How long should I plan for formal group photographs at my wedding?

October 2017

Free Download Link at the bottom of the page for the standard family group photos.

Every wedding day has a highly detailed schedule, starting with make-up and hair-stylists in the morning, arrival of wedding transport, ceremony time, start of reception, call for dinner, speeches, arrival of evening guests, cake cutting, first dance, just to name a few. You might be worried that you have to spend all your reception time posing for photographs and have hardly got any time to spend with your family and friends.

An experienced photographer will discuss with you before your wedding how long group photography should take, and how long they will spend with you away from the reception and your guests to take the romantic photographs.

This little guide will provide you with some ideas about the time you need on your wedding day should you want a few formal family group photographs.

What group photographs are standard at weddings?

B&G stands for bride and groom, but obviously it can be Bride and Bride, or Groom and Groom too.

  • B&G + her parents
  • B&G + his parents
  • B&G + both parents, siblings & partners + kids
  • B&G + bridal party (bridesmaids, flower girls, best man, ushers, page boys)
  • Bride only + bridesmaids, flower girls
  • Groom only + best man, ushers, page boys
  • Any other group you might want to add yourself, such as grandparents, or special friends.
  • Download standard family group photos as a PDF via this page.

I normally request the exact number of groups from my clients a week before the wedding with the full name of each person in each group. This will make it much easier for me to find the people on the day. I will also have prepared this as a printed list and ask the ushers to help me gather all people required for group photos before I ask the bride and groom to join us, giving you more time with your family and friends, enjoying the wedding reception.

Provided I have everyone gathered ready to step in and out of different group combinations, I normally complete the formal photographs within 10-15 minutes.

Family group, how long to plan for group photographs
Family group
Bride and groom and the bridal party, how long to plan for group photographs
Bride and groom and the bridal party
Bride on her own with bridesmaids and flower girls, how long to plan for group photographs
Bride on her own with bridesmaids and flower girls

What about a group photograph of everyone?

Plan at least 15 minutes to get everyone to the same location, how long to plan for group photographs
Plan at least 15 minutes to get everyone to the same location.

Yes, of course, but there are a few things to bear in mind. Depending on the number of your wedding guests, you need to plan a bit of time to have everyone assembled in one location. Ushering 80-100 people into one location can easily take 15-20 minutes. People might disappear to the restroom, or they may have gone to their room to freshen up. The best time for a group photograph of everyone is straight after the ceremony. If you want a photo of everyone, you could ask your celebrant to announce after the ceremony that everyone make their way to the agreed location. All the guests know that the couple has kindly requested a photograph of everyone. Another option for a group photo of everyone is just before the wedding breakfast.

Will my family and friends be allowed to take photographs of the formal family groups?

Absolutely! The people you have invited to your wedding are your dearest family members and closest friends. Of course they are allowed to take photographs of the family groups. I actually encourage the guests who are keen to take a few photos to stand right beside me so that the people in the group all look at the same direction - preferably at the big camera.

What if my family want additional group photographs taken on the day?

This often happens and I am asked to have a few more formal group photographs. I will only take them once I have taken the requested photographs to make sure I have the most important photographs taken for the bride and groom. I can also take additional images after the wedding breakfast, when there is a bit more time after the formalities.

Download a list of the standard group photos for your wedding

Who is Nadin Dunnigan - Wedding Photographer in Edinburgh

Hey, I am Nadin! (same as "Nadine" - just without the "e"). I am a wedding photographer in Edinburgh, Scotland, specialising in big family weddings in Edinburgh, Scotland, and internationally. I have photographed so many weddings, and it is my mission to help couples with planning their dream wedding. Any questions I come across repeatedly - either in person or online, I will pop in here and provide more insight.

I hope you will find them useful :)

Nadin Dunnigan Photographer