Hello & Welcome!
This is one of the most common questions that almost every couple has when they are choosing their wedding photographer. The answer is... There is no right answer! Every single wedding is unique, so each couple is going to want to incorporate different elements for their special day. The amount of coverage needed will depend on the outline of your day. So here are a few helpful tips to consider when you're planning out your wedding day.
It is very important to understand that photography coverage is continuous, and not a pick & choose deal. From the moment your photographer arrives they will be documenting everything until they leave at the end of the night. This also includes travel time between locations, so just remember that when you're deciding about having multiple getting ready places, or if the ceremony and reception are at different locations. Each wedding is different from the next, and the beautiful thing is the freedom you have to plan your most perfect day. Below you will find some of my recommendations for a few of the most common elements of the wedding day. Just remember to communicate to your photographer the vision of your wedding day so they can help suggest a proper amount of hours.
+ Getting Ready Photos+
If you're only going to have 1 photographer for the entire day then I would definitely suggest allocating at least 1.5-2 hours. Then this will give your photographer time to capture all the detail shots, girls getting ready, guys getting ready, you putting your dress on, and any kind of candids. If you're going to have 2 photographers then 1-1.5 hours would be a good amount of time. The second shooter will be sent to document the beginning of the day with the groomsmen, and the lead will stay with you and the girls. Getting ready photos always have some of the best candid moments of the day. There's so many emotions happening with different friends and loved ones, this ends up being a very special time to share before all the official events begin. During this time as well is when all the important detail pics will be captured including dress, shoes, jewelry, rings, invitations, and more. Then once you're finished getting ready we will capture amazing bridal shots before sending you off to your future hubby!
+The First Look+ (Pre-Ceremony)
Before the ceremony in a private secluded spot your photographer will capture just the bride and groom seeing one another for the very first time. This coverage is completely optional and up to the individual couple, but I believe the first look is such a special intimate moment to capture. It encapsulates the love love, anticipation, and the RAW emotion of a very private moment between both of you on your wedding day. It is sweet, special, and such a privilege to shoot this amazing candid moment. I definitely recommend at least 15-20 minutes for the first look so your photographer has time to get you both in position, and time to capture all the candid moments about to happen.
In my personal experience over the past 4 years it seems some couples are choosing to have shorter ceremonies. So in the case that you're both thinking of going this route then I would suggest at least 20-30 minutes. This will also help to ensure your photographer has enough time to document the entire thing. But if you go the traditional ceremony route held at a religious establishment these usually last between 30-60 minutes. So it all depends on your preference for the big day.
In my experience again these can last anywhere from 1-2 hours. Right after the ceremony concludes guests head off to mingle and enjoy a few drinks before the reception. This is also when immediate family photos will take place along with bridal party and then couple photos of just you both. I definitely suggest allocating someone from the bridal party to gather the family members for photos and makes sure they won't wander off. Sometimes this part can get hectic, so the goal is to get through them quickly and as smooth as possible. Once these are done then you can get to the bridal party pics, and then ones of you as a new married couple.
Every reception is completely different from the next, so here are some suggested time frames for different elements you both might have during that time:
- Dinner- 30-45 minutes
- Cake Cutting- 5-10 Minutes
- Toasts/Speeches- 15-20 Minutes , 5 minutes each person
- First Dance- 5 minutes
- Mom/son Dance- 5 minutes
- Father/ Daughter- 5 Minutes
- Anniversary Dance- 5-10 Minutes
- Bouquet/ Garder Toss- 10 minutes
- Shoe Game- 10 minutes
- Other reception games- 10-20 minutes
Definitely one of the most fun times, and when you both can let loose with your guests. This is also one of the best times for some of the more funnier candid pics. Because of this I highly suggest talking with your DJ about starting out the open dance floor with some wedding crowd favorites. Songs such as the Cupid Shuffle, the Cha Cha Slide, Party in the USA, YEAH!, Living on a Prayer, and that one really catchy song from Fast & Furious 6! Those are some of the best ones that get everyone up, and moving. The more people on the dance floor the better! I recommend only having your photographer cover about 30-35 minutes of dancing pics, because after awhile they begin to be repetitive.
If you guys are planning a special exit and you want to make sure your photographer is there for it then I would recommend setting aside 15-20 minutes. There's so many great options to choose from including:
- Silly String
- Sparklers (One of the most popular!)
- Flower Pedals
Every single wedding is unique and different from the next. These are just some recommendations based on experience over the past few years, but just keep in mind that the possibilities are endless. There's so many amazing resources that you have right at your finger tips to get the ideas flowing. You want to make sure that any questions or concerns that you may have you ask your vendors because we are all here to help and make everything as stress free as possible!
Below you will find some sample timelines with various elements of the wedding day. Then at the end of this post you will find a link to download 5 apps to help you start planning your wedding. Good luck and Happy Planning!!