You sent out the invitations and have 784 people on your guest list. Start planning your group photos ASAP. You should have a good idea of some group shots before you hire a photographer. Why? This can dictate how much time you need to hire your photographer for. Adding 6-10 group shots throughout the day is very different than wanting 30-40+ group shots.
Now you’re getting close to the wedding day and the RSVP’s are flooding in. 350 guests, 410 guests, 500 and counting. Everyone attending would like to talk to you and get a photo with you. As you approach the last month prior to the wedding, you need to evaluate and finalize your wedding photo group shot list. This is a huge part of the plans for your time line, sanity, and photographer. The photographer doesn’t know your guests, not to mention – they probably wouldn’t be able to pick you out of the crowd of 600 guests. Why? The bride and groom are wearing something colorful and traditional (most of the time) like a Sari, lengha, Kurti, etc. Not like a western wedding where you can spot the bride cause she’s the ONLY one wearing a white dress.
Can you find the Bride and Groom in each photo?
To create the group shot list, start with the family. Remember who is closest and most important. A couple extended family photos are nice to have, but it can become tricky to get everyone together. I don’t suggest doing an extended family shot right after the ceremony. It’s hard to manage that many people & round them up in a timely manner, much less if you have other events scheduled right after the ceremony (pooja’s, etc). Consider doing it during the cocktail hour or after dinner, that way your Emcee of DJ can help you round up people. The next step is to write up your wedding party shot list. There are many check lists online, but you know who needs to be in your photos. Here’s a quick list of the standard group photos:
- Bride + maid of honor
- Bride + bridesmaids
- Bride + groomsmen
- Bride + flower girl and/or ring bearer
- Bride + attendants (personal attendant, etc)
- Groom + best man
- Groom + groomsmen
- Groom + bridesmaids
- Groom + flower girl and/or ring bearer
- Bride & Groom + bridesmaids
- Bride & Groom + groomsmen
- Bride & Groom + bridesmaids & groomsmen
- Bride & Groom + flower girl and/or ring bearer
- Bride & Groom + Brides parents
- Bride & Groom + Brides parents + family
- Bride & Groom + Brides siblings
- Bride & Groom + Grooms parents
- Bride & Groom + Grooms parents + family
- Bride & Groom + Grooms siblings
- Bride & Groom + both sets of parents
You all have those groups of friends that have different connections to you in life. If you want photos of any of these special groups, list them on your master photo list for your photographer. Some you may want to include are:
- Fraternity or sorority groups
- High school friends
- Sports teams (softball, football, dance)
Just be sure that you work with your photographer (and planner) to schedule these during your wedding day. Every photo takes time to stage and get groups of people together. You could find yourself doing photos for 6 hours with just groups of people if you don’t plan carefully. Also be sure to check with your parents. We all know they will have a couple shots that are a must. Just be sure you don’t let your parents/family dictate all the photos and put a limit on how many they are allowed to list. For instance; your Dad really doesn’t need a photo of his daughter with his poker buddies that you’ve never met. If you don’t make a list, your photographer can run off and take shots throughout the day and evening and you might not know any of the people in the final edited album. Seriously, you don’t want to look through your final album and ask “who’s that?” of more than half your album. Just make sure you communicate your clear expectations and the list to your photographer and planner.
Hint: One thing I always demand during Indian wedding photos – identify one person who’s close to the family and can call out names. Indian names can be tough to pronounce + the “name caller” can help recognize people to help the photographer.
Key take-away: Work with a Planner who is experience with Indian weddings and a photographer who’s shot and understands Indian weddings. Scheduling properly makes a world of difference.