One of my tenets of wedding photography is that your wedding day should be one of joy and celebration. But, like families, weddings are emotional affairs, and intra-family tensions can be a source of stress on the wedding day and beyond.
Consider the problem addressed in Carolyn Hax's advice column, "The Picture of Wedding Unhappiness," in Monday's Washington Post (9/14/15).
The letter writer "Hurt" asked for help in dealing with the slight she felt about not being included in the formal family portraits at her fiance's brother's wedding -- especially as she planned her own wedding. Ms. Hax finished her response with the following advice: "Love your fiance, plan your wedding with a generous heart and just keep making choices with them [in-laws] the way you wish they had with you."
I especially love her "plan with a generous heart" advice!
From a wedding photographer's perspective, the family formal portraits are indeed a very important part of the day. Aside from the intra-family considerations, they are also tricky from a time-management perspective.
The all-inclusive approach -- photograph the bride and groom with every possible family sub-group -- turns your wedding day into an extended, overly complicated portrait session instead of a celebration. How many of these combinations do you really want in your wedding album?
Most couples and their families would be quite happy -- even thrilled! -- with a short list of formal portraits. Consider this list as a starting point: bride and groom alone, bride and groom with bride's parents, bride and groom with bride's parents and siblings, bride and groom with bride's extended family, bride and groom with groom's parents, bride and groom with groom's parents and siblings, and bride and groom with groom's extended family.
Allow plenty of time to discuss this list between the two of you and with your respective families. Make adjustments as needed for your circumstances. Does "extended family" include fiances and fiancees? It's your decision.
And, by all means, work with your photographer to ensure that your plan for family portraits is both sensible and fits within your wedding day timeline.
# # #
For your Northern Virginia | Maryland | Washington DC wedding photography needs, please call me at 703-729-3780 or send me an email. I love to provide personalized service to ensure your wedding is a day of celebration, captured in beautiful photographs that are deeply seen, deeply felt, deeply remembered.