“Grandpaw James! Grandpaw Jaaaames! Has anyone seen Grandpaw James?”
The ceremony is over. The Groom has kissed the Bride. The wedding party has made it to the foyer, where they are making fun of the best man for trying to hide his tears. Congratulations and hugs are interrupted by a familiar voice, “It’s picture time!”. They joy turns to sadness as everyone prepares for the most dreaded part of the day-group portraits (Cheese!)
Group portraits are often like having a root canal during a spa treatment. But don’t let it hinder they joy of your wedding day. There are some things that you can do to ensure that the portraits go quickly and painlessly.
1. Plan ahead.
Make a list of who you want in your group portraits. We recommend that our couples keep the portraits limited the wedding party and grandparents down. In other words, involve all wedding party members, grandparents, moms, dads, brothers and sisters. More casual portraits can be taken at the reception with Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and friends. This significantly helps speed up the process.
2. Have a line leader.
Having someone who is familiar with the family members and bridal party helps tremendously. While the photographer sets up each group, the line leader can make sure that the next group is ready for their shot. If needed, have a line leader for each group (wedding party, brides family, and grooms family).
3. Make sure that everyone knows where to be after the wedding.
More than likely, your immediate thought after reading the above statement was simply “Groomsmen!”. If you prefer, you can title this segment, “Make sure that the groomsmen know where to be after the wedding.” As simple as it seems, this is usually the area that delays the group portraits the most, causing unnecessary agony for all involved. There is a trap at every wedding that usually catches a few participants off guard, it’s when the guests come in contact with the participants. Uncle Joe sees Billy the Groomsman- and it’s over. They exchange laughs, they step outside for some fresh air, and Billy the Groomsman soon forgets that he has somewhere to be. It’s an easy trap to avoid if everyone simply makes their way to a secluded area while the guests exit the ceremony. Once the area is clear, everyone can make their way to the portrait location.
4. Break tradition, take the portraits before the ceremony!
This suggestion may sound similar to fingernails on a chalkboard to some parents, but the benefits are very rewarding. By seeing your fiance before the ceremony in an intimate sneak peek session, you can open the door to knock out all portraits before the ceremony. This will allow you to walk out of the ceremony, straight into reception. Or better yet, it will allow you much more time and flexibility to create some amazing portraits with your spouse once you are married. Have your photographer document your first time seeing each other in an intimate setting before the ceremony. The hugs, the smiles, the tears, and the whispers will add beautiful images to your wedding album. After 5 or 10 minutes, bring in the wedding party and family members so that the group portraits can be made. It’s a beautiful thing!5. Narrow down the number of portraits made.
5.Do you really need separate portraits made with the Wedding Party? Would it be better to take one portrait of everyone, then take more casual portraits later at the reception (with different members). Do you really need to take one image with the Bride’s grandparents then another with the Groom’s grandparents, or could you bring in all grandparents for one big portrait? (Of course, your grandparents may want an individual shot with you. Please honor them if so). Do you really need one portrait with your whole family including brothers and sisters, then another with just Mom and Dad? Or can you get by with one portrait of everyone? Think about how the images will be used. If it’s practical to include more people in each portrait- it will help you get to the reception quicker, where more casual portraits can be made with smaller groups of people.