You’re ready to book a wedding package, but you have no idea which one?! What difference does it make having the photographer there for 8 or 10 hours? How long do I REALLY need a wedding photographer for?

By no means do you have to know the exact time of your ceremony or what time you’re finished with hair and makeup, but it’s good to know the general gist of your wedding timeline and what photos are most important to you! Traditionally the different hours to hire a wedding photographer are 8, 9, or 10 hours.

The only reason to have a photographer for less than 8 hours is if 1) you’re having a micro wedding / eloping or 2) you don’t have a bridal party. Not having a bridal party cuts down on time for the getting ready portion of the day and the hour scheduled for bridesmaids, groomsmen, and group bridal party photos. 

Keep reading to find out which one is best for you!


10 Hour Wedding Collection

You want max coverage of your wedding day and want 0 chance of having anything missed. You have tons of photos planned for the morning- robe photos with your girls, popping champagne, and you’re really excited for photos of the details you’ve thoughtfully planned. 10 hours ensures the photographer has time to get creative with bridal details and has a solid window of time before the ceremony to photograph the reception and ceremony details. Your wedding is going to be glamours and so FUN!!!

You also have a larger bridal party and guest list. You’re ready to put on your dancing shoes all night, it’s going to throw a later party (definitely past 11pm), and you want your photographer to capture every fun moment. For you, it’s worth it to spend $1000+ to have those extra dancing photos and your grand exit photographed.

Treat yourself to max photo coverage.


9 Hour Wedding Collection

You love photos and can’t wait to see your wedding gallery. You want your grand exit photographed but don’t plan on it being super late (probably between 10:30pm and 11pm). The beginning portion of your wedding day is just as important and you for sure don’t want to feel rushed. 9 hours is your sweet spot and gives you wiggle room in the morning to give you that peace of mind.

Oh, and your ceremony and reception are at different. You NEED that extra time. We are taking 0 chances on being rushed for time!!! Your wedding should be enjoyed and you want to feel like you have all the time in the world!


8 Hour Wedding Collection

You love your family and friends but really don’t need hundreds of dancing photos. You know you’ll only look at those photos once plus you’re not sure if dancing is your thing (that’s totally fine). You’re cool with doing a Controlled Exit with your bridal party or a couple of night portraits to still have a grand ending to your wedding gallery and Heirloom Album.

You also want some of the getting portion photographed but not until the end so you don’t need the photographer there for extra long. You’re perfectly happy with 20 photos of hair and makeup being touched up and some candid’s of everyone hanging out with their mimosas. This is just enough to bring back the sweet memories before the fun stuff started. What’s more important to you are the robe photos, popping champagne, and a first look with your bridesmaids (this is when the excitement really begins, one of my fave parts!!!). 8 hours is the best of both worlds! Saving $ and still having all the highlights photographed (except the grand exit, but those photos aren’t on the top of your list).


If you say yes to any of these questions, you definitely need more than 8 hours!

1. Is your ceremony and reception space in different locations and you’ll be getting in a car to travel between these locations?… That travel time will cut into photos and possibly create a stressful situation where you’re pressed for time and light. Avoid this! 9 hours is probably your best friend.

2. Are you having a late party with 3+ hours of dancing and you definitely want photos of the grand exit?… If having the whole reception photographed is super important to you and those photos are the ones you’re looking forward most to, you want to make sure the photographer is there for 9-10 hours. The last thing you want is less photos of the special and fun moments leading up to your ceremony at the expense of reception photos.

3. Do you have more than 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen?… You’ll want to budget more breathing room in your timeline because generally the getting ready portion and bridal party photos take longer. I’d recommend going with 9 hours and have the photographer arrive earlier.

4. Will your ceremony be longer than 30 minutes?… A typical wedding timeline has 30 minutes budgeted for the ceremony! However, different religions and cultures have different ceremony traditions. A Catholic wedding ceremony that traditionally includes full Mass and communion can take up to an hour! This is important to keep in mind.

Alight friend!! I hope this makes picking a wedding package a little easier! 


A note to future AEP Bride and Grooms: There are price advantages to not go the A La Carte route at the end of wedding planning when you realize you need an extra hour. However, don’t stress. If you change your mind later on and need to add an extra hour that’s fine 🙂 


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Your portraits should be told through timeless and light photos that will never go out of style. As a Virginia wedding photographer and senior portrait photographer based out of Charlottesville, my goal is to capture authentic and joyful photos of you. Come explore the details.

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