Generally if there is going to be a stressful part of your day it typically happens during family formals! Just the thought of having all of your family in one place alone might start to give you hot sweats already! Even if your families get along well, logistically this can be a big feat to tackle! Generally speaking, you could have anywhere from 15-100 family members partaking in family formals. That’s a lot of people, a lot of moving parts, and a lot of opinions. You’re not alone and I’m writing this blog to help family formals be as painless and tear free as possible.

Are you ready for the secret?



Yes! Be prepared and help prepare everyone involved! So lets break that down a little.

Prepare your photographer!

  • Create a list with your photographer! Make sure your photographer has the names of important family members (such as mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, etc.)! It’s way easier for everyone if the photographer can call out names instead of pointing and saying “Hey You” 
  • Tell them about any sensitve family matters like recent deaths, divorces, or any other potentially akward or hurtful matters that may come up.

Prepare your maid of honor, best man, or wedding planner            

  • Recruit someone close to you to help call out the order of photos. I like to have someone who knows the family well and feels comfortable giving directions. They should be given the family formal shot list so as the photographer is taking one shot, this person can be preparing your family members for the next one. This makes family formals go crazy fast!

Prepare your family to take photos right after the ceremony

  • Taking family formals right after the ceremony is the BEST time during the whole day to take photos if you’re involving extended family. This is because everyone is already at the ceremony together. Have the officiant announce where family formals will be taken. It’s much easier to tell the family to stay put for family formals, instead of trying to round them up like cats later! (I learned this at my wedding) Right after the ceremony you and your new spouse can sneak off to have a few quiet moments together. Meanwhile your photographer should start to round the family up in the spot you will be taking photos!

Prepare a designated family member to be the cheermister! 

  • Have a family member deignated to shut down any negativty and help create a positive atmosphere for family photos! Everyone you’re related to is squeezing together for a photo and sometimes tension can build. Have someone that can crack a joke or help keep everyone loose and positive. Make sure they know how important this role is!

Prepare extra time for family formals

  • Family formals can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on how important multiple combinations are to you. Make sure you over estimate so if there are any hiccups you aren’t stressed and running behind.

And lastly!

Prepare to have fun!

  • You want genuine smiles in your wedding photos and not “forced and tired ones” Family formals can be fun! After all, your whole family has come to celebrate something incredible. YOUR MARRIAGE!!! So it’s definitely okay to have a little (or even a lot) of fun!

I’m wishing you fun and tear free family formals!