A wedding day timeline isn’t as complicated as a military operation or a Hollywood production, but sometimes it can feel like one.  A big question that comes up… how much time do you need to budget for pictures? You know what I’m going to say, right?

It depends.

There’s no one size fits all answer here! There are so many variable at work. Here are three things you need to consider:

1. Bridal party size

If you’re having a larger bridal party (large, in my opinion, is 14 or more bridesmaids/groomsmen total), keep in mind it will take a little bit longer for your individual and group photos. A small bridal party, like 4 bridesmaids/groomsmen total, will go much faster.

Also, it’s not so much the photography that takes longer, as it is the organization and making sure everyone is present and ready to go. If we’re traveling to multiple locations, with more people there’s a greater likelihood of someone needing a bathroom break, forgetting their bouquet on the limo and running back for it, or stopping to send a photo to their mom.

If there are delays, I make use of the time in some other way, so that we are not just standing around waiting. Missing one bridesmaid? We can do individual photos of the bride with the other bridesmaids that are there.

2. Travel time

If you’re driving from your ceremony location to a spot you’ve chosen for pictures, don’t forget to factor in travel time. Extra travel time! Because it’s not just the driving – the limo will need to find a place to pull over, and your photo team (which may include multiple cars, and possible a video crew as well) will also need to park. And most likely, you’ll need to do a little bit of walking to a couple different spots for some diversity in your photos. Which goes back to #1…. remember, for every stop that getting off/on your transportation and moving a group of people, it will take a little longer with a bigger group.

If your ceremony and reception are in the same place, you won’t need to worry about all this travel time!

3. What are your priorities?

This is the most important point! How do you want to spend your wedding day? How important is photography to you?

At the law firm I used to work for, our attorneys did a lot of speaking engagements. One of them used to say that his speeches were like a gas… because they could expand and contract to fill any length of time. Photography is much the same. Experienced wedding photographers are really, really good at making the best use of the time we’re given.

If photography is really important to you, and you want a variety of beautiful portraits of you and your new spouse, you absolutely should devote adequate time so can make that happen (35-45 minutes is great). If you want to do a first look, and then stop at a couple places for photos before your ceremony, you will need to devote extra time for that. But if you’re way more excited about getting to the party and would be happy with just a few nice portraits, we can make that happen in 15 minutes. It’s your wedding day – spend it the way you want to!

Remember – this is a lot to plan, but you are not going it alone! I will be happy to talk in depth with you about all of the variables of your particular wedding day. Together we can come up with a timeline that finds the right balance for you.