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Follow These Six Tips to Ensure Family Portraits Go Smoothly on the Wedding Day

Despite the fact that there are a number of moving parts, these snaps don't have to be stressful.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Corbin Gurkin

Your wedding is the perfect opportunity to take group photos of the people you love most. It's so rare that everyone is together, which is why you want to document this special moment with photos. But wrangling your entire family—parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—can be tricky. Here's how to make this often-stressful task a breeze.

 

Related: Ways to Guarantee Great Wedding Photos

 

Make a list of who should be in each photo.

Figure out who should be in which group photo and give this list to your photographer well before the wedding. Besides your immediate families, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, think of other interesting groups, like your sorority sisters or the third cousins you grew up with.

 

Explain any potential awkwardness.

Clue in the photographer if the bride's parents are divorced and can't stand each other, for example. Discuss whether or not to take separate photos with each parent.

 

Give family members a heads up.

If no one told Uncle Joe he's supposed to be taking a family portrait, you can't blame him for being in the restroom just as folks are gathering for the shot. Create a timeline and pinpoint what time each guest should arrive for their closeup.

 

Related: How to Keep Family Drama from Ruining Your Wedding

 

Assign a wrangler.

Give this job to someone like a bridesmaid or your cousin who visually knows most of the guests and can remind them when it's their time to smile. Besides being busy taking pictures, the photographer won't have any clue as to who Aunt Alice is.

 

Start with a large group.

To streamline things, take a portrait of the biggest group first, then start eliminating people from the group. For example, the first shot is the bride and groom, the bride's parents, siblings, and grandparents. For the second shot, the grandparents step out, and for the third shot, the siblings exit.

 

Don't take too many photos.

Some people dread taking family portraits and, if the camera clicking goes on for too long, they find it harder and harder to look relaxed and smile. Set limits.