Wedding Videography – Catching the Bride On That Special Day

Capturing the Bride on Her Special Day

I wanted to discuss the most important day of many women’s lives – her wedding day. It’s that same cliche we hear constantly but it is true, so many women plan this day for years, dream about that perfect day with the dress, the venue, the cake and of course (hopefully!) the perfect groom.

Each wedding is individual and the couple will create a day that reflects their personal tastes and ideas of romance. However whether it is a small intimate ceremony with close friends and family, or a huge celebration with hundreds of guests, there will always be strangers amongst the guests in the form the wedding media. Surrounded by loved ones there are the photographer (and in my case videographer) snuggled away between the guests desperately trying to capture the day. My job as the wedding videographer on paper is quite simple – to film the day and create a video that can be watched time and time again to revive the memories of the day.

There are many reasons why I think a wedding video is important – it can be shown to family and friends who could not present, it provides elements that simply cannot be caught in still photography and can be something very special in times of hardship to hear those vows, see those smiles and revive the memories of that day. I therefore take the job very seriously, and while everyone is laughing, smiling and sipping champagne, I am silently moving around the party like a ghost whispering through the venue to catch that moment. There is always that moment. For example… during the bridal preparations on a recent wedding shoot the aunt of the bride entered the room. I am a small independent film maker but I try to make sure I have enough memory on the CF cards to keep the cameras rolling 90% of the time. After studying documentary as a specialism at university you soon learn that you often catch the best footage when you don’t realise so KEEP THE CAMERAS ROLLING! And then grab one if there is even a hint of something interesting happening. In this case the young brides grandmother had recently passed.

The room was empty except the bride herself and a young bridesmaid whilst the other members of her party prepared themselves in the ornately presented, designated dressing rooms. The aunt handed the bride a very special keepsake, a handmade lace pouch that was made up from small sections of the all the dresses of the previous female family members wedding dresses, started by her grandmother. It was her something old and was attached delicately to her white rose and diamante bouquet. The moment was extremely touching, you really did have to be there, but with eyes welling with tears, mouth bursting wide with smiles and hearts full of loving memories it was a moment that the bride did not realise she would get to see again. However I was there, like a chameleon fading into the background, secretly filming these intimate moments, so that she could forever remember a moment that meant everything to her that morning. How rewarding for me to see her face light up at getting to watch the moments she thought were lost forever. How wonderful that she could enjoy that moment with her aunt, remembering her grandmother on her own in private and then share it afterwards with her family members. How individual is that moment…

Each bride is unique. And lets be honest whilst some grooms are very hands on and some enjoy being in the limelight – it is more often than not the bride who is the star of the show and therefore the wedding video. Each ceremony is special and I always do my best to capture their day perfectly but the ceremony, speeches, cake cutting, first dance tends to run smoothly and on a standard format and there are angles and edits that will always work best. The vows are romantic, tear jerking and beautiful where there is an air of genuine love, happiness and relief that is caught on the camera, in the twinkling of eyes, the twitching of fingers and shaking of hands, and the catch of words through smiles, sobs and singing.

It is easy on video to capture this, to let the emotions pour from the couple and the congregation and let the cameras roll and take it all in. The speeches run traditionally from father of the bride to groom to best men and maid of honour and everyone begins to relax and enjoy themselves. It makes for fabulous, fun shooting. I love being a part of it. However it really is the bridal preparations where I come into my element. This is where you capture that raw emotion pre-vows. My favourite fading end to a bridal preparation video was the bride with her legs shaking, taking deep breaths and holding her face in her hands. Why? Because she had been so nervous all morning. I had spent the morning watching, filming, capturing as her mother and bridal party fussed around her all morning, fixing shoes, tidying hair, draping shiny pearls, tiaras and veils over her while she tried to stop herself from dashing off to the bathroom.

She smiled politely, she went through the motions of her preparation, and then waited… She was quiet, reserved and absolutely stunning in her elegant, sleek white gown. The room emptied and she was left to wait for her father to escort her down to her new groom. Before I dashed down to the cameras set up for the ceremony I stayed, quietly, and just filmed. It was breath-takingly beautiful. My heart slowed, my hands sweated and my eyes found the shots. It was her, I captured her, and the genuine, desperate emotions that poured from her. It was stunning and the transition from her in this nervous, expectant state to her walking down that aisle, to seeing her groom there waiting for her, to him taking her hands and them making that first contact for 24 hours made for the most incredible footage. All that relief flowing like burst river of joy. The love that sparkled and glistened from her was outstanding and whilst I am there, just doing my job, I can’t help but feel that I am lucky to be in the presence of something special.

Weddings, and brides, like this are wonderful. They make editing a pleasure and I genuinely feel like I have created something special myself. It is not always this easy. Sometimes the bridal preparation is hectic. Busy women with hoards of silky materials, flurries of petals and an abundance of hair spray dipping in and out of shot. Being a female producer I do feel that I am in a privileged in being granted access as a woman to some of the more private and intimate preparations. It gives me a massive advantage – and even though I am not myself married – I feel like I can identify with the bride in a way that only another woman can.

I can never guess, in our pre-wedding consultation, what the bride will be like before her wedding. Some of the most confident women crumble and some of the demure brides turn their nerves into a comedy sketch. I love to capture them in the butterfly like transformation from normal to bride. Every videographer will have their own techniques and ideas on how to best film weddings. I enjoy discussing what makes the perfect wedding video. I personally think it is the pre-wedding footage. I have of course the bride – but the groom preparations can be equally emotional and entertaining. Thus far I have not had many opportunities to film the groom pre wedding but hope to in the future. The ceremony is magical, the post wedding celebrations are entertaining. The pre-wedding is genuine, uncensored. I treat it like documentary filming, almost fly-on-the-wall style. I want to see people open up, break down and transform. I let the events unfold in front of me without staging or interaction, I just make sure I am there, capturing it all on video. The whole process is mesmerising. I can not recommend highly enough to brides to be to have this service at the wedding, it is something you will not regret and never forget if you have it captured.

I would love to hear other film makers ideas on the subject as well as brides. I find it fascinating to film weddings; and i didn’t think I would, I thought it would just be a job. It is a much more intimate, and expressive process. I am creating something unique, special and lasting and I absolutely love being a part of each couples wedding day.