Perla Photography | Family Formals

Family Formals


Family formals are without a doubt the most stressful time of the Day. It’s that moment straight after the ceremony, when guests usually want to go and have a drink but they are forced to take family photos

We have seen brides arguing and crying over relatives “not behaving” during this part of the wedding so, if there is one and only one part of the day that I recommend getting organised, it is THIS ONE!


Family photos are usually done right after the ceremony (so that everybody is on the premises). In order for things to run smoothly and as quick as possible we ask our couples to write 2 lists of all the family combinations they would like. These 2 lists should be given to 2 chosen and very organised (aka bossy) guests (one for each side of the family so they know names and faces). They will be in charge of corralling people and keep them closed to the location where we will be shooting.

The reason we do this is because there is no point in us having the list because when we read “auntie Mary” we don’t really know who auntie Mary is… and if auntie Mary is having a cocktail with uncle Bob inside the reception (it happens every time!) it would take us 5 minutes to go inside and ask them to come out. It is much better for us to keep shooting and move onto the next family combination while the 2 chosen people get all the family members together. Hope it makes sense!


Family formals should be as close as possible to the ceremony location, so that guests literally don’t have time to leave. They should also be in a shaded location. This is important for 2 reasons:

  1. you don’t want to have children and elderly people under the scorching sun while all the family combinations are taking place;
  2. images won’t look good in the sun. You will be sweaty, squinting and over the whole thing after a couple of minutes!


First of all we recommend getting all the images with elderly people done first, especially if they have walking impairments.

These images should be followed straight after by family combinations with children who are less than 6 years old. Usually children don’t have a long attention span. It’s best to get them while they are in a good mood and before they loose it. Trust us, we have kids ourselves!

Secondly, please don’t organise more than 10 combinations. Remember, we only have 20/30 minutes for this part of the day, and the less time we take the more time we have for couple photos!

Order the images in a priority order so that all the combinations that are left, can be done during the reception.

Here are the family combinations that we recommend and in the order we suggest. Please also bear in mind that combinations from 8 to 17 can be done during the getting ready part of the day if your parents and siblings are there.

  1. B&G with bride’s grandparents
  2. B&G with groom’s grandparents
  3. Bride’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents – some couples add nephews, nieces, uncles and aunties here)
  4. Groom’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents some couples add nephews, nieces, uncles and aunties here)
  5. B&G with Bride’s Parents
  6. B&G with Groom’s Parents
  7. B&G with both sets of Parents
  8. Bride with both her Parents and siblings
  9. Bride with parents
  10. Bride with Mom
  11. Bride with Dad
  12. bride with each single sibling
  13. Groom with both his Parents and siblings
  14. Groom with parents
  15. Groom with Mom
  16. Groom with Dad
  17. Groom with each single sibling