When To Do Family Portraits


Jan 23, 2020

Wedding Planning Tips // Wedding Day Family Portraits // Wedding Photographers in Huntsville Alabama

When should I schedule family portraits in the wedding day timeline?

It’s a good question, and we get asked this a lot! Brides aren’t sure if it should happen before or after the ceremony. How long should be allotted in the timeline for family formal portraits?

We help each of our brides customize a timeline that’s perfect for her wedding day. Sometimes they prefer family portraits to happen before the ceremony, and others want it afterward.

3 Reasons to Schedule PRE-Ceremony Family Portraits

  • If you like the idea of having all the pictures finished before the ceremony so everyone can go straight into the reception.
  • Your ceremony and reception are at different locations. It’s hard to get everyone back together at the second venue unless everyone in your family is very organized and good at following directions.
  • The ceremony is held outdoors and is late in the day. There may not be enough daylight after the ceremony for both family portraits and romantic sunset portraits.

3 Reasons to Schedule POST-Ceremony Family Portraits

  • If you have very elderly grandparents or a lot of family members with small kids. It can be hard for these age groups to be at the wedding 1-2 hours before the ceremony starts.
  • If you don’t like the idea of asking family (especially extended family) to arrive so early in the day.
  • You’re not having a First Look, and therefore have to take all family portraits afterward.

Bonus Tip:

You actually won’t save much time taking separate bride and groom family portraits before the ceremony if you’re NOT doing a First Look. In fact, you’ll be saving time in your timeline by doing them all together. It’s much more efficient to wait until you can both be present for family formals.

What’s Right For You?

There’s really not a wrong answer. Each option has its own pros and cons.

You just need to decide whether you’d like to ask your family to arrive 2 hours before the ceremony, or if you prefer to budget that time after the ceremony and push back the reception entrance.

It’s also an option to schedule immediate family before the ceremony and extended family afterward {if you do a First Look}. A lot of our brides choose to do this, and it can be a great middle-ground! Keep in mind that it adds a little extra time to your wedding day timeline, but it flows very nicely.

Want More?

In our Tidbit blog series, we have several posts on wedding day family formals. It’s a tricky part of the wedding day to plan for! It’s one of those things that looks simple on paper, yet be surprisingly complex on the wedding day if not well planned out.

Questions like:

How do I get all my family in the right place at the right time?

Do I need to give my photographer a list?

Tips for planning extended family shots



5 Tips for Finding Your Wedding Vendor Dream Team

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