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planning advice

How to Plan for the Perfect Amount of Wedding Coverage

Can you ever have too many wedding photos? We think not! Your wedding photographer can always edit down, but it’s impossible to recapture moments that have already passed. With wedding coverage, the key is finding the right balance of what to capture throughout your wedding day and into the night. That’s where we come in.

The magic number of hours we suggest? Eight. Plan for eight hours of footage with your wedding photographer or videographer. Of course, it’s important to spread this time somewhat evenly over the course of your wedding. For example, you don’t normally need four hours of reception coverage. Instead, some of this time could be dedicated to family photos, detail photos and other can’t-miss moments.

Most importantly, be sure to plan ahead. To make it easy, take this handy timeline and make it your own. But first, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Speak with your wedding photographer ahead of time to give them a heads up on what you want. Build in extra time for any travel between photo and video locations - especially for city weddings.
  • If you have two photographers or videographers, they can capture separate moments simultaneously to save time (bride/groom prep and cocktail hour/reception details).
  • To save even more time, gather smaller items for those detail shots before the photographer arrives (rings, shoes, jewelry, garter, invitation suite, veil, dress).

Wedding photography timeline:

1. Getting Ready/Details: 30 - 45 minutes (groom); 60 - 90 minutes (bride)

Have your photographer join you in the bridal suite to snap some shots of you and your ‘maids getting ready for the big day! You’ll definitely want these fun moments with your best girls documented.

While you’re getting ready, your photographer will take some detail shots of your wedding invitation, your shoes and accessories and the rings.

Once you’re all dolled up and you’ve given yourselves a good look in the mirror, it’s time to see your soon-to-be bride or groom for your heart-eyed first look (we recommend 30 minutes).

2. Wedding Party: 30 - 60 minutes

You’ll want shots with just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, your best man and maid of honor. And of course, the whole crew!

3. Bride & Groom Portraits: 60 - 90 minutes

Snap a few shots before the ceremony, then sneak away during the reception to capture the magical glow of golden hour.

4. Family Photos: 30 - 45 minutes

To help these photos run more smoothly, give family members a heads up in advance. Tell them where they’ll need to be and when.

5. Ceremony/Ceremony Details: 30 - 60 minutes

Of course, the amount of time allotted for the ceremony will depend on the type. Typically, religious ceremonies tend to be longer than civil ceremonies.

6. Cocktail Hour: 30 - 60 minutes

This is prime time for your wedding photographer to capture some candid shots of your guests mingling with each other!

7. Reception Details: 15 - 30 minutes before guests enter the room

All that pinning finally paid off! You spent so much time putting together the perfect reception table, now’s the time to capture it.

8. Reception: Time will vary

Ask the DJ or caterer to break down the timing and order of the reception events to ensure your wedding photographer is ready to snap these big moments:

  • Grand entrance
  • Cake cutting
  • First dance
  • Dances with parents
  • Speeches
  • Bouquet/garter toss
  • Sendoff/grand exit

Now that your wedding day is all mapped out, all you need to do is live in the moment and let the cameras capture it all.

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