Ah, the timeline of your wedding day. Once you have the date set and a venue on lock, the photographer is typically the next vendor you book. But with so many offering collections or hourly wedding day coverage, it’s easy to get confused. How many hours should you book your photographer? I have some sample wedding day timelines to share ahead!
In this blog post, I’ll go into detail about how to guesstimate the coverage you need for your wedding day. And since it’s my blog and I can do what I want, I’ll explain the differences between six, eight, and ten hours of coverage – which is exactly what I offer my couples.
Sounds easy, yeah? Just think about it!
Not so much. It’s going to take a little work! Take a look at your Pinterest boards. Scroll through that inspo album on your iPhone. Are you seeing lots of sparkler exit photos? More photos of the wedding party? Lots of portraits in multiple locations? Not so many dancing shots? Take note about what you’ve already considered was “important” and start there!
Some other things to consider:
So now that you have a good idea on what kind of wedding photos are important to you, let’s take a look at some of the typical hourly coverage options from wedding photographers:
Six hours is just enough for most smaller, intimate weddings and elopements that occur at one location. Most couples that choose this base collection decide to skip the “getting ready” photos and have me start right before the ceremony.
It may seem trivial, but those two hours can make a huge difference! This is the amount of coverage most couples contract me for at booking. It’s right in the middle of my hourly offerings, but still gives flexibility as the timeline comes together in the months before the wedding.
Remember, these times are obviously an estimate, and have “padding” built into them. Of course some wedding ceremonies aren’t a full thirty minutes long, but in case of a timeline snag, that buffer allows us to get back on track easily without derailing the entire wedding day timeline.
So it’s settled. You want it all and don’t want to risk missing any moments. I’m here for that! Ten hours gives couples the most opportunities for photo ops without the wedding day feeling like a production. Ten hours of coverage is also recommended if your wedding day has two or more locations between getting-ready, ceremony, and the reception location, and you need time for travel and transportation.
And BONUS! The couple can usually join cocktail hour with a ten hour timeline!
Remember, this isn’t an end-all-be-all when it comes to how many hours you should book your photographer. There are plenty of ways to further customize your wedding day timeline. Some couples like to photograph the family formals before the ceremony, and some don’t want to be responsible for wrangling family members that early in the day. Some prefer to have the first and parent dances during dinner, and some like all the attention on them while they dance. I’ve even had some couples only invite the wedding party for the exit so the party can rage on through the night.
Most wedding photographers are happy to add more hours “a-la-carte” as the timeline starts to come together. Expect to pay more on the day of if you surprise your vendors with a request to work overtime, though.
Your wedding planner or venue coordinator will have plenty of suggestions for you when it comes to your wedding day timeline, so check in with them first. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what your photographer may need, building your wedding day timeline should be a piece of cake!
Looking for more wedding planning tips and tricks? I’ve written a few helpful articles! Click here for more.