What’s a wedding without family??? Sure, some couples choose to purposefully leave the area, elope, and forgo the whole family business but it’s not very common. So you’re not eloping? and you’re going to have the big family wedding? Awesome! I did and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!! Unless a family member has been closely involved in a wedding in the past few years, it isn’t likely that they fully understand their responsibilities. While I usually don’t have much of a problem, I cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of educating your family members in preparation for your wedding day. I am not going to say that your wedding day will fall to pieces without the following tips BUT it can definitely make it run smoother and you, the Bride & Groom, will worry much less. + Whether family is getting ready at their home or near to you and or the ceremony location, no matter what time you need them somewhere, tell them to arrive 30 minutes BEFORE the actual time. To further clarify, do not tell them “family portraits start at 4:00pm, but be there at 3:30pm”. That pretty much guarantees that they will arrive between 3:30pm and 4:00, possibly after 4:00. Tell them 3:30pm. That way, if they arrive at 3:30, they will have the time the need to chat up Uncle Dave AND get their boutonniere/corsage on, without causing any delay in the already tight schedule! And if they arrive “late”, at 4:00, hopefully they’ll be the only one “late” and we can hurry them along. + In the questionnaire, I ask for specific family members’ names so I can create a family portrait list that I will bring with me that day, with which I am able to run portrait time with ease. PLEASE understand that those family members are the ones I am referring to in the timeline when I say “family portraits” and that they actually need to be present. Bride & Groom, I do NOT expect you to be in charge of this. Lord knows, you have enough on your plate! But dear God, please place someone in charge! A trusty aunt, for example! That way, when I call out for Grandpa George, the father of the groom won’t respond with “I didn’t know Dad needed to be here for this”. + FEED your family! A lot of complaints I hear from family members can all point toward the fact that they’re probably hungry. They should be fed before the rest of your guests. If they can’t be fed right then, just remind them of the specific time that they will be fed. Sometimes, that’s all they need. + Again, not often BUT sometimes I run into that lovely sister of the Bride who thinks their needs and wants are just as important as the Bride’s. To the photographer, there is a hierarchy of importance when it comes to the people involved in a wedding: Bride, Groom, Mothers of the Bride & Groom, Wedding Party, siblings of the Bride & Groom, Fathers of the Bride & Groom (because they’re usually low maintenance), Grandparents of the Bride & Groom, and then everyone else (unless otherwise specified by the couple). Sister, I’m sorry you’re hot and getting a little sweaty. If ANYONE understands your sweatiness, it’s the Bride & Groom who are wearing ten times the amount of clothing than you. If they’re not begging me to go inside, why should you? + Educate, educate, educate! Keep them in the loop starting from right after you receive the timeline from me. First, CHANGE it! Remember the whole 30-mins-before thing? Let them know whats going to be expected from them, that way they can’t play the “no one told me” card. All that to say, Family Members: Please remember why you’re where you are and doing what you’re doing today. It’s not about you, it’s not about your child who happens to be the flower girl. It’s about this beautiful lovely couple who have decided to commit themselves to each other for the rest of forever AND they’ve given you the honor to be a part of and witness it! Respect, appreciate, and enjoy it!