8 top tips to give you a stress free wedding when it comes to your group photos!
Wedding planning can be hard, there is SO much to think about and after a vote over on Instagram most people wanted to know how to manage the group photos to insure a smooth running and stress free wedding day!
This section of the day without a doubt is the most tricky for the ‘strict’ timeline, as there are so many elements that could delay and often interrupt the flow of the day and take so much longer than people realise IF we do not have a strategic plan in place! I want to make sure YOU have the best friggin time EVER and still get these important photos in the bag.
Guests often tell me how quickly we get them done and thank me for it- Let’s face it, no one really wants to spend ages standing in a row feeling awkward… a drink in hand, laughing with other guests and making memories is always much more preferred by all!!
Firstly I want you to know I appreciate how important these family group photos are. They are the photos you are most likely to look back on in years to come, and are likely to be the ones you get printed and framed! I am more than happy to do as many of these photos are you wish so please don’t think i’m being all ‘neggi’ vibed about it but I do want you to realise the affects it will have on your wedding day, your timeline and the other photos I could be getting in this time. It’s all about getting the right balance and having a stress free wedding! 🙂
So here are my 8 top tips to give you a stress free wedding when it comes to your group photos:
ONE ~ No matter how quickly I can get through these, they do still take some time. So accept it and be prepared to be away from the majority of your guests for a little while for the group photos that you want. If you keep postponing it on the day, it will only make the process take longer and feel like its being dragged out. Also remember that these are photos that YOU want so try to enjoy the process. We will have fun doing them!!
TWO ~Way before the wedding, think about what group photos you are likely to have printed, framed and be placed on the wall. Be honest with yourself, as its easy to get carried away here. It’s important to make sure you get the ones your REALLY want but also to have this balanced out, that you get to enjoy your wedding day and make the most of it with all your guests! (Not spending 2 hours having group photo after group photo for them only to be stored on a USB never to see the light of day and wasting valuable time on the day with your friends and family)
THREE ~ The group ‘formals’ usually happen in-between the ceremony and before you sit down to eat as mentioned above (unless its an extremely sunny day where I might suggest to do it later when the light is more flattering) so I recommend a MINIMUM of 1.5 hours from after the ceremony to when getting called to sit down to eat. This is if your ceremony and reception are at the same location, this does not include travelling time from A- B. Ideally 2 hours especially if you have more than 90 day guests.
I am not saying it will take 1.5/2 hours just to do the group formals (Geeze, can you imagine!) but this amount of time is great to get these formals done, some of your portraits, all those lovely candids, natural moments of guests and any details of the room before everyone enters! If you have less time you will feel rushed and as mentioned earlier, I want you to have the BEST DAY EVER and that isn’t going to happen if you spend most of your ‘down time’ having these group photos done.
FOUR ~ I recommend no more than 10 group photos, this includes your family and bridal party as from experience this is the best amount before you and your guests start to get frustrated. Usually you get around 1.5 hours after your ceremony and before you sit down to eat so again thinking about the timing of the day, 10 group photos will allow you to importantly have time with your guests, as well as me getting all the other moments detailed without it all feeling very rushed for both of us. Otherwise we will both end up missing valuable moments if we run out of time which nobody wants.
**Of course if you really do want more group photos then that is absolutely fine but please make sure you allow for more time, possible 2 or even 2.5 hours depending on your list. I’m very happy to chat this all through with you and figure out with you what the best course of action is for your own wedding day and needs.
FIVE ~ 6 weeks before the day I send you out a final details form which include the most popular group photos which you can add/edit and delete as every family is different. This allows me to know your priority list ahead of the day, I place these in a certain order to be most time efficient and for them to flow smoothly. IF we have have time on the day, of course I will do any more you wish but I will always work with my list FIRST.
** Remember I am usually with you all day photographing, I will be capturing many natural moments of your guests throughout the day and if you happen to see me wonder passed and want a quick informal photo with the group of people you are chatting with then please feel free too!
SIX ~ Assign x2 of your groomsmen/bridesmaids OR x2 family members who know the majority of people on your list to help me gather them. It’s far more likely to get done a lot quicker if i have help at this point as I wont know who these people are on your list to grab them.
SEVEN ~ Large group photo of everyone. I’m going to be totally honest here, unless i can get up high like out of a window looking down, the big group photos are not that successful. You simply cannot see everyones faces when I am stood at ground level with you all. I always have a hop up in my car which works fine for small wedding parties (approx. 60 guests or under) but anything larger I really need to be even higher than this, so think about your venue and whether this is possible or not.
This may then lead your decision as to whether using that time on your wedding day is worth getting one or not. The big group photo can take anything from 10-15 mins to achieve once everyone has been gathered together.
**I have found couples are actually getting less bothered about the big group photo of everyone. They would rather have the time spent getting those fun, natural shots of all their guests as this represents the day and them more. However if you do want one, I usually try to do this straight after confetti OR just before you head in to sit down to eat. I ALWAYS have in the back of my head how to make your day run as smoothly as possible and it can often be a case of play it by ear on the day as the weather can also dictate when this happen.
EIGHT ~ Which brings me to realistic timings for the actual group photos. These 10 photos can take approx. 30 mins (not including the big group photo), there are SO many variables that can happen on a wedding day to slow this process down, it’s unreal. From nappy changes, sleeping babies, toilet stops, drink runs or even guests checking into their room or arriving later than planned, if you are having separate locations for ceremony and reception.
My aim on your wedding day is to get everything I need and to still ensure you have an AMAZING time with your guests and that i don’t take up too much of your precious time.
I have photographed hundreds of weddings and I am fully experienced. Always very happy to help or answer any questions you might have so send me an email and we can figure it out together! I want you to have a stress free wedding!
You might find my blog post about WEDDING TIMELINES helpful, you can view this here.