How to Have Show-Stopping Family Formals on Your Wedding Day

Checklist for your Wedding Formals

Wedding days are known to be the beautiful beginning of the marriage that you have always dreamed of!  Planning your Wedding is a fun (yet stressful) part of that process!  When working with your photographer, expect them to ask you for the Family Formal Shot-list for your Wedding Day.  It is important to remember to include all the important people in your life during this important time…yet, stay within the time constraints of a fast-paced Wedding Day!  Easily Print this Shotlist by visiting my Free Resource Library!!

Here are the standard shots that we typically include:

Wedding Family Formal Shot-list

  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents
  • Bride & Groom with Brides Parents, Siblings and Children
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Grandparents
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Extended Family
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents, Siblings, and Children
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Grandparents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Extended Family

Additional Shot Options

  • Divorced Parents of the Bride or Groom add additional family groupings
  • Extended Family Shots may need to be split to Bride & Groom’s Mom/Dad’s side of the family separately
  • Generational Pictures
  • Photo with the Officiant

Things to Consider

  • Each Grouping takes approximately 3 minutes to assemble and shoot…working with large groups of people takes time
  • Let the family members who are included know where the photos are going to be taken and what time they should be there…waiting for a person to arrive for a photo can throw off the schedule quickly!
  • This is not the most creative time of the day, for many photographers, they are all business while they document these important people in your lives.  Realize that unless you are building in a LARGE chunk of time, these shots will be fairly straight-forward and, well, formal.
  • Adding furniture when available can make these photos much more interesting.  This would include a wingback chair or even a Victorian couch.  These items can give some variety to the images and also allow the older generation a comfy spot to rest while having their photos made.

Here are a few examples of past formal groupings and ideas on locations that you may want to consider…

Family Formal pose in front of mountain landscape

A Mountain Backdrop is beautiful for formals!

Balcony Family Formal Wedding Picture

When weather is an issue or family members can not travel far for pictures, a balcony at the venue makes a great option!

These three images are a good example of the variety needed in Family Formal shots…Close-Up Horizontal, Full-Body Horizontal and Full-Body Vertical.

Light infused Family Formal Shot with Large Family Grouping

Large Family Grouping with gorgeous light streaming through the trees makes this an amazing location option!

This area next to the church proved to be great for Formals and easy for everyone to meet.

Kissing during Family Formal time

I love when untraditional moments happen during the formal shots!

Remember to always have fun! The candid moments in between are what really make the gallery a sweet surprise!

Trees are always a nice backdrop!

Wedding Formals in front of lake

The lake was very bright during our time to shoot, but was a beautiful location for our photos anyway!

Backlit trees are my favorite!

Winter formals can be a little harder to make interesting, but using light and the gorgeous venue as a backdrop works every time!

I hope that these tips have helped as you prepare your Family Formals Checklist for your Wedding Day!!


Great Checklist for All the Family Formal Shots you want from Your Wedding Day!! Save for Later!!



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Hey y'all!! I'm Kelli! It's so nice to have you here! I am a blessed Mama to 5 and the wife of the most handsome farmer around! I use this little corner of the world to share my latest Sessions and to offer encouragement and tips to Brides, Wives, and Mamas everywhere!


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"...We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10



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Kelli Duncan



Kelli C Photography