Part 3 of my guide on simple tips to ensure you not only have the best wedding day possible, but that you also get amazing wedding films and photos.
Who and what really matters to you in life (and therefore in your wedding story)?
I'll also ask you some questions and explain how your answers will or might affect the look and the edit of your final film. Ultimately, it's your choice what I film and don't film!
I'll also talk about the stages of the day where a little preparation can contribute towards making your wedding film even more special.
This third post in my series about how to have the best video and photos of your day focuses specifically on what makes your wedding unique to you and partner.
As well as explaining why I ask some of the questions in my 'Wedding Questionnaire' which I send you when you book me, I'll explain how this information is useful when I come to edit the footage.
What makes you 'you'?
What are you like?
The more I know about you, individually and as a couple, the easier it is for me to tell your 'story', and to make it more emotional and personal for you and your family.
The more I know about you, the better I'll understand why you want a video, what you're expecting to see in it, and who your video is for.
Besides, I love hearing your likes and dislikes, and what's important in your lives. It also helps you feel more comfortable with me. And if you feel have a 'best' side for filming, that's fine, you can tell me!
What's your story?
I can't imagine filming a wedding where I don't know anything about you; how you met each other, how long you've been together, key events in your lives and of course, the proposal!
It goes without saying that if there's important 'stuff', for example, you're travelling to the wedding in your father's special car, or getting married in the same church as your mother or grandmother before, that's hugely important for me to know upfront, so I get this in more detail or can plan to be in the right place at the right time to capture these. Nothing's too small or trivial; if it's significant to you I'd rather you told me about than I miss it.
How many guests are you having?
This might seem a strange question but it's really helpful for me to know and although during Covid-19 times weddings have been a lot smaller, hopefully it won't be too long before we're able to have larger weddings again with dancing!
If you having more than 150 guests at your wedding, I do recommend a second shooter, to capture more of the guests and your day. Also if you're having different numbers through the day that helps.
Navigating a really large wedding, especially those with hundreds or thousands of guests is completely different from a film and photography perspective, which is why I always ask you for the numbers.
Who are the VIPs in your life?
OK, everyone's a VIP at your wedding, but some videos are for special people who can't be there, or of special people who won't be around for ever. Sometimes your wedding video could the only record of loved ones and their voices—such priceless memories.
Please tell me the names of the VIPs in your lives, parents, grandparents, children, groomsmen and bridesmaids and maids of honour. If they're speaking or are key to the video it can also help to see a photo in advance and then I know who to mic up for readings etc. It's just nice as well to be able to put names to faces!
As a videographer I would never block a guest's view of you at key moments; but the same goes for guests, who often block the videographer's shots.
Consider asking your guests stand behind the official photographer and videographer during key moments such as the ring exchange, the kiss, the bouquet toss, the cake cutting and the first dance. over-zealous guests can easily block these important shots.
PLUGGED or UNPLUGGED?
How do you feel about all your guests filming and photographing you at every stage of the day? Be aware that if you allow your guests to do so, they'll almost certainly be in your film and may also block my camera for key shots.
I do recommend you tell your guests that that you're having an 'unplugged' ceremony because you've hired a professional videographer as well as a photographer so they can relax and enjoy the day.
If it feels too restrictive to tell your guests they can't take photos you can organise time blocks (e.g the signing of the registrar) for photos by friends and family. You can also ask your celebrant or the venue organiser to remind guests not to take photos at key moments such as during the ceremony so you don't have to do this.
If for any reason, there's anyone I need to avoid filming please tell me about this as well.
other things and people...
Rites, rituals and dancing!
If you're having special rites, rituals or traditional dancing, I really want to know! From Irish Céilí dances to smashing the glass in Jewish weddings, or henna painting; it's so fun to film things that are a little different, and I really love multicultural weddings.
If you have guests that don't speak English, or relatives overseas who's mother tongue isn't English it's worth thinking about having subtitles added to the video for them. If this is something that you'd like, please tell me.
It's great when your entire wedding team works like a dream, which is why I ask you for the details of your suppliers in advance.
Every supplier you choose is part of your vision for the day, and I'm there to document the service or product they provide for you.
We usually follow each other on social media, and I'll also reach out personally to your photographer, as this allows us to make sure we work together and get the best photos and films of your day.
What to prepare (well at least a little bit)...
Letters, Vows and speeches
If you're having special vows please tell me, especially if you want both partners' vows captured. These, and letter readings really add a storytelling aspect and can also be included as a voiceover on the film. They make your ceremony even more personal and heartwarming.
As a general guide, if speakers say how they know you, make their speeches personal, and talk about you, and have a beginning, middle and end, as well as tell stories, and add humour, and keep it short and sweet, they can't really go wrong. It's okay to be simple and meaningful...
the first dance
If you tell what your first dance is and why you chose it, that gives me more insight on you as a couple, and also how to film it. If dancing is important to you and you've learnt a choreography especially please tell me—so I can allow enough time to ensure I capture this fully.
Equally if you either hate dancing or haven't prepared for it or tell me, so I film the general flavour of it—you can also ask your DJ to encourage guests to come up and join you within the first minute . Logistically, it does depend on how many guests there are and if they step in front of the camera!
During Covid-19 restrictions, however, only the first dance is allowed, so I do recommend learning at least a general choreography in advance!