Should you hire a wedding videographer?

As a bride-to-be I read many blogs and articles about top wedding regrets to ensure that I didn’t make the same mistakes as others. What stood out to me was that not hiring a wedding videographer was listed every time and it regularly seemed to top surveys of newlyweds’ regrets.

I quickly realised that videography is a divisive topic in the wedding planning world, with advocates on either side expressing strong opinions. We are engrained to see a wedding photographer as a must; however wedding videography is often forgotten entirely or dropped due to budget constraints. There appears to be a stigma with wedding videography, an assumption that is an unnecessary extra or indulgent luxury. But with surveys indicating that 98% of newlyweds would recommend hiring a wedding videographer should it be dismissed so easily?

Why choose a videographer?

Videos can capture range of emotions within a short period of time and small details such as people’s voices, mannerisms and movements. Through video you can feel the atmosphere, hear laughter and watch moments as they played out.

Wedding photos are amazing keepsakes. They can capture a moment in time and beautiful imagery. However the most beautiful shots are generally the outcome of posed moments, so they often do not capture a memory. It is hard to take a beautiful photograph of people in a genuine moment and only the highest skilled photographers are able to do so.

However a video can capture moments as they happen, without posing or interference. It is also the future of media, video based social media such as YouTube, Facebook Live and Instagram stories have boomed over recent years. If video continues to be such a popular way of communicating, you may really regret only having stills of your wedding day in years to come.

Do you want to hear what your vows sounded like, watch the speeches again or just see how you moved around in your dress? Do you want a video of your day to look back on and to potentially show your children or even grandchildren? If yes, then you should consider hiring a wedding videographer.

Our wedding

I knew I wanted a wedding videographer from an early stage of wedding planning. I have always loved watching videos of family weddings or parties, giggling at the awful fashion choices and seeing real life footage of people who have since passed away.

The main piece of wedding day advice I received, was how the day would just fly by and that you should take it all in. This was an overwhelming thought; there would surely be large chunks of the day that I would miss and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take everything in. I wanted to be able to watch it all again and again, so it put me at ease knowing that a videographer would be there to capture the day.

However if I hadn’t read all the wedding regret articles and knew some recently married friends, there is a chance that we would never have booked a videographer.

We attended a wedding of a close family friend around 6 months before we got engaged and it was one of the best weddings I have ever been to. When their wedding video came through, I genuinely loved sitting down with a glass of wine, reminiscing about the day. One thing we particularly liked about their wedding video was that guests were able to leave little video messages for the bride and groom throughout the day. We decided this was something we wanted to try and include in our wedding video.

Shortly after this my husband was best man for friends who panicked and decided to book a videographer just 2 weeks before their wedding. Their highlights reel was amazing and captured the day perfectly. They were thrilled and this helped my husband to be fully on board with having a wedding video.

We decided we wanted a fun vibe to our wedding video, footage which captured all the important moments, but also our guests enjoying the day. We were also keen for our guests to be able to leave messages for us to look back on for years to come, after seeing that on our friends’ video.

We found our amazing videographers, Jumping Spider Films, by researching videographers in our local area. We were drawn to them due to their hilarious guest message outtakes and quirky attitude.

We had to negotiate the terms of our package slightly, as they didn’t offer one which included the guest messages within our budget, because this usually required three videographers. We agreed that we would only have two videographers but that we would forgo other footage of the day for the guest messages.

Our highlights reel is perfect. I laugh and cry every time I watch it! Watch it below:

Choosing a videographer

One of the main things to consider is a videographer’s style. They each have their own way of filming and editing, so it is important to watch as many highlights videos as possible and decide which style you prefer. Some videographers have an epic, movie feel, others use a more relaxed handheld style or use soft filters to create a romantic atmosphere. You will quickly realise what appeals to you and can look for someone locally with the same style.

You should also ensure they have sufficient experience, especially in light of the cost they intend to charge. You want to know that the videographers you choose will do the best job possible. Luckily it is now quite easy to review past work through highlights reels and you can read client testimonials.

Consider what packages they offer and negotiate if possible. No professional videographer will land you with 12 hours of wedding day footage, they should offer highlights reels and/or carefully edited movie length videos. Think about what it you want and ask questions. They may also be willing to provide you with uncut parts, such as the ceremony or speeches.

One further thing to consider is whether your chosen photographer is happy to work with a videographer. There are some photographers which refuse to work with videographers or require certain terms in their contract. It can be easy for friction to arise between these wedding vendors and for them to get in each other’s way. However videography has come on a long way in recent years and high quality cameras are now quite discrete. Professional videographers should be able to blend into the background and work with your photographer in an amicable way.

Budget options

If you want to have footage of your wedding but it just isn’t within your budget, or you are not bothered about having a high quality, edited video, then there are other options available.

Why not approach a local media college and see whether there are any aspiring videographers or broadcasters who need to build their portfolio? They are likely to have access to the necessary equipment and may be willing to film your day for a little or no cost. Alternatively enquire whether your photographer is willing to set up a video camera to capture important parts of the day for an additional cost. Some photographers offer a combined package, which may work out considerably cheaper.

Whilst you may not get a slick, highly edited video with these options, you should have steady, reasonable footage of your ceremony, speeches and other parts of the day. Also, if they are willing to provide you with their uncut footage, you may be able to enlist a professional videographer to edit it into a highlights video at a later date.

Alternatively, see whether your photographer will create a slideshow of images to music, to play a story of the day, which can feel like watching your day as a video.

Use your guests

My grandmother filmed large chunks of our wedding day on a handheld camera. This footage was brilliant to watch and she caught some really special and funny parts of the day. She took footage on the bus which we organised for guests, during the ceremony and our cocktail hour, also the speeches and the evening. The footage included funny conversations or comments we would otherwise have missed. We loved watching people dancing in the evening and enjoying our cocktail hour. This footage will be priceless to us in years to come.

So encourage your guests to film the day wherever possible. You could even arrange for a video camera to be available to allow guests to capture parts of the day or set it up on a tripod for guests to leave you a message.

However, if you decide to this instead of a hiring a professional, you must manage your expectations. Do not expect this type of footage to be a replacement for a professional videographer. Whilst it was great to watch, my grandmother’s footage is certainly amateur. It is not focussed some of the time, she is not in the best angles for a clear shot and the sound quality isn’t brilliant. There are parts of the day when she forgets she is filming altogether and all you can see is the lining of her handbag or a wall. It also cuts at random moments, so it does not show the ceremony, speeches or our first dance in full.

I heard one horror story from a former colleague, who had nominated her mother in law to film the speeches at her wedding. They provided a fully charged camera and she was in the ideal position to get good footage. However, the mother of the groom decided to let the couple’s 5 year old son take over filming and unfortunately he pressed the record button again, taking the camera of filming mode. So there is no footage of the speeches from her wedding! Worst of all she can’t even get frustrated about it due to the fallout it would cause within the family.

If you nominate a guest to film your day, you must remember that you cannot expect them to capture every moment of your day or amazing footage. They are a guest, not a wedding vendor. They will want to enjoy the day, eat, enjoy a few glasses of champagne and a dance. They are not there to spend the entire day behind a camera and you should not rely on them to do so.

Think outside of the box

We had our dog at our wedding. This was a personal decision as we know that he is very well behaved and the venue was safe for him to be off the lead. During our reception we attached a Go-Pro to him, so we have some wonderful footage of our wedding day from his point of view. This includes our first dance and cocktail hour.

The footage is really fun to watch and it means we have memories of our day from a completely different perspective. If you are not having an animal at your wedding, why not give a handheld camera to a child and set them tasks to do, such as capturing a video of the bride doing a twirl, the details on the tables and the cake. You could even set it up as a game with a list of things they must film for a prize.

These things can give you some great footage. However, again you have to keep in mind that animals and children will not be reliable. You may find that the footage drops out or is such poor quality that you get nothing worthwhile. We had no expectations from our dog’s cam; anything that was worth watching was a bonus.

Final thoughts

If you know that you don’t enjoy watching videos and that any footage will just gather dust in a drawer, a wedding videographer will not be worthwhile for you. Strike it off the “to do” list and move on.

However, if you feel that you will have even the slightest regret by not investing in a video of your day then consider your options. Memories fade but your photos and your video of your wedding will be there for you to look back on for years to come.



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