Booking your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make because these images are going to be one of few tangibles you will take into your marriage after the wedding day.
When I am chatting with new couples about which collection they are looking to book with me, the question I get asked most often is: “how many hours do I need for my event?”
The answer to this question greatly varies couple-to-couple, and so my hope is that I can give you some helpful questions to answer so that you know what those variables are for you and can rest assured you are getting what you need as you plan your big day.
1. What do I Want to Remember?
This is the most important question to answer.
There are many moments in a wedding day from you and your bridesmaids getting ready together, your dad seeing you in your dress for the first time, reading a letter from your groom, having your first look, exchanging your vows, cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet, evening toasts, or even a parade around the city.
Not to mention, portrait time in-between with you and your groom, your family, and your wedding party. And while there are some of those things listed above that you may can sacrifice having captured, this is not one of those areas; especially portraits just the two of you.
The point is, how much you want captured greatly determines how many hours you will need.
If you want all of it, from beginning to end with nothing left to the imagination, you are going to want your photographer for 10 hours. If you want most of it, but don’t mind cutting off some of the beginning of the day or having a fake leave at your reception, 8 hours may be sufficient. If you just want a “summary of the day,” 6-7 hours may suit you.
2. How Big is My Event?
If you are having a more intimate celebration with 50-100 people, your photographer will not have near as much to cover in the day as a 250-400 person event.
Bigger events always mean more logistics, therefore, more time needed to capture it all.
Most of my couples with 300+ people will go ahead and get 10 hours, knowing they won’t have to worry about a time pressure with the many other things that will be juggled that day. However, my couples who are having smaller events really do not need this amount of time because the schedule is typically more fluid and less time restrained.
3.What Are the Logistics of My Event?
I have photographed weddings in large cities where there may be a 20-30 minute commute from one location to another during the day. If this is the case, you will need your photographer for more time to give buffer in the schedule.
But there are other logistics that you need to consider such as: is there a bridal brunch that morning that I want photographed? Will we be doing a first look? How long will my ceremony be? Are we having a cocktail hour? Are there traditions taking place that I don’t want missed (dances, toasts, speeches, tosses, etc.)
The most important thing is to leave buffer time in your photography schedule for something/someone running behind and plenty of space to soak it all in. You do not want to feel rushed on one of the most special days of your lives!
I hope this is helpful as you plan your big day!
May it be full of intentionality, beauty, and the beginning of your legacy as a family.