Once you’ve found a photographer that you want to work with on your wedding day, the next question to ask is how much coverage you’ll need on the day of your wedding. I work hard with my couples to form their day-of timeline, and although that step typically doesn’t come until closer to the wedding date, I like to loosely talk about the timeline when my couples are booking, so they can choose wedding coverage that’s right for them, and I’m going to walk you through that step today.
Many people start out their wedding planning wanting “full day coverage.” Girl, this is not your MAC foundation! And speaking of makeup, in my experience, most of my brides don't want photographs taken before they’re having their makeup done the day of the wedding. In all actuality, you probably don’t need me to show up until an hour before you plan on putting your dress on. This gives me plenty of time to photograph your details - bouquet, rings, shoes, jewelry and dress - and snap some photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready as well.
I have written about the two options of having a first look, and choosing to forgo a first look in previous blog posts. Your choice in this matter will also help form your timeline, because it will dictate how much time is needed for photography before and after the ceremony. It’s always my goal to take photos of the bride solo, and with her bridesmaids, as well as the groom solo and with his groomsmen, before the ceremony.
The location of your ceremony and reception will also affect your coverage time. Are they two separate locations? Will you want photos taken at any other locations? If the answer is yes, you will need to factor in extra time for travel to and from these different locations.
The last thing you’ll need to decide is if you want your photographer to stay through the entire reception. We always make sure there’s enough coverage to photograph the cake cutting, special dances, speeches - all those good things you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life. But once those are wrapped up, it’s up to you how much longer you want me to stay. Most of the time, people don’t want more than 15 minutes of dance floor coverage. However if you'd like to purchase extra time to have me stay for a fun exit (sparklers, lantern release, etc.) I’m happy to do so! Just don’t be surprised if you catch me dancing with camera in hand.
Whichever way you’re leaning for your wedding, make sure to talk to your photographer about timeline and coverage. They’ve done this before, and their expertise can help you figure out exactly what you need. Personally, I like to offer my couples a minimum of eight hours for traditional weddings. I don't believe most wedding days can be captured properly in any less amount of time, although I am happy to work with couples on different options for elopements, intimate weddings, and weekday weddings.