Offerings vary from vendor to vendor.

By Jillian Kramer
December 27, 2019

Look at wedding videographers' offerings and you'll see services that stretch from a few hours to full-day coverage—with a wide variety of packages in between. The many options out there can easily confuse couples who don't know how many hours they really need. So, how can you determine what the right number of wedding videography hours is for your celebration? Here's how to work it out.

Related: Questions to Ask a Prospective Wedding Videographer

Start with your wedding-day timeline.

Before you even think of booking a videographer, Cindy Savage, owner and wedding planner of Aisle Less Traveled, recommends you sketch out your wedding-day timeline. "Knowing what's happening and when is the key to determining how many hours of coverage you'll need," Savage explains. When developing your timeline, consider the locations of where you're getting ready as well as the ceremony and reception sites, the number of your guests and the size of your wedding party, and any traditions you may plan to include that will take time in your schedule, she says.

Consider what typical packages will cover.

Eight hours of video coverage might seem like a lot, for example, but according to Drew Jacoby, a videographer at Rooted Pine Films, that's likely not enough to capture an entire day. "An eight-hour day is great for a couple looking for a more economical option," he says. "In this case, the videographer would arrive after the wedding party is ready," but captures the rest of the day. A 12-hour package might mean the videographer arrives at 10 a.m., in time to film hair and makeup, but would leave by 10 p.m. (And that means the videographer won't be around to film an after party—or a literal midnight snack.) Full-day packages, of course, have no time limits.

Decide on your wedding-day moment must-haves.

When it comes to your wedding video, there are moments that always make an appearance—like your vows and your first dance. But what makes your personal must-have list? "Do you want any coverage of you and your future spouse getting ready?" asks Savage. "What traditions are you including in your reception that you'd like to have captured on video? Lastly, are you planning a killer last dance song or a grand exit with sparklers, bubbles, confetti? If so, you'll want to make sure you have enough hours of coverage to keep your videographer for the entire reception."

Keep your budget in mind.

How many hours you need to book a videographer for might be as simple as how many you can afford to have. "Make sure you've done some research to get a general idea of pricing," Savage encourages. "Then, look to your wedding budget and see what you've allotted for videography. Do the numbers match up? If not, you'll want to reconsider how many hours you can afford or figure out where you can cut spending to shift more money into your videography package."

Get creative.

What if a moment must-have doesn't fit into a video package you can afford? Then it's time to get creative, says Jacoby. For example, "I encourage couples to consider their exit flexibility," he says. "Are they set on a longer reception but don't see full day coverage as an option? For this reason, some couples opt for a 'fake exit.' The couple and guests stage a farewell—sparklers, rose petals, you name it—before returning to the reception. This allows couples to pick a video package with fewer hours of coverage while still getting all the special moments captured."

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