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How Many Hours of Wedding Videography Coverage Do I Need?

wedding videography of a couple posing at a very cute and retro hotel bar in Charleston, South Carolina.

One of the crucial decisions couples face when hiring a wedding videographer is determining how many hours of coverage you'll need with them. With 7 years of experience filming weddings, I've found there's a consistent pattern to most wedding days:

3-4 hours: This is a good amount of time for an elopement or very small event. There are some cases where you might not feel like you need the videographer for the whole day. In every instance that I've experienced where the couple thought they didn't need me for the whole day, they've always told me they regret it later.

6 to 8 hours: This is the average time between finishing up "getting ready portraits" and the big exit. Every wedding varies, but this seems to be the most common.

8 to 10 hours: This time helps cover locations that are spread out and often provides more time for portraits. More time for portraits = better portraits 100% of the time. We offer 9 hours in our standard package to encourage a more relaxed flow to the day. This time frame also avoids making the bride and groom rush so much during their day. Less rushing = more time to enjoy your wedding day.

romantic wedding video still portrait of a bride looking at her groom in Charleston, South Carolina

Some considerations for deciding wedding videography hours:

  1. Understanding the Wedding Timeline: The first step in determining the ideal hours of coverage is to understand the couple's wedding timeline. Ask questions such as:

    1. What time is the ceremony scheduled?

    2. When will the reception begin and end?

    3. Are there any special events like a first look, toasts, or a grand exit?

  2. Coverage for the Ceremony: Consider the importance of capturing the ceremony. If it's a church wedding, you may need additional time compared to a shorter civil ceremony. Ensure there's enough coverage to document key moments like vows, ring exchange, and the newlyweds' exit.

  3. Documenting Pre-Wedding Preparations: Some couples want the pre-wedding moments documented, including getting ready, the exchange of gifts, and emotional reactions. Discuss with the couple if they'd like these moments included in their wedding film and plan your coverage accordingly.

  4. Reception Coverage: The length of reception coverage depends on factors like the number of speeches, dances, and other special events. Work with the couple to create a timeline for the reception, ensuring you capture all the highlights without missing any precious moments.

  5. Special Events and Extras: Inquire about any additional events or activities that the couple wants to include in the video. This could be a rehearsal dinner, a day-after brunch, or any other unique elements that hold sentimental value.

  6. Flexibility for Unexpected Delays: Weddings are live events, and unexpected delays can happen. It's wise to build in a buffer for unforeseen circumstances, ensuring you have the flexibility to adapt to changes in the schedule without compromising on coverage.

  7. Communication is Key: Throughout the planning process, maintain open communication with the couple. Discuss their vision for the wedding film, address any concerns they may have, and make recommendations based on your expertise.

Unique wedding videography capturing fun and playful moment of a couple hanging out by the hotel pool in Charleston, South Carolina.

Choosing the right amount of wedding videography coverage is a collaborative process between the wedding videographer and the couple. By understanding the wedding timeline, considering key events, and maintaining clear communication, you can ensure that you capture every magical moment that the couple will cherish for a lifetime.


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