Other than prices, “how much time will I need?” is the most common question I get asked by couples. Unfortunately it is not a one-size-fits all type of answer, and a lot of it depends on your ceremony and reception venue, as well as your preferences for how you want your day to unfold!
Your ceremony venue will set your ceremony time, as well as how long you are allowed to be at the ceremony site for. This will make a difference to our start time, and when we do family portraits.
Your reception venue will set the time for your cocktail hour and dinner. Usually your DJ or the venue sets the time for your introductions, toasts, cake cutting and first dances. All of those things play into the how and when we fit portraits in!
The final (and pretty big) variable is if you plan on doing a first look or not. First looks allow you and your fiancé to see each other before the ceremony, as a way to get all of your pictures done before the ceremony. This allows you to usually join your cocktail hour instead of using that time for portraits. While this is super useful for time, I’ve also heard many, many times over from brides and grooms how happy they were that they did a first look because it took a ton of stress away. Think of the day you are marrying your best friend - do you really want to spend most of the day leading up to that one special moment apart from the one person you turn to most when you are nervous and stressed?
Once those details are all set, I can work to build a timeline around your day! Let’s say that you do not want to do a first look, that your full catholic mass ceremony is at 2, and that your cocktail hour starts at 4, and you want to be there for your cocktail hour. Here is an example timeline for your day, which would be 10 hours of photography coverage:
11:30- Photographers arrive for getting ready details (pictures of the dress, jewelry, invitation suite, final hair and makeup moment, and getting dressed.
1:30 - You need to leave for your ceremony
2:00 - 3:00 You guys get married!
3:00-3:30 - Family portraits at the church. While family portraits themselves only take us out 15 minutes to complete, there is a bit of extra time to allow for your family to exit the church. A receiving line will add an additional half hour (or more!) to this timeline. Weddings with more than 250 guests may require more time as well.
3:30-3:45 - Travel time to portrait location (hopefully close to either the ceremony or the reception venue!)
3:45-4:15 - Wedding Party Portraits. We get the whole wedding party, as well as each side split up, and individuals with each person and you.
4:15-5:00 - Newlywed Portraits. This is just the two of you, showing all your love.
5:00 - 6:00 - Cocktail Hour
6:00 - Announcements, followed by cake cutting and toasts
6:30 - 7:30 - Dinner
7:30 - Fancy Dances (First Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son)
8:00- Open Dance Floor + Party! We stay and get some crazy party pictures, as well as either steal you outside for sunset or night time pictures if you are up for it.
9:30 - We say goodnight!
Ok, now lets say your day is a bit different. You want to do a first look. You want to be there for some of your cocktail hour, and your ceremony and reception are taking place at the same location. Your ceremony is at 5, and is half an hour long. Cocktail hour starts at 5:30. This is based on an 8 hour wedding photography collection:
1:00 - Photographers arrive for getting ready details
3:00 - 3:45 - FIrst Look, followed by soon-to-be-newlywed portraits
3:45-4:30 - Wedding party Portraits
4:30 - We get you to the ceremony site so you can hide and refresh
5:00-5:30 - You guys get married!
5:30-5:45 - Family Portrait Time (usually people move into cocktail hour quicker than they leave a church)
5:30-6:30 - Cocktail Hour
6:30 - Announcements, followed by cake cutting, and toasts
7:00-8:00 - Dinner
8:00-8:30 - Fancy Dances
8:30- Open Dance Floor + Party!
9:00 - We say goodnight!