What is a formal group shot?
Don’t be embarrassed, loads of people ask this. For some people it is the reason you hire a photographer, for other’s it is an unimportant afterthought, but one thing is true for all couples. Everyone always wants them. It’s when you get people together after the ceremony in groups for quick portraits of who attended the wedding. Bride and Bride’s Parents , Groom and Groom’s Parents, all the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen etc
So are they formal?
They can be, they don’t have to be. It’s your wedding, you do it the way you want. Or they way you like your photographer to do it. Some people like to line up formally, others like it to look like a shoot from Harpers Bazaar. Some like it to be fun and quirky. It’s your call.
So how many group shots would you recommend?
This also is your call, but be mindful of time. Even though a photo takes 1/200th of a second, simple logic says it will take a minimum of two or three minutes per shot to get everyone in a line looking at the camera and looking presentable. Remember doing maths at school? If you have 50 group shots, that is 100 minutes. That’s a long time for guests to be waiting their turn to stand in line with Aunty Joan. An even longer time if it’s hot and they have small children.
Who should be in them?
Once again it is up to you. But it can be difficult narrowing down the list of all those people you love and who will be offended if you don’t ask them in. So don’t leave it till the day, as this will be confusing for you. I always recommend couples send me a group list beforehand, and because even then it can be overwhelming, below is a simple guideline to how you might set up a traditional set of formal group shots
Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom and HER parents
Bride and Groom and HIS parents
Bride and Groom and BOTH parents
Bride and Groom, BOTH parents, siblings and their partners and kids
Bride and Groom and bridal party: bridesmaids, flower girls, best man, ushers and page boys
Bride only with bridesmaids and flower girls
Groom only with best man, ushers and page boys
Bride and Groom and any other group you may wish to add, such as grandparents, favourite uncles and aunts, university friends, etc
The main two things to remember about group shots; dont let it eat up your wedding day, and do it how you want!