If you are planning your wedding right now – congratulations! I hope you are having a lot of fun and enjoying the whole wedding planning process. One thing that people can sometimes worry about with wedding planning is deciding which formal ‘group photographs’ to have on the day, or whether even to have them at all. So I thought I would write a little blog post to hopefully take some of the stress out of this part of the planning. Group photos don’t have to be stressful! Here’s how I recommend it’s done to make life as easy as possible…

Group Photos for Weddings

Do we have to do group photos?

You absolutely don’t have to do group photos if you don’t want to. It’s your wedding day after all, and you can do what you like!

Advantages of planning in some group photos:

  • You will definitely get a picture of you with the loved ones that mean the most to you, which might not have happened if it wasn’t planned.

  • Any older family members or those who live far away can be photographed with you for sure, and they might really like to have those pictures.

Disadvantages of doing group photos:

  • It can take time out of your day when you would rather be chatting and celebrating.

  • Sometimes it can take longer than you expected or become frustrating if people keep disappearing!

A lot of weddings now are a lot more relaxed that they used to be traditionally, which is fantastic. I think that the key approach to doing group photos if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on them is to keep it relaxed, keep the ‘formal photos’ list to a minimum, and have someone efficient organising it.

Keep the group photos relaxed

As a documentary wedding photographer, I love to shoot real moments with real personality and real emotion. It is so important to me to capture those special moments with you and your parents / bridesmaids / gran that happen authentically as a part of the natural events of the day. You will remember those moments long after your wedding. But I also totally feel that it’s nice to have a ‘posed’ photo of you with the key people in your life, to make sure that you have that picture. They’ll look great printed and framed on everyone’s mantlepiece, and will be treasured in the future. Wedding days are so busy that sometimes you might not even get to spend any time with your parents or grandparents – I know I didn’t at my own wedding! So sometimes it might be difficult to get natural photos of you together with them, which is why having a posed photo that has been planned for in advance can be such a good thing.

Group photos don’t have to be ‘formal’ or stuffy though. I think they always look better if they are more relaxed. I adore it when you are with your loved ones having a good old laugh or a squish. That way, a formal photo can look as if it is really spontaneous and natural! I always like to elicit more natural looking smiles from you than just your standard forced grin!

Staying relaxed and stress-free during the group photos time is really important so that you feel this part of the day is still a continuation of your wedding celebrations. You should still all be having fun, so that you have great memories from this part of the day too! I always like to do the group photos as quickly as possible as part of the drinks reception, so everyone’s got some bubbly, and can carry on with the party.

Keep the formal photos list to a minimum

A key factor in keeping the group photos stress-free is to have prepared a list of what you want, and for this list to be at it’s absolute minimum. The ‘formal’ group photos that you want your wedding photographer to take are the most important ones with your closest loved ones. This is the recommended group photos list that I give to my brides & grooms…

  1. Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

  2. Bride & Bridesmaids

  3. Groom & Groomsmen

  4. Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents

  5. Bride & Groom with Bride’s family – inc parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties & uncles if required

  6. Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents

  7. Bride & Groom with Groom’s family – inc parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties & uncles if required

That’s it for the formal photos for me! This should only take a maximum of 20 minutes if everyone is close at hand. Then, on a more ‘informal’ basis, I can capture any other pictures you might want to have, such as you and your gran, or you with your sister. I love to just capture you with your groups of friends very informally as you are mingling around your reception, it’s much more fun and relaxed that way.

As for other formal group photos that may be required with, for example, extended branches of cousins, work colleagues etc, I am very happy to take these for you if you want to put them on your list, but I do think that adding on many of these can make the list become a bit long and it might increase the time taken to the extent that you get a bit fed up! These kinds of photos can perhaps more easily be taken as you do your mingling by those people that want them on their own phones and cameras, so that my time can then be spent invisibly getting lots more of the natural, candid, mingling and laughing shots that everyone loves.

Have someone organised in charge

It will make it much more stress-free for you if you nominate one or two good helpers to round up the required people for your group photos. It’s useful if they know your families too, so they know who to look out for. Give them your pre-prepared list in advance, so that they are ready to leap into action. They will save you (and me!) a lot of time, and the whole thing will happen much more easily, quickly and efficiently. Which means you get to celebrate for longer! Cheers!

I hope that you have found this helpful! For more tips, please check out my Help & Advice section. If there’s a question I haven’t answered, please do get in touch! x