Genius group photo hacks you need for your wedding

Published by Claire Gould on

It’s not often we say you “need” anything for your wedding! We’re a bit different like that at English Wedding. Your wedding should be YOU – and no other rules apply. Say your ‘I dos’ privately on top of a mountain, or in your living room, or have a massive ‘do’ with everyone you know. You do you.

However (you knew there was a but coming, didn’t you?) if you’re having a few people at your wedding, and you’re thinking about photos and specifically group shots – you will be needing these group photo hacks to make it nice and easy!

Because group shots can be long, and they can be stressful! But with our tips borrowed from Group Photos 101 by Hannah Hall Photography, they’ll be a doddle. In fact, we’re willing to bet they’ll be the most delightful doddle of your day!

informal wedding group photo of a groom and bride with family members. They're relaxed and having a giggle together so the shot doesn't look too formal. By Hannah Hall Photography

All images in this blog post are by Lake District and UK wedding photographer Hannah Hall Photography

Group shots don’t have to be formal – they can be playful

When you think ‘group shots’ do you feel excited? Nah… but that’s only because you’ve been looking at the wrong ones. Formal wedding group shots can be a bore (unless that’s your thing! Sorry – you crack on!) but modern wedding photography makes them a little more fun.

Old school wedding group shots had everyone stood together, eyes to the camera, squeezed in and two people at the back hiding behind other people’s heads.

That one formal group shot can still be a thing – and it’s actually nice to have – but your smaller groups can be a little more relaxed and fun.

Wedding group shots aren’t just for you!

We know it’s your wedding. But even if you don’t want group shots for yourselves, think about any family who might treasure a classic group shot. We reckon there are a few much-loved grannies out there who’ve already made a space on the mantelpiece… so it’s a nice thing to get that big group shot for the folks who’d love a copy.

For loads of families – I know mine is one of these – it’s only at weddings and funerals that everyone gets to catch up. So smaller groups can be a really special thing too.

If you have elderly relatives or others who can’t make it to the wedding day for mobility or accessibility reasons, a group shot can be the sweetest gift to say ‘we missed you’.

Hannah’s mission: To give you great photos, while you have a great time, spending as little time with me as possible, with as little direction as possible, while making sure you definitely have pictures of the most important people.

Time it right!

Plan your group photos – not too early, and definitely not too late!

Hannah suggests after your ceremony you leave a little time for confetti, a breather (time to relax and let go of all those nerves), and a drink. Once you’ve done all that, it will be a great time for your group photos.

Stray aunties

A crucial hack is to plan how you’ll keep an eye on any stray aunties or anyone else who might wander off when it’s group shots time!

You can ask your celebrant to mention group shots at the end of your ceremony – or you can say something yourselves if you’re happy to! Perhaps, “we’ll need everyone on the lawn at quarter past two for photos – please stay around with us until then!”

There’ll be a responsible person in every group – both sides of the family, uni friends, workmates, and so on. Put them in charge of keeping everyone together until the group shots!

Also: have a timeline, keep an eye on the smokers, and have watchers! If Dad is keeping an eye on the path to the bar, he can remind thirsty guests to stick around for pics! Even better – a bath of beer on ice will keep your guests together for a while.

Prepare for your group photos!

Here are our top tips (as always, inspired by Hannah!) to help you prepare for the group photos bit at your wedding!

  • Pre warn people (so your favourite uncle knows he’s meant to be there for the ‘close family’ photo
  • Assign gatherers. Responsible relatives and people who know who’s who are great for gathering up groups
  • Agree a list with your parents. 1) to avoid great aunties dictating who should be in the groups and 2) so you don’t miss anyone from an important photo for your folks
  • Think your walls / their walls. Will you want a group photo for your wall? Who would you both want in it? Ask yourselves the same question, from your parents’ point of view.
  • If any guests have mobility issues make sure your photographer’s aware, so they can choose a good location that’s easily accessible
  • Give your photographer a list of names well in advance – it makes calling people for group shots much easier!
Group shot suggestions if you really don’t know where to start (adapt this for your situation)
  2. You two + Person A’s parents
  3. You two + Person A’s immediate/extended family
  4. You two + Person B’s parents
  5. You two + Person B’s immediate/extended family
  6. You two + grandparents/great grandparents/anyone else elderly + important
  7. You two + wedding party
  8. You two + that friend who lives in New Zealand that you’ve not seen for 15 years and might not see again for a while

Extra group shots

If a photo with all your uni mates is super important, but you don’t want it too formal, consider getting this later in the day.

You should still pre warn your photographer, but maybe set aside half an hour for some informal pics in the late afternoon or early evening with more relaxed groups!

… and lastly, don’t forget your dogs! If your dog is a precious member of your family they can join in any of the group shots or have their own special one with you!

The most important group photo hack of all

Talk to your wedding photographer. Plan it all with them, ask about any worries you have, listen to their advice. These guys are experts at this, and they’ll help you make your group photos a breeze as well as beautiful!

Lake District wedding photographer Hannah Hall is a member of English Wedding, available throughout the UK

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Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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