Some of my favorite images from our wedding day are the family photos. But I will admit, the family photo portion of the wedding day can become a tad bit stressful (ok, really stressful) if you are not prepared for it.

I see it over and over again when I photograph a wedding, so rather than have you feel totally overwhelmed on your wedding day, here are five tips to keep in mind so we can breeze through family photos (and get to right to those yummy apps and cocktails).

CREATE A LIST : I know it is another thing on a long list of wedding to-dos, but having a list of all the combinations you and your fiancé want helps ensure we photograph everyone you love.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here is a basic list of the combinations I suggest on a wedding day. Remember to include first names in your list so that our team and your photo wrangler can call out names to keep the process moving quickly.h

TIP : Make sure you both review the list so that you have all the photos you both want (and maybe check in with your parents and future-in-laws too). It is better to put down everything you *think* you might want rather than regret not taking a certain combination after your wedding.

EXPLAIN YOUR FAMILY DYNAMIC + DETAILS : Are your parents divorced? Did someone pass away in your family? Is your grandma in a wheel chair? Do you have a niece who is only 3? Does your brother want his girlfriend of 2-months in the photos?

By letting me know all of these details (and more), it will better prepare me for photographing your family so I can best recommend how we schedule the order of your photos (generally with the little ones and grandparents first). It also helps me understand if your parents need to be on opposite sides of the photo or if they should never be in a photo together. It also takes the pressure off you should you feel awkward about not having someone in a photo.

PICK OUT A LOCATION : Where do you want to take your family photos at? Is it most important your photos are in front of the chuppah before your ceremony? Or do you want a gorgeous city skyline as the background? If the weather is bad (rain / cold / heat), do you have an indoor option that you love?

Think through what you and your families want and what works best for your wedding day. By pre-selecting the location you want, it is one less thing you have to think about on your wedding day (and your family will know where they need to be …. making corralling the crew that much easier)

ASSIGN A PHOTO WRANGLER : You know the family member that is great at getting everyone’s attention? Ask them to help round up the troops when it is time to take family photos. Give them a copy of your list so they can make sure all the VIPs are present and ready to have their photo taken.

GIVE YOUR FAMILY A SCHEDULE : Your family is JUST as excited as you on your wedding day, and they will likely want to spend time with all your guests. Give them a copy of your wedding schedule so that everyone knows who needs to be in the photos, at what time they need to be there and where they are meeting for family photos.

You might even ask your photo wrangler to follow that up with a reminder text on the wedding day to ensure that no one forgets.

TIP : Ask your family to arrive 15 minutes before we are scheduled to start the family photos. This way if someone is running late or has to run an errand or to the bathroom, we will still start the photos on time.

Let’s be honest. Family photos can be one of the tricker portions of your wedding day because so many people are involved.

But lean in: here’s a secret— these people all adore you and are so excited to be apart of this moment. Keep smiling … and remember, it is 30 minutes of your life for a lifetime of memories with the people you love most.

Care to chime in with your thoughts or advice? Leave a note below!

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