I see, all the time, all over the blogs and boards and all over Twitter, the same line of thinking over and over again. "I don't wanna do the posed family portraits but my mother says we have to. I hate those pictures. They look so fake. I want candids! Only candids!" Well, it irritates me. So I'm going to say something, and it may make me unpopular, but I think that posed pictures are important.*
Look, I get that I'm unreasonably lucky that my parents are low-drama. (Well, they're different-drama.) They are not interested in telling me how to run the wedding. They will show up, wear what I tell them to, and do what I tell them to. I understand that a lot of you have much more difficult situations with your parents. Your mothers are controlling and constantly telling you what to do. They don't understand what you want, your aesthetic, your relationship, your religious beliefs.
Here's the thing with the posed portraits. Your mother/father/grandmother could care less what YOU want out of your photographer. I'm guessing they don't give a damn that you want a picture of the groomsmen with their argyle socks, or you want "gloriously vintage photographs"**. They want a picture of all of your family gathered together on your wedding day. I get it, that if you concede to this demand, then you feel like you have to concede to all their demands. Well, I have news for you. You don't. You don't have to concede to any of their demands, really, but I think you should concede to this one. Because that posed family portrait matters to people besides you. It will matter to your future children, who will love to look through your wedding album.***
There are ways to do the big family pictures that don't involve them being taken right after the ceremony, or feeling super "posed". My sister had the photographer pull groups of people during the reception, and that worked out really well. We will either do that, or just pull people from the tail end of the cocktail hour. You can also pick who goes in pictures together if you want. Somebody asked recently if it would be weird to want a picture with just her mom and dad, and not her step-mom. I think that is totally normal and okay to ask for. It's also okay to say you don't want to take a picture with your whole blended family, and that you will instead take separate portraits. If you set the terms beforehand, you can also request that whoever rounds up the family for the portraits make it clear that dates not be included, or whatever other requests you have that make you more comfortable with your family. Portraits aren't bad and they do not have to take forever, and you can dictate the terms, but I think compromise on this issue is important, because you know what? The wedding isn't about you.
Oh, yeah, and if you don't want to do the family portraits, your pushy family member is gonna line everybody up and make you do it anyway, because they want that picture.
*Some of you, when I point this out, say "well of course we'll do pictures with our parents and with our grandmothers and with our families" so WTF do you think you mean by "posed family portraits?" This may simply be an issue of semantics.
**Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I'm sorry, but I don't get why you want the pictures from your wedding day to look like somebody took them in the 70s.
***I love love love going through my parents' wedding pictures. I always have. My parents don't, but that's their thing.