Wedding Day Photography - How many hours do I need?

Last week I wrote a post about 10 things your photographer wants you to know when creating your wedding day timeline.  As a Raleigh wedding photographer, the number one question I get asked by couples during their consultations is "how many hours of photography do you think we will need?"  While there are so many different factors to consider when answering this question, I thought I'd write a little post that helps break it down.

Bellow is a general wedding day photography schedule that I think breaks out the timing for photos in a realistic way and even includes some cushion.

Details - 30-45 min

Brides Photos:
Getting ready (finishing touches on hair/makeup, candids, getting dressed, putting on veil, etc.) - 30 min
Bridal portraits - 20 min
Bride and Bridesmaid portraits - 20 min
Brides family - 20 min

Grooms Photos:
Getting ready (candids, putting on jacket and final touches, etc.) - 15 min
Groom portraits - 15 min
Groom and Groomsmen portraits - 20 min
Grooms family - 20 min

Ceremony - varies but generally between 30-60 minutes

Formal family portraits - 30 min
Bridal party - 30 min
Bride and Groom portraits - 60 min

Reception - This is where it varies greatly.  I generally find that staying for all the special events (dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc.) and about an hour of dancing is perfect.

All of this considered, I would say that between 8-12 hours of wedding day photography coverage would allow your photographer to capture everything they need without being rushed, and ensure you have a stress free day!

What would allow for an 8 hour day?
- If there is only one location for all events that will take place during the day, including getting ready. (so no travel time)
- You have a small wedding party and/or a small family.
- You only plan on having your photographer stay for the beginning of the reception.

What would make you need a 12+ hour day?
- If the events of the day are taking place at different locations and if there is a large amount of travel time needed to get to the different locations.
- If you plan to take photos off site from where all the events are being held (and you will need time to get there and back).
- You have a large bridal party and/or family.
- You are doing  a special exit and want your photographer there for the whole reception.

While this may seem like a lot to consider, don't stress!  As a Lauryn Alisa Photography couple, I'll be here to help you plan the perfect wedding day timeline and make sure it allows for an easily flowing, stress free day that you can enjoy! 

Is there anything else you think should be considered when figuring out the number of hours needed for your wedding day photography?  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear what you have to say!