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For Brides

How to Create a Wedding Day Family Formals Checklist

In a recent blog, 5 Steps to Stress Free Family Formals on Wedding Day, I explained the importance of having a plan for family formals.  They’re hard, and can often be the most stressful part of wedding day for my brides and grooms. Having a plan makes your family formals go SO. MUCH. SMOOTHER.  On wedding days where we have a dedicated shot list for family formals, we typically keep our shooting time for family to 30 minutes or less.  That’s half an hour people.  And when we’re finished, you’ll see me jump around a little with all my gear attached and do my photographer happy dance.  I take serious pride in orchestrating family time to be quick, pain free and super enjoyable. Having a dedicated shot list is a HUGE help.  Here are a few tips in creating your family formals checklist.

  1. Communicate: Like I said in this previous post, communication is key to having things run smoothly on wedding days.  It’s also a huge key point in family formals.  Before you make your list, you can talk to all the moms about what they want- that way, there are no surprises or “Can we just add this one…” on wedding day.
  2. The Flow: thinking about a flow to your list can really help save time.  Jumping around from family to family or from group to group can cause a lot of confusion.  Start small, and work your way up.  I always create a flow like this:  Bride’s Side, Groom’s Side with Bride, then Groom’s side.  That way, the bride can be finished in time to go do touchups with the rest of the bridesmaids before the ceremony.  I also try to create lists to where the bride moves very little. It’s hard carrying all that dress around all day.
  3. Put first names on your list.  I’m happy to call out names.  I can wrangle people like no-body’s business on a wedding day. So if you’d like me to take that responsibility on your shoulders, I’m happy to. Just put first names on your list.  Otherwise, your dad’s probably not going to recognize my voice yelling out “DAD!”
  4. Dedicated Helper: Having a dedicated helper from your family such as a cousin or sister can really help me. Sometimes, we have to physically drag people up to the front so having someone your family is familiar with that can help me drag people in a polite way is great.  She can also help me spot people who are hiding.  Nothing makes people turn a deaf ear like family photos.  Ask for a volunteer ahead of time and give them the list, that way, there are several copies.
  5. Print your list. Handing family members the list can help them see what family formals are going to be taken.  This really helps with confusion and helps them see what we’re planning to do.  Many family members have questions: “Are you going to take one with so and so?” This helps diminish the questions.  It’s right on the paper and they can see what order we’re going in so they know if they have a minute to run to the restroom.

And just for fun, here’s a little sample to get you started.

Bride’s Side:

  1. Bride + Mom
  2. Bride + Dad
  3. Bride + Mom + Dad
  4. Bride + Groom + Mom + Dad
  5. Bride + Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings
  6. Bride + Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings + Grandparents
  7. Bride + Grandparents (Individuals and Individual groupings)
  8. Bride + Groom + Siblings
  9. Bride + Siblings (Individuals)

Groom’s Side

  1. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Bride’s Parents
  2. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Dad
  3. Bride + Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings
  4. Bride + Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings + Grandparents *** Bride Finished***
  5. Groom + Mom
  6. Groom + Dad
  7. Groom + Mom + Dad
  8. Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings
  9. Groom + Mom + Dad + Siblings + Grandparents
  10. Groom + Grandparents (Individuals and Individual groupings)
  11. Groom + Siblings (Individuals)

And because every post deserves a pretty picture:

Arkansas Wedding Photographer_1968

 

 

 

 

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and when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world.

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