Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

Wedding Love

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Breaking Down The Family Formals

Welcome Wednesday and this week's installment of Wedding Love! Today I wanted to talk about Family Formals. Yes, I take family pictures and yes I feel they are an incredibly important part of the day! I was a Bride once and I remember just how important these pictures were to me! Today as a wedding photographer I try to plan this area of the day as much as possible in advance so that I make sure I can do the best job possible photographing these images for the Bride and Groom.  

Before the wedding day I will have a Family Formal consultation with each couple, reminding them that we have 30 minutes planned into the day to capture these images. I have this system down to science and find that I can capture the combinations listed below in 30 minutes or less. If the the Bride wants to add to this list, then we must allot more time in the day for more. However, for most couples, this is an extensive list and many find that this suites their needs just fine! 

I also encourage couples to do their Family Formals all together. While I can certainly take pictures throughout the day, taking them all in the same location at the same time with the same light creates a cohesive feel through all their Formals. It also decreases confusion for family members as they know when and where they should be on the wedding day! 

Which leads me to my next point: communication. Because I have the conversation about the Timeline and the Family Formals weeks before the wedding day, the Bride and Groom can communicate to their family in advance of the wedding day where they need to be an when! I can't tell you how much this helps, especially when it comes to elderly family members!! It helps to eliminate "lost" family and "lost" time as we try to round everyone up.  

Below is the list that I send to every Bride and Groom to start the conversation. Often times this list will change, just slightly, to meet the needs of the Bride and Groom. As every family looks different their Family Formal lists will look different. 

Bride with Mom 

Bride with Dad 

Bride with Mom and Dad 

Bride with Mom and Dad add siblings 

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad add siblings and significant others or families 

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad 

Bride with Siblings 

Bride and Groom with Siblings 

Bride with Grandparent(s) 

Bride and Groom with Grandparent(s) 

Bride and Groom with Bride's Immediate Family (Parents, siblings and significant others or families, Grandparents) 

Bride and Groom with Bride and Groom's Immediate Family (Both sides parents, siblings and significant others or families, Grandparents) 

Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents and Groom's Parents 

Groom with Mom  

Groom with Dad 

Groom with Mom and Dad 

Groom with Mom and Dad add siblings 

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad add siblings and significant others or families  

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad 

Groom with Siblings 

Groom and Bride with Siblings 

Groom with Grandparent(s) 

Bride and Groom with Grandparent(s) 

So for me, the key to making sure the Family Formals are fun and stress free is communication and planning ahead! I want to make sure that I can capture these images for each Bride and Groom without spending all evening doing it! And a reminder to the Bride and Grooms out there planning this part of their day, you don't need to have a million combinations to please every member in your family. Think about the combinations that would mean the most to YOU and then go from there. The sooner we get done with these Formals the faster you can get back to the party!!  

planning family formals deborah zoe photography

planning family formals deborah zoe photography

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by Deborah Parker