For Nearlyweds

How to Ensure Family Portraits Run Smoothly on your Wedding Day

December 22, 2022

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Family portraits on a wedding day can seem daunting or potentially chaotic but, it doesn’t have to be! Below are my top tips to ensuring family portraits run as smoothly as possible on your wedding day!

Make A List

Make a list prior to your wedding of all the combinations of groupings you would like and give this to your photographer so they can check each one off the list and nothing gets forgotten. I personally ask for this in my wedding questionnaire that I send to each of my couples.

Usually the order the list is written, is the order it’s photographed in. It’s usually easiest to start with one side of the family, then take any images you want both sides of the family in, and then finish the list off with the other side of the family. This way you can excuse people from waiting around when you know they are no longer in any of the combinations.

Family Dynamics

Let your photographer know if there are any family dynamics they should be aware of that may impact family formals. If someone doesn’t get along they probably won’t want to stand next to one another in a photo or they may not want to be in the same photo at all. If someone has recently passed away it’s likely best for the photographer to know so they don’t accidentally mention someone that could bring up some emotions. This just helps to avoid any awkward situations and keeps it peaceful.

Keep Children and Elderly in Mind

When making your list, keep kids and elderly or those that have a harder time moving around in mind. It’s usually best to have images with these people done first so they don’t have to wait around long.

Stick to Your List

On the wedding day, let your photographer run through the list that you sent them. I know it’s very tempting to want to shout out on the spot combinations, but please remember you made a list for a reason. Going outside of what’s on the list can cause things to start to feel unorganized and important images get missed. Trust that the list you made is what is most important to you. Anything extra can be taken after you know all the combinations on the list are complete.

Ensure Family Portraits Run Smoothly on your Wedding Day. Photo taken at Arnprior wedding photographed by Brittany Navin Photography.

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For Nearlyweds




welome to my blog

I'm Brittany and I'm so happy you're here. This blog is a journal about our lives, travels, and all things weddings. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more




steal our wedding day timeline

Two different wedding day timelines based on 10 hours of photography coverage


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photos by brittany navin