Sample Family Formal Photo Lists

Ah family. The most hectic part of any wedding day. I wanted to start this entry with explaining that I love family. It's one of the biggest parts of keeping a relationship together. It's also so important to them to be a part of your big day. They always want more photos. Traditionally, there is always a time to take family formals and get those posed shots for mom to hang on her wall. While some of the more unconventional Brides don't want to spend time on these, it sometimes becomes a necessity to keep everyone happy with the day.

But one of the things that makes this process go smoothly, is a clear and concise list of the family members included in each shot. Then as the photographer, I can reference this list to make sure we propel through the photo session and get all of the must have shots. So I wanted to give you an example of what that might look like below. Keep in mind to also mention any distinct family relationships that I might need to be aware of. For example, if mom and dad are divorced and will not stand next to each other because of bad blood, I need to know so I don't accidentally make a suggestion that is met with anger. Let's keep everyone happy!

Sample Family Formals

Groom's Side

Groom with Groom's Parents
Groom with Groom's Mom
Groom with Groom's Dad
Groom with Groom's Parents & Siblings
Groom with Groom's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents & Siblings
Bride and Groom with Grooms Grandparents, Parents, & Siblings
Bride and Groom with full Groom's side of the family (extended)

Bride's Side

Bride with Bride's Parents
Bride with Bride's Mom
Bride with Bride's Dad
Bride with Bride's Parent's & Siblings
Bride with Bride's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents & Siblings
Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents, Parents, & Siblings
Bride and Groom with full Bride's side of the family (extended)

Both Sides

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents
Bride and Groom with both sets of grandparents
Full family on both sides - a large wide shot of everyone

Other Considerations

Things to keep in mind during this include the kids on each side of the family, the order in which you photograph the sets, and the wedding party.

I keep the wedding party separate. These are the close friends, and most of the time they photograph better in fun, candid ways rather than formal sets. 

The order in which you do the groups can mean EVERYTHING. I usually try to start with the big groups first. That way, as they are photographed, people can leave toward cocktail hour as the group narrows down. This also cuts down on the traffic of having a bunch of people milling about.

Do you have a big family? Leave a comment below on the number of people you'd have to squeeze into a shot!

Wedding Day Details

The start of a wedding day can be hectic. Most Brides experience anxiety and stress with regards to timeline, details, and keeping everyone on track. This is a main reason why I recommend using a wedding coordinator, but that's another story. I wanted create a reminder for Bride's on the details that they should bring with them at the start of the day for me to photograph while they are getting ready. It might be helpful to designate someone to hold these details for me and have them deliver the goods after I've finished with the photos.

Items to remember for wedding day

For the Bride:

Bridal Gown with wooden hanger
All the rings - Engagement, her band, and his band
A full invitation suite of the wedding invites
Wedding flowers/bouquet
Jewelry you will be wearing
Veil

For the Groom:

Tie
Shoes
Cuff Links
Watch
Boutonniere

Keep in mind to remind me of any special details that are specific to you. For example, if you have Grandma's handkerchief wrapped around your bouquet of flowers, let me know so I can be sure it get's photographed. What's the most important detail on wedding day for you? Be sure to mention it in the comments below.
 

Limoneira Ranch Wedding | Andrew & Lindsey

Driving out to the sleepy town of Santa Paula, CA, I pulled up to Limoneira Ranch. Nestled in the valley between some outstanding mountains, this lemon grove boasts a bace ball court. It was on the court that Andrew and Lindsey decided to make their vows of love and get married. It was a bright, hot and sunny day as the ladies prepared themselves in the small house on the grounds.

How adorable are these rings, seated stately upon their custom ring box.

How adorable are these rings, seated stately upon their custom ring box.

This grandma was the epitome of awesome. She carried around two disposable cameras, and when someone tried to take a photo of her with it, they couldn't figure out how to crank the thing! My favorite quote from her: "Honey, your short because you grew up with thorns. The most beautiful flowers grow with thorns and weeds that stunt the growth. But when you pull the weeds away there's the most beautiful creature ever."

This grandma was the epitome of awesome. She carried around two disposable cameras, and when someone tried to take a photo of her with it, they couldn't figure out how to crank the thing! My favorite quote from her: "Honey, your short because you grew up with thorns. The most beautiful flowers grow with thorns and weeds that stunt the growth. But when you pull the weeds away there's the most beautiful creature ever."

How stunning is this bride?!

How stunning is this bride?!

Hello handsome groom!

Hello handsome groom!

Look at these awesome groomsmen.

Look at these awesome groomsmen.

He waits for his bride patiently. 

He waits for his bride patiently. 

The setting for the ceremony was at the end of the court, right before a small field. The field had all of the reception area. But look at those mountains!

The setting for the ceremony was at the end of the court, right before a small field. The field had all of the reception area. But look at those mountains!

A great DIY: painted mason jars vases!

A great DIY: painted mason jars vases!

How cute is this cake surrounded by cupcakes?!

How cute is this cake surrounded by cupcakes?!

And then there was this cutie! 

And then there was this cutie! 

And to finish my night, I met a mutant ninja turtle! I don't think he was teenage yet. 

And to finish my night, I met a mutant ninja turtle! I don't think he was teenage yet. 

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Garden Grove Emo Wedding | Mick + Heather

What I loved about Mick and Heather was the comments made from their friends and family. They were a quiet couple, but the family certainly had some funny and amazing things to say about them. Mick is a talented musician in a rock band. His brother played a video during the reception of Mick creating his own single, and showed everyone how proud he was of the groom. Heather's family and friends repeatedly commented how amazing it was that Mick had come into her life. Apparently, she had been a "dark cloud but when you [Mick] came, she became only partly cloudy."

The bride got ready at her sister's home, where her sister could pamper her with all the makeup.

The bride got ready at her sister's home, where her sister could pamper her with all the makeup.

Bride getting ready black and white
My favorite moment of the wedding was when this flower girl said, "I'm allergic to cheap makeup." HAHAHA! I think we all are, dear. 

My favorite moment of the wedding was when this flower girl said, "I'm allergic to cheap makeup." HAHAHA! I think we all are, dear. 

Heather had a gorgeous dark purple engagement ring, black sparkly shoes, and wonderful dark jewelry. There were two flower girls and a junior bridesmaid who had adorable outfits of their own.

Heather had a gorgeous dark purple engagement ring, black sparkly shoes, and wonderful dark jewelry. There were two flower girls and a junior bridesmaid who had adorable outfits of their own.

This dress! White with black flowers, it was a non-traditional dress for sure. 

This dress! White with black flowers, it was a non-traditional dress for sure. 

black and white wedding dress
And how dapper does Mick look?! The groom wore a succulent boutonniere and rocked it.

And how dapper does Mick look?! The groom wore a succulent boutonniere and rocked it.

Did I mention his cuff links were dinosaurs?! I'm obsessed.

Did I mention his cuff links were dinosaurs?! I'm obsessed.

The bridal bouquet had succulents and dark purple flowers. They went perfectly with her black nails and dark theme.

The bridal bouquet had succulents and dark purple flowers. They went perfectly with her black nails and dark theme.

The ladies certainly had their own style. I've never met such a group of hard working girls. One was recovering from surgery after just getting her appendix removed. Another had pneumonia (don't worry, she wasn't infectious). Rock on ladies.

The ladies certainly had their own style. I've never met such a group of hard working girls. One was recovering from surgery after just getting her appendix removed. Another had pneumonia (don't worry, she wasn't infectious). Rock on ladies.

Rock on guys!

Rock on guys!

And two become one.

And two become one.

The couple couldn't find an officiant they liked. At the last moment, their close friend went out and got his minister license to marry them. He rose up to the challenge and provided his friends with the best wedding gift two people could ask for. He was such a great guy.

The couple couldn't find an officiant they liked. At the last moment, their close friend went out and got his minister license to marry them. He rose up to the challenge and provided his friends with the best wedding gift two people could ask for. He was such a great guy.

first kiss after marriage vows
bride and groom walk away as husband and wife
This groom was so smitten with his bride. The happiness on his face in this photo just pulls at my heartstrings. I've never seen a guy SO happy and emotive. 

This groom was so smitten with his bride. The happiness on his face in this photo just pulls at my heartstrings. I've never seen a guy SO happy and emotive. 

lighting on the bride
Bride and groom rest after marriage
black and white bride & groom
These two were so perfect together. It's funny, everyone talked about how gloomy the bride usually behaves. But she was all smiles the day she got married.

These two were so perfect together. It's funny, everyone talked about how gloomy the bride usually behaves. But she was all smiles the day she got married.

play with light

Their fun rocker party kept things lively and entertaining. It was a beautiful, non-traditional wedding that celebrated two amazing souls that were bound for one another.