A Wedding Planning Guide: 10 videography tips for you to consider (or not!)
Here’s a hot tip I’m sure you didn’t know: wedding planning can be a lot of work!
With that in mind, I put together a little list of things for you to consider when weighing out your schedule and options for your videography timeline.
1. Make choices that suit YOU
This is perhaps the least “insider-y” of the tips, but I think it’s really important for you to get reminded regularly: make these choices based on what you’ll be most happy with in the end. If you put a huge value on getting beautiful photo and video, prioritize that. If you want a big cake, have one. If you want cupcakes, or cookies, or kale smoothies for dessert, have that! Don’t spend a bunch of money to have a wedding day you felt you were ‘supposed to’ have, and then regret spending too much on flowers, or not enough on your dream honeymoon, or documentation, or whatever.
2. Make choices that suit YOU
3. Letter Readings & Personal Vows
Nothing can tell your story better than you can. This is your opportunity to tell each other, in a permanent, lasting way, how you feel. Some people love to do this as part of their ceremony, with personalized vows. Others are more private, and a letter sent and opened before the ceremony can be a less public way of doing the same thing. I LOVE when couples let me record them writing letters or vows, or reading letters aloud before they send them to each other, and equally when they read them aloud as they receive them. Even if you don’t want them filmed, take this time to share with each other in a personal way.
4. Capturing Loved Ones
On a similar note, one of the greatest pieces of value your film can offer is capturing loved ones. This is something couples are most happy to have years later, when friends or family members have been lost. Share with me a list of people who you value and cherish, and ask those people if they’d be willing to record small testimonials or wishes throughout the day. It’s low pressure, and I always prepare a list of questions to ask them so they don’t get stuck, but it’s a great bonus both to your highlight film, and as an extra little video to hold on to on its own.
This is a big one, and can be applied to lots of things, but the biggest part of this tip is to leave lots of time! Schedule enough time throughout your day that you aren’t rushing from one thing to the next, always trying to beat the clock, and stressing when you fall behind. This includes leaving time for breaks! Don’t overwhelm yourself and make it so you don’t have time to drink a glass or water or run to the bathroom! Leave time for photo and video teams to get good stuff, and leave time to get from one location to another. This may mean a little additional cost for you, when it comes to booking vendors, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did when everything runs smoothly and you can enjoy every last minute.
6. Locations, Locations, Locations
Try to keep your movements to as few locations as possible on any given day. There may be 8 great places to get photos and videos, and you may want to include different prep, ceremony and reception venues, but as much as possible, limit your moves. For one, this means there’s less time spent in transit, which means less likelihood of travel issues, and more time spent enjoying yourself and your guests, and for another, if you’re constantly moving, that means set up and travel time for your photo and video team, which means less of your day is being filmed / photographed.
7. Golden Hour, Twilight, Sunrise, Oh my!
There are a few great times during the day to get really stunning images. The most well-known time being “golden hour.” It starts about an hour before sunset and has soft, warm lighting that means no harsh shadows, and no blown-out sky. It’s a great time to capture that beach, or vineyard or skyline you booked your venue for. Another great time to grab shots is in the dark of night of the evening, under the stars or the lights of the city. Sunrise can be equally gorgeous when planning an elopement. Keeping all that in mind, try to schedule some photo/video time during at least one of these, but don’t stress about hitting two or even all three. Unless your video is your first priority (above spending time with your guests!), you don’t want to be constantly running out of your reception to get that “perfect shot” and miss the fun.
8. Help Your Vendors Coordinate
Get your photographer and I speaking as soon as possible. Loop in your planner, or day-of-coordinator, or venue planner. Link us up with your Band or DJ, or other entertainment. We all will need to work in harmony, and the earlier we can all get communicating the fewer questions we will have for you to answer as the date approaches, and the more smoothly things will run!
9. Include your prep, welcome dinner or an adventure session.
These three things are incredibly powerful ways to enhance the story of your wedding film and the variety of memories you’ll have to look back on.
An adventure session allows the two of you to comfortably and candidly be yourselves. We can explore the place of your first date or proposal, or the neighborhood where you live, or go for a hike.
Welcome/rehearsal dinners are when couples most often acknowledge their families and those who have helped them plan, it’s also a time when parents who won’t necessarily speak at the reception get to express themselves. People often say the best things the night before, when there’s a light flow of alcohol and a buzz of excitement.
Finally, the day-of prep. It may seem like “no one wants to see me put on makeup”, but scheduling your documentary team time with your bridal party, plus touches like a parental-figure helping you into your attire and a chance to see the venue in its calm-before-the-storm state can be incredibly helpful in building the emotional arc of your film.
While we’re on the topic: I do encourage a first-look if you're considering it. Not only is it a great way to capture your emotions on film, it’s also an opportunity for the two of you to commune in private moment together before you have all your guests and events and photoshoots pulling your attention away.
10. Make choices that suit YOU
I really mean it. After reading this all, remember if these things don’t serve you, then don’t do them! Consider what you’ll be happy to have had, and make choices from the place of you in 10 years. What will you remember? What will you wish you had captured, so you could remember it better?
(Bonus tips below!!)
It’s by no means required, but it can be really fun to have a little “toss item” or “action item” for your bridal party to enjoy in the prep time. It might be a bottle of sparkling wine that you shake and pop open (use the cheap stuff!), or some made-from-recycled-paper confetti to toss, but a little celebratory gesture in advance of the ceremony can be a fun way to get some great picture and video and release any nerves you’ve got!
Bonus tip #2: How will this video look in 10 years? 20?
One thing I urge couples to consider is - how ‘period’ will your video look when you view it on your 25th or 50th anniversary? You can’t change the styles of the times, but some filmmakers use extremely stylized looks and visual transitions in their videos. If you’ve watched a wedding video from 25 years ago with a ‘star-wipe’ you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you love those period touches, maybe you don’t. But take that into consideration when deciding what style is best for you!
Were these tips helpful? Do you have more questions about videography? Sound off in the comments, browse my other posts, or reach out with questions!
Love ya, mean it!