Sure, the couple is the star of the show, but the wedding party is right behind them. These VIPs are more than siblings and friends; they’re the jokesters, the revelers, the joyful criers, and the doting buds who bring out the best in the couple. These authentic, natural reactions also lead to some dazzling wedding party photos.
Options abound when it comes to wedding party photo ideas, but photographer Audra Wrisley says it’s hard to beat a traditional group snap. “The classic bridal party shot is a must-have; they’re comfortable and happy but facing the camera with the couple toward the center,” she says. “I also love to create joyful shots with some movement, like pulling the couple a bit forward and having everyone walk together, smiling and laughing.”
Meet the Expert
Audra Wrisley is the owner of Washington D.C. based photography studio Audra Wrisley Photographer. With a decade of experience capturing weddings, engagement sessions and family portraits, Wrisley's work has been featured in a variety of publications.
Wrisley typically allots 30 minutes for bridal-party photos to account for the inevitable wedding-day delay. “I usually need about 20 minutes of actual shooting time with the bridal parties, but that extra time is so important for a buffer to ensure great photos and to keep everything running smoothly,” she says. Wedding party photos can take place before the ceremony if the couple opts for a first look; otherwise, they usually happen right after the ceremony, in one or two different photo locations.
Here are 18 wedding party photos to take on your big day.
As Wrisley can attest, nothing beats that classic wedding party group shot with the couple in the middle and the VIPs on either side. The wedding party can either laugh candidly or pose seriously—whichever reaction is most natural!
The Symmetrical Shot
Few wedding party photos are as mesmerizing as the symmetrical shot. This pose plays off of the bridal party colors and the backdrop, seamlessly blending the two for a striking portrait.
Capturing those heartwarming or funny moments among the bridal party is key, and one of the best ways to do this is the “adoring bridesmaids” shot. In this pose, the bridesmaids all gaze over at the bride; the bride can either react to their inevitably silly comments or look straight at the camera.
Photographers love capturing creative perspectives, and that’s where the birds-eye view group photo comes into play. This angle adds an element of artistry to the wedding party photos and can help set the scene, whether it’s a beach, garden, or any destination in between.
Another way to capture those wedding day locks is a peek-behind shot, where the bridal party faces forward with the bride peeking back over her shoulder. This works well with bridesmaids, but can even work with the full wedding party walking away, and the couple both peeking back.
The Big Kiss
A sweet kiss with the couple in the foreground and bridal party in back is another one of Wrisley’s go-to shots. This puts the couple in focus, and symbolizes their best friends and siblings standing behind them for a lifetime to come.
An Editorial Arrangement
The editorial arrangement looks straight out of a magazine, with wedding party members sitting and standing in a more formal pose. As always, the couple is at the center of this pose.
Alternating Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Symmetry is aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. Some photographers love mixing things up, with alternating bridesmaids and groomsmen for a fun mix of hues.
The Friendship Photo
Wedding party photo options run the gamut, but one of the best frames out there is the group posing like they normally would, wedding day or not. This one comes together naturally—the bridesmaids and groomsmen get together as they would in any ordinary setting—and almost always has some laughter or revelry mixed in.
The couple is the focus of any wedding photos, but photographers also love capturing moments that highlight the bridal party’s personality. They usually happen during those “everyone, chat naturally!” group poses; they make for great keepsakes for the bridal party members, too.
The Album Cover
In this fun and silly photo, the wedding party poses like they would for an album cover. Everything from arm-in-the-air stances to the groom carrying the bride may result, creating some lighthearted shots that are sure to make the couple smile.
Whether it’s a bus or boat, capturing the wedding party in transit is another creative and momentous shot. This showcases the true flow of the wedding day—the wedding party going from prep to vows, or vows to the reception—and helps the couple remember how they felt in those beautiful in-between moments.
The Wedding Party Walk
Wrisley loves having the couple walk just a few paces ahead of the bridal party. This walking shot brings elegance and movement to the photo and makes the couple and wedding party look more natural.
At the Altar
If the couple has the entire bridal party up at the altar, you better believe the wedding photographer is capturing those key moments with VIPs. A beautifully symmetrical shot, the bridal party at the altar is one of those frame-worthy photos that couples will forever adore.
The Grand Exit
The moment when the couple leaves the ceremony is the perfect time to capture the wedding party in action. The family and wedding party are the first ones to welcome the couple out the door, which makes for beautiful photos and an equally blissful moment.
A Tunnel of Applause
To take the celebration up a notch, photographers may place the wedding party on either side and have the couple walk—or run—through them. This tunnel of cheering and excitement perfectly encapsulates that wedding-day excitement.
Immediately after the couple ties the knot and exits the ceremony, Wrisley has her camera at the ready to capture the wedding-party bliss. This naturally turns into a walking shot—the couple and bridal party are traveling from point A to point B. And those smiles are rarely if ever forced because, with the reception on the horizon, everyone knows the fun is about to begin.
A Shared Cheers
When the portrait session’s over and the party’s on the horizon, photographers capture the couple and crew in their element—be it sharing a shot or dancing to their favorite tunes. This photo shows the wedding party’s personality perfectly and is sure to elicit laughs even years after the big day.