My Suggested Family Portrait List: Wedding Planning

Today, we’re diving into a topic that I’ve blogged about before, but we’re diving even DEEPER! Earlier this year, we chatted about how to simplify family portraits on a wedding day… but today, we’re going to talk about my suggested list for your family portraits!
I always let my couples know that family portraits WILL be stressful if you are not planning ahead. This used to be the time of the day that caused me the most stress, hands down, as a second photographer… mostly because everyone around me seemed to be stressed. However, with the proper planning and staying organized on your wedding day, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Couples that are currently wedding planning, if I offer you ANY advice at the beginning of this post, it is this: PLAN your family formals, follow the steps in THIS blog post to appropriately prep your family members and photographer, and then stay calm on your wedding day… I promise you, my team and I know what we’re doing!
I’ll start planning a couple’s family portrait list approximately two months before their wedding day! I always recommend keeping family portrait time on a wedding day to immediate family and grandparents only meaning: parents, siblings and their spouses, children of siblings, grandparents and stepfamily. If you would like any larger extended family photos or photos with people other than family, I recommend taking those during your reception!
My couples receive a big questionnaire that will serve as my go-to document for before, during and after their wedding day. As part of the questionnaire, they have the opportunity to review the following list and to “check off” the images that they would like added to their family portrait list:
Bride & Groom
Bride, Groom & Bride’s Parents
Bride & Bride’s Parents
Bride, Groom & Brides Immediate Family
Bride & Bride’s Immediate Family
Bride & Mom
Bride & Dad
Bride, Groom & Both Sets of Parents
Bride, Groom & Groom’s Parents
Groom & Groom’s Parents
Bride, Groom & Groom’s Immediate Family
Groom & Groom’s Immediate Family
Groom & Mom
Groom & Dad

A note on grandparents: I’ll typically do a similar breakdown with these photos as we’ll do with parents! Stepfamily will be worked in too. For couples with stepfamily and grandparents, we’ll work on setting up your exact combinations during step number 2 (more on this in a minute!!) to ensure that we are getting photos with everyone!

This is where things get a bit more complicated because everyone’s families are different! Not all of these combinations will apply to you, but this is a great place to start! A few of my most popular combinations with stepfamily and grandparents are as follows:
Bride and groom with grandparents on each side of the family
Individual photo of grandparents with bride or groom
Individual photo of each grandparent with bride or groom
Generational Photo (Grandchild, parent & grandparents)
Grandparent with bride or groom and the immediate family
Parent and stepfamily with bride and groom
Parent and stepfamily with just bride or groom
Parent and stepparent with bride and groom
Parent and stepparent with just bride or groom
Individual photo of stepparent with just bride or groom
All parents and stepparents with bride and groom
Now… what is step number 2?! This is when I input a couple’s list from their questionnaire into a full Google Drive spreadsheet that I will work off of during family portraits! I’ll grab the names of everyone involved in each family portrait and will and create additional combinations with any involved grandparents and/or stepfamily. This is honestly the most helpful and important part of the entire process! I love feeling like I know a couple’s family as I head into a wedding day, and it is so great to be able to use everyone’s names during portrait time!

Before I sign off here, I want to offer one piece of advice: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Time will fly on your wedding day, and while I would hate for you to miss out on having photos with family members, try to keep your list as simple and short as possible.

I hope you find this simple list and breakdown helpful and a great place to jump from when you begin planning your family portrait list!
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