOPLE
Once your ceremony is complete & you’ve walked down the aisle there are lot of people about, an air of excitement & the feel of a party. It’s not always the right setting for quiet moments with special people. The majority of the moments like these which I have had the pleasure to photograph have been before the ceremony. If a Wedding Day Priority of yours is to carve out some one-on-one time with special people I would suggest after you’re all prepped & ready, but before the ceremony. These moments make for beautiful natural images & can work in really easily if you’re planning your Photos First. Scheduling in time may sound clinical, but planning eases pressure & can make for a very special 15 minutes you’ll hold in your heart for years to come. It’s a very real way to cut through all those “To do” lists & allows you to just be together with your dearest people.
[example from Woodside Estate Sweary couple, Casey & Troy, Ashleigh & Chad, Cassie & sister]