family photo on the wedding day by chiha studios

How to organize family photos and wedding party photos without chaos

January 15, 2024
Wedding Tips

When it comes to family photos and wedding party photos on your wedding day, you want to make sure that you and your photographer have a game plan well in advance. If not, you risk things becoming so unnecessarily hectic. Your wedding day can 100% stay relaxed – it’s unfortunate that some weddings aren’t, because the stress could have been avoided.


Write down a list of who’s in your wedding party and what their relationship to you or your fiance is. Email this list to your wedding photographer. The main reason for doing this is because it’s honestly just nice to get to know who the important people in your life are before the wedding day. It’s good to know if you’re having a small or big wedding party, or if you’ve got mixed gender wedding parties.


Write down a list of the most important family combinations you want to get photos of. Things like ‘bride and sisters’ ‘bride and groom with both immediate families’ ‘groom with grandparents.’ This list is mostly about immediate family combinations (including grandparents). It’s typically best to save extended family photos for after the ceremony, unless you have a very small family.


Now here’s where things get different. Choose someone that you can trust to be in charge of this list. Whoever you select will be responsible for making sure everyone on that list shows up on time and is where they need to be for family photos. As the bride or groom, you do *not* want to be responsible for making sure such-and-such person is where they need to be. You want to be stress free and relaxed on your wedding day. Delegate! Make sure this person sends out a group email announcing where they need to be and when on the wedding day. For example, we often have family members show up 1 hour before the ceremony for family photos.


Send the family photo list to your wedding photographer. There have been nightmare stories about couples who receive their wedding photos only to realize after the fact that there’s no photos of them with a certain family member who flew in from out of town, or with a grandparent who’s time in their life is obviously precious. This list will serve as a check list for your photographer to make sure that none the most important family photos were forgotten.



If you and your fiance are having a first look, then the best time to do wedding party photos and family photos would be right after your first look, all before the ceremony. Typically, we need about 30 minutes total for wedding party and family photos. We usually allocate about 15 minutes for the first look because we’ll have additional special couples portraits later on during sunset.

If your ceremony is at 4pm, then you would have your first look from 2:45-3pm. Wedding party and family photos from 3-3:30pm. It’s always best to leave 30 minutes empty leading up to your ceremony.


If you’re *not* having a first look – all good, don’t worry! You will want to schedule your wedding party photos and family photos right after the ceremony ends. You want to make sure you get these photos done before people get distracted with drinking and eating. In addition, you’ll want to make sure the officiant makes an announcement before *and* after the ceremony to make sure that your family and wedding party know to stick around and not go anywhere. You would be surprised as to how easy it is to get distracted and forget. In fact, the officiant sometimes forgets to make the announcement because there’s so much excitement going on. It helps to have more than one person in the loop about this announcement needing to be made.

You are now fully prepared! Hope this was helpful.

Chiha Studios



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