How Long Is a Normal Wedding Video?

Read on for tips on how to decide on the right wedding video length, plus what details to include while staying on budget.

By Emily Forrest

Couple walking together in the city
Photo by Florencia Saav Photography

It’s common for couples to ask how long their wedding video should be, but the truth is that your wedding video can be as long or short as you wish. However, the average wedding video length is somewhere between three to five minutes for a highlights version or short film, or up to 30 minutes or longer for a documentary or cinematic style. You can always opt for both, depending on what you’d like to use it for and what kind of wedding video packages are offered.

There are no hard or fast rules for how long yours should be, but consider that the longer a videographer films and the more footage he or she has to edit, the more expensive the video will be. The price is usually what keeps couples from having their wedding video go too long. Either way, it’s worth it to have your moments collected and documented forever for you and your loved ones to watch whenever you want.

If you’re wondering how many hours of wedding footage can be edited down to only a few minutes, that’s what the pros are for. They’ll consult with you about the style of wedding video you’d like, the length, and the pricing to meet your requests. Prior to meeting with potential vendors in person, prepare a list of questions regarding their wedding videography experience, rates, and availability.

Consider what you want to have covered and other B-roll footage that you’d like to include, if there’s enough allotted time. By prioritizing the elements of your wedding ceremony and reception that are must-haves to include, you’ll ensure that you capture the magical moments, and anything additional is a bonus. In terms of length, it’s decided by the type of wedding video you choose, what’s included in the video, and your videography budget.

Types of Wedding Videos

Ultimately, your wedding video will be determined by the style. There are multiple types of wedding videography. The most popular are:

  • Documentary
  • Cinematic
  • Short Film
  • Highlights

Documentary and cinematic styles are longer, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, if not more. Documentary wedding videos may include short interviews with family members or other wedding guests, as well as other moments of you as a couple leading up to your celebration, such as the proposal or when you first met.

A cinematic style is known for aerial views of the wedding venue, slow-motion features, and narration or moments of dialogues like you’d expect from a movie. Talk through options with your videographer to discuss what is most impactful, and then pick and choose from the effects of what you like best.

The short film and highlights videos are normally under 10 minutes, with many running three to five minutes. Each is special in their own right and captures the best moments from the wedding ceremony with the addition of filters, music, and other elements, such as voice-over narration or text. Not all videographers include all of these effects during the editing phase. If there are any that you’re drawn to, make it known to the vendors that you’re meeting with to confirm that they’re able to handle that detail.

How Long Is a Normal Wedding Video Photo Credit // Video Reflections

What to Include in Your Wedding Video

Every moment of your wedding day will be spectacular, which makes it difficult to narrow down to something that can fit within a span of a few moments, especially since most weddings last for several hours from start to finish. Key moments to capture are:

  • Getting ready from each person’s perspective
  • First look between the bride and groom
  • Vow ceremony
  • Reception events (cake cutting, first dance, and tossing the bouquet)

If you’re trying to cut down on the length of the wedding video, opt out of lengthy coverage of the venue itself and/or guest arrival or departure. You only need mere seconds of this type of footage to help tell the story of the day. More important highlights include guest reactions, special looks between the wedding couple, and family traditions.

For anything that can't be missed, communicate it with your videographer so that the moment is fully documented. Although the above-mentioned moments are part of most wedding videos, it’s worth it to note if you want something specific, or more time spent on a certain part of the celebration.

Questions to Ask Wedding Videographers Regarding Video Length

Before choosing, you need to know what questions to ask a wedding videographer. Each individual videographer or wedding video company will have slightly different pricing based on what’s included in their services packages, their experience, and popularity in the industry, among other differentiating factors. When visiting many vendor websites, it’ll indicate the starting price of wedding videography packages, since each video is customized to the specific couple.

This will let you know right away whether a particular vendor will fit within your overall wedding budget. As you begin to schedule consultations with a few different ones, here are a few questions to include with respect to the typical wedding video length.

Do You Price by Hour or by Service Package?

When pricing by the hour, a wedding videographer can give you a general idea of how long he or she films for and what is included. Usually, this will cover the ceremony and reception, in addition to getting ready or other special moments before or after the nuptials. Any time that goes beyond the originally agreed-upon hourly fee will incur an additional rate, which you’ll want to be aware of ahead of time.

Others prefer to sell by service package and build upon it depending on the couple’s special requests. Although this includes a general timeframe, it focuses less on how many hours, but rather on getting the footage necessary to put the video together. With each type of pricing, talk through everything you’d like to see in your video and confirm if it’s included or will be an extra cost.

Carefully review the final proposal to ensure that everything is line-itemed or specified for what to expect before, during, and after the wedding in terms of venue scouting, setup, filming, and editing.

Can I Get Both a Highlight Video and a Lengthier Version?

Sometimes both are included in a wedding videographer package. A highlight video is shorter in length and runs only a few minutes. This is often shared through a digital link that you can upload to your social media channels or share through email with friends and family members. A lengthier version can be up to 30 minutes or longer and may be available in a digital format with a hard copy, if requested.

Since each type of video must be edited separately from the raw footage, the cost for both will be more expensive than individually. If you’re considering both options, compare what it would cost to have each one separately and if there’s a discount when ordering together. Additionally, each videographer has his or her own specific style and may only offer a certain length for wedding videos he or she produces.

How Long Does It Take to Receive the Wedding Video?

The time of delivery is dependent on how long your wedding video is, but if you’re working with a production house, they may have a team of editors that help put together multiple videos on a consistent schedule. Most vendors, whether an individual or organization, take several days to gather footage, add special effects, such as music and filters, and edit down to the requested length. Your videographer should give you a timeline of when to expect your video and check in with you regarding updates.

How Long Is a Normal Wedding Video Photo Credit // The Shalom Imaginative

Deciding Between a Solo Wedding Videographer and a Company

When deciding whether to hire a solo videographer or a video production company, there are pros and cons to both. Factors, such as cost, experience, and timeliness all come into play when doing your vendor research. You’ll just want to choose one that you feel understands your vision of how you want to see your big day play out on film.

The price point may be slightly cheaper for someone who is running things solo. However, that’s not always the case since he or she may be trying to stay competitive with bigger companies. A solo wedding videographer may also put together a more customized proposal and provide greater communication to market him- or herself to the fullest. The collaboration process may feel more comfortable as you plan for your own unique video.

On the other hand, a video production company may have the process down pat with experience that makes you feel confident in their handling of a bigger wedding or a location that requires footage from different angles and more than one person shooting it. A bigger team may also mean that the editing process may happen quicker since there are more hands on deck. With this, though, usually comes a higher rate.

These are generalities for each, and there are plenty of wedding videographers that go beyond the normal expectations. Prioritize what’s the most valuable to you in regards to finding the right person to film your wedding. Is it budget? Style of videography? Knowing these kinds of details will help you to narrow down your search and make selecting your ultimate choice an easier process.

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