I am always asked these question and I am happy to help in fact, your photographer is the best and most valuable person to go to to help you plan the timeline. Photography IS 50% light,50% composition.
I am also asked how many hours of coverage should you need. Let me put it this way more coverage = more quality photographs, dont rush your photographer.
How much coverage depends on a few things, is your wedding big with over 100 people, does it have several locations,or is it a small intimate wedding.
Getting ready/So much happens during this time,try very hard to have the guys nearby you dont want to miss this part of your story,the contrast can often times be hilarious!
Keep in mind if you have two locations for guys and girls the photographer will need allot more time to go to two location,driving time,finding parking,packing and unpacking equipment etc that takes allot of time and can take time away from what is most important,capturing your wedding day.When I have the guys and girls at the same location, I just go back and forth, if mot much is going on with the girls, I check out the guys. During this time is not only about “getting ready” doing hair putting on makeup and getting “the dress” on its about the details, have them ready when the photog comes in, your rings, an invitation, newspaper something with the date, wedding vows,your grandmas necklace,Have the flower there as well, whatever it is you want photographed. During this time if I am at one location the entire day (best option ) I will usually go into the reception room and photograph the set up,the venue itself the atmosphere is also very important. The set up for the ceremony and then back to the brides room to spend some quality one on one time for bridal portraits
Have hair and makeup come to you ALWAYS!. Brides, DO NOT be the last to get ready,allow more time for everything than you think it will take.Get ready early, if you are last and its almost time for the ceremony, not only will I not have enough time for bridal portraits,you will feel nervous and rushed and it will show on your face, again I stress this do not rush your photographer! The ultimate time for me at the beginning of the story if everyone is at one location is about three hrs. It is a very important time with so much going on and so many wonderful photo opportunities also a good time for me to get to know family and friends of the couple.
TIME- If outdoor wedding,two to three hours before the time of sunset. Two if you dont have a million groups shots and the ceremony is very quick,three if you have allot of group shots with a long ceremony.Group shots take more time than you think. Again allow more time for everything
Most important leave the last half hour or more of light (The magic hour) the best lite of the day for just the two of you alone, I call it the “intimate session” plan a cocktail hr for this time your guests will be fine and it will be the only “alone “time you might have together all day. Out of this time comes the most beautiful portraits of my couples capturing their relationship and the love they have for each other, this is absoulutely my favorite time to photograph, DO NOT miss this time, do not rush your photographer or cut it short, I have had couples after we have disused this only give me five minutes, you will never get this time back!
Again will there be a huge party with dancing bouquet toss,cake cutting sparkler send off/parting shot, do you want the entire reception covered,if not push up the most important moments to you. If so, remember photographer, D.J all of your vendors should be fed,treat people the way you would want them to treat you. While everyone is eating take care of your vendors.People dont look their best when they are eating!
My full coverage (the time I need to tell the story is about eight hrs. You can always add more if your photographer is up to it.
If it is a small intimate wedding on the beach with just the two of you and a few close family members, I have a minimum of two hrs and have it on an off day, most photographers are booked on the weekends or wont take a two hr wedding on a Saturday.
I do hope I have helped and answered allot of your questions.Keep this in mind, I am an award winning international fine arts wedding photojournalist with a very unique style, I travel worldwide http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/