One of the most popular wedding photos today is the group photo. Having a visual reminder of everyone who attended your wedding is priceless, and more couples are asking for this every day. Your photographer will of course be getting everyone into place on the big day, but a bit of planning ahead of time will make their job easier and take a lot of stress off the couple's shoulders at the same time. So here's a few tips and best practices from the wedding coordinator perspective to make sure this picture goes off without a hitch!
There are really three viable times in the day for when you actually take the photo. The biggest key is to take the photo when as many guests as possible are together in one place. This keeps from having people miss the photo altogether, and means that you or your photographer don't have to go crazy tracking down individuals who may be scattered around the venue.
End of the ceremony: This is a great time to do the photo because it's the only time that everyone is truly in the same space. No one is in the bathroom or at the bar, since they've all just been sitting to watch you say your vows. It's probably the easiest option as well, because you and your new spouse can just stop at the end of the aisle, all your guests can turn to face the photographer, and then SNAP!
Between ceremony and cocktail hour: If the group photo needs to take place somewhere other than the ceremony space (for instance, the porch at Highland Manor is hugely popular for this photo), now is the time to make that happen. The officiant and/or DJ can announce exactly where the guests need to go for the photo before they leave the ceremony area, and the wedding coordinator can be in that place to act as a visual guide to get them there.
During the reception in conjunction with another event: How well this one works out is a function of the number of guests and the space where your reception is taking place. If it's a large group inside a building, your photographer may need to be up on a ladder to capture the whole group. In terms of timing though, it's important to do this at the same time as another event such as toasts or cake cutting. This ensures the most people are in the room to get in on the photo, because everyone wants to be there for the big events during the party. Be sure to discuss this ahead of time with your coordinator and photographer so that any additional equipment that may be needed is on-site for the day.
Things to Consider
Space where the picture will happen: It seems obvious, but it can be easy to overlook with all the other details. Make sure the space where you want the group picture to happen is big enough for everyone to fit and for the photographer to get far enough away to get everyone in the picture. If you choose to do the picture during the reception, that space may hold all your guests, but it may not allow the photographer to get far enough away, or high enough, to include everyone.
Getting everyone in the picture: There's one hard and fast rule here, if you get this one knocked, your photographer will handle the fine details and adjustments. Everyone who is in the picture must be able to see the photographer! That means shorter people in front, no guests hiding behind others, and not having people spread out too wide. If they can see the person taking the picture, you're off to a great start!
Have an escape plan after the photo: With your guests all in one place after the photo, some will inevitably want to take the opportunity to congratulate you or chat you up. You have hundreds of other pictures to take, though, so you can't afford to get stuck! Come up with an escape plan so you can quickly go from the group photo to the next photo location. You can have your family run interference for you, or have your coordinator whisk you away, but just make sure you plan ahead in case your distant cousins decide it's the perfect time to tell you about their vacation to Transylvania.
We've worked with almost all the photographers in town, and every one of them will do an amazing job for your big day and group photo! Here's three that we've found to be excellent at this kind of photo, so you can get your search started with them and go from there! Anna So Photography, Ashley Jane Photography, and Rachel Doyle Photography
Stay tuned to the blog for more great features and real weddings coming soon!