To me, formal posed wedding pictures are important. Yes, that is the one where the faces of family members can be clearly seen and well recorded. These are great family record of the wedding for years to come.
No! Formal pose does not have to be pictures of families standing uncomfortably in a line or very posed and unnatural bride and groom. A good photographer will put the group at ease, work quickly and ensure the poses are natural, with pleasant smiles.
To make sure a quick, smooth and organized formal photo session, it is a good idea for the bride and groom to make a specific list of all of the family groups they would like to have photos taken. This not only assist the photographer, but also helps the family sort out exactly what their formal photography needs are. I find it extremely helpful to clearly inform all family members the place and time to gather for formals, during the rehearsal night.
Formal posed pictures usually include various combination of the bride, groom, immediate family members, and wedding party members. Posed formals may even include extended family members and close friends.
Posed formals are taken either before or after the ceremony. Most of the time, they are taken immediately after the ceremony. Sometimes, the couple and family will decide to do these photos before the ceremony so they can enjoy the day (ceremony to reception) without any more interruptions for posed formals. This is typically done least 1.5 to 2 hours before the ceremony.
A quick set of formal group pictures takes only 20 to 30 minutes. After that, a separate and less formal photo session of the bride and groom and their wedding party may be followed (this will take about 1 hour). Make sure sufficient time is allocated for a relax, fun, no-rushed portrait session.