Should I have formal family photos at my wedding?
I thoroughly enjoyed putting together my wedding planning guide earlier this year but one thing I think I missed out was about the formal family shots you get at weddings. As I market myself mostly as a documentary wedding photographer I nearly always get people asking me if they can still have a few of the more posed family shots. And the answer is yes! Even though they're not my favourite part of the day (or mostly likely yours!) my personal opinion is that they can be really lovely to have, not just for you both but guaranteed it'll be the one that ends up on your nan's mantlepiece. A wedding is such a lovely and rare occasion to get the family together and having one with all of you in the frame can be a special thing.
Getting them done quickly and efficiently is the key to minimise any time waiting about, so you and your guests don't get bored. I ask my couples for a short list a month before the wedding so they don't have to think on their feet on the day (I can give an example of what most people go for to help) and then I have this printed with me on the day. Then it's getting a helper who knows who these people are (otherwise i'm out there shouting Aunty Nora blindly, no idea who I'm looking for!) to help round them up. The actual picture taking doesn't take long, it's the gathering of people together when so and so's at the bar and someone's always in the loo at that given moment. You then also have a clear idea of who's in which one, and don't be re-railed by your great aunty trying to do an impromptu one of twenty cousins (which trust me, is chaos). You'll also need to be flexible and where and possibly when they happen as this can change due to the weather mainly rain, harsh direct sun light etc. So if you have your heart set on them in front of a church, this might not be possible if it's sun facing and you're doing them at 1pm in peak summer.
As a rule I say it takes 5 minutes per average sized group (4-7 people) to factor into the wedding day timeline, keeping them to a maximum of 4-5 in total meaning you're looking at about 20 minutes for them all. If you want a group shot of everyone you can be looking at 15-20 minutes in total which can be A LOT if you only have a small reception time. These things look easy to organise but trust me they're not!
That said, if you want to skip these all together and go full candid style that's perfectly OK too, you do your wedding your way! I'd love to know any thoughts too, did you have them at a wedding and they ate into time too much? Or did you skip them but wished you hadn't?
Also keeping shooting the whole time while we swap people over gives lovely moments like these!