Family formals at a wedding are like capturing a moment in time, a snapshot of all your loved ones dressed up, happy, and together—perhaps for the first time in years or even decades. These photos are a blend of tradition and celebration, holding a special place in wedding albums and on living room walls. Let’s […]

FAMILY FORMALS SHOT LIST EXPLAINED

weddings

Family formals at a wedding are like capturing a moment in time, a snapshot of all your loved ones dressed up, happy, and together—perhaps for the first time in years or even decades. These photos are a blend of tradition and celebration, holding a special place in wedding albums and on living room walls. Let’s dive into what makes family formals so meaningful and how you can ensure they’re a seamless, joyful part of your big day.

FAMILY FORMALS

What Are Family Formals?

Simply put, family formals are traditional, posed photographs of your family members taken during your wedding day. This concept harks back to a time when the only way to capture your family’s likeness was through a painted portrait. Imagine everyone, from your little cousins to your grandparents, lined up, standing tall, and sharing their best smiles with the camera. That’s the essence of family formals.

The Tradition Behind the Pose

Formal doesn’t mean stiff or uncomfortable; it signifies a sense of occasion and respect for the event. These are the photos that will be passed down through generations, a tangible link to your family’s history and joy.

Timing is Everything

Typically, these photos are taken right after the ceremony. It’s a magical moment—everyone is buzzing with happiness, looking their best, and more than ready to celebrate you. It’s also convenient because it’s one of the rare times when everyone is together and looking sharp.

FAMILY FORMALS

The Importance of Family Formals

While coordinating a big group for photos might seem daunting, the effort is priceless. These are the pictures that end up on mantelpieces and are cherished for years to come.

A Photo for Grandma

It’s not uncommon for these portraits to be the ones that grandparents treasure the most, often finding a permanent spot on their wall or shelf. In some cases, it could be one of the few times they get a professional photo taken with the entire family.

Capturing a Moment in Time

For many, this might be the most recent or only photo with everyone together. Life moves fast, and capturing these moments is crucial. They’re not just photos; they’re memories frozen in time, celebrated and looked back on for years.

Making Family Formals a Breeze

Yes, organizing can be a bit of a hassle, but with some planning, you can make this process smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Planning Ahead

A little planning goes a long way. Before the wedding day, make a list of all the family shots you want. Share this list with your photographer and a designated family member who can help gather the troops when it’s time.

Communication is Key

Keep your family in the loop about when and where the photos will be taken. A heads-up means Aunt Mary won’t wander off for a cocktail too early, and Uncle Joe will know to stick around.

Quick and Easy

The key is to keep it moving. Have a plan, execute it efficiently, and then let everyone get back to celebrating. Your photographer will thank you, and so will your family.

FAMILY FORMALS

What Does a Family Formals Shot List Look Like?

The first step is identifying who should be included. I ask my bride and groom who their family members are. In this step of the process, I always ask for names and relationship. This way if I call out “Grandma,” I don’t have four ladies coming to me ready for their picture.

Once we have a list of all your family members and know who’s who, we can begin creating groupings. I recommend limiting to 10 groupings. This usually looks like the below:

  • Bride’s Parents
  • Groom’s Parents
  • Bride’s Siblings
  • Groom’s Siblings
  • Bride’s Immediate Family (parents and siblings)
  • Groom’s Immediate Family (parents and siblings)
  • Bride’s Grandparents
  • Groom’s Grandparents
  • Bride’s Full Family (everyone, sometimes includes aunts/uncles/cousins)
  • Groom’s Full Family (everyone, sometimes includes aunts/uncles/cousins)

After the groupings are figured out, it’s time to put it into an organized shot list! I have a template I used for my own wedding, and continue to use for ENP Couples’ weddings today! It is the perfect way to let your photographer know who everyone is and who is needed for each photo.

Conclusion

Family formals might require a bit of herding and patience, but they are undeniably worth the effort. These photos are not just for you; they’re for everyone—now and generations ahead. They symbolize unity, celebration, and love, all captured in a single frame. So, when planning your wedding, give the family formals the attention they deserve. You and your loved ones will cherish these pictures long after the wedding day has passed. Remember, amidst all the celebration, take a moment to appreciate these snapshots of togetherness—they are, after all, the heart and soul of the family legacy.

Family formals are not just photographs. They’re timeless memories, shared smiles, and the essence of your special day, captured forever.

If you’re still looking for a wedding photographer to help you through the entire process, I’m happy to chat with you! See more details.

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