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Four Tips for Planning Stress-Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

March 19, 2018

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Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.

Meet Morgan



If I’m being super candid, the family photo portion of a wedding day has the potential to be the most stressful part of the day. This may come as a surprise to you, but let me explain. If directions haven’t been properly communicated and everyone isn’t on the same page, then you can easily end up with a group of 30 plus people shouting out photo requests and hopping into the frame in different combinations. Talk. about. chaos.

Have no fear, though. This can be avoided. Here’s how.

Four Tips for Planning Stress-Free Wedding Day Family Photos

1. Plan with your photographer.

I mean, duh, right? But really. I always tell my couples beforehand that I allot about 20 minutes for family photos. This comfortably allows enough time for the standard immediate family and grandparent photos. If there are additional family members you’d like to include, no problem! Just make sure your photographer has that information before the timeline is finalized so that he or she can plan for the rest of the day accordingly.

2. Talk to your parents.

In addition to planning with your photographer, you need to talk to your parents. Many times, brides and grooms think that the standard immediate family and grandparent photos will suffice. And then the wedding day arrives, and the mother of the bride actually wants these 17 additional photos with great aunts and uncles and the bride with her second cousin because they go way back and… well, you get it at this point, right? Let me be clear. It is TOTALLY fine to add in those 17 photos. BUT (you knew there was a but, right?) it’s imperative that your photographer knows this beforehand. When this isn’t planned out ahead of time, then the time you’re taking to capture those additional photos cuts into your coverage for the rest of the day. So you’re sacrificing wedding party photos or bride and groom photos, and as a bride, this will probably stress you out. So just ask your parents before you finalize the timeline so that the proper time can be allocated.

3. Appoint a photo wrangler.

This is your wedding day, and you should absolutely not be the one hunting down Great Aunt Betty because she’s MIA, and it’s family photo time. That’s someone else’s job. Choose one person on each side of your newly combined family, and have them be in charge of gathering everyone at the appropriate time. Then you can just smile and look pretty while everyone gathers around you. #winning

4. Give your family a reporting time.

For the individuals that aren’t apart of your wedding, they likely know two times: your ceremony time and your reception time. They don’t know your full wedding timeline like the back of their hand like you do. So give them a time to be there for family photos. And (listen up, because this is important) make that time 10 minutes before you have family photos slated on your timeline. This gives people some wiggle room if they’re running late and allows for you to jump right in to family photos when the time comes.


The family photos taken on your wedding day will be photos that you’ll hold near and dear to your heart as time passes. So making the process of actually capturing them an enjoyable one is important. You don’t want to look back at those photos and only remember how stressed you were. You want to remember how happy and thankful you were to have those people with you to celebrate. So do what you can to make the memory a good one!


I’m all about making sure your wedding day is joyful and enjoyable. If you’d like to receive more information on planning the best wedding day EVER, join the MWP Bridal Community!

  1. Adam says:

    Haha yes! I always have to put my loud voice on for the family pictures…it really is one of the most stressful parts of the day, especially since you don’t know people by name so you’re just talking with the hopes that people listen haha

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