When should we do family photos at the weddings? In between the ceremony and reception? During cocktail hour? Timing is everything, when do you really need to schedule family photos at your wedding?
QUICK ANSWER: Generally, it’s a good idea to schedule family photos after the ceremony and before the reception.
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Family photos are an essential part of many wedding celebrations. The timing of these photos can depend on several factors, such as the size of your family, the venue, and the schedule for the wedding day.
Of course, this only works if you do have a gap between the wedding ceremony and the reception.
For example, your ceremony is 1 pm and the reception starts at 5 pm. This usually happens if you get married at an institution or a religious sector where you have to follow their timings for the wedding ceremony.
This gives lots of time in between to take photos with the family since they are already gathered in one place.
However, there are wedding schedules in which the wedding ceremony starts at 4 pm, then 4:30 pm, cocktail hour starts, then 5:30 pm, and the doors to the wedding reception open.
This leaves exactly an hour to do family photos, which also essentially means that the family will not be able to enjoy cocktail hour.
Depending on the size of your family, planning for 30 minutes to an hour for family photos is a good start.
Remember that we are only talking about family photos, not couple photos – which you will, of course, want to do as well.
Before the wedding, create groupings for your families. Provide the name of the group or family to your maid of honor/bridal party, wedding coordinator/planner or photographer assistant, or really, whoever you would like to designate this task to.
It will be easier for them to call out the group/family and assemble them quickly and efficiently.
Communicate the timing of family photos (and the order of photos) with your family members in advance so that they know when and where to be.
〰️ PRO TIP: If you are doing a “first look“, then you can sneak in a couple of photos before the ceremony – which can save you time later on.
〰️ PRO TIP #2: As you prepare your wedding day of timeline, further breakdown the timing per family so it will be easier to follow and set a “limit” – it can look like this:
- Cheung Family – 3 minutes (4 people)
- Smith Family – 5 minutes (7 people)
- All families – 8 minutes (45 people)
The person that you have designated to call out the family can use this as a reference. This way, as a family is getting their photos done, the next batch is already being called out and prepped.
〰️ PRO TIP #3: Don’t forget to also include travel time if you are doing your wedding family photos offsite.
〰️ PRO TIP #4: You can start by doing some “side of the family” photos before the ceremony. If you are getting ready at the same location with mostly your immediate family members, you can start your family’s photos – the same goes with your partner’s family.
Then the rest of the combined family photos can be done as you scheduled them after the ceremony.
Overall, the timing of family photos depends on your personal preferences and specific details of your wedding day, but scheduling them after the ceremony and before the reception is typically a good option.
You don’t need to look far to get your photos taken. Ask your wedding venue coordinator for suggestions as they usually have great ideas that aren’t usually “advertised” as a photo space.
In addition, your photographer, especially if they are experienced and professional will be able to come up with suggested photo locations that will fit the schedule that you are working with.
The location for family photos will also depend on your venue, weather, the size of the family, and specific preferences that you and your partner have set.
Here are some common options:
〰️ CEREMONY VENUE: If your ceremony and reception are taking place in the same location, the ceremony location is a great option for family photos.
Especially for religious weddings, having family photos taken at the ceremony venue can be important to you and your family.
〰️ RECEPTION VENUE: Choosing a reception venue that has a backdrop/outdoor area, garden, rooftop space, or other rooms that can be used for photos for free or even at a low rental cost will save you a lot of time and money (also travel!)
〰️ OUTDOOR LOCATIONS: There are beaches, parks, and gardens that provide a great scenic backdrop, that you can utilize for your wedding family photos. Check with your local city guidelines on how to acquire or purchase permits to shoot.
More importantly, check the weather not just the day of, but also the week of. If it rained 2 days before your wedding, the ground and soil might still be wet making it hard for you and everyone else to walk on it.
〰️ INDOOR LOCATIONS: There is a rise of creative studios that are available for rentals by the hour. This is great for family photos. The only downside to this is parking can get tricky.
Some indoor locations you’d want to consider are hotel lobbies, museums, historic buildings, or landmarks. Golf courses are also a great place.
It will be helpful to check the parking situation before booking a location for your wedding family photos.
Convenience, comfort, beauty, and meaningfulness are the main things to consider when choosing the best location.
There you are lovelies! Our insight on your question “When should we do family photos at the wedding?” plus location ideas!