One of our most frequently asked questions is: how long should I book my wedding photographer for? I want to make sure all the "KEY" moments are booked. I only want a few hours coverage. If this sounds like you then hopefully we can address these questions.
What do you want covered?
First, you need to decide what important details you want covered? Maybe you have someone special helping you get ready. Have you booked a special getting ready place. There are lots of factors to consider. Do you want a lot of getting ready shots prior to the ceremony? or just a few? Do you want us to stay for the entire reception? or just for the most impactful moments (dances, cake cut etc).
These details will affect the length of time you will need us there. If you want us to stay until your reception exit and you want a lot of candid, getting ready shots, lots of couples portraits, you will need full day coverage (minimum 12 hours). If you just need a few getting ready shot, that will knock sometime off. If you want us to stay for just the main events in reception and not till the last guest leaves, then this will drastically shorten your package.
Timing plays a part in making this decision as well. For example if your ceremony is at 2 pm and you want us to stay late at the ceremony. If were starting getting ready photos at noon we would go till midnight for a 12 hour package. If your ceremony was at say 5pm and you wanted getting ready photos 3 to 11 would likely suffice which means an 8 hour package is plenty. You can see how your timing can drastically affect a timeline.
Next, you need to think about how long of a ceremony you will have. For a Catholic wedding, the ceremonies tend to be longer, therefore, you will need to allot more time for that. If you want us to cover your getting ready, ceremony, portraits, receptions I suggest minimum 10 hours to ensure we can adequately cover everything. If you have a shorter ceremony you wont need to take out as much time from your schedule. Message me to discuss if you're not sure what your best options are.
Another area to think about is location. If you have a shorter ceremony and your reception is at the same venue as your ceremony, then you wouldn't need as much time for transfer. (On a golf course there is some transfer form location to location within the property). Something like this 7 to 9. hours would be perfect depending on your family and portraits, group shots etc.
On the same note if your reception is at a different venue, you will need to included travel time into your timeline planning. Also incorporate the amount of time it takes to pack up all of your stuff from getting ready location, and from ceremony if you have stuff to transfer and move to reception hall. If you are going to take photos along the drive to reception, More time will need to be added for that as well.
Formal Photo Requirements
For formal photos, you have to consider how many people are in your wedding party, how many people are going to be in your family photos. If you have a smaller wedding party and smaller family and done at the same place obviously the time needed would be less. If you have a larger family and larger wedding party you will want a couple of hours to complete your requests.
There are other time killers that add extra time to your wedding. They are amazing to have captured but can be challenge at times depending your family and friends, venue etc. Photos of your receiving line as people greet you and your family. Large group shots of everyone who has attended your wedding, big shot of both of your entire families etc. Be mindful that big group shots can take an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Receiving line depends on when it's done and how many guests attended your wedding. If you are planning sunset photos during the summer months you will need full day coverage to ensure we get the right time of day. Another big one is taking photos of bride and group with each table at reception when you have a lot of guests.
Please reach out and message me if you need help planning this portion.
Bride and Groom Farewell
If you are planning a special exit from your reception, Like a sparkler send off you will need to have full day coverage. This ensures we can pull you out at the right time and that it gets dark enough to see the sparklers. Trying to set up sparkler send offs can be very time consuming. Particularly with later send offs.
Some weddings can be covered in just a few hours. Elopements are short and sweet usually involve a an officiant ,bride, groom, a witness, and a few guests. Sometime elopement brides request to have getting ready photos and that would require closer to 4 or 5 hours coverage. Elopements do not require the same lengthy timelines but still do require a substantial amount of prep. They allow you to plan more time for your couples portraits. You will still need to factor in any additional time for travelling to multiple locations. Most elopements involve a very small reception and do not require reception coverage for example (no dancing). and may a sit down dinner at a restaurant or special venue, this could all be covered in 3 to 4 hours.