This is a fact. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to family dynamics. What makes a family, a family, is the rich history that comes part and parcel with it. However planning your wedding photography with divorced parents, amicable or otherwise, is a little more challenging then planning whose house the next big turkey dinner will be at. Now, I can’t help you with the later but I do have some wedding photography tips for the first issue. There is an overriding rule that applies, regardless of how bad any situation is. It doesn’t matter how crusty things may be, all parents are adults and they need to be asked to put their differences aside for a handful of hours. After all, it’s your big day and there’s plenty on your plate already. You know, getting married and all! Yes, communication is at the root of everything beautiful. Meet with each of your parents separately and explain your priorities of what is most important. To help get you started, you may want to include some words about how it’s really important to you that everyone is treated fairly, you love both parents and it’s your wish to have some family photos for you to remember your big day by. In the more amicable situations, that should do the trick. In the less amicable situations, here’s a few wedding photography tips to get you started:
- First and foremost, talk to you photographer. Give them all the details about your family including the nasty bits. A good photographer will want to understand the dynamics and know names. And if there is a situation where two people literally can’t be close to one another then the photographer will separate into groups.
- If your parents are divorced, have your dad stand at your side and your mom at your grooms side with the two of you in the middle.
- If there are step parents involved, take the extra few minutes to include your step mom with your father and the two of you. And vice versa, your step dad with your mother and the two of you. Both your parents and step parents will be very grateful for the consideration you took.
- The “big happy family” photo doesn’t have to be the “whole” family. There certainly isn’t anything that mandates it.
It’s entirely up to the couple whether they choose to have them taken or not. In my experience, the majority do but I’ve also worked with couples that have kept it simple to ceremony photos, followed by couples photos and candids from the reception. It’s actually a lot of fun because the formality of formals is removed and it helps with saving some time during the day as well. It’s rare that I come across this and I don’t normally recommend it, but it’s a worthwhile thought to consider for some situations. Now, there’s a few tips to handle your divorced parents during your wedding photography, let it all go. And breathe….You’ve taken all the right steps; you’ve been considerate and respectful. This is your day and when partnered with a good photographer, none of the will land on your shoulders. They are experts at maneuvering people and keeping the mood light. Trust your photographer and you’ll see only happy memories in your photos.