How Much Coverage Do I Need?: A Timeline Planning Guide

One common thing that my brides ask is “Will that be enough time?” Will this package cover everything they want covered? Just as important as the price of the package is what it includes. Here is a rough idea of how much coverage is usually required for each part of the day:

  • Getting Ready: 30 minutes - 1 hour

    • If you want photos of both the bride and the groom getting ready, a second photographer will be needed. I find most brides just want to tail-end of getting ready (bridesmaids in robes, bride being helped into the dress, first look with dad and bridal party)

  • First Look with Groom: 10-15 minutes

  • Family and Bridal Party Portraits: 30-45 minutes

    • This can go quite fast if there aren’t a lot of groups to photograph or if everyone is nearby and doesn’t need to be chased down

  • Couple Photos: 30 minutes

  • Ceremony: 30 minutes (non-religious) to 1 hour (religious)

  • Receiving Line: 30 minutes

  • Cocktail Hour: 1 hour

    • If you are not seeing your partner until the ceremony, this is also usually when group portraits and couple portraits takes place

Travel time also needs to be taken into account if the getting ready, portrait location, ceremony and reception venues are in different places.

  • Reception: Entrances, first/parent dances and toasts tend to all happen within the first hour. Sunset photos depend on the time of year as well as the weather. If you are doing cake cutting or a bouquet toss, they usually are in the second to last hour of the night. A last dance and sparkler exit are at very end of the night.