Hey friends! If you’ve inquired with a wedding photographer, you know that one of the most common questions we ask you is, “How many hours of coverage do you need?” Although it’s a good question, it kind of sets you up for failure because how the heck are you supposed to know?
Chances are, this is the first time you’re planning an event of this magnitude, so it’s perfectly okay NOT to know how many hours you’ll want your wedding photographer there to ensure they get all of the important goodness! It is necessary, however, for your photographer to know, because it’s how most of us create our packages and pricing. The more hours we work, the higher the cost. Makes sense, right?
I’m here to help! Based on my experience, here is a generic 8 hour wedding day timeline that gives each part of the day the appropriate time, and what I’ve seen work the best.
Now, there are a few things I assumed to create this timeline for you:
1. The ceremony start time is 4:30pm. I always start with the ceremony start time and create the rest of the timeline around it. if your ceremony starts at a different time, simply set that and slide everything forward or backward accordingly.
2. You’re having a first look. If you’re not having a first look, every photo with you and your groom in it will need to be moved to the cocktail hour, and your cocktail “hour” may need to be a little longer than the given time. This also means that you may not need me to start as early, and you can shift my time to be there farther into the reception.
3. All of the events are happening in the same place. If you’re getting ready at hotel, getting married at a church, and then having your reception at a wedding venue for example, add lots of buffer time for driving.
4. I’ve left out all the extras. There is plenty of time for a first look with your dad, or something special during your reception that can be added in and customized to your wedding day!
5. You’re hiring your photographer for 8 hours. My 8 hour package is my most popular, and rightfully so, because it allows me to capture the most important parts of your day without any rush or time crunch. You will need more hours added if you’re having a grand exit you’d like photographed, or if there are events happening in different locations. I have a 10 hour package for this reason. You will need less time if you are willing to sacrifice either the front or the back end of the timeline. I have a 6 hour package, but I always warn my clients that they will either not have any getting ready photos/details, OR I won’t be there for the majority of the reception.
At the end of the day, I am here to serve YOU and what you want for your wedding day! I want to help set you up for a stress-free day, and having a solid timeline will do just that! I hope this helps as you start the planning process of your special day!