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  • Melchy Hill

Everything you need to know to understand the ins and outs of wedding-day family photos

To the ones who have been there from the beginning.

The couple is the focal point on any wedding day, but there’s another set of guests that are equally important, particularly when it comes to photographs: family. Couples want those must-have wedding photos like the ceremony and the bridal portraits. But wedding-day family photos are some of the most treasured keepsakes. “In the future, the number one thing you’ll want is photos with your important family members,” Singleton says. “When my grandmother died, I looked back on all of our wedding photos together constantly.”

Wedding-day family photos can be complicated from complicated dynamics to blended families. It can become overwhelming to decide which family member pairings you need to include during your wedding day. Melchy Hill Photography will help you come up with a detailed list and coordinate timing to keep the day on schedule.

Family Wedding Photo Tips

Not sure who to include in your wedding photos or when to take them? While immediate family members should be a given for your photo album, there are some gray areas as to who you should and shouldn't feel obligated to include. Keep reading for how to stay organized and keep your Melchy Hill Photography in the loop during the process.

the VIPs.

The parents, siblings, and grandparents, but it’s tough to determine who else should make the cut—especially with limited time. What about divorced or remarried parents?

Whether your parents are divorced but friendly or barely civil, you'll want to arrange for pictures with your individual families first, so put those at the top of the list. The two of you as a couple should take pictures with each parent, including their new significant other if they are in a relationship or are remarried. If you're inviting step-siblings to the wedding, include them here, too. That said, if you do not have a relationship with your parents' new significant other or your step-siblings, but invited them to the wedding out of obligation (or to avoid family drama), don't feel pressure to include them in your photos. Focus on the VIPs, then work backward from there.

Brides VIP family members
Fun Family Photos

The Wedding Family Shot List

We at Melchy Hill Photography work together with our couples to curate the family list shot list, typically about 10 must-have family groups, to coordinate post-ceremony photos quickly. That’s when the bulk of wedding photos happen; it’s one of the few open times when all family members are in one place. For that reason, it’s wise to give these VIP family members a heads up that you’ll need them to stick around post-ceremony, too.

If you have someone extra special in your life—such as a grandmother—let's brain storm ways to incorporate them organically in your wedding day photos.

Your siblings' new significant other and extended family

It's completely acceptable to not want your brother's girlfriend of a month whom you barely know in your wedding photos. The same goes for your mom's third cousin once removed. If you don't have a close relationship with an extended family member, it's perfectly fine to leave them out of family photos.

toddler in wedding
Kids Will be Kids

Don't be afraid to ask for help

The best way to take all your family photos without giving yourself a panic attack is to ask a friend to be in charge of herding/organizing. Also have your officiant give an announcement for immediate family members to stay behind for family photogs. These two combined will make sure everyone who needs to be in them are present and help the family session progress along so that it doesn't take more time than necessary. they can then enjoy cocktail hour and the couple will have more time for bridal party photos and couples only photo.

Wedding day timeline
Sample Wedding Day Timelines


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