One of our most frequently asked questions is: How long should I book my wedding photographer and videographer for? This is a great question, and I’m here to help you find the answer!
I’d love to get your creative juices flowing and ask you questions to help you think about what your answer would be! I recognize that every wedding is extremely personal so consider this post a starting point for you!
What do you want covered?
First, you need to decide what important details you want covered. Do you want a lot of getting ready shots prior to the ceremony? Do you want us to stay for the entire reception? These details will affect the length of time you will need us there. I always tell people that you don’t need me at the VERY beginning of your day but ideally during your makeup application. Often makeup artists will leave the bride’s makeup for last. If it’s important to you, then leave time for photos of your dress, invitation, rings etc. and then let me take photos of you getting your mascara or lipstick on! That way you look like you’re “getting ready” but you’re already mostly ready! If you want us to stay for just the main events in the reception and not until the last guest leaves, then this will also shorten the day. By deciding on a start and/or end time, this is the first step to booking your package.
Tip: Sometimes it helps to start backwards! Like if you know you want the first dance covered and you know it’s at 8pm then work backwards from that!
Next, you need to think about the ceremony length. For a Catholic wedding, the ceremonies tend to be longer, so you will need to allot more time for that. If you want us to cover you getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception, I suggest 10 hours for Catholic weddings. If you have a shorter ceremony, you won’t need to take out as much time from your schedule.
Now let’s talk about location. If you have a shorter ceremony and your reception is at the same venue as your ceremony, then you won’t need as much time because you can take out travel time. I would say something like this would be good for 8-10 hours, depending on the formal photos.
On that same note, if your reception is at a different venue, you will need to include travel time into your schedule. Also incorporate the amount of time it takes to pack up all of your stuff to take to the reception. If you are going to take photos along the drive to the 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 bridal party, and how many people are going to be in your family photos. If you have a small bridal party and a small number of family members having photos done, (and you’re at the same location the whole time), then less hours will suffice. If you have a larger family or bridal party, you will need closer to 10 hours.
Leave time for photos and video of just you as a couple during this time! These video clips and photos are timeless!
What I really need is for you to see me through your screen when I say this–having video of your speeches is soooo important! Those people in your life that you have asked to give a speech at your wedding have put time and effort into crafting their thoughts into words for your special day. You’ll always have that person that just wings it but chances are, they are speaking from the heart too! In the moment you’ll hear them and you’ll think it was beautiful but you won’t remember what they said! As soon as I got my video back from my wedding the FIRST thing I did was listen and watch the speeches again! Can I possibly stress how much I appreciate having them to listen to again and again? No, but I tried!
When I looked for the right example of this I instantly thought of a mother of the groom’s speech that started this wedding film off just right!
This is another fun example of the way that the bride’s father’s speech made the whole room laugh!
End of Coverage
Tip: You don’t have to wait till the end of the night to have your guests go outside with sparklers! In this fun example the DJ announced that we were going outside for sparkler photos and then after capturing these moments the guests went back in and danced some more!
Bonus Tip: Your guests will be the most excited about dancing for the first 30-60 minutes that the DJ opens the dance floor. After that the photos and video will get somewhat repetitive. So unless you really want me to stay the whole night (which I’m willing to do!) then time it so I’m there for at least 30 minutes of the partying!
Yay!! Congrats! You made it to the end of my thoughts on the coverage needed for your big day! Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Jennifer, lover of all things wedding!
P.s. Our packages start at 8 hours, the average bride books 10 hours and we offer up to 12 hours. Contact us for package details!