FAQ + Wedding Resources




Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I book?

8-11 hours is common, but if you have your hair and make-up done off-site, and you have a separate Ceremony and Reception Venue, then more time would be appropriate.  

There are so many factors in this question, but the most important 2 are how much time you actually need for everything that's occurring and how laid back you want your wedding day to be.  If you want to enjoy your time, and everything is in one place, then 8-9 hours could be sufficient.  If you want to enjoy your time, and travel is involved, then 10+ hours will most likely be needed. I've also provided a wedding timeline calculator to help you. 

How much time does the Photographer need for formals?

5-10 Bridesmaids, 5-10 Groomsmen, and/or long shotlist of family/group shots:

  • 1.5-2 hours of pre-formals (Bride with bridesmaids/family, Groom with Groomsmen/family)

  • 1-2 hours formals of entire wedding party, family, and group photos (Your choice on whether they occur before or after the ceremony)

  • 1-2 hours with just the couple 

2-4 Bridesmaids, 2-4 Groomsmen and/or short shotlist:

  • 1-1.5 hours pre-formals

  • 45 mins - 1.5 hours formals

  • 1-2 hours with just the couple 

If your shot list is already made out for your formals, you can take the number of shots/groupings of people and multiply it by 3 minutes to get a more accurate number.  Here is a very in depth article on how much time you need for your wedding formals. 

Should I have a first look?

If you would like to plan ALL of your formals before the ceremony, a first look is exciting, and you'll want that memory since it won't be happing at the ceremony.  A first look is great for grooms that get nervous in front of people.  He can see you more privately with just us, or with just a handful of your friends and relatives present.  

Should the Wedding Party Formals/Family Photographs/Group shots be before or after the ceremony?

Personally I encourage a first look and the formals to be done before. That way your guests/wedding party can enjoy cocktail hour while they are waiting on you and your partner to take your pictures.  

Do I really need a Wedding Planner?

Yassss! A wedding planner can be a wonderful resource, they will make the day go by in a timely fashion, and they will get everything organized well for you! Make sure it's a good one! The planner will be reaching out to all vendors, but they will need to work closely with your photographer in helping with coverage.  I've seen where planners will pencil in 30 mins total for all formals, and that is not an adequate amount of time. 



I can't book as many hours as I want, so where should I take coverage from?

It depends on what's more important to you.  If the preparation photos are more important, then take time from the reception.  I personally always suggest that when coverage needs to be removed.

Here's why:

  • The most common lament I hear is the couple wished they had the photographer more before than at the reception.

  • People will be partying down at the reception, and many of them will have their own cameras.  The atmosphere will be lax and your friends could get some shots then.  Before the wedding everyone will be prepping and nervous.

  • There are many things that will happen on a wedding day that you and your groom aren't privy to.  For example: Your flowergirl was picking flowers, your groomsmen were sneaking drinks, you get behind the scenes shots that you didn't see of your groom and he of you. It establishes the story of your day!

I also suggest cutting your formals list down.  I've not once heard a couple say that they wish they had more formals.  In fact, the couple and wedding party are so tired after a long shot list they can't enjoy their day! Here are some ways to cut formals down:

Instead of 42 minutes:

Bride, Mother

Bride, Father

Bride, Parents

Bride, Parents, Siblings

Bride, Sister 1

Bride, Sister 2

Bride, Sisters

Groom, Mother

Groom, Father

Groom, Parents

Groom, Parents, Siblings

Groom, Siblings

Groom, Brother

Groom, Sister

Try 18 minutes!

Bride, Mother, Father

Bride, Siblings

Bride, Parents, Siblings

Groom, Mother, Father

Groom, Siblings

Groom, Parents, Siblings


How should I write my formals shot list?

Write everyone out specifically. Here is a very small example, and I've barely gotten into the extended family with it. The most common thing I hear is "Oh, we have a very small Formals shot list," and they didn't realize how many setups and people moving is involved.  I recommend writing your shot list, and then asking your photographer how much time THEY recommend. 3 minutes per grouping is standard, and you can read my more in depth article on wedding formals time-line planning


Bride and Groom with Pastor

Bride and Groom with Pastor and Bride's Parents

Bride and Groom with Pastor and Groom's Parents

Bride and Groom with Pastor & Bride's & Groom's parents

Bride and Groom with entire Wedding party

Bride and Groom with Bridesmaids

Bride and Groom with Groomsmen

Bride and Groom with Bride's parents

Bride and Groom with Bride's parents and siblings

Bride and Groom with Bride's siblings

Bride and Groom with Bride's sister #1

Bride and Groom with Brides's sister #2

Bride and Groom with Bride's brother

Bride and Groom with Groom's parents

Bride and Groom with Groom's parents and siblings

Bride and Groom with Groom's siblings

Bride and Groom with Groom's sister 

Bride and Groom with Grooms's brother

Bride and Groom with Aunt Mary and Uncle Bubba

Bride and Groom with Aunty Mary and Uncle Bubba's family

Who should I give my formals shot list to?

You need to give your shot list to your planner or to the person who will be assembling your family and friends for the formals on the day of the wedding. They will need to go down the list and check off all shots.  Prior to the wedding day and final itinerary,  you will want to go over it with your photographer to make sure your coverage is adequate for all the formals you will be wanting. 


I want to make my own shot list of things I want in addition to the formals.

This is something you will want to talk to your photographer about BEFORE booking with them.  Personally I perform much better without checking a list all day.  My seconds and I will have cameras in our hands at all times, and my assistants will likely have other equipment in their hands. 

How many weddings do you shoot per year?

I accept 20-25 weddings per year.  Of those, I only accept 5-10 destination weddings.

Resources and Checklists

Here are some downloads to help you with your big day, and at the bottom you can see a sample before downloading.

Wedding Day Timelines

8 Hour Sample

9 Hour Sample 1

9 Hour Sample 2

10 Hour Sample

11 Hour Sample 1

11 Hour Sample 2

Wedding Timeline Calculator

Successful Photos Checklists and Tips

Make Up Tips if you don't have a MUA

Formals Tips

Preparation Pictures Tips

Wedding Formal Timeline Planning Article

Asheville Pisgah Nationals Forest Wedding Photographer Timeline