5 Tips to Plan Your Family Formals

May 4, 2019

5 tips to plan ahead your family formal list for your wedding day.

family formal portrait wedding hawaii

Your Wedding Day is fast approaching, everything you’ve worked so hard on planning is about to come together. You’re filled with emotions and are so completely ready to be married to your best friend. Family formals are probably the furthest thing on your to-do list as far as planning goes. It can be overwhelming as everyone wants to say hello and congratulate you after the ceremony. I want to photograph them as quickly and efficiently as possible. This way we can get to the bridal portraits and get you to your reception. Below are my 5 top tips to help you plan your family formals to ensure they go smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

Click here to get my free Family Formal planning worksheet!

Depending on the size of your families, I recommend setting 30 minutes  and then if you haven’t done a first look, your bridal portraits and bridal party images afterwards.

  1. Make a Family Formal List: After a couple books me, I send a questionnaire out to you. Where we’ll talk about suggested time lines. Preparing a written out list is key as we read out the names of each person in the grouping. Note that each grouping of people takes about 2 minutes. I suggest to my couples to have 10-12 groups with no more than 10 people in each. This way, family photos will take no more than 30 minutes and we can move forward with bridal party portraits or bride and groom portraits. To download my FREE Worksheet here.
  2. Communication: I highly suggest you email family members before the wedding day to let them know about taking family photos after the ceremony. After I set up the lighting system, I start cruising through the list.
  3. Designate a Family Member: Designate a family member from each side of your families to help gather and Identify family members this helps tremendously. Be sure to share the list with them so the can help gather people.
  4. Bride and Groom In All Formal Photos: I highly recommend that the bride and groom be included in every photo taken with family and friends. This is to avoid too much repetition after the ceremony. I totally understand that you want images of you and your family (without your spouse) thus I recommend taking these during the getting ready portion of the day. This will maximize the family formals timeframe.
  5. Check Your List: A few days before your wedding, be sure to look over your list to ensure no one has been missed!

Bonus tip! Of course we’ll take any images you want. Want images with your college gang? OF COURSE we’ll oblige! Just ask me, these are great moments to capture at the reception while you’re partying.

Halekulani Destination wedding

Family formals can be stressful and often time consuming part of wedding planning. However, it will definitely pay off to put some fore thought and effort into the shot list beforehand. By downloading my Family Formal Worksheet, we’ll work as efficiently as possible to get them DONE. This way you and your hubby can enjoy the rest of your day!

Get a FREE Family Formal Worksheet Here

Are you planning a destination wedding? read about the 17 Essential Items you Need to Pack.


Jeannemarie is Hawaii’s Premiere Destination wedding photographer based on the island of Oahu. She is available to photograph your wedding or event on any of our beautiful Hawaiian islands or where ever your wedding takes you. Contact her today about your wedding.



[…] 2:30 PM – Family Formals (for some Family Formal tips click here!) […]

Add Your Comment