We LOVE and RESPECT everyone as a couple and any life choices they make. Please DO NOT take offense to this guide being geared towards the typical saying of "Bride and Groom". This guide is for brides and grooms, groom and groom, bride and bride, brides who become grooms or grooms who become brides. This is just a standard guide and the terminology means nothing so you can ignore any part that does not pertain to you and your day and your lifestyle. I mean look at us, we are not the typical "Bride and Groom" But this guide is very helpful on what to expect and how to prepare.
Important Stuff Here!
We ask all of our clients to read through this entire page to understand our approach to filming your wedding day and what to fully expect from us.
What to expect from us on the day of
If you're having Pre-Ceremony footage done, we're going to come to wherever the bride is getting ready about two hours before kick off. That time can vary from wedding to wedding depending on individual circumstances. Two hours before coming down the aisle is generally about the time the bride gets into her dress, but that time is ultimately up to the client to decide. Most like to capture footage of the tail end of that moment where the bridesmaids either button or zip up the back of the dress itself. From that point on, we're going to capture candid of the bridal party, detail shots of the facility and other wedding related items (flowers, shoes, jewelry), or whatever else that might go on, from formal photo shoots to last minute preparation. Whatever you want us to do, we'll film it. Especially if you plan on doing a first look (where the couple sees each other for the first time on the wedding day before the wedding)
If the guys are at the same location, we'll get a little bit of them too. If you have a second videographer as a part of your package, they'll get a dedicated videographer with them the entire time we're there filming pre.
During this time, we love to capture the couples opening a gift from each other, if that is something you decide to do. Also we encourage our couples to write a letter to each other that can be read in private (plus your video and photo team) outloud so some of that audio and video can be added to the overall video. It is a chance to take a moment and tell your partner why you love them and what they mean to you as you do in vows if you write your own, but this can be as long as you would like and not limited by the ceremony. Or if your doing traditional vows then this is that opportunity to "write your own vows to each other" and have the other person know how your feeling and why you want to marry them! (See below)
How is a wedding day letter different than wedding?
Your vows should stand the test of time and focus on your love both now and in the future. The wedding day letter can be more anecdotal and should include references to your relationship to date and the wedding day itself.
Here is a quick list you can reference to differentiate your custom vows from your wedding day letter:
VOWS SHOULD INCLUDE:
- Specific promises
- A tone that is mostly serious and sentimental with a dash of humor
- Content that will stand the test of time
WEDDING DAY LETTER SHOULD INCLUDE:
- References to how you feel now that your wedding day is finally here
- Anecdotal details from milestone moments in your relationship that led you to this day
- Personal details that you may not feel comfortable publicly sharing within your vows
Why should I write a wedding day letter to my PARTNER?
There are various reasons that couples choose to write a wedding day letter to their future spouse.
- If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your emotions during personal vows, you can privately share these feelings through a letter.
- The letter is a sentimental and romantic keepsake from the day.
- Your letter can accompany any gift you give your partner on the morning of your wedding
- Your videographer will have you read the letter out loud so they can use the audio for your highlight video.
- Letters are something to exchange and read during your first look if you do one, or in private.
How long should a wedding day letter be?
While vows are typically 1 - 5 minutes in speaking length but your wedding day letter can be longer. I recommend sticking to one page. And remember, a handwritten letter is more personal and romantic than a typed letter.
What’s an outline or structure I can follow for the letter?
ADDRESS YOUR PARTNER:
Start with a simple introduction. Since this letter will be read privately, unlike vows, feel free to use any nicknames within the introduction that you otherwise might be too embarrassed to say in front of your guests.
EXPRESS HOW YOU FEEL ON YOUR WEDDING DAY:
The wedding day letter should feel timely so reference the day. How are you feeling now that the big day is finally here? What thoughts are running through your head when you think of seeing your bride for the first time?
Here are some samples you can reference for this part of the letter:
After years of dating and months of planning, I can’t believe our wedding day is actually here. I’m restlessly excited and can’t wait to finally say I do to you, the great love of my life.
I have no idea what your dress/tux/suit looks like or what hairstyle you finally settled on after the endless hours you spent scrolling through Pinterest but I know with certainty that you will look gorgeous/handsome and I will forever remember the way you look for the rest of our lives.
COMMUNICATE THE STORY OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP:
How did you two meet? It doesn’t matter how many years a couple has been together, it’s always fun to retell the “how we met” story.
Recounting your meeting story provides a full circle moment since we’re going from the moment you first met to your wedding day.
I’ll never forget missing the F train and having to wait nearly 30 minutes to catch the next one. I thought it was going to be the worst moment of my day, making me late for work, late for that important meeting, and late to hand in my presentation. But missing that train was not only the best moment of that day, but it has also been the best thing that has happened to me since then because it brought me to you. So really, it was perfect timing.
I didn’t want to go out that Friday night. My buddies had to practically drag me out of my apartment but I’m so grateful I didn’t stay at home that night and instead found myself at Mike’s Pub where I caught eyes with the most beautiful/handsome woman/man I’d ever seen. I barely had the nerve to speak to you but I knew I had already almost missed one opportunity that night by not going out, I couldn’t miss this one….the one that would forever change my life: meeting you.
DESCRIBE THE REASONS YOU LOVE THEM:
What is it about your partner that makes you excited to marry them? List out a few reasons. Unlike with your vows, you can get very anecdotal in the letter through storytelling.
For example, if their generous heart is one of the qualities you admire in them, recount the story of when they invited you to volunteer at the soup kitchen with them for your second date.
Or perhaps you love their laugh. Detail out some of the more memorable experiences together that got you both laughing.
The idea is not just to list words that describe their personality but rather to relive warm memories from your relationship that illustrate their character.
END WITH A WEDDING DAY RELATED LAST LINE:
While a classic “I love you” is a sweet way to end your wedding day letter, try to also include some sort of specific nod to the day.
I love you and I can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle.
Here’s to our final moments as fiances and to our new beginning of forever.
I love you, my partner.
Here’s to the first day of the rest of our lives together, my love.
For the ceremony, we'll show up about an hour ahead of time (if we're not already there for any pre-ceremony coverage) to meet with whoever's in charge at your venue. Usually a priest at a church or a coordinator at other sites. We'll find out what we can and can't do when it comes to filming at your venue, but our standard approach is typically just fine in most cases. We'll also meet with your photographer (if you did not choose us, but we hope you did) then as well (if we haven't done so already) and make sure he or she has the ground they need. You only get one chance to get a good shot as a photographer, so we like to work around them since we get continual footage from different angles.
When it comes to the actual filming, we'll set up our 'Main' camera on a tripod behind the last row of seats several feet off the aisle, or in a balcony if available (especially if you have two videographers). The camera itself is smaller than a football and everything is black, so it blends in very well. That camera will simply film the couple the entire time once the ceremony begins. We'll also put a microphone on the groom. It's an MP3/WAV recorder and does not have an over-the-air signal so it won't interfere with any house system. This one mic will pick up the vows clearly.
With a second 'Roaming' camera, we're going to film the processional from up front when possible. Either off to the side or from a knee at the center of the aisle. We'd then tie together all of the footage we filmed between the two cameras in post production giving your wedding the appearance that it was filmed by a dozen different cameras. But in reality it was only one or two of us actually filming.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING WIRELESS MICROPHONES:
If you're having your ceremony outdoors, wind (over 15-20mph) can also wreak havoc with any type of microphone platform. On windy days we request our clients to allow us to use a 'dead mouse', as it's professionally known in the video business (no kidding). It's a golf-ball sized fuzz ball, black in color, that we can put over our wireless microphone that will significantly cut down on wind noise (but not always eliminate it completely, but dramatically help with any wind issues). We'll likewise use a 'dead cat' on our shotgun microphones on the main camera which will also significantly cut down on wind noise as well.
Any type of environmental sounds are very hard to eliminate. If you're near a busy road, you'll likely hear some traffic. If it's a bit breezy, you'll hear some wind noise. Whatever the human ear can hear while your ceremony is taking place, our microphones will pick up the same sounds. By using wind-screens and what not we can cut down on wind noise quite a bit, however.
For the Reception, we'll get plenty of staging scenes of the facility, your guests during any cocktail hour (time permitting), your cake, gift table, food, floral arrangements, table setups and anything else that's unique to your wedding. We will typically focus on getting as many guests on film during the cocktail hour for posterity in your video. It's awkward to film folks by the time they're seated and eating so we typically avoid doing any 'table shots' during the reception besides the candids. When the actual reception begins, we'll get all of the important events in the beginning from your introductions, first dance, toasts and so on with our camera gimbal system when possible. If there's room, we'll have another camera set up on a tripod by the DJ or other area that makes sense for an alternate view of things. After initial Reception events (Introductions, toasts, special dances, etc.), we'll focus on the dance floor to capture your friends and family having a good time. A second camera person (if your package comes with one) can get secondary angles of important events for more dynamic footage. With the Elite upgrade, the second person can also man an optional Video Message Station, where your friends and family can come over and toast, roast or wish you guys well on video. Such a station would have to be set up in a relatively quiet location, so we usually target areas away from the dance floor and loud music... preferably a 'high traffic' area near the bathrooms or bar. Please see more detailed information at the bottom of this page about the Video Message Station!
Also, we DO NOT use blinding, white hot lights! If you've been to a few receptions with other videographers or even some photographers, you probably know what I'm talking about here. If we have to use lights at all, they'll be very soft and won't be too overwhelming. With the software and cameras we use, we can usually film in 'dim' lighting conditions without the use of a light.
Anyway, after the initial blast of important scenes, there's usually up to an hour-long down time during dinner. This is a great time to feed your vendors. It's even better to instruct your caterer or venue to feed your vendors right away and not wait until all the guests have been served. We have nothing to do for an extended period of time. If we get fed after all the guests, more often than not, we won't even get the chance to eat as important events are beginning again at that point. You're probably paying a fee for vendors to eat... might as well make sure we get to have them! Also, it is important to make sure the venue has a place for vendors to sit and eat set up. One of the most awkward situations is when a vendor does not know where to go and has to ask the couple or the venue staff and most times if not pre discussed, there is no place and they have to set one up. You want your vendors to feel cared for too as they spend the day with you, so make sure the venue handles that part if you already did not preplan a place for them while doing your seating chart.
After dinner, we'll capture candid shots of your guests having a good time on the dance floor and of course get all of the other important events of the night, including parent dances, bouquet/garter tosses, cake cuttings and so on. If you have a different vision for your reception coverage other than our typical approach, that is ok too. No two weddings are the same. We always will try to accommodate anything you have in mind!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING LED LIGHTING:
An absorbent amount of LED lighting at your reception (or even ceremony) can give cameras fits in today's wedding world. LED lighting is bright, cool to the touch and have up to 256 color options. The problem? DJ's, bands and/or wedding designers can have LED lighting everywhere for effect and mood. LED lighting is not a bad thing, but if it's the primary light source it can make subject matter look that color in your video and even wash some subject matter out all together if they're being illuminated directly by LED lighting.
The issue lies in the fact that we see things differently than a video camera does. When we walk into a room that is lit with LED lights, our brains automatically correct what we are seeing to something that we perceive as looking natural. A video camera can't do that. If we walk into a room that has a purple color from LED lighting, our brains are going to even things out for us, but the video camera is going to see everything in purple.
Another issue with some LED lighting is that they flicker. Technically, LED lights pulse at a certain frequency per second and the video camera's shutter opens and closes a certain amount of times per second. If the LED pulse frequency is not a number that is a multiple of the video camera's shutter speed, then you can have flicker from the LEDs as well... although this is much less common as LED's and the cameras become more advanced. We see this more with string lights.
We're not saying LED's are bad, but a good mix of halogen lighting (normal ceiling or lamp type lighting) and LEDs will look both great to your eyes in person on the day of, and look great on film (as the halogen cancels out the 'washed out' effect LEDs can cause).
If you're okay with the effect the LEDs may give off if they're the primary light source, no problem! Ignore this issue. If you'd like the subject matter in your video to look more natural, ask your DJ/ band coordinator/ wedding coordinator or designer to make sure LED lighting will not be the primary light source and see if they can offer a good mix of regular halogen and LED lighting. It would be both beneficial to us as videographers, and to your photographer as well (although their flash compensates for the overuse of LED in most situations).
Below are some visual samples that we're talking about for your reference. Send your planner/DJ or whoever's in charge of your lighting to this page to see what we're talking about if you have any concerns about the overuse of LED lighting.
Additional Information Regarding the Video Message Station:
If you are getting a Video Message Station as part of your package to interview and get comments from guests at your reception, we'll typically set that up during the cocktail hour (when possible) near a high traffic area such as the bar or even the bathrooms. Ideally, we hope there's a lobby or someplace other than your reception space to leave the camera for the remainder of your reception. Since loud music is typically associated with any reception, it's best to have the camera in a quieter location.
In some cases we'll have no choice but to be in the reception area itself which can affect the sound quality of the interviews. No microphone, handheld or otherwise, can cancel out background noise and the louder that sound is (music from a DJ, for example), the more apparent that can and will be in the video.
If you or your planner would like to hand pick an area for your Video Message Station at your reception, please take this information into consideration! If not instructed otherwise, we'll put the camera in the best location that's conducive to getting the best possible sound given the environment we're in, as well as 'lure' guests into roasting or toasting you on camera! The Video Message Station will have a large sign on it explaining what it's for and we'll also ask your DJ or entertainment to make announcements asking folks to leave comments if they'd like to. Sometimes we'll get 50 interviews, other times, only 5. We unfortunately can't control if people will actually want to say anything but we're going to do our best to get as many as we can!