Taking pictures of everyone is nice, but is it really necessary?

By Nancy Mattia
October 26, 2020
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When it comes to taking formal group photos on their wedding day, the bride and groom already know that they're going to be posing and smiling for a number of photos. They'll say cheese with their parents, siblings, grandparents, bridal party, and others close to them, and while it takes a lot of time and energy on a day with a tight schedule, it always gets done. But adding photos to that already long list can feel taxing. That's why so many couples wonder whether or not photos with extended family members—such as aunts, uncles, and cousins—need to be on the list, too? Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide.

Would your parents or in-laws be upset if you didn't take photos of extended-family members?

Some parents like the wedding-day tradition of taking photos of relatives beyond the immediate families. If you're not into it, don't unilaterally decide no without considering this: Have the photographer take one group shot of your extended family and another of the groom's, rather than all the aunts, then all the uncles, then all the cousins, and so forth, which is more time-consuming.

Are you comfortable deciding on a cutoff?

Even if you're into extended family shots, you'll need a cutoff if you come from large families. Instead of every great-uncle and step-cousin, you might decide to limit the shots to, for example, only your parents' siblings (your aunts and uncles) and their children (your cousins).

Do you have enough time for the photos?

It may take up to a year to plan the wedding, but it'll pass by in a snap. Think carefully if you want to add another 10 minutes or so to the photo-session allotment for extended-family shots. Discuss this with your photographer way ahead of the wedding and give him an approximate idea of how many people and how many groups will pose.

Is there someone at the wedding (other than you or the groom) who can corral the family members when it's time to photograph them?

The wranglers should be polite but authoritative in getting people to the photo locale. Give those you want in photos a heads up and their approval. It shouldn't be the wrangler's job to convince reluctant relatives to pose.

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