Thank you for visiting Belinda Jane Video Productions, now l understand you are all preparing, planning, budgeting and have wedding ideas and suggestions coming from everywhere. I have put together this newsletter to pass on tips and hints that l have picked up from filming weddings for the past 3 years.
I'm no expert, l have never been married myself, but l spend weekend after weekend filming weddings and just want to pass on information that l believe will be helpful to all of you who are planning weddings.
Allow Plenty of Travel Time between locations
When traveling around to locations, either from the Bride's house to the Ceremony, or when off completing your photo session, please allow plenty of travel time. Even double it in some cases.
With the City being so close, it's easy to be convinced that it's quite quick to get into the city, but this is very deceiving, even if it normally takes you 10mins on a Sunday afternoon, doesn't mean that it will on your wedding day.
Remember your limo or wedding cars, will drive a lot slower, it will take longer for your bridal party to enter & exit the car, the cars to find car spots when parking and also your Photography & Videographer who are driving behind to also find a park (remember they have to leave their car, so have to find good parks to avoid fines).
So a good suggestion is check via your GPS or street maps online to work out how long it's going to take from one location to another, and as suggested add an extra time to ensure the day runs smoothly and your not rushing around worrying about the time, when really you should be enjoying the day.
Another suggestion, is don't leave immediately after the Photographer / Videographer when leaving the Bridal house when heading to the Ceremony, give them about 15-20mins head start. As when we arrive, we need to find a park (not always easy when we arrive just before the ceremony), we need to set up, introduce ourselves to the priest or celebrant, get shots of the church, the nervous groom, guests and once that is all done, we are able to get excellent shots of the girls arriving in their bridal cars and the Ceremony can run smoothly without us being in a mad panic.
Make a list of Family Photos to be taken...
At each wedding, there is the family photos that need to be taken, and my suggestion is to make a list of who you want family photos with.
This is for 2 reasons, one it helps us (the Photographer & Videographer) to get through them quickly and onto the fun part of bridal photos, but also it's helps you to ensure you get photos with all the important family & friends photos on your wedding day.
Rather than trying to remember on the day, who you want photos with (after the excitement of the ceremony), we can run down the list to ensure you get photos all the photos you want, especially with the family or friends who have traveled a great distance to be with you, the Grand Parents who just adore you, but may have wandered off as they would just like to go and sit down.
To start, make a list of the grooms side, parents, then add grand parents, then the kids of the family, then partners, then the extended family, cousins, and so on. The onto the Bride's family and start the process all over again until we have completed the list.
Once we have the list, we can just call people in and out from the photo (without you 2 moving) and the bridal couple can relax knowing that they have captured everyone. Also don't be afraid to speak up if you want to get some more photos of other people taken, it's your wedding day, not ours, you are the boss (well the bride is, sorry grooms). It may take some time to make the list up, but it will be well worth it on the day.
It's better to take an extra 5 minutes with family photos, then suddenly remember at the end of the day you wanted photos with your Auntie & Uncle from miles away, just as your photographer has walked out the door.
Microphones are extremley important
Microphones play a massive part in your big day and it's something that is overlooked on many occasions, even if you are planning on having a ceremony inside, it's important. Outside Ceremonies, it's essential. Why you ask...
Well, normally you invite around say 100 of your closest friends & family to your wedding, but when doing your vows, you do them quite personal and quitely...I normally stand 4 rows back in the aisle and l still struggle to hear. Imagine how your guests are feeling who are sitting up the back ?
My tips for this is...
Ensure your Celebrant or Church is using microphones. It is actually part of their regulations, so if they say, they don't, insist that they do.
Ensure that you will also have access to use one of the microphone so you can say your vows into. There are times that the Celebrant or Priest has a microphone but doesn't share it with you, so all you can hear is them and not what the bridal couple are saying.
Ensure your videographer is using a lapel microphone on the groom. l had a wedding just last weekend, where the celebrant had her own microphone and you couldn't hear the bridal couple as they didn't have use of a microphone. Luckily, l had a lapel microphone on the groom so l was able to capture all the vows on video, but unfortanelty, most of the guests missed out on what l was said.
Many couples are a bit shy and don't want to speak into the microphones, but honestly, they have come to listen to you say your vows to each other, not listen to the celebrant, so let your guests enjoy that moment and get over your fear, you'll completely forget about it during the ceremony.
If your not using microphones, then please make sure you SPEAK UP so everyone can hear.
The ceremony has stared, you've made it down the aisle, kissed that special person who has walked you down, taken the hands of your partner who you are about to marry and the Celebrant or Priest turns to you and says "repeat after me". You stand there, fully focused on getting your vows correct and try not to make a mistake...what l've picked up here is...
Bridal couples seem to turn and face each other, but then slightly turn their head to face the Celebrant or Priest and say their vows to them, please turn and face each other, as it makes it that much more personal and it gives your guests the chance to view you, your nervousness and even your tears. We all love the vows as they all touch us in some special way. You won't forget your vows as you have someone there prompting you what to say, so please say them directly to each other.
I have also filmed a couple of weddings lately, where the bridal couple & all of the bridal party face the Priest or Celebrant, therefore having their backs to all their guests and to the video camera & photographer. As guests, we have all come to see you get married, not the back of your head !!!
Please speak to the church or celebrant and ensure you are facing your guests as, again this makes the day that much more personal.
Putting the Rings on...
The exchange of rings, it's such a special event in the ceremony & l know l always love to get a close up shot of when the rings are being put on. You wouldn't think much could go wrong here, but it does, how ? by incorrectly putting the rings on. Again l can hear you saying, "it's really not that hard".
My tips for this is...
Hold the ring in your right hand to place on the ring finger of your partners left hand.
Use your left hand to hold their hand steady (therefore this isn't blocking any cameras)
Push the ring on, but try not to cover the ring at all, therefore, we can all get a great shot of it. Sounds simple, but many times, we have people putting the ring on and covering the ring completely, so therefore, we can't see it and the moment is lost.
Why not to get a friend to film your wedding...
All the wedding plans are coming along nicely, then you come across some information regarding filming of your wedding. You first think, "Uncle Bill has got a camera and is always filming family BBQ's and parties, l'll just get him to film it, or a friend". Understandable, as this will save you money, but there are many downsides to this.
I've witnessed first hand, the disappointment this can cause, when a lady, let's call her Bev (actually that's her real name) came up to me and said, "Guess what, my daughter is getting married!". As you can imagine, my first response was, "Who is she getting to film it?", then Bev gives me a little wave saying, "Oh it's OK, she's just getting a friend to film it". I nod, thinking... mmmm ok.
A couple of months later, Bev is wandering around the office, showing everyone the photos of her daughter's wedding, going from desk to desk as all proud Mother's do, she gets to my desk with a very sad look on her face and says, "The video was terrible, the battery ran out during the ceremony, she was too far away for the speeches and the footage was too dark". You could see she was very disappointed.
Unfortunately, you don't get a second chance at filming your wedding. The day goes by so quickly and before you know it, it's over and all you have to look back on is the photos and the video. I see so many friends filming during the wedding, but only sections of it, a little bit of the bride arriving, parts of the ceremony, a little bit of the speeches and that's it. They are also using their camera hand held. Which you might think is good steady footage, but then you put it on the big screen and you can see every slight movement and the shaking because they are using it without a tripod.
Why should you spend the money on a professional...
- We use professional HD video cameras, that cost the price of a small car if not more, not a small handy camera you see everyone waving around.
- We use tripods to ensure steady shots during the ceremony & speeches.
- We use wireless lapel microphones to ensure the vows are captured & clear during the ceremony.
- It's our job for the day, so we are working hard to capture as many moments as possible and important items from the day, the flowers, the rings, the decorations, the bonbonnieres, the cake, the menu, the parents, the emotions, to capture just the prefect wedding DVD, that you can look back on and smile.
But l hear you say, we can't afford to pay a professional to film it.
There are many ways you can get around this. l am more than happy to offer people a payment plan that they pay $100 each month to ensure their video package is paid off before the big day. Or, why don't you put it on the bridal registry, or ask the family to put in for it. You can do all the work to find someone to film and then ask them to pay for it.
Most family & friends have no idea what to get couples for their wedding, so would be more than happy to put money towards a gift that you both really want.
Don't forget to feed us, the Photographer & Videographer...
Your wedding day is flowing along nicely, the photographer and videographer have been following you around all day, bridal preparations, ceremony, photo session, jumping in and out of cars, going to 3 different locations and pretty much started working at your house at 10am. It's now 7pm and everyone is seated at the reception, but there is no seat for us. We have been forgotten about to be added to the seating list.
For one, this is very frustrating, as throughout the whole day, there really isn't 2 seconds to sit down and have something to eat, or swing past Maccas and get a meal deal, we have been going flat out, smell like we've been to the gym for the past 5 hours and would kill for a seat, a bread roll and a soft drink.
So please, if you have organised to have your day photographed and filmed, and require us to capture any of the reception, please ensure you organise seats for us, this is greatly appreciated and once we've had a drink of lemonade and had our bread roll, we can get back to work.
Being Congratulated by your Guests...
The ceremony is over, it's all ran smoothly, the nerves are gone and now it's time for all your family & friends to come up and congratulate you both. What l've noticed is that the groom heads off in one direction and the bride in another.
I try and speak to the bride and groom just after the ceremony to suggest that they stay in the one spot together and have the guests come to them. Your guests all want to congratulate you, so will line up in an orderly fashion (yes it's true) and wait their turn to give you both a big kiss & a cuddle. It makes great footage, as you see them come up, speak to you, couple of hugs and kisses, back slapping for the boys and then onto the next guest.
The photographer and myself can set up just near you both and get the interaction with all your guests. It's also a great way to see who's at the ceremony, with the day going by so fast.