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The Ultimate Wedding Day Family Shot List

Your wedding day is a truly magnificent occasion, a day filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable memories. And for many of my couples, it’s one of the few occasions where their immediate and extended families will come together in their best attire. This makes weddings a fantastic opportunity to capture photos of family.


AND YET, amidst all the planning and preparations, there's one invaluable tool that often gets overlooked – the wedding day family shot list. It may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, it's an absolute game-changer. Today, I want to share with you the importance of having a family shot list, and I'll even provide you with a comprehensive list for both your immediate and extended family members. Let's dive into this delightful world of wedding photography!


wedding day extended family photo


Why you need a Wedding Day Family Shot List


  • Easing the Bride and Groom's Burden. Now, we all know that wedding days can be quite the whirlwind of emotions. It's easy for the bride and groom to get swept up in the excitement. That's where a family shot list swoops in to save the day. By handing off a well-organized list to your photographer, you can wave goodbye to stress and simply enjoy your special day, knowing that every cherished moment will be captured beautifully.


  • No More Forgotten Combinations. It's an all-too-common scenario at weddings – we forget to capture those precious family combinations. But fret not, a carefully crafted shot list ensures that no one gets left out. Whether it's a picture with your great-aunt or one with your long-lost cousins who flew in for the occasion, rest assured that every combination will find its place in your wedding album.


  • Efficient Time Management. A wedding day family shot list is not just about keeping everyone in check; it's also a key to efficient time management. With this list in hand, you and your photographer can estimate precisely how much time is needed for pre-ceremony and/or post-ceremony. This ensures your schedule runs as smooth as butter, and you can savor every moment without feeling rushed or stressed.


wedding day family photo

Creating Your Perfect Family Shot List


Now, let's get down to business and create that fabulous family shot list! Here's a starting point for both immediate and extended family shots:


Immediate Family Shot List:


Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents

Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents + Siblings

Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents + Siblings + Siblings' families

Bride and Groom with Both (i.e., B/G) Sets of Parents + Siblings + Siblings' families

Bride and Groom with Both Sets of Parents

Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents + Siblings + Siblings' families

Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents + Siblings

Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents

Bride and Groom with Bride's Siblings

Bride and Groom with Groom's Siblings


Extended Family Shot List:

Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents

Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents + Parents + Siblings + Aunts + Uncles + Cousins (bride's extended family)

Bride and Groom with Both (i.e., B/G) Sets of Grandparents + Parents + Siblings + Aunts + Uncles + Cousins (entire extended family)

Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents + Parents + Siblings + Aunts + Uncles + Cousins (groom's extended family)

Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents


Bride and Groom with Bride's Aunts and Uncles

Bride and Groom with Bride's Godparents

Bride and Groom with Bride's Cousins

Bride and Groom with Groom's Aunts and Uncles

Bride and Groom with Groom's Cousins

Bride and Groom with Groom's Godparents

Bride and Groom with Family Friends (those who are like family)

Bride and Groom with Special Relatives or Honorary Family Members


Remember, these lists are just a starting point. Your family dynamics and the significance of certain relationships may lead you to add or modify combinations. The key is to ensure that your cherished moments are captured with grace and precision.


Tips to taking your Family Shot List to the Next Level

wedding day family photo

  • List Everyone's Names: When creating your family shot list, it may be helpful to list out all the names associated with each group combination. This ensures that no one is accidentally left out, and it helps your photographer call out names efficiently for group photos.


  • Add BEFORE You Remove: It's often easier to add people into a photo than constantly pulling individuals in and out. For example, if you start with a shot of just the couple and then want to include parents and siblings, it's smoother to add the parents into the frame and then add the siblings in the next shot. This minimizes disruption and keeps the flow of your photo session.


  • Segment Your Photos: Don't hesitate to break up your family photos into segments. You can schedule a series of photos before the ceremony, allowing you to enjoy more of your cocktail hour or reduce the pressure of fitting in all your photos during this time. Many weddings opt for taking all family photos before the ceremony to ensure a relaxed pace.


  • Friend Photos During Reception: If you have photos with friends that you'd like to take, consider scheduling these during the reception. This way, you can capture these fun moments without taking away from the pre-ceremony or cocktail hour photos. It adds a lively touch to your reception and lets you enjoy some quality time with your friends during the celebration.


Your wedding day is a grand celebration of love, and preserving those moments with your family is of paramount importance. With a well-prepared family shot list, you'll not only eliminate stress but also guarantee that every precious memory is preserved in all its glory. It's a simple yet powerful tool that can transform your wedding day photography into a joyful, stress-free experience. So, my dear, take a deep breath, put on your most radiant smile, and let the camera work its magic while you bask in the love and joy surrounding you. Cheers to a truly unforgettable day!


-Brandi, your favorite photographer

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