Let's face it, you spent the last few months stressing and planning the perfect wedding for you and your fiancé. The formal portraits don't have to add to that stress. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for the formal family portraits so you can relax and have fun.
Get all the parents involved. Find out what family pictures are most important to them.
Talk to your parents and find out what pictures they would like to have. By having this discussion before hand, you can reduce this portion of the photography time significantly. Your photographer will be able to focus on getting the images you've requested as well as some extra ones without being interrupted by family members making portrait requests. The photographer will know what is important to you and your family which will ultimately eliminate or reduce your stress allowing you to focus on just having fun with your family and wedding party.
Plan on arranging entertainment for your guests to keep them busy during this time.
The formal pictures after the ceremony can take upwards to an hour or two, so you might want to consider arranging entertainment for the cocktail hour. Photo booths are a great idea for this. This could also be the time that you have people sign your guest book or photo mat, you could even consider having your guests video tape a message for you. Check out 4 Must Haves For a Successful Wedding Cocktail Reception.
Consider doing first look pictures before the ceremony.
I know this idea is still a fairly new concept and you may or may not be open to breaking the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding, but I do ask that you hear me out on this. There are many benefits to doing a first look session (check out 4 Benefits of the First Look Session) and one of those is it gives more time for the family portraits. Typically the portrait time after the ceremony is divided into getting pictures of you and your fiancé with the various family arrangements. After that you have to take pictures with your brides maids and maid of honor and him with his men, this too can include it's own multiple arrangements. Then, you can't forget pictures of the two of you. All of this within 1-2 hours. The first look pictures can free up some of that time and also produce more pictures of the two of you than if you waited till after the ceremony.
Communicate with the family members participating in the pictures, what to expect and where to be after the ceremony for the formal portraits. Last thing you want is to have a scavenger hunt for aunt Betsy.
This is important. You can eliminate a lot of time if you communicate to your family what is expected of them and where they need to be after the ceremony. This is even a great task to delegate to your mom and/or his mom or to your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids. By letting people know what to expect and where to be it could move things along quicker when it comes time to taking the family portraits especially when you don't have to waste time waiting for Uncle Bob or Aunt Betsy who are at the bar talking it up with cousin Allan.
Whatever you do, just remember to breathe and have fun. This is, after all, your day!