Why family/VIP photos are so important on your wedding day (and how to do them without pulling your hair out)

large family photo on wedding day

“Where’s Aunt Janice?”

This commonly asked question usually happens on two occasions: 1) an hour after Christmas lunch when Janice has had too much to drink and 2) moments after your wedding ceremony has finished and you want to take a photo with all the family.

The family photo (or VIP photo) portion of your wedding day can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. In this blog post, we’ll look at why family photos are important, as well as some tips for streamlining everything to be as stress-free as possible (and ensure that Aunt Janice is exactly where we need her).

Why take family/VIP photos in the first place?

Family and VIP photos are an incredible moment on your wedding to do two things:

  1. Capture beautiful memories with your loved ones, and
  2. Honour the people who have been supported you

I always recommend allocating some time shortly after the wedding ceremony for some family and VIP photos because they are a wonderful way to say “thank you, I love you” to the important people in your life.

One of the most underestimated elements of these photos is not necessarily how much *you* want to do them, but rather it’s a time to take the types of photos that your rellies want.

So, how do we all collectively survive the process? Planning.

Write a list of must-have groupings

When you hire a professional photographer for your wedding day, you’ll likely need to provide them with a list of all of the specific groupings of your family and VIPs that you want to be photographed. Trust me when I tell you that this isn’t because we want to give you more work to do. Rather, it’s because we know how important this list is in avoiding confusion and frustration on the day of the wedding.

Keep it to a Minimum

What does sugar in your coffee and family photos have in common? Less is more. I know, it can be hard to whittle it down and decide who should get included on your list. But if you have a long list of people to include, then I would suggest aiming for fewer photos of larger groups, rather than more photos of smaller groups.

I suggest you account for 20 minutes (at least) to get through your list. And once you start doing the math, you will quickly realise that the longer the list is the longer you will need to awkwardly stand next to relatives with a big cheesy grin on your face.

By planning ahead, you can make it really clear who needs to be present for which photos, and no one will be left lingering wondering what to do with themselves. Plus, even though you’re having a smaller list of “formal” photos with family, any good wedding photographer is going to get countless informal moments of your loved ones enjoying themselves at your party.

Designate a “family captain”

Designating someone bossy to be your “family captain” will help keep things running smoothly on your wedding day. Usually a member of the family, or a close friend, the family captain has full permission to get their bossy voice on and start ordering people into position.

Humans are funny creatures sometimes, and it can often take 2 or 3 times before they register when they’re being asked to do something (i.e. take your sunnies off for the photo). It’s best for you and your brand new spouse to preserve your energy for more important things on the wedding day and let a trusted person be the bad guy.

Your family photos at your wedding are important, but they can also be stressful. They’re a great way to show your family that you love and honour them, not just for the day of the event, but throughout your life together as well. If you want to keep things stress-free on this big day, there are some simple ways to make sure everything goes smoothly. The first step is making a list so everyone knows what they need to do before it gets hectic in the morning. Next, keep your list small! Finally, designate someone who will take charge and keep things moving.

Are you looking for a professional wedding photographer to help you with your family photos (and all the other photos on your wedding day)? Head to my contact page and find out if I’m still available on your wedding day.

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