Are you wondering how many hours of photography coverage you will need on your wedding day?  The best way to begin answering that question is by considering how long each photography portion of your wedding day will take.  These are just guidelines, of course, but it gives a great look into what's generally entailed in each kind of photography session, from getting ready to sneaking away during the reception. Each wedding is unique, including yours, so take this wedding photography timeline with an eye on your own needs, omitting and adding as needed.  Once you officially book me as your wedding photographer, I can help you finalize your timeline for your own wedding day.

PRE-Ceremony

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Getting Ready and Details

Ideal Time Allotment: 30-40 Minutes (double this time if your package includes only one photographer and you want both the bride and groom's details photographed)
Ideal Time of Day: During couple's preparation
Ideal Location: Hotel Room, Suite, or Home
Advice: When we first arrive, we’ll photograph your details first. Having your dress/suit, shoes, jewelry, and flowers all together in one area when we arrive ensures that we’ll have more time to photograph your details. Pre-wedding preparation areas can be wonderfully chaotic, and sometimes we need to take your dress/outfit to a quieter, better lit area, which can be anywhere from a hotel hallway to the outdoors.

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Bride and Groom Preparations

Ideal Time Allotment: 45 Minutes (double this time if your package includes only one photographer and you want both the bride and groom photographed)
Ideal Time of Day: Morning
Ideal Location: Hotel Room, Suite, or Home
Advice: These photos are the only way the couple will be able to share with each other the moments they spent getting ready for the big day (unless you're getting ready together!). During this time, your photographers will split up with the couple (if you want!) and focus on candid photojournalism: couple and their crew nervously helping with cufflinks and pinning boutonnieres, and getting into dresses. This emotion-filled time often becomes the most favorite photos of the day.

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Individual Bride and Groom Portraits

Ideal Time Allotment: 20-30 Minutes  (double this time if your package includes only one photographer and you want both the bride and groom photographed)
Ideal Time of Day: After Preparations
Ideal Location: Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, Venue Garden
Advice: Just after prep is finished is the best time for individual portraits of the couple. While makeup and hair is fresh is the perfect time to take advantage of natural light streaming in from a window. If the couple aren’t seeing each other before the ceremony, this is also a good time to get photos of the wedding party before they’re all together.

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Bride and Groom First Look

Ideal Time Allotment: 20-30 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Prior to Ceremony
Ideal Location: Second Location or Ceremony Location
Advice: The first time a couple sees each other on their wedding day can be an emotional moment and many couples choose to have that moment prior to the ceremony, without the eyes of all their guests on them. This can be a wonderful time to breath in the moment, shut out all of stress of guests and timelines, and just be together. This is also a perfect opportunity to get some photos of just the two of you in case things run late as the day progresses as well as photos of the wedding party. Many couples choose to do a first look in order to get all of their group and family photos finished before the ceremony, especially those who would rather be at their cocktail hour than using that time for photography.

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Wedding Party Photos

Ideal Time Allotment: 45 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: After First Look or After Ceremony
Ideal Location: First Look Location, Ceremony Location, or Venue Garden
Advice: Wedding party photos can vary greatly from wedding to wedding. Some couples like natural, friendly group shots, while some love to bring the party, with creative fun loaded with props and goofiness. We love to include a shot of couple with each of their wedding party members. These shots are always best done outside while there’s still plenty of light.

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Family Formals

Ideal Time Allotment: 45 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: After First Look or Following Ceremony
Ideal Location: First Look location, Ceremony Location or Venue Garden
Advice: Depending on the size of your families, and the importance to you of extended family formals, some couple choose to make lists of group formals wanted to ensure no one is missed, and some choose to just kind of wing it. Whichever option is more you, it is always helpful to have a family member from each side as a helper, to round everyone up and make sure everyone important is included.

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Ceremony Details and Venue

Ideal Time Allotment: 20-30 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Immediately Prior to Ceremony
Ideal Location: Ceremony Location
Advice: Prior to the actual ceremony, this is the time we get photos of the venue as guests arrive. With all the hustle and bustle of the day, the couple will most likely never get to see the ceremony venue fully and all of its details. This is the chance for us not only to get those establishing shots, but also the anticipation as family and friends greet each other for the first time that day.

POST-CEREMONY

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Bride and Groom Photo Walk

Ideal Time Allotment: 1 Hour
Ideal Time of Day: 30 to 45 Minutes before Sunset
Ideal Location: Second Location or Venue
Advice: If you’ve done a first look and wedding party photos you will most likely not need a full hour and will have plenty of time to enjoy your cocktail hour (if you're having one). If you’ve selected your venue for it’s beautiful skylines, beach or a boardwalk, this is the time to take advantage of those sweet, romantic shots that will last a lifetime. At times we will usher you into the perfect light for a beautiful pose, and sometimes we will hang back and allow you to just be.

If you haven’t done a first look, this time will be divided between family formals, wedding party, and then a photo walk with just the couple. So make sure you leave plenty of time!

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Reception Details and Cocktail Hour

Ideal Time Allotment: 30-40 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Cocktail Hour
Ideal Location: Venue
Advice: During cocktail hour is the perfect time for us to get all those reception details, including centerpieces, gift tables, cake, and any other homemade or important elements in the room, as well as getting our lighting set up for the evening’s events. Some couples love a few romantic shots of just the two of them in room before their guests are allowed in.

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Reception Sneak Out

Ideal Time Allotment: 10-20 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: After Dark
Ideal Location: Outside of Venue
Advice: The reception sneak out is quite possibly our favorite part of the evening. After everyone has eaten and the dance floor has opened up, we find an interesting area and set up our lights for a few dramatic night portraits. Depending on location and weather, this could be outdoors or even just a dark, romantic nook somewhere in the building. We understand how important it is to you to get back to your guests, so we get you in and out in just a few minutes for a beautiful, romantic ending to your day of wedding photography!

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Grand Exit

Ideal Time Allotment: 15-20 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: After Dark
Ideal Location: Outside of Venue
Advice: It's important to check with your venue ahead of time to see if your grand exit plan is allowed on their grounds.  Some grand exit ideas include rose petals, lavender buds, paper lanterns, eco friendly artificial rose petals, eco friendly Eco friendly confetti or Ecopetals (looks dreamy and is made from eco friendly rice!), sparklers, bubbles, birdseed, hooray flags/ribbons, candles (with paper holders), eucalyptus leaves, beach balls, or streamers in your wedding colors.  If you're choosing a fiery option, be sure to have plenty of lighters on hand, and be safe! If you're choosing to throw confetti, streamers, etc. choose something that is eco and animal friendly. And most of all choose something you think will be fun!  The grand exit can always be staged before the end of the reception if your photography coverage ends early.