How much time do I need for photography on my wedding day??!!

It can be a little overwhelming to plan your wedding day timeline, especially when your planning months or even over a year ahead of time. We are available to help you so that you can get the perfect day in pictures. Here are some general guidelines on how much time to plan for during different parts of your wedding day, for a perfect day in pictures!!

Eaglewood Resort Wedding Photographer Outdoor ceremony at sunset



Salvage One Wedding Photographer Picture of bride getting dressed with mother and sister

If you would like photography coverage of getting your hair styled and makeup applied, you will need 2-3 hours of getting ready coverage. Most brides want to just have us there for the details, moments and memories of when the bride gets into her wedding dress. It is a very exciting time and we will need around 90 minutes to be able to document all those amazing moments.

Eaglewood Resort Wedding Photographer bride getting ready interesting reflection with mirror


If you would like photography coverage of Groom getting ready at the same time as the Bride getting ready, you will need to plan to be getting ready at the same location or within 10 minutes of each other so that I can send the secondary photographer. Most couples prefer that we split coverage in the getting ready part of the day and Laura is with the bride and second photographer with the groom. If you prefer that Laura documents both bride and groom getting ready, then you will need to add 30-60 minutes for getting ready so she can start with the Groom and head over to the Bride.



Most ceremonies are 30-60 minutes. It is easiest to start with this set time and then plan for before the ceremony and after the ceremony events. If your planning to do an exit with bubbles or sparklers outside of the church, plan an extra 30 minutes for the exit before or after the family portraits for that event. If you want to plan a staged exit for the “end of the night” we can certainly help you with planning for that fun event!!

Hyatt McDonalds Lodge Oak Brook Wedding Photographer captures a Sparkler exit at wedding with couple kissing

If you are planning a Church Wedding, you might want to ask about the rules and restrictions for photography and video so that you and your team of photographers can be prepared to handle anything that might arise. Sometimes there is a timing issue if there is a Mass or Church service scheduled close to the same time as your wedding ceremony. Some popular Chicago churches will book more than one ceremony in the same day, so it is a great idea to know the details of your church to avoid stressful wedding day situations.




Starved Rock State Park Lodge Wedding Photographer Bride and Groom Portrait of first look in Canyon

If you are planning a wedding that will have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, we highly encourage you to do a first look and the wedding portraits before the ceremony.  Depending on where we are planning to do your wedding pictures with bride, groom and wedding party we would recommend at least 60 minutes of time for amazing portraits. If you want to allow for more time, we can get more portraits. Laura can help you determine how much time is required based on the size of your wedding party and the desired locations planned for wedding portraits.

Starved Rock State Park Lodge Wedding Photographer Bride and Groom Portrait in Canyon

Please note: if you are not planning for portraits before the ceremony, we do require to get to the ceremony location 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. We need time to get ready to capture your main event!! bride and groom looking at eachother in the back of a vintage car on wedding day from the window frame on the way to Hyatt McDonalds Lodge Oak Brook Wedding Photographer

TIP: Make sure to plan for travel time between your locations for all your wedding events, including photo locations. We can gladly help you with ideas based on your wedding plans to make it a smooth and stressfree day in pictures!!


County Line Orchard Wedding Photographer wedding party in front of the red bard

Generally, 1-2 hours is enough time to get some great wedding party portraits, this all depends also on the size of your wedding party and number of portrait and location requests. A wedding party of 4 people will take less time to photograph than a wedding party of 14+ people. If we are staying in one location for your wedding party portraits and not traveling, then one hour should be perfect for an average wedding party of 8 or fewer people.

Fun bridal party pictures around the grounds of Patrick Haley Mansion


Aquaviva winery wedding portratis with 1940's vintage car portrait in vineyard

We generally schedule Bride and Groom portraits in with the time allotted for the Wedding Party Portraits. However, if you prefer to have some alone time to do some really creative portraits and go to some amazing locations, we can certainly help you plan for that! I would allow at least an hour for some beautiful, romantic and creative portraits of the two of you!!

Morton Arboretum Bride and groom wedding photos in nature


sweet moments with bride and groom and their mothers during wedding protraits


 We strongly recommend doing your immediate family portraits either right before the ceremony (if we do first look) or right after the ceremony. Plan for 30 minutes to do immediate family portraits.

bride and groom foral portraits outside of church with parents of groom


County Line Orchard Wedding Photographer family portrait with missing family member cutout portrait

We recommend doing your extended family portraits right after the ceremony. Plan for 5-10 minutes for each group of 10 or more people, 3-5 minutes for smaller groups. If needed we can plan to do some groups with friends during the party later in the evening.

hilton orrington evanston fun party portraits during reception


medinah country club wedding Chicago photography


County Line Orchard Wedding Photographer room detail image

In order for us to capture that stunning overall room picture before the guests are invited into the dining room, we need to have 15 minutes of time to document all these details BEFORE guests are allowed in. If this is an important part of your day that you want to be documented, we will have to plan accordingly so that one of the two photographers capturing your wedding day can get into the room and take some stunning photos for your memories!!

Salvage One Wedding Photographer details of reception room


details of cake at Aquaviva winery wedding

We encourage couples to be a part of their cocktail hour. If we do not need to use this time for more portraits, it is nice for you to be at your party. Afterall it is a celebration for you, you should both be enjoying every minute!! This is why we really recommend trying to do as many portraits before your ceremony as possible so that you can be stress-free and enjoy more of your wedding day and party. Plan for the 60-90 minutes as you have planned and booked with your venue. During this time we will capture informal portraits of your guests at the party enjoying themselves, but only if we are able to attend the cocktail hour and we are not scheduled to do portraits during this timeframe. We do these informal portraits in lieu of the “old fashion” table photos from the 1980’s. 

Salvage One Wedding Photographer


Starved Rock State Park Lodge Wedding Photographer cake cutting

During dinner is generally when you will do some of your planned events, like your introductions into the party and cutting your wedding cake and any toasts that family and friends may be planning for you. My rule of thumb is to add 30 minutes to whatever your venue/cater has designated for your dinner. Most weddings average 90 minutes for dinner, for 150-200 guest and a traditional 3 course served dinner. This time can vary depending on the style of service, number of guests and served courses. It can be much longer than 90 minutes, so it is important to ask your venue or cater their thoughts on how much time you will need for your dinner and then add 30 minutes to that to cover the events that will be taking place and a cushion of time, if we don’t need it then you will have extra party and dancing photo time!!


Eaglewood Resort Wedding Photographer bride and groom first dance

Most couples plan for traditional events at their reception after dinner including special dances. We encourage you to work with your entertainment (DJ or Band) to create a schedule and flow to your day that will work well for the venue and what you prefer. If you are planning any late night events, make sure that you have us scheduled to document them if you want those memories captured. It is important to tell the entertainment (DJ/Band) what time you have us booked until so that they can make sure we are there for all those special moments. We are also happy to help you with these plans and ideas,  if you would like help, please reach out to us anytime!


We would LOVE to set aside some time before we leave to do some night portraits with you if there is a location at your venue that would make for some interesting and amazing portraits! Plan for at least 30 minutes if you want to do some night portraits or an “exit” with sparklers or other fun planned events.

We are here to help you with your planning. When you book Laura Meyer Photography for your wedding day memories you will receive personal service and guidance from Laura for whatever you may need concerning your wedding photography plans. You will also have a pre-wedding planning meeting that can be done in person or over the phone. We want your day to be perfect and unforgettable so you can rest assured that we are capturing your moments and memories, you both can just sit back and enjoy every second of your wedding day!! You can trust that we will capture your day flawlessly. Check out what past couples have said here!! 

County Line Orchard Wedding Photographer bride and grooms first dance together

Did you enjoy this article? We would love to hear from you, please leave us a comment!! If you would like more information or are looking for a wedding photographer for your wedding you can learn more about us, our photography or contact us regarding wedding photography here. If you are interested in portrait photography click here to contact us regarding portrait photography.  Please reach out and we would be happy to send you more information about any of our services. Want to view or Frequently asked questions? Please click here to view an article about FAQ’s. Thanks so much for reading and we hope to hear from you soon!!



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    Laura Meyer PHotography

    Serving Oak Brook