Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

A Complete Guide to Family Photos On Your Wedding Day

There is a lot of confusion surrounding family photos on your wedding day. So many questions arise, like “Who should we include?”. “How long are family photos going to take?”. “What time should we tell family to come?”. This blog is a complete guide to family photos on your wedding day.

Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

Who Should We Include During Family Photos?

The answer to this question is; it varies. This may not seem like a helpful answer, so let’s break it down.

A common misconception of weddings is some people think of this event as a family reunion. Because of this, some view it as an opportunity to get family photos with people they have not seen or talked to in years. The fact of the matter is, this is not the intended purpose of a wedding day. Everyone in attendance is there to celebrate the love and union of the couple getting married.

Some questions for the you as the couple to ask yourselves when selecting family members to be at the formal family photos are: When was the last time I talked to this person? When was the last time I saw them? Do I consider myself to have a close relationship with them? Are they someone that I would spend time with if they weren’t related to me?

My recommendation for couples is to include their immediate families, i.e. parents, siblings, sibling’s spouses and kids, and grandparents. This list can still vary and the questions mentioned earlier should still be asked for each of these people.

What About Other Family Members?

Maybe you have an aunt who you spent every summer with growing up and would love to have there. You could have a cousin who feels more like a sibling to you. Or perhaps have great grandparents who you’re just as close to as your grandparents. These are all people you should also include during formal family photos.

Because of time constraints on a wedding day, try to keep your family photo list smaller to avoid running out of time or rushing other parts of your wedding day.

You may also wonder; what about all my other family members that are invited to the wedding? Good news, you can still get photos with them! These are people you should plan to get photos with during the reception. Mention these people to your photographer, and make a plan with them to get those photos during that time. They can either be posed or candid, whatever feels right to you.

Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

How Long Do Family Photos Take?

The answer; it varies! For every wedding that I photograph, I help to curate a timeline of the entire wedding day that is based on each wedding specifically.

For most weddings, family photos last about 30 minutes. Of course, this can change based on how many people you want to include during this portion of the day.

If your list of family members is shorter, the photos can be completed in less time. And if the list is longer, the photos will also take longer. It is also wise to add in a few minutes of buffer time to gather everyone in the same spot, or wait for people to arrive to the location where the family photos are taking place.

Siblings on Your Wedding Day
Sibling Photo on Your Wedding Day

What Time Should We Do Family Photos?

When to schedule family photos depends on if you choose include a first look on your wedding day. If you’re unsure about having a first look, consult with your photographer about if it’s right for the two of you.

If you opt-in to a first look, I always recommend including family photos before the ceremony. This is so you can fully enjoy time with your guests during the reception (and have time for golden hour photos 😉 ) without having to ask your family to worry about photos later on in the day, or running out of light!

If you choose not to have a first look, family photos should be scheduled right after completing your marriage license after the ceremony. Getting the family photos done as soon as possible after the ceremony guarantees that these are completed before family members are off to do other activities or get tired and need to head home.

Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

No matter how you decide to go about doing family photos on your wedding day, make sure that what you choose aligns with the two of you and what you envision your day to be like!

Let me photograph your wedding day and help you plan the best day ever, book with me here!



A Complete Guide to Family Photos On Your Wedding Day

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About Morgan

Morgan is a traveling wedding and couples photographer based in Spokane, Washington. 

On this blog, you can find galleries of weddings and sessions with the coolest clients ever, and helpful information about wedding planning.

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