Wedding Photography Coverage

Wedding Photography Hours

“How many hours of coverage do we need?” As a wedding photographer, this is a question i get asked often. If this is your first experience with planning a wedding or getting married, this is a GOOD question to ask. We want to make sure all of the important parts of your day are covered. We have created this blog post for you and we hope it is a helpful tool to use while you plan.

The goal is to help make things easier and stress-free for you. In this post, we’ll be sharing some helpful information that will help you determine how many wedding photography hours you need for your wedding day coverage.

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Eight hours of wedding photography is the most popular amount of coverage and will cover most wedding days from start to finish.

Bride and Groom looking at each other in photo.

Three Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage

If you plan on having a short ceremony, intimate dinner, and no reception after, we recommend at least three hours of wedding day photography coverage for elopements. Here are a few situations when 3 hours of wedding photography coverage will work great!

  • Short ceremony, ten minutes to half an hour long
  • 20 guests or fewer (20-50 guests is a micro wedding and will need a little bit more than elopements)
  • You donโ€™t plan on having a reception/celebration after

Sample 3-Hour Wedding Photography Elopement Timeline

2:30 Getting Ready Photos + a few details

3:30 Ceremony Details, Guest Arriving

4:00 Wedding Ceremony

4:15 Family and Couple Portraits

5:15 Grand Entrance + First Dance

5:00 Dinner + Photograph Cake Table

5:30 Photographer Departs

6:00 Dinner Ends

Retro inspired wedding cake.

Six Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage

Unless you are eloping or having an intimate dinner instead of a wedding reception, we recommend at least six hours of wedding day photography coverage. Here are a few situations when 6 hours of wedding photography coverage will work great!

  • Your ceremony and reception are in the same location
  • You donโ€™t want getting-ready photos
  • You donโ€™t have a special reception exit planned and donโ€™t need a lot of dancing photos

Sample 6-Hour Wedding Photography Timeline (limited dancing photos/no special exit)

2:00 Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready + Details ( wedding dress, invitation, jewelry, etc.)

3:00 Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready

3:30 Ceremony Details, Guest Arriving

4:00 Wedding Ceremony

4:30 Family and Couple Portraits

5:30 Reception and Grand Entrance

5:35 First Dance and Parent Dances

5:45 Toasts

6:00 Dinner

7:00 Open Dancing

7:15 Cake Cutting

7:30 Bouquet and Garter Toss

8:00 Photographer Departs

10:00 Reception Ends

A sample 6-hour wedding photography timeline with no getting-ready photos would mean that we could stay later, getting more candid dancing photos. Hypothetically, until 10, capturing more dancing photos and your special exit if you prefer.

Black and white picture of a bride and groom.

Eight Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage

Eight hours of wedding photography is the most popular amount of coverage and will cover most wedding days from start to finish. Here are a few situations when 8 hours of wedding photography coverage will probably be needed!

  • Your ceremony and reception are in different locations
  • You don’t want to do a first look
  • You want getting-ready photos, dancing photos, and a planned exit

Sample 8-Hour Traditional Wedding Photography Timeline

2:00 Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready + Details ( wedding dress, invitation, jewelry, etc.)

3:00 Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready

3:30 Ceremony Details, Guest Arriving

4:00 Wedding Ceremony

4:30 Family and Couple Portraits

5:30 Reception and Grand Entrance

5:35 First Dance and Parent Dances

5:45 Toasts

6:15 Dinner

7:15 Open Dancing

8:00 Cake Cutting

8:15 Bouquet and Garter Toss

8:30 Open Dancing

10:00 Special Exit

10:00 Reception Ends and Photographer Departs

A sample 8-hour wedding photography timeline with a first look is slightly different at the start of the day. Your photographer would arrive one hour earlier when looking at the above timeline and the times would change a little but stay pretty close to what they are above or on your timeline.

Wedding ring flat lay photo

Ten Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage

In some situations, 8 hours of wedding photography might not be enough to capture your wedding day. Here are a few situations when you might need 10 hours of wedding photography coverage, or maybe even more.

  • You have a gap of time between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception (church weddings, longer ceremony)
  • A large number of guests, with a receiving line, or table visits
  • Two ceremonies

Sample 10-Hour Traditional Wedding Photography Timeline

10:30 Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready + Details ( wedding dress, invitation, jewelry, etc.)

12:00 Wedding Ceremony

1:00 Family and Couple Portraits

2:00 Optional Break or Extended Couple Portraits at another location

3:00 Cocktail Hour

4:00 Reception Grand Entrance

4:15 First Dance and Parent Dances

4:30 Toasts

5:30 Dinner

6:30 Open Dancing

8:00 Cake Cutting

8:10 Bouquet and Garter Toss

8:30 Photographer Departs

9:00 Reception Ends

A Sample 10-Hour, Two Ceremony Wedding Photography Timeline would include, for example, the morning ‘tea’ at 10:00 am, a Break at 12:00 pm, and the times would be slightly adjusted to make time for both of the ceremonies.

Are you looking for a wedding planner or day-of-wedding coordinator? @martinezbrownevents is one of our preferred vendors who can help you out. The whole team is amazing and committed to helping.

You can download our 12-month wedding-planning checklist by clicking here!

We hope this is helpful.

Thanks for reading,

-Charity

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