Maximizing the Family Formal Time at Your Wedding

It’s easy to let your family formal photo list get extremely long and complicated. I get it - you want to honor, celebrate, and document the love you have for such important people in your lives.

Here‘s the thing - I want to capture that, too, but not always between the ceremony & reception. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your family formals time to 15-20 minutes. Any more than that and grandparents get tired, kids get grumpy, and the two of you end up wishing you had a cocktail in your hand already.

Check out these tips that will maximize the time you set aside for family formal photos at your wedding.


Let anyone who will be needed for family photos where to be immediately following the ceremony. It’s a good idea to make them aware of the time restraints and communicate how important it is that they remain in the area - one person missing could turn your 15 minute time allotment into 35 minutes. Be sure to let them know not to leave until the photographer has said she’s done with ya — the bar will still there, we promise PawPaw Joe.


It‘s okay if you have a large number of people to capture, but if you have a large family try to keep the photo combinations simple. For instance, instead of taking a photo 1. with your Aunt Sarah, her three kids & husband and 2. then another with your Aunt Kelly, her son & husband, try taking just one of all the aunts with their family.

Here are the combinations I recommend for timelines allotting 15 minutes to family formals:

• B/G with Brides Parents

• B/G with Brides Grandparents

• B/G with Brides Siblings/Nieces/Nephews/Spouses

• B/G with family listed above

• B/G with Grooms Parents

• B/G with Grooms Grandparents

• B/G with Grooms Siblings/Nieces/Nephews/Spouses

• B/G with family listed above

• B/G with both sets of parents


Most wedding days will include two photographers and this next tip is exactly why! Your aunts, uncles, cousins, God parents will be able to grab one of us to take their picture with you! It is standard for us to follow the bride and groom throughout the night — so it’s super easy to grab a photo with your important guests on a whim (with your drank in hand).

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