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3 Tips for Stress-Free Family Pictures on a Wedding Day

Tips for Brides

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Tips for Brides

If you're newly engaged, read our posts with tips for brides to grow closer in prayer during your engagement and have a stress-free wedding day. 

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As much as we all love our families, it doesn’t take long before family pictures start adding stress to a bride and groom.

We’ve seen a big difference between couples who follow these simple tips and the stress on their faces when they don’t. Which is why we believe everyone should know them!

Family formal portrait in catholic church

#1. Designate a “photo wrangler”

This is a person who has their own copy of the family photo list and assists the couple by making sure each grouping knows when they are up next or “on deck.” They should make sure that all family members are present for the upcoming photos, but send a separate individual to chase anyone down who may be in another room or M.I.A.

Consider choosing a personal attendant or a bridesmaid (who isn’t family). It helps if they know (or can learn) who a few key people are on each side of the families. If someone else comes to mind that is unafraid to take charge in situations, but can do so in a kind and patient way…pick them!

We recommend that you avoid delegating this task to your immediate families. Parents often feel the need to host guests throughout the day and siblings tend to get caught in conversations with relatives who “can’t believe how much you’ve grown up!”

#2. Buffer enough time for photos

Photographers can help guide you through the right amount of time to allocate for family pictures during the wedding day. As a rule of thumb, immediate family combos (aka. parents, siblings, grandparents) can typically be accomplished in about 30-45 minutes.

If you wish to add in extended family or special relationships (eg. Godparents), it can take a little bit of extra work and patience to get big groups of aunts, uncles, and cousins into the photo. Especially if you were blessed with a large family. Be sure to work with your photographer on maximizing this time and making sure that more time gets included for these shots.

#3. Set clear expectations with family ahead of time

Write out a list of family photo must-haves that you’d like during the family formals on your wedding day. Before you share it with family, discuss it with your photographer. They can help you organize it in a way that makes the best use of the time and help you present the list in a clean, ordered way.

Then, be sure to share that finalized list with your family members at least one week in advance!

Make sure family members know who is involved, where to go, and ask them all to arrive 30 minutes (or more) before the scheduled start time. This gives them a chance to settle in, go to the bathroom, and be ready for lights, camera, action.

Ideally the earlier you can share this list with them, the better. It helps bring everyone on the same page, gives you a chance to have conversations with family if there are disagreements, and avoid a lot of last minute requests. All of this can affect the timeline for the day and your stress levels.

Your photographer can help you navigate family politics during this time if you share those situations with them in advance. They can also help you protect your timeline from too many last minute requests by letting your guests know how they can get a picture with you later on in the day during the cocktail hour or reception.


We hope you found this helpful! You’re one step closer to a more prepared wedding day where your focus is on marrying the love of your life.

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