Let me first say this- you and your fiancé are unique as a couple. You have your own unique wedding vision and are like no other couple who has ever come before you. Your need for wedding photography will be different than any other person you talk with who has been married, or any article you read that recommends x amount of hours for x number of wedding guests. YOU my dear, are perfectly different from any other couple and deserve your own timeline that perfectly fits you.
There are SO MANY variables that determine how many hours of wedding day photography you need for your day. For me, I always talk through photography options and guide my couples through a timeline that fits them perfectly. So much goes into a photography timeline like… Is the couple shy that I recommend a first look? Do they have small or large families for the formal family photos? How many bridesmaids and groomsmen do they plan to have? Are they getting ready on site at the venue or at another location? Does the couple want to attend the cocktail hour? Does the couple plan to have a grand send off? This list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Each couple is very different, and their needs are different. There is no single timeline that is one size fits all. I will tell you though, the answer to finding exactly how many hours you need lies with your photographer. Only YOUR photographer can tell you how many hours of photography you need to capture everything you want on your wedding day.
For me and my couples, we talk through a rough timeline the very first time we meet. The basis for all photography related questions goes back to the photography timeline and how the couple wants their day to flow. Without the timeline, it’s a true guessing game. I will share this with you… most of my couples choose to allot time for many of the same things. That common list is bridal detail photos, getting ready photos of the bride and bridesmaids, getting ready photos of the groom and groomsmen, bride getting in her dress, bride and groom first look, wedding party photos, bride and bridesmaid photos, groom and groomsmen photos, ceremony decor, ceremony, family photos, bride and groom photos, cocktail hour, reception decor, reception which includes first dance, parent dances, dinner, toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, games, and send off. That’s A LOT of items to cover, and without a timeline to know roughly how the day will flow there is no real answer to how many hours of wedding day photography a couple needs.
Plus, not only will your need for wedding photography be different based on your vision, wants, number of guests, etc., your need will also be different depending on which photographer you hire. Each photographer works at a different pace. Personally, I work very quickly. I cover more work during one hour than the average photographer. My photograph count and quality of work is the same, if not better, but it’s done in less time. Each person is different, and this is one of my strong suits. (Bring a project manager in my last career has many benefits, and this is one!)
So the short answer is… ask your photographer! Rely on your photographer for this information. They are the expert and are the only one who truly knows how long things will take for you as a couple.
If you're looking for some ideas on how you want your wedding day to flow, click over to these sample timelines. But remember, talk to your photographer to find the best timeline for you!
Jessica in an experienced Asheville wedding photographer who is happy to help you with any timeline questions you have! Leave a comment and she will be happy to help!