A wedding party (also known as a bridal party) is a special way to honor some of your closest friends on your wedding day. Recently I’ve seen everything from 20-person wedding parties to having a best man and maid-of-honor only to having no wedding party. I think your decision to include a wedding party depends on your preferences, how many close friends you have, and also whether you’ve been in a bunch of wedding parties yourself. Personally I loved having a wedding party. It gave me the opportunity to hang out and have support from some of my closest friends on my wedding day.
Next, the photos of course! There seems to be some sort of preconceived notion that you have to duplicate all of the millions of wedding party photo ideas on Pinterest. Jumping photos, headless photos with bouquets, close-ups of shoes and lots of fake laughing, it’s all been done. There are also a lot of ridiculously cheesy options which I personally try to stay as far away from as possible unless a special request is made. There really is a way to walk away from your wedding day with classic photos of your friends that you will love to look back on!
So how do you get great photos with your wedding party? My advice is to do something fun with your group! Do you have lawn games at your wedding? Play some corn hole together! Is there a favorite watering hole nearby? Why not stop and have a beverage together before heading to the big event? I’ve had some of the most fun and captured some of my more unique wedding party photos by using this technique. The more creative idea, the better! I’ve also had groups play in the fall leaves, take a stroll through the city streets and ride chairlifts together. It can be so much fun!
This doesn’t mean that you can’t also take more “formal” photos with your wedding party either. Some of my favorite photos from my wedding are the individuals that I took with each girl. I gifted each of them a print after it was all over thanking them for all of the time and effort it took to support me on my big day. Fun group shots are always popular and you don’t have to do anything super posed or cheesy to capture a great moment.
Finally, how much time should you allow for wedding party photos? If you are doing a first look, which I highly recommend (see my advice on how to create the perfect wedding day timeline here), you should allow at least 30 minutes for your wedding party photos. If you plan on doing some sort of activity together like heading to a bar or a location that needs driving, an hour is recommended. Really, I think this is all about stepping outside of the typical “wedding box” and following your instincts to create a wedding day that is true to you and your personality! Do you have any ideas for fun activities to do with your wedding party? I’d love to hear them!