1. Make a list.
Even if you're not a natural list maker. It can't hurt to be prepared and you and your photographer will be on the same page. Sit down with your other half, write out a fairly short and decisive list of group photos, give it a week or so and then have another look at it. As soon as you've decided, send it to your wedding photographer, and try and do this in plenty of time before the big day, it's such an easy thing to forget to do.
2. Give the list to your photographer, and at least one person from the wedding party.
I mean no disrespect but there are a lot of people at your wedding that I don't know, I've never met before, and so having names on a list becomes pretty meaningless to me in terms of organisation. I could be standing right next to your Aunt and not have a clue! So give your list to one or two other people, I would recommend people who are in your wedding party (because they'll be expecting to be on hand to help you out), and preferably people with a loud voice who aren't shy.
3. If no one will actually print that photo out, it's a waste of time doing it.
Because the truth is if photos are printed these days it's probably because they're really special, not like with film photography back in the day. Most people in my experience who print group photos are you and your partner, and close (often older) relatives. If a random (and maybe less prominent) guest insists on having a photo with you, chances are they want a photo to keep on their phone or camera anyway (people like taking their own photos at weddings), they don't want a professional photo specifically and a selfie will often do the job.
4. Candid is king, but don't dismiss the more formal group shots.
As much as I am all about the candid natural unposed photos, and if I'm honest I really don't look forward to group photos at all, I know how important they are. Without getting too morbid these are the photos that are so precious as the years go on and some family and friends are no longer alive. They are also a way to be sure you get photos with people you want to get photos with. I can be a fly on the wall all day, and might miss you chatting to one of your friends because unfortunately you only got to chat to her for five minutes. We don't have to spend ages doing them, and the list doesn't have to be a long one, please don't completely avoid group shots.
5. Group photos of friends don't have to be "formal" shots.
In fact I think it's often better and more fun photos with your mates when you're possibly on the dance floor, probably after having a drink or two and everyone is more relaxed and having fun, which lets face it is a great way to remember spending time with your friends on your wedding day, rather than "Oh yeah I remember that, that's when we had to have a group photo with our friends after taking loads of group photos already. Everyone was starting to get bored and Claire took ages to get her butt over to us because she was grabbing something from her car and so we lost track of her..."
6. Doing group photos will probably take longer than you think they will.
I learned this really early on in my career. Mainly because most people don't like doing group photos and no one wants to be bossed around on a wedding day so guests take longer than normal to do anything on time. They want to have fun, they want to chat with family and friends, they want to go and get a drink and be able to go to the bathroom whenever they like! If it takes less than an hour, result! You can just chill and spend quality time with your guests before the next section of the day.
I hope you found this helpful and happy wedding planning!
If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, feel free to get in touch.