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Wedding Family Photos

Family Wedding Photos on Your Wedding Day

I am just going to lay this out there: the family wedding photos part of your wedding day is probably not gonna be your favorite part of your wedding day. Trust me. However, it is one of the most important things that you will do on your big day, which is this: make timeless photos. My husband and I married over a decade ago. Since then, we’ve lost four grandmothers and one grandfather. As I type this, we are one grandmother away from losing an entire generation of the family. But, we have fond memories of our grandparents. And we have photos of them at our wedding, which hang proudly in our home. I implore you to plan the family wedding photos section of your day with as much determination as you would your vows.

Now, here is the flip coin. Families are, in fact…well, messy. And as we described in a recent blog post, there are some people who are going to be at your wedding that you don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time with. Family is great in moderation. As a professional wedding photographer, I want this time of your day to be a fun part of your day, but also efficient.

Wedding Family Photos

Wedding Family Photos List

There is nothing like meeting some of your closest peeps on a wedding day. There are so many laughs, and stories, and happy tears. But the truth of the matter is this: I don’t know the difference between your grandmother and the nice lady at the Food City checkout line. That’s why a wedding family photo list is absolutely important to a photographer. Three months before your wedding, my couples receive a questionnaire from me. It includes questions about your family. Why? Because I need to understand your family dynamics. Are the parents of the bride divorced? Does the groom have any grandparents remaining? Was there a recent death in the family that I need to know about?

In that same questionnaire, I will also ask for your family photo list. The number of family photo groupings is completely up to you. You can add or subtract from the example list below. But we generally recommend budgeting at least one minute per grouping. The basic list takes about 15 minutes to complete, but we generally block off about a half-hour of the timeline. This allows for spontaneous groupings that maybe you didn’t know that you wanted!

  • Bride + Groom at Altar
  • Bride + Bride’s Mom
  • Bride + Bride’s Dad
  • Bride + Bride’s Mom + Bride’s Dad
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Siblings
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Siblings + Grandparents
  • Bride + Groom + Both Sets of Parents
  • Groom + Groom’s Mom
  • Groom + Groom’s Dad
  • Groom + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Dad
  • Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents
  • Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Siblings
  • Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Singling + Grandparents
Wedding Family Photos

Helpful Tips

Family photos usually happen after the ceremony.

There are certainly times where we encourage family photos before the ceremony. This is usually due to the logistics of your wedding day timeline. However, we prefer to photograph the family photos after the ceremony because of one simple fact: everyone is physically there! Mom, dad, siblings, and your grandparents have all attended the ceremony and available after the ceremony for photos. We tend to run into timing issues with pre-ceremony family photos because people arrive late.

Family photos usually happen at the altar or ceremony site.

Most likely you have spent some of your wedding-day budget on decor for your ceremony. We want to make sure that your money is well spent. We have seen a number of beautiful floral arrangements and arbors that are just too pretty to pass up. This is a perfect location for your photos. The only time that we do not take photos at the altar is when the lighting is not ideal. For example, if the full heat of the sun is blaring down on your ceremony site, we will definitely move. Why? You are going to be a hot, sweaty, and squinting mess. Further, we don’t need anyone to pass out! Heck! We have even picked up and moved an entire altar to a nice shady spot.

Send the list out to all the family members.

Aunt Julie has gone to the bar! It happens. People wander away from the ceremony if they don’t know they are to be included in the photos. Make sure that you send out the list to everyone you want to include in your family wedding photos. If they still end up leaving the scene, catch us at the reception and we will get a casual family photo for your memories.

Designate a family member or bridesmaid to help with the family photo list.

Y’all, some of you have very large families, and it’s hard for us to keep up with who is who. Yes, even if we have a list. We always appreciate any help in locating, directing, and guiding family groups up to the altar or ceremony site. Having a designated family member or bridesmaid to help with the wedding family photos list is so appreciated!

Family photos don’t have to be “formal.”

Yep. You read that right. This part of the day is usually considered the formal-family-wedding-photos part of the day. Usually, we strive to make sure that buttons are buttoned, sunglasses are removed, and purses are left in their seats. However, if you want your photos to be just a tad more casual, let us know!

Erin Morrison Photography

On my desk are two photos of my wedding day. The first photo is of my cute hubby. The second photo is of my immediate family. I love them. They love me. And I am so happy that we got a photo together on my wedding day. Aside from being a bride myself, I have also photographed over 160 weddings. I would love to be a part of your memories, and help you craft a wedding family photos list for you! Please reach out to me at any time!

Family Wedding Photos on Your Wedding Day


Natural light + honest photographer for all humans.


Knoxville, Tennessee



Office Hours: M-F 8am-5pm | S-S 12pm-5pm

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