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Etiquette

Extended family pictures and timeline

My mother is one of eight, so weddings have always been an occasion for the whole family (33 people) to get together in one place and take a picture. So I am planning on asking my mom's side to stick around after the ceremony to take a family photo at the altar of our church. And since I am doing it on one side, I also plan on doing it with my father's side of the family if they want (potentially 18 people), and with my FI's extended family, if they want. 

Assuming we go through with all these pics, some people may get held up into the cocktail hour. Originally I thought we'd do a ceremony from 3-4 and cocktail hour starting at 5 to make sure everyone can get there, but having read how much guests hate gaps, I think 4:30 is the better option. 

I am fairly certain my mom's family will be on board with the picture, but is it rude to start the cocktail hour without them and others in the families?  Am I forcing them to choose picture or party? We will probably have around 200-220 guests, so even with the big families and wedding party hanging back there will be a lot of people to accommodate at the cocktail hour. 

Also is it strange to make an extended family portrait some kind of optional activity? I was thinking I'd just talk to my dad and FI's parents to see if they are interested in a picture with their siblings, and if so, they could communicate that to the others.  

Re: Extended family pictures and timeline

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My mother is one of eight, so weddings have always been an occasion for the whole family (33 people) to get together in one place and take a picture. So I am planning on asking my mom's side to stick around after the ceremony to take a family photo at the altar of our church. And since I am doing it on one side, I also plan on doing it with my father's side of the family if they want (potentially 18 people), and with my FI's extended family, if they want. 

    Assuming we go through with all these pics, some people may get held up into the cocktail hour. Originally I thought we'd do a ceremony from 3-4 and cocktail hour starting at 5 to make sure everyone can get there, but having read how much guests hate gaps, I think 4:30 is the better option. 

    I am fairly certain my mom's family will be on board with the picture, but is it rude to start the cocktail hour without them and others in the families?  Am I forcing them to choose picture or party? We will probably have around 200-220 guests, so even with the big families and wedding party hanging back there will be a lot of people to accommodate at the cocktail hour. 

    Also is it strange to make an extended family portrait some kind of optional activity? I was thinking I'd just talk to my dad and FI's parents to see if they are interested in a picture with their siblings, and if so, they could communicate that to the others.  


    Please do not hold so many people back from going to enjoy cocktail hour.  You can have all of these family photos taken at the reception after dinner.  The DJ can make an announcement that all X Family members are asked to go over for a family picture, then the next and so on. 

    I did take a picture with my dad's sister and her family, but it was 4 people.  I think you asking almost 50 people to hang back will be too big and unmanageable.  Let it spread by word of mouth that these photos will take place after dinner, so people know.

    holyguacamole79InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdomHeffalump
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I dunno, to me that's exactly what this cocktail hour is for -- to give the other guests something to do while you're taking the photos. I wouldn't be bothered by it as long as there were still some appetizers left when I finally got there.  =)
    JediElizabethSP29wink0erinCaitFins
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    If it is expected for your mother's family, I would do it as planned. Make it optional for the other groups. They may prefer having the pictures done at the reception as PP suggested. We did my family's picture at the church for DD's wedding. Her H's family wanted pictures done at the reception. No big deal.
  • I would personally do it at the reception site so that it's not like you're holding people back from the cocktail hour but I'd still do it during the cocktail hour. Just have someone (like the DJ) announce that brides family is needed for pictures, photographer grabs a few shots those people go back in and announce grooms family is needed. That is how we did it. If you do it at the church it'd suck for the last group of people who are stuck back waiting for all the other groups to finish.
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    OurWildKingdomHeffalump
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Is your wedding at a Catholic church?  You'll likely only be allowed 30 minutes for pictures afterwards.  I would do immediate family and bridal party pics at the church and extended family at the reception.   I have a nice pic of us with my dad's extended family at our reception and it all worked out great. 
    OliveOilsMomHeffalump
  • Ghostie625Ghostie625 member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2016
    I think it would be fine to do them at the church, just make sure those photos are taken first so the guests don't have to linger very long. My friend did this at her wedding last year and it went smoothly.
    I can't imagine those 3 pictures will take more than a few minutes. If you do it right after the ceremony everybody is already in one place, and if it's that many people it will be easier than trying to track everyone down at the reception. I missed a family photo at a cousin's wedding because I happened to go to the restroom right before the picture. As a guest, I would rather get it done and over with and be a few minutes late to cocktail hour than be interrupted in the middle of it.
    I'm speaking as someone with about the same size family (mom is one of 6).

    ETA: You should definitely do the photo with all families if you're going to do it with one. A cousin on my dad's side took a photo with her father's family and not ours at the wedding. My mom is still a little bitter about it lol.
    OurWildKingdomSP29wink0erin
  • We did large family photos during cocktail hour as well. It's a bit different because everything was in one place. However, even for you I would start with the smaller group first and work up. Once they're done those people go to cocktail hour. Since it sounds like the largest group is the one that goes through the photo rigamorale they will not be surprised to miss 1/2 of cocktail hour.
  • Thanks for the replies! The church has significance for my mother's family, but not anyone else's (my father's family isn't even Catholic). So it does make sense to leave the rest of the extended family pictures for the cocktail hour/reception. I'll just try to move the big group through pretty quickly after the ceremony and then we'll do immediate family and wedding party. 
    Heffalump
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As long as it is OK with the church, I think it is fine to take these family photos right after the ceremony. I would tell everyone beforehand so they are "ready to go" and you aren't running around calling for Aunt Sue.

    Start your cocktail hour at 4:30- you still need to host the other 150 guests. These guests should not be required to twiddle their thumbs for half an hour because some of your family is taking photos. Cocktail hour is informal- not everyone needs to be there for it to start.
    OurWildKingdomernursej
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