You started your wedding planning and having the perfect photographer but you need to decide what is the right package for your wedding day? Do you want photos of the entire day? From getting ready until your sparkler exit at the end of the night? Do you care about all the late night dancing? So many questions, but we have answers.

Every wedding and every couple is different and the amount of time you need will depend on a number of things. Here are a few things to think about, and hopefully make your decision easier.

When you book your wedding photographer they work your entire day without breaks. If you decide on 8 hours of coverage, your photographer will be taking photos that entire time.

What does Half day or full day coverage mean?

When you are looking at different package options you will see things like “half day coverage” or “full day coverage”.” These can vary based on the photographer. We consider full day coverage 12 plus hours. but, make sure you get some clarification on this end. (the example below is for full day coverage)

No two weddings are the same, but they can usually be broken up into getting ready, first look, ceremony, family portraits and the reception. Here’s an example of a full wedding day timeline.


If you are looking at the above examples, here are a few issues and things you should think about

  • Bride should put her dress on earlier. This will hopefully speed up the hair and makeup process, and make sure you have time to relax and enjoy getting ready with your bridesmaids

  • The first look with the Father of the bride is too close to the start of the ceremony. Are the getting ready and ceremony in different locations? There is not enough time to transition between taking photos and setting up at the ceremony for the photographer and videographer

  • You need to allocate more time for family photos. These are notorious for running long, and having additional time is always beneficial. Plus, if you finish earlier, you will have more time to interact, and get some more wedding party photos

  • I would always recommend allocating more time for dinner just to make sure everybody gets food, and is seated and ready for the cake cut and toasts.

  • Sparkler exits are fine at the end of the night, but you want to make sure that everyone you want to be part is there. Do you have grandparents or family that won’t stay at the wedding until 11? There is nothing wrong with doing a faux sparkler exit with everyone in attendance. You can do this right before dancing started, and everyone would be happy to participate and be part. Nobody will know, and I wont tell anyone.

Getting Ready

The time can vary, but a safe bet is to schedule about 90 minutes for the bridesmaids to get ready, and about 3 hours for the bride. This can depend on if you have one person doing hair and makeup? two people?

Hair and Makeup usually takes longer than people think, so it’s always a good idea to schedule some additional time so it doesn’t affect the rest of the day, and you are playing catch up.

The First Look

If you decide to do a first look, this is going to happen about 30-60 minutes before the ceremony. This will give you time to have a special moment together, and take some couples portraits. This is the perfect time for you to breathe and take in the day together. You wont get a lot of time together, so take advantage of this. Some brides are deciding to wait on the first look, and do a first look with their bridesmaids. Either way, you should prepare to have time to enjoy the moment before the ceremony.


The Ceremony

The length of the ceremony can vary greatly. Are you having a catholic ceremony? Indian ceremony? Traditional ceremony? These often run behind, so make sure you have some additional time scheduled for them to run a little bit behind.


Post-Ceremony Family Portraits

After the ceremony is over, most of the guests will head to cocktail hour, and allow the couple, wedding party, and all of the family to chat and take those amazing family photos. How big of a family do you have? I have seen couples that have to get through 200 + photos with family, and still want to get some time to go outside and take pics with the bridal party.

If all of the wedding portraits will be taken after the ceremony, allocating about two hours for those images to be taken. Getting everyone together, posing everyone, and getting the perfect pic takes time.

If you were able to sneak in some portraits before the ceremony, an hour should be enough time.

The Reception

How much of the reception do you want your photographer and videographer to be present for. Traditionally we cover all the grand entrances, first dance, parents dances, toasts, cutting the cake, and some dancing. You don’t need your photographer to stay until you shut the venue down.

Stay in conversation with your photographer

Communication is key. Make sure your photographer and videographer know what is important to you throughout the day. This will help you allocate the perfect amount of time to getting everything covered.

Check out a few wedding packages to help make your decision even easier.


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Blog Post: What to Look for in a Wedding Venue

Blog Post: The Essential Questions You Should Ask a Potential Venue


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