Gorgeous pictures of you and your partner at your wedding are a must, but the big day is also a chance to catch some wedding party photos. Bridesmaids photos and pictures of wedding attendants are an important part of any wedding album.
But with so many parties involved, it can be hard to know where to begin, especially if there are tons of decisions to make like:
Do we do mostly group photos or individual shots? Should I have everyone match, or let them decide? What type of photos do I want?
We’ve put together this guide to help you answer those questions and get the best shots of you and your wedding crew with:
You’ll be able to navigate the photoshoots and get back to the reception before you can say “1, 2, 3, cheese.”
Your wedding party is full of important relationships, whether it’s the siblings you grew up with, or members of the found family you formed later in life. While your nuptials will always be the star of the show, your people are there right alongside you the whole way. As such, they deserve to have a place of prominence in your wedding photography sessions. After all, you wouldn’t want to find out after the honeymoon that there are no good shots of you and your maid of honor.
So how do you make sure there are flawless photos of all your bridesmaids and attendants? Here are some tricks to keep up your sleeves while laying out a plan of action after choosing your wedding photographer:
Have a Backup Plan for Inclement Weather: If you’re planning on having outdoor photoshoots, make sure there’s an indoor location that can accommodate the whole party in case of showers.
Take Pictures With Kids First: Maybe your cherubic niece is a bridesmaid, or you want to include your matron of honor’s adorable toddler in the shots. Since children have short attention spans, make sure you take those photos first.
Make a Shots List: If you have different subgroups in your wedding party (the college pals, the BFFs since pre-school, etc), you’ll probably want separate photos with them. Compile a wedding photo shot list of every shot you want and go over it with your photographer beforehand. Include any special photo ideas you want to try here.
Build in Time for Photos: You may think a few photos should only take a couple of seconds, but you’re better off penciling in a decent block of time for photoshoots on your wedding schedule. Rushed pictures don’t usually turn out well, so scheduling plenty of time for your photoshoots will mean you don’t have to squeeze them in right before the reception.
Keep an Emergency Supply for Touch-ups Nearby: Weddings are emotional for a lot of people, and a few happy tears are far from out of the ordinary. Keep a stock of tissues and makeup around, so you can repair the damage before photos.
Find the Right Photographer: The right photographer is someone who gets you and your partner’s vision for your wedding and can bring that vision to life. It’s also someone who can put you and your wedding party at ease, particularly if anyone is feeling camera shy.
This can be a tricky process, but if you’re having trouble, Zola can help you out with a list of our recommended pre-screened photographers. We make it easier for you to find “the one” by sorting through filters for photography styles and formats.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared for all the usual road bumps that might come your way during a wedding photoshoot.
Armed with your bag of tips and tricks, now you can start planning the details of unique photoshoot ideas for your wedding party. Will it be formal or casual? Silly shots or elegant serenity at all times?
Setting a clear plan for the kind of shots you want with your photographer will help the whole process go faster and more smoothly. If they know what you want, your photographers will be able to do their jobs better. All you’ll need to do is relax, smile, and enjoy the moment.
To help you get started brainstorming, we’ve put together this list of wedding attendants and bridesmaids photo ideas.
This classic picture is a favorite with wedding photographers and couples everywhere because it’s simple and effective. Not only can you make sure everyone’s included with the group shot, but it’s also a chance to show off coordinated wedding party outfits.
The group photo can be formal and posed or more candid and laid-back. Expressions or body language will convey the tone.
Traditional iterations of this shot include lining up your attendants on either side, with you at the center. If your bridesmaids are wearing gowns in similar shades, arrange them from dark to light for an ombre effect.
For those looking for sweet bride and bridesmaids photo ideas, capture the moments of downtime you have together before you need to hit the aisle. Bonus points if you got everyone matching outfits to relax in before they get dressed up.
Some examples of creative wedding attendant uniforms include:
Matching bathrobes with everyone’s role in the wedding party on the back. Silk, terrycloth, and Turkish cotton are popular bathrobe options. Make sure you have a special one for you and your person of honor!
For the athleisure crowd, velour tracksuits are a fun alternative to bathrobes. Bedazzle them on the back with rhinestones or glitter.
Monogrammed pajamas will look great in the photos, but also double as lovely thank you gifts for your attendants.
For the fashion-forward nearlywed, picking out matching jumpsuits or rompers will give your attendants a fun outfit to wear to Sunday brunches.
Shorts and T-shirts or tanks are excellent casual options that can be easily customized for a wedding party. You could even make tie-dyeing them a part of the bachelorette activities and wear them on the day of.
Clothes are made to be admired on and off the rack. You’ll get plenty of pictures of everyone all dressed up, but if you have a lovely set of colorful outfits, why not make them a part of the backdrop while they’re still on the hangers?
You can really get creative with how you position matching dresses and suits in the background:
Weddings are so joyful, it makes some couples want to dance in the street—and that could be the perfect setup for amazing wedding photos. Find a safe area like the sidewalk in front of your ceremony or reception venue, put on some music, and have a wedding dance party in the streets with your bridesmaids for a fun, celebratory candid series. Have some wedding attendants throw confetti to add dimension and color to the shots. You’ll be able to turn those pictures into beautiful keepsakes easily using tools such as Zola’s Album Wizard tool. It’s elegant, easy to use, and best of all, free.
You’ll want a few individual shots with some of your wedding party outside of the group photo, and what better time than when they’re partaking in bridesmaid duties? Make sure your photographer gets a few candid pictures of your attendants assisting you on your big day.
Ideas of bridesmaid activities that would make for great photography include:
So you’ve tried the classic lineup photo and it just feels too stiff and awkward? Change things up and add some action into the shot to help everyone loosen up. For a sweeter, more traditional look, have your attendants link arms and walk forward together, looking right at the camera.
If you want to go for a cooler, more cinematic look, position your attendants a step behind you and then have everyone do their best slow-mo walk off. Look in different directions, and do silly things like shake your hair in the wind or blow kisses. Laughing about it together will not only help everyone relax, but also look beautiful on camera.
Props are a unique way to spice up any group photoshoots with humor and personality. Does your reception have a photobooth set up for guests? Temporarily commandeer all the oversized glasses, top hats, and stick mustaches for your attendants.
Check out the following for more fabulous prop ideas:
Play around with the gorgeous bouquets. Use them to hide your faces or strike dramatic poses that’ll make you all laugh.
Pose everyone around a long chaise or couch while you lounge out in all your wedding day glory.
If you have a long, sheer veil, gather a few bridesmaids underneath it for a playful shot.
Add balloons for a whimsical pop of color.
Give all of your attendants a mini chalkboard. Jot down marital-themed idioms, or write how each person met you for a hint of nostalgia.
Hand out pastel-colored polaroids and get meta by having your photographer take pictures of you taking pictures of each other.
Need some gorgeous props for your bridesmaid shots or the reception photo booth? Zola has you covered. Check out Zola’s boutique for all things wedding—including wedding photo booth props. You’ll find everything you need from decorations to bridesmaid robes.
Add some movement in your wedding photos by getting everyone to jump as high as they can so the camera can catch you all in midair. Airborne shots can infuse some lighthearted fun and adventure into the photo, and jumping around is sure to help everyone relax in front of the photographer.
Getting a good jump shot may take a couple tries to get right, but try not to overdo it. You wouldn’t want to work up a sweat before you walk down the aisle.
Not all the photos of your attendants need to be shots of their faces. As more and more weddings stray away from putting all their bridesmaids in the same dress, they’ve found other ways to show off their part in the wedding.
Zoom in on any similar elements between your wedding party. For example:
Have your bridesmaids lift their skirts to show off matching shoes.
Form a circle with their bouquets and ask your photographer to take an overhead shot.
Hand everyone a glass of Champagne, and take a snapshot of the glasses clinking together—this is perfect if your bridesmaids are having matching manicures or if you’ve given each of them a thoughtful bridesmaid bracelet.
The process of getting ready can make for great photography, particularly if you want to lean into the comedic angle. The whole party may be picture perfect and serene by the time the ceremony starts, but let the camera in behind the scenes.
Embrace the chaos of cramming everyone in one dressing room and give yourselves the chance to laugh and joke together. Make liberal use of any props and have fun with it.
Examples of hilarious elements to throw into your photos include:
The funny expressions one makes while putting on makeup, such as puckered lips and wide, goldfish eyes.
Glimpses of shapewear or corsets
Bridesmaids posing with their hair in big rollers
Individuals wielding curling irons, straighteners, mascara wands, or lipstick
Someone sneaking an extra drink straight from the Champagne bottle in the background
This photo is a cheeky nod to friend groups who love their Sunday brunch mimosas and book club nights with wine. Sneak down to the hotel bar and partake in some liquid courage with your photographer in tow. Frame the picture from the back as you all perfectly time your shot together.
If there’s a bar cart in the dressing room, take a break and gather around. You’ll get great pictures of everyone raising a glass to the next chapter of your life.
If there’s a group full of your ride-or-dies with you on your wedding day, then you’ve got the makings of a power pose posse.
Showcase their individual personalities by striking their own power stances.
Spread everyone else out around you and have them face in different directions.
Position everyone on some steps or an outdoor stoop. Have some crouching while others stand to add some visual interest to the shot.
Pair off some of your attendants and have them stand back-to-back with playful finger guns.
Encourage a range of expressions, from smirking to stoic—whatever feels natural or right.
This type of picture is a fantastic way of showing that this is a group that’s always got your back.
If either you or your partner come from a Chinese background, your wedding party may partake in pre-wedding customs such as the chuangmen. Chuangmen, or door games, traditionally involves the groom getting past a battalion of bridesmaids guarding the door to his bride. The groom needs to pass a series of tests in order to prove his worthiness. It’s also a perfect time to grab candids of your bridesmaids.
Modern interpretations of door games include:
The Four Flavors of Life: Marriage (and life) will be full of moments that are sweet, sour, bitter, or spicy. Have your partner do a blind taste test of food and drinks that represent this traditional view.
Tests of Pain: To show that your spouse-to-be will move mountains for you, set them tasks of strength and endurance. Sit-ups and push-ups are popular options.
Q&A: How well does your SO know you? When confronted by some of your closest friends, there may be some trivia that might stump even them.
Red Envelopes: This traditional test involves presenting the door guardians with hongbao, or red packets with money. Even bridesmaids aren’t above a little bribery.
Door games are a lighthearted and fun custom where your attendants will play key roles. Make sure your photographer captures the hilarious interactions between your bridesmaids and your partner.
Some people like to kick off the morning of their big day with some celebratory champagne. A bottle of bubbly is a festive prop, and you’ll be able to sip on something fizzy as you get ready.
Gather your wedding party around you with some empty flutes and make sure the camera’s ready for the big bottle pop.
Once you’re done putting the finishing touches on your wedding ensemble, have someone gather all your attendants and the camera as you step out. You won’t want to miss their reactions as they get their first full look at you before you hit the aisle.
Discuss with your photographer beforehand if there are certain angles you prefer for this shot. For example, if they’re positioned behind you, you can get a lovely shot of the back of your dress and veil, but keep the focus on your bridesmaids. Their beaming expressions of pride, awe, and tears will be crystal clear.
Gather your bridesmaids around you and arm them with baskets of flower petals or confetti. Coordinate with your photographer, so they can capture the timed toss on camera. You’ll love the way the colorful petals look as they flutter by all those happy, upturned faces.
If you’re holding a destination wedding at a stunning location, take advantage of the stupendous backdrops for your photoshoots. A change in scenery will help you remember just how special and scenic the day was.
If there are photogenic spots that didn’t make the final cut in the photos with your partner, put them to use for your attendants’ photoshoots.
Examples of prime photoshoot locations include:
For a cute interactive shot, organize your attendants on either side with their arms outstretched to form a tunnel for you to walk under. Their color-coordinated outfits will create the perfect backdrop for your exit.
You can achieve the same effect with some extra flair if you also provide them with:
Your wedding is a day full of big events and powerful emotions—and not just with your partner. Your attendants will stand by you as you make your vows and dance with you late into the night. There are bound to be lots of precious memories you’ll want to preserve, so you can look back on them and smile.
Zola can help you every step of the way, from finding a photographer to turning your wedding photos into a beautiful album. We’ve got all the best advice on how to design the ultimate wedding photobook and more. If you’d like a special layout just for your bridesmaids, it’s easy to rearrange the photos to get the design you want.
Select from our classic, premier, or deluxe packages for the right one for you. With style options that are laid-back, minimalist, or all-out luxurious, you never have to settle for less than perfect at Zola.