I need inspiration for fun, non-blah wedding party poses!

June 6 |
Wardrobe Malfunction
Photo by Sue Bartholomew Balcom from Matt and Jescia's wedding.
You've featured non-sucky, offbeat, original suggestions for shoes, wedding rings, etc., but I couldn't find a thorough compendium of fun, non-sucky wedding pictures/poses. More specifically, I was looking for inspiration for nice, fun wedding party pictures.

I like the "everyone jumping!" and "everyone running!" poses I've seen all over the web, but I wonder if there is anything even better. You know, like this one with the brides going down the slide. -Aline

I thank you for this question SO HARD. Wedding party photos can be all over the place: some couples reserve a ton of time for this part of the day, and others either can't or don't think about it until it's too late. If they're shot before the ceremony everyone's a little nervous, and if they're shot after everyone's ready to party, so there's a delicate song and dance that must be done before the people getting married, their parties, and the photographer(s) are happy.

HAVING SAID THAT… awesome and fun wedding party photos are totally possible! Here are a few things to keep in mind and the photos to go with:

Be spontaneous

The best part about this was that it wasn't planned — the words "someone pick up Anna!" just kind of flew out of my mouth, and this is what happened:

IMG_0113
Photo by Crimson and Clover Photography.

This one is another that looks totally spontaneous to me — I feel like the photographer was all "We're finished!" so everyone relaxed, and then this moment was captured by W Scott Chester Photography:

Know your friends

Are your friends going to be comfortable doing off the wall stuff like piling up in a heap… or would they really rather just stand in a line, grin, and get it over with? Or are they runners?

RUNNING! The Wedding Cabal

Couldn't you use a BIG HUG on your wedding day? You might remember this photo from this Monday Montage.

The bridal party
Photo by Annabelle Reboli

Play on the traditional

So maybe you guys DO end up all in a line… it doesn't mean your photos have to feel boring for you. What about standing in a line with a little twist:

From our post, Karen's granny-tastic wedding decor will make your heart flutter

Walk and Talk

Never underestimate the potential coolness of the "walk and talk" shot. You can do this with your wedding party, family, or just the two of you:

IMG_1201
Linda and Dave's pseudo-rustic super stylin' wedding.

Spin!

AH I LOVE THIS:

DSC_0171
Rachael and Chris's retro polka-dot cocktail wedding.

Add props

You can also bring PROPS, like Karen and Ian did.

Weapons
Photo by AMB Photo.
n182000398_30069445_1539
Bridesmaids with fans and purple veils.
Pick a Colour … Any Colour …
Krista and Rob's colourful DIYed wedding.

Include inside jokes

I LOVE IT when families and friends want to take a photo or two based on an inside joke they have:

Andrea & Juan's Sonoma wedding
Photo by Megan Finley.
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I was told a lot of their childhood photos include the brother on the far right making the expression he is in this… looking off blankly. So they recreated it! Ha! Photo by Stephanie Kaloi.

PS: If you want even more inspiration browse Offbeat Bride's bridesmaids board on Pinterest.

What tips do you have for taking awesome wedding party photos — and where are the links to photos to back them up?

  1. We ended up with a John Cena "you can't see me" hand motion pose because one of our groomsmen LOVES wrestling

    2 agree
  2. I love this post. I've been struggling with pose ideas. It's like all my creativity is used up by DIY decorations and what not. This has revived me! :D

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  3. I really liked a picture I found somewhere (maybe on OBB?) where the bride and groom are standing still either kissing or looking at each other or something and the rest of the people are running by them in all directions – it was a long exposure, so there were lots of blurry colors form the rest of the people, but they were serene and beautiful in the center of it all.
    Another one I found and liked and recreated is have one of you stand still holding your hand, and the other have a balloon and be jumping without looking like you're TRYING to jump… and it kind of ends up looking like your groom/bride is holding your hand so you don't float away. It worked especially well as a silhouette, honestly, and with me jumping off a hidden bench…

    4 agree
  4. Some great pictures here. I love the pileup on the ground.

    Bringing furniture into the outdoors is also a cool idea. For my photoshoot, my sister brought some vintage chairs that we made use of:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bekanator/5155121180/in/set-72157625355725286

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bekanator/5154514757/in/set-72157625355725286

    We also just went for a walk down this dirt road and our photographer followed us and took random shots:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bekanator/5155089418/in/set-72157625355725286

    1 agrees
    • I love the wedding party carrying you guys! What a good shot.

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  5. Here's my two cents for anyone who cares! I am not a wedding photographer or any kind of photographer for that matter, butttt I know a LOT of them and this is what I think and have found: 1. don't use a "shot list." Instead of handing your photog a list of shots you want, compile a ton of photos that you love– that way they/he/she can know what feel/style you're going for. and while I mention that…2. go for a photog who fits with your vision– pick out those photos you love and find someone whose photos are similar to that! Doing these two things, you can't be disappointed!

    2 agree
  6. My very favorite creative wedding party pose of all time, hands down, was when I had a wedding party pose with props that subtly evoked that cast of "clue" (the bride was Mrs. White, one bridesmaid held peacock feathers for Mrs. Peacock, another with a red boa for Miss Scarlet) which was featured here on Offbeat Bride back in December 2010:

    http://offbeatbride.com/2010/12/new-york-photographers-top-10-favorite-wedding-moments

    However, I recently created a posing guide with 35 ideas and concepts i frequently use when shooting weddings, with different variations for different couples, which you can see on Pinterest here:

    http://pinterest.com/milestoneangie/35-ideas-for-wedding-poses/

    Some other offbeat favorites include the "back to front:"
    http://pinterest.com/pin/237142736599069481/

    "Up in arms"- http://pinterest.com/pin/237142736599069477/

    And a few more variations on running, which was mentioned before, but seen differently than previously shown:

    http://pinterest.com/pin/237142736599069815/

    1 agrees
  7. This was more for the informal pictures with friends, but all night at my wedding I would switch between "The Stephen Colbert" (pointing to the person next to you with wide eyes and a big open happy mouth) and "The Barney Stinson" (straightening your "tie", arching an eyebrow, and looking very GQ). I think my bridesdude and I did a Stinson together.

    2 agree
  8. oh I LOVE the photo of everyone lined up in profile. So quirky but still has a nod to tradition

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  9. As a six-time bridesmaid, I have to say how very, very much I hate jumping for joy in pictures. I've never not been thrilled for my marrying friends. But I'm a chill girl. I might consider jumping for joy if, I don't know, world peace broke out. But for a wedding? Two hours into tramping around in a field wearing four inch heels and having my picture taken? It feels silly and insincere.

    I'm also no fan at all of 'maids being asked to pick up the groom. I have big boobs! Somewhere a wedding photographer, who thought it'd be cute to have the maids line up and hold the groom in a sort of laying on his side position, has a picture of my boobs popping out while my college roommate's ain true love looks up at me in stark horror. That was awesome, let me tell you.

    Once, I scraped the crap out of my legs–thankfully, after the wedding–when my heel got stuck in a fire escape.

    Wedding pictures can be the absolute worst part of being in a wedding. I love every one of the people I've stood up for. But sometimes taking their pictures made me feel crabby and exploited.

    If you want to do a lot of creative poses that involve running, jumping, playing leapfrog, or playing outside in the middle of August, I'd really suggest taking the pictures after you get back from your honeymoon. It can be a fun outing instead of another (sweaty!) task on a busy day when you're all trying really hard not to look like sweaty messes.

    4 agree
    • You are SO right. Post-wedding/day-after sessions are awesome, and lots of couples do them. I've never had any clients that were able to get their entire wedding party together for a post-event session. People live so far from their hometowns these days, and destination weddings are more popular than ever.

      I think the reason people like the jumping shot- and say what you will, but I get asked to shoot this one almost every single time- is because you can get catch some great expressions, and it's different without being TOO different. I think it appeals more to my non-OBB clients, to be honest, though plenty of OBB readers request it, too.

      Is it overdone? Sure. Am I a just little tired of shooting it? Okay… Yes, but it's not about me. I said this in a post over on Offbeat Mama about maternity poses and the "hands in a shape of a heart over the belly" shot. Everyone might do it, but when it's your version, it's meaningful to YOU. Those are YOUR friends and family caught in mid-air. It's YOUR dress frozen in time as it billows with movement.

      Also, the act of jumping loosens people up a bit. I try to do it when people's shoulders start to creep up and their smiles get super stiff. It breaks up the monotony. The act of guiding a group of people through the hot, sweaty, annoying part of the day with grace and humor takes finesse.

      The truth be told, the group photos are almost nobody's favorite part, including mine as the photographer. I much prefer the 80-90% of the day when I can hang back and have photography impose as little on the flow of the day as possible while capturing all the beauty and laughter and tears that naturally emerge. I joke with my clients that they can smile in posed pics because they're imaging my slow painful demise, which almost always gets a genuine laugh/smile, and that my goal is to make all the formal and posed photos be less painful than being poked in the eye with a stick.

      For me, breaking up the monotony with the jumping shots is part of my overall strategy as I try to hit the holy grail of creativity, flattering outcomes, thorough coverage and time efficiency so everyone can get back to the celebration that brought them together in the first place. As fun as I can be, nobody's really there to hang out with me, you know?

      On the other hand, your wedding day is the one day in your life other than your funeral when everyone you love is all together in own place. It's okay to want to make sure you've got shots with all the combinations of nearest and dearest who traveled to be with you, and if there's a way to mix it up a little, to do something just a little different or a lot different, then great. If you wanna jump, jump.

      I'm sorry about your boobs, though. That's traumatic. You should get some sort of bridesmaid purple heart for that.

      0 agree
  10. On of my favorite shots from our wedding was taken of my best friend (and MOH) as we linked arms and skipped across a field to the designated "picture spot". I didn't realize the photographer took it. We're giggling. It came out really cute. It seems like when people do the "jumping" shot, everyone's face is a concentrating-on-not-falling-down-grimace/smile. But people seem to just grin when they skip around!

    1 agrees
  11. Also – why was this posted AFTER my wedding! Dang! All the cool stuff is posted now when I have no need of it! :( Poo!

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  12. We did ours on a playground and they turned out AWESOME.

    1 agrees
  13. OMG! This is great! I've been looking for examples like this for engagement photos (we're doing them tomorrow) and I can't find anything except holding hands while walking on a path or really ridiculous awkward engagement photos. Could y'all do a post on awesome engagement photos?

    1 agrees
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