Tyler and I are smack dab in the middle of high wedding season so lots of editing is happening on our end, but we’re excited to share one of our favorite films: Shannon & Dan’s (video below). This film is the perfect example to show you what is needed to make an amazing wedding film. We can show up to your wedding day and everything be absolutely stunning and your video still just be okay. That’s because it’s not the same as photos. It needs WAY more than just beauty to bring it to life!
Ok, so they’re not really secrets, but here are some of our thoughts behind what we think creates a beautiful wedding film.
1. Handwritten vows blow traditional vows out of the water. EVERY single time. They bring depth, sincerity and personality that is irreplaceable. Dan and Shanon’s vows practically made me WEEP. If you’re thinking you’re not an emotional person, that’s okay! You don’t have to cry for them to be meaningful and heartfelt! Because we value vows so much, we mic both the bride and groom to ensure we get clean audio! More on how we do that later! THAT’S how much we cherish those sweet words you exchange! And you don’t have memorize them either! They’re just as wonderful if you read them straight from a card (that’s what we did), even if you ugly cry most of the way through. ;)
2. Your wedding is more than just the wedding day itself. Often it’s a weekend full of festivities with family and friends that often fit beautifully in within your story. Shannon & Dan invited us to tag along for a golf tournament, bridal luncheon and rehearsal dinner and it truly helped capture their entire weekend which was all about the joining together of two families. When you watch their video, you’ll also notice that many of the toasts in their film came from the rehearsal, so we encourage you to consider inviting your videographer along to other parts of your weekend that embody your story! Additionally, many of the more sincere and memorable toasts actually happen at the rehearsal dinner and not the reception, so it’s definitely worth if just to have it recorded!
3. Allow us to document the unexpected. When we get into the edit and are looking through your beautiful day, one thing becomes very apparent: content is king, and relevant content is the holy grail! So if you’re the groom, plan a fun activity the morning of and invite the videographer along. Even better, tie that activity into something relevant for the day. For example, one of our grooms last year brewed beer with his father and brother as a small startup business. So for their reception they brewed all the beer that was served, and the father and brother got to serve their handcrafted lagers and ales to their guests. Because we did our research and found out about this ahead of time, we knew we’d need to film elements of the day that related to the beer because it was much more than a boozy drink, it was a handcrafted piece of their wedding, and that activity was part of that story!
Can’t think of anything that would tie in with you or your fiance? Don’t sweat it, fun activities such as bowling or golfing always make great content as well and more great content means longer videos! Often we’ll even film things you wouldn’t think are relevant, but actually serve as a strong transition between stories or make for good footage to overlay. It’s our job as storytellers to sift through what is needed. And you never know what fun activity might make for great video content, so we encourage you to encourage your videographer to tag along on the fun wedding adventures!
4. Toasts are such a vital part of a beautiful wedding film because it’s not enough to just watch things happening. We allow the toasters to help “narrate” the day with the beautiful words they speak about the couple! So if you want your dad or mom, or anyone else to toast – just ask them! They’ll be honored and it will add a whole new layer of sentiment to hear them speak in your film! And don’t just count on “open toasts” at the reception, that’s a wildcard, and you never know if you’ll get something sweet or just drunk slurs. So let the people, who you want to toast, know beforehand – this will also give them time to prepare something special.
Speaking of preparing toasts – it’s also great to know that if you’ve hired us to film your wedding, we’ll be contacting these toasters the week of to get their toast. So make sure they have it ready! We do this because knowing what sweet words will be said is SOO helpful and allows us to have an idea of what your story could be before we even start filming! And when anything could happen during the course of your wedding day, a story outline is ALWAYS best to have!
5. Consider exchanging gifts or notes on your wedding day – just make sure your groom knows your expectation! ;) Not only will you have a special something to cherish, I just can’t emphasize enough how much more personal your film will be, especially when that gift has significant value. We even challenge you to wait to write your note or wrap your gift until the wedding day so we can capture that as well! Feel free to have it typed up, but don’t write on that sweet card just yet! ;)
Personally, exchanging gifts was one of my favorite parts of the day as a bride. It built anticipation to see each other, it was thoughtful and sweet and because Tyler is an overachiever…I got my camera…YES a camera! I know! Anyways, regardless of how small or big the gift is, the sentiment is what adds the most value to your film. Most importantly, do whatever fits your personality. If you’re not sappy, skip the love note and go for something fun and playful. Either way, find a gift that adds personality to your wedding day story.
6. Let us pick those jammin’ tunes! Yep, while we’re certainly open to suggestions and are always happy to work with you if it’s always been your dream to watch your wedding moments to the tune of God Gave Me You or Marry Me, we’ve found the best wedding films involve sweet instrumentals, which we have a library full of! The music in our videos often isn’t the subject of the film, but rather an emotional thermostat. It sets the tone. After all, aren’t you the main subject of your wedding? We think so too, so we don’t want the music taking away something it shouldn’t by being too trendy or obtrusive.
7. Speaking of music, who doesn’t love a great playlist to jam out to while they’re getting ready for the happiest day ever?! We all do! But make sure it’s at a quieter level so that those compliments on how beautiful you look or those funny stories that tie into your wedding day, all of which get thrown out randomly, aren’t muffled by Lady Gaga jammin’ in the corner. And make sure it can be paused quickly. Notes being opened, funny stories being told, talking about what your groom is doing that morning with his guys are all reasons for us pause the music for just moment so we can hear what’s being said clearly. But if we can’t in time, it’s helpful to already have it at quieter level!
8. When you choose where to get ready, make natural light a priority. By simply placing your hair and make-up chair in natural light, your footage will be so much more flattering! Yucky bathroom light is just that…yucky! So steer clear of doing hair and make-up in any bathrooms and go straight for the window!
The same goes for your ceremony location – natural light is always a winner! And while being outside isn’t always an option, there are lots of venues like Hickory Street Annex or Ashton Gardens with large windows and lots of gorgeous natural light flowing in!
9. Do a first look. Yep, just do it! It’s such a sweet moment that adds so much emotion! Plus, keep in mind depending on your ceremony time and season, it may be dark when it’s over, therefore limiting the photos and footage that can be taken afterwards of the two of you. If this is something you value (which we hope it is!), please please please do a first look! It’s a beautiful part of the day captured and not to mention, your photographer will love you for allowing ample time for photos.
10. Finally, hire a videographer you LOVE. They will spend your wedding day with you in so many intimate, precious moments so it’s important that you not only get along with them, but that you trust them and feel comfortable around them. We consider it a pure honor to be a part of your wedding day and strive to help you forget you’re being filmed and be IN THE MOMENT, and we believe that starts with having a videographer you trust!
All in all, it’s about creating a film that captures you, and these elements help us do that!
Photography: Sarah Kate
Planning: After Yes
Venue: Howell Family Farms
Floral: Lush Couture
Lighting: Astounding Sounds
Band: Justin Cash
Rentals: Celebration Event Rentals & Rent My Dust
Catering: Low Country Quisine