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The Alexandra Lee Journal - A home for stunning weddings, romantic engagement sessions and helpful, insightful tidbits.


How to Have Stress-Free Family Formals

Family formals are the photos you know you’ll want and you know you need to do, but matter how close you are to family, no one really enjoys doing. Because I know this, I’ve made it my goal to make this time easy and efficient. I have shot countless weddings and have learned the tricks of the trade if you will. I’m here to make sure family formals don’t put a damper on your day.
Here are some of my tips for the most painless, stress-free family formals possible and if you are looking for a detailed starting point, be sure to get my Family Formals Freebie!

Prepare a shot list before the big day

This is key to stress-free family photos. Having a list beforehand gives you an order to follow that is seamless! One of the perks of being an Alexandra Lee couple is that I help all my couples make a list way in advance, this way we both know how much time we need to set aside in the timeline and to make sure we don’t have any unexpected surprises. I am also a fan of making this as quick and efficient as possible, so we can make sure to get you to your reception, no need to make your guests wait forever!

Trying to organize family, and groomsmen and bridesmaids can be hectic but she made it seem all so easy!” – Sabrina

Run your list by your parents

Let’s make sure we don’t upset anyone because we didn’t get a family formal with them. Having a list beforehand will help but make sure to run the list by your parents before it is finalized. Oftentimes these family members are the ones who frame these photos for their homes. Mom may want pictures with her entire side of the family or just her parents, but you don’t know until you ask. Be sure to communicate with parents that once the list is finalized for the allotted time for family formals, there isn’t any room to add anyone last minute. This way you don’t spend the entire cocktail hour doing family formals. For couples and families who really value family formals, I always create a side list with you to grab casual group photos throughout the night before we leave.

Choose someone to be in charge

In order to make the process smooth and to keep the ball rolling and family members in check, it’s important that you nominate a family member or family friend. It’s key that this person knows who everyone is so they can help grab people when needed. Communicate ahead of time that their job is to keep everyone in the location and ready for the next photo until they are done. This way we won’t lose precious portrait time from chasing down lost family members. This person will be super helpful in maintaining stress-free family formals for everyone.

Prepare your family members 

Lastly, make sure all your family members know where to be and when. With a first look, most of the time family formals will happen before the ceremony. Without a first look, most of the time family formals will happen after the ceremony. Be sure to communicate ahead of time with those on your list that they will be needed and where and when they will be needed. 

Download The Family Formals Freebie Here! 


More Wedding Planning Tips…

5 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Coordinator

Choosing a Getting Ready Location


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