How Long Does It Take to Edit a Wedding Video?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The time to edit a wedding video can range from a few hours for a short highlight video to several months for a complex, cinematic edit.
  • Factors like amount of raw footage, video length, editing style, and number of videographers impact time required.
  • On average, expect 11-25 weeks for a full-length edited wedding video, or 5-10 hours for a highlight reel.
  • Additional time needed for importing, reviewing footage, collaborating with couple, and finalizing video.
  • Hiring an experienced wedding videographer and communicating expectations can help manage project timeline.


Capturing your wedding day on video can create memories to cherish for a lifetime. But after the big day is over, how long does it actually take to transform raw footage into a polished wedding movie you can proudly share? From highlight reels to cinematic edits, the post-production process can vary greatly.

This article will comprehensively evaluate the timeline and factors that influence how long it takes to edit wedding videos. You’ll learn industry averages based on video length, style and complexity. We’ll also explore techniques professional videographers use to develop stunning videos their clients adore. With this information, you can set realistic expectations and work with your creative team to build the perfect wedding day keepsake.

Understanding the effort and artistry involved in editing will help you truly appreciate the final masterpiece. Let’s dive in to discover everything that goes into crafting a wedding video worthy of the big screen!

How Long Does Basic Wedding Video Editing Take?

The most basic wedding video edit focuses on creating a short highlight reel from the best moments of the day. This may involve:

  • Reviewing and organizing raw footage
  • Selecting key moments and best shots
  • Basic timeline assembly with transitions between clips
  • Color correction and audio balancing
  • Minimal graphic elements or text
  • Exporting video file

For this simple approach, expect the editing to take 5-10 hours on average. The key steps that factor into this timeframe include:

  • 2-3 hours to import and review all footage. The videographer needs to watch everything first to tag important shots.
  • 3-5 hours to build the video timeline, trim clips, transition between scenes, and do minor corrections or enhancements.
  • 1-2 hours for any client review, revisions, and exporting final video file.

So in total, a simple wedding highlight video can often be edited in a single work day or up to a few days depending on the total footage.

What About Editing a Full-Length Wedding Video?

For a more complex, cinematic editing style, brides and grooms should expect the post-production to take 15-25 weeks on average. This allows time for:

  • Viewing all footage and developing creative vision.
  • Building a detailed timeline with carefully arranged clips and sequences.
  • Stylizing with color grades, motion graphics, animations, etc.
  • Incorporating other media like photos, audio, text.
  • Fine-tuning audio, visuals, pacing, transitions, etc.
  • Client reviews and feedback at multiple stages.
  • Revising based on feedback and finalizing.
  • Creating alternate cuts like highlight reels.

This extensive process ensures the final video tells a compelling story that captures all the emotions of the day. Rushing through editing could sacrifice quality.

According towedding videography company Evoke, couples hiring them should expect their full movie to take “on average 20 weeks” from filming date to final delivery. But many factors can accelerate or extend this schedule.

What Factors Determine How Long Wedding Video Editing Takes?

While industry averages provide a helpful benchmark, the specific timeline depends on the scope of each project. Elements that can increase editing time include:

Amount of Raw Footage

  • More hours of footage means more content to review and assemble into a cohesive story.
  • Average wedding filming yields 5-10 hours of raw video across multiple cameras.
  • Popular videography trends like drone footage further expand total media.
  • One videographer estimated 4 hours just to ingest and organize the average 45-60GB of raw footage from a wedding.

Length of Final Video

  • Shorter highlight reels take less time than 1+ hour final videos.
  • Wedding highlight videos often range from 3-8 minutes long.
  • Full-length edits tend to span 45 minutes to over an hour with all ceremonies and events covered.

Number of Videographers

  • Solo shooters will work faster than multi-videographer teams where footage needs to be coordinated.
  • On average, expect 1-2 lead videographers and 0-3 supporting camera operators.
  • More viewpoints make for richer edits but require more syncing up in post.

Level of Cinematic Style

  • Simple editing just strings together shots and scenes.
  • Cinematic level involves deliberate color grading, audio work, motion graphics, animation, etc.
  • This stylization greatly elevates production value but adds hours to the editing timeline.

Client Review Cycles

  • Client feedback at rough cut stage often results in revisions.
  • More client review rounds equals more edit adjustments required.
  • Streamlining feedback and minimal changes accelerate timeline.

Type of Media Involved

  • Beyond footage, incorporating photos, audio, text etc. adds editing complexity.
  • Popular trends like wedding drone footage require more specialized post work too.
  • The more media forms to integrate, the more time intensive it becomes.

As you can see, the runtime of the final video and the amount of raw footage are major factors. But the overall sophistication of the editing craft also greatly impacts the time investment needed.

What Does the Wedding Video Editing Process Look Like?

To better understand why wedding video editing takes so long, let’s look at some typical end-to-end workflows:

A Basic Process

  1. Import footage (2-3 hours)
    • Copy from memory cards to hard drive
    • Organize raw files
  2. Review and tag footage (3-4 hours)
    • Watch all footage
    • Flag best moments
  3. Assemble into timeline (3-5 hours)
    • Arrange clips sequentially
    • Add transitions between clips
    • Basic exposure, color, and audio adjustments
  4. Client review (1-2 hours)
    • Provide rough cut for feedback
    • Revise based on notes and feedback
  5. Export and deliver final video (1-2 hours)
    • Render out final polished edit
    • Deliver to client via digital download

A More Advanced Cinematic Process

  1. Import, backup, organize raw footage (3-5 hours)
    • Create camera proxies for smoother editing
  2. Review, tag footage, plan edit (8-12 hours)
    • Watch all footage, script out overall story
    • Digitally transcribe any important audio
  3. Build initial timeline for ceremonies (5-10 hours)
    • Arrange clips into narrative sequences
    • Refine transitions and pacing
  4. Edit reception events (10-15 hours)
    • Identify and build key moments
    • Interweave b-roll and reaction shots
  5. Stylize with color, graphics, VFX (15-25 hours)
    • Create unique color grades for different segments
    • Animate text graphics for titles, lower thirds, captions
    • Add any visual effects or simulations
  6. Audio design and sound mix (10-15 hours)
    • Smooth out all audio levels
    • Add licensed music tracks
  7. Client review rounds & revisions (10-15 hours)
    • Provide rough cut, fine cut for feedback
    • Revise based on notes
  8. Export final files (5-10 hours)
    • Render master video
    • Export archival files
  9. Deliver final products (5 hours)
    • Upload online for streaming
    • Send digital download & physical media

As you can see, the post-production pipeline has many steps from start to finish. The initial footage import and organization is critical but invisible. Beautiful styling and audio work takes time even if the effects are subtle. Client revisions also add hours to achieve their creative vision. Rushing through any phase risks quality, so the meticulous attention of an experienced editor is invaluable.

Pro Tips for Efficient Wedding Video Editing

The creative team you hire clearly impacts your final wedding video and the timeline to deliver it. Here are some tips professional videographers use to edit wedding videos more efficiently:

  • Start editing as early as possible. Begin working on select footage within days, not weeks after the wedding. This creates forward momentum.
  • Collaborate with other vendors like the photographer to streamline editing.
  • Use editing proxies like lower-res copies of raw footage to accelerate timeline build stage.
  • Have a documented process for client reviews and revisions to minimize back-and-forth.
  • Focus reviews on crucial stages like rough cut or fine cut vs. incremental changes.
  • Manage client expectations upfront about average timelines and possibilities for acceleration based on project scope and budget.
  • Only take on a workload matched to your team’s capacity and bandwidth. Turning projects too quickly can jeopardize creativity and polish.

The most brilliant edits balance artistry with efficiency. Finding videographers who are masters at their craft yet work smartly will lead to better final results in less calendar time.

What’s a Reasonable Timeline to Expect for a Wedding Video?

Based on the averages and insights above, here are some reasonable timeframes to expect at each milestone:

  • 1-2 weeks after wedding: Receive preview highlight reel or ceremony edits.
  • 4-6 weeks after wedding: Initial rough cut or first draft delivered for review.
  • 10-12 weeks after wedding: Fine cut or near final draft delivered after initial feedback incorporated.
  • 16-25 weeks after wedding: Final cinematic video delivered after multiple review rounds.
  • 6+ months after wedding: Delivery of extremely complex or lengthy multi-episode video projects.

Keep in mind these are general guidelines and each couple’s experience may vary based on the factors outlined earlier. While quick turnarounds are tempting, resist rushing your creative team unnecessarily at the expense of quality.

How Can Couples Ensure Their Wedding Video Stays on Schedule?

You can take steps to help ensure your custom wedding video stays on track for your big debut:

  • Communicate expectations upfront so all are aligned on timeline from the start.
  • Book your videographer early with at least 4-6 months lead time.
  • Provide Shot List to capture all must-have moments efficiently on wedding day.
  • Get time commitments for when each phase will be complete based on project scope.
  • Provide feedback efficiently via organized notes vs. piecemeal comments.
  • Avoid overloading edits with too many revisions or additional raw footage.
  • Consider paying rush fees to expedite certain phases if needed, like client review turnaround.
  • Be flexible on the back end for final tweaks to get your video just right.

Great editing takes time. But being proactive and strategic can help maximize efficiency while bringing your creative vision to life.

What’s the Best Approach for Planning Your Wedding Video Timeline?

To ensure you get your special movie on schedule, follow these planning tips:

  • Discuss timeline details after booking your videographer. Get their average and ideal timeframes.
  • Align on key milestones like when rough cut will be delivered based on your wedding date.
  • Build buffer time into your expectations, at least 2-3 weeks. Creative work is unpredictable.
  • Request a dated schedule breaking down each project phase with target delivery dates.
  • Book your vendor early, ideally 6-12 months out to guarantee sufficient post time.
  • Be flexible on final delivery date to get the best quality result. Rushing completion risks regret.
  • Focus on receiving a preview teaser within a month for sharing if a full film will take months.
  • Prioritize quality over speed. Remind yourself that good things take time. The years of enjoyment from your meaningful wedding video are worth the wait!

FAQs on Wedding Video Editing Timelines:

How long should it take to get my raw footage back?

Most videographers deliver raw footage within 1 week after the wedding. Complex projects with multiple shooters may take 2-3 weeks.

Can I get my wedding video edited in just 1 month?

One month turnaround is highly rushed for professional editing. The soonest realistic timeframe is 10-12 weeks for a basic highlight reel. Prioritize quality over speed.

Is it possible to edit my wedding video in 24 hours?

Turning around a polished, complex video in 24 hours is unrealistic. For a major life event like a wedding, take the time to do the editing properly.

What is the typical turnaround time for a 5 minute highlight video?

You can expect to receive a 5 minute wedding highlight reel within 6-10 weeks after filming typically. Excellent creative work takes time.

How much does accelerating the editing timeline cost?

Most videographers charge 25%-100% rush fees to expedite editing turnaround times. This compensates their team for overtime and rearranged schedules.

Final Takeaways

  • Budget ample time for wedding video editing to bring your vision to life. Complex cinematic films often require 15-25 weeks from wedding date to final delivery.
  • Set expectations early with your videography team on ideal timelines based on your project scope and complexity.
  • Focus first on receiving a short preview reel if your full edited movie will take months to craft.
  • Avoid pressuring your creative team to cut corners to deliver faster. Prioritize quality and artistry over rushed timelines.
  • With reasonable time expectations, creative collaboration, and some patience, you will cherish a wedding video for a lifetime!


From raw footage to refined movie, wedding video editing is a meticulous, artistic process. While an unforgettable masterpiece is worth the wait, understanding what goes into post-production will help set realistic timelines. Whether you seek a short highlight reel or full-length feature film, align with your videographer on an optimal schedule. With some thoughtful planning and clear communication, you’ll receive a wedding video you’ll treasure forever.

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