2. Make Sure You Have a List The first step into making sure your group photos run smoothly is to agree a list of photos with your wedding photographer beforehand. Your photographer can guide you as to how long he thinks it will take and advise you if you have missed anything. If you are pressed for time in your wedding schedule the best way to make sure you run to time is to not have too many small variations in your list, or combine related shots into one larger group. For example, shoot bridesmaids and ushers as one group instead of photographing them separately. I always bring two or three hard copies if the list to each wedding. One for me and another for whoever is helping me round people up.
3. Start with large groups and gradually send people away It's usually best to start off with the largest groups as people are easier to round up just after the ceremony, and less likely to have wandered off. Also guests tend to be smartest early on in the wedding, and loosen ties and take off jackets as the day goes on. Things like that can be hard to spot in a group of 120 people! Whittle the groups down so that immediate family and closest friends are last, as they are usually the most invested in having photos taken with you.
4. Ushers and Bridesmaids are Best for Rounding People Up I like to have someone to gather up the next group of guest while I am concentrating on the current shot. Ideally this should be someone who knows who most of the guests are. So if I say I need Auntie Mavis for the next photo, someone who knows what she looks like can go and fetch her. That's why it is best to get an usher or bridesmaid to be the shot wrangler, it makes things a lot quicker.
5. Keep your Shooting Location close to the Wedding Guests This can be a real time saver. If the groups are shot even two minutes from where everyone is gathering it will take a minimum of four minutes to find that missing person or go and get a missing bouquet. This time can really add up if you are shooting 20 groups. Always make sure that your shooting location makes logistical sense as well as being nice to look at
6. Make sure you have a plan for bad weather If you are unlucky and it rains on your wedding day, having a contingency plan will worth its weight in gold. You might be able to use an indoor space or have a decent supply of umbrellas, but having a plan will put your mind at ease. Nothing guarantees that it won't rain on your wedding day like buying half a dozen white umbrellas!