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Planning a Wedding Video

Meet with the bride & groom at least several weeks before the wedding if possible. Take a checklist and make sure you cover all the topics on this page.

Find out exactly which events you need to attend, e.g. make-up & preparations, drive to the ceremony, the ceremony, photo shoot, reception, etc.

Construct a written plan for the wedding day, including a complete list of events and times. Obtain a copy of the ceremony programme and a list of people who will be speaking. If you plan on adding titles to the video, now is a good time to check all names and spelling.

Ask exactly how intrusive you are permitted to be on the day. In some cases you can get better results if you are able to take charge or direct some of the action. The simplest example is asking people to pose or say something to the camera. You might also want to stage some more elaborate shots, for example, have the bridal car pull up outside the church more than once so you can shoot it from different angles. Be very careful though — this sort of thing is difficult to pull off and it can easily become ugly if you don't keep things moving quickly and smoothly. If possible, you should use multiple cameras rather than multiple takes of the shot. If you do need to inconvenience people, pick only the most important events and keep your demands to a minimum. The worst case scenario for your video is an annoyed-looking bridal party! In any event, make sure you discuss this issue thoroughly with all concerned before the wedding and establish the boundaries.

If there is a wedding planner involved (professional or not), meet them and establish a good relationship. Make sure your role is clearly defined.

Meet the celebrant and ask what restrictions will apply during the service. This is an important person to have on your side. If you start by showing you're willing to work within their rules, you'll make a valuable friend.

Make sure everyone is clear about what to expect from the finished video. It's important for them to understand that it won't have the same production values as a feature film. Many people assume that if their video is being made by someone who knows what they're doing, it will be the same quality as a TV programme or film. Explain that this isn't possible as you don't have the luxury of a sound stage, lighting crews, etc.

Plan your tape/disk and power requirements for the day. It's going to be a long shoot so make sure you have plenty of tapes and batteries (don't forget about microphone batteries if applicable). Find out which power points you'll be able to use. Note the expected duration of various scenes (ceremony, speeches, etc) so you have an idea of when you'll need to change tapes.

If you want to include a montage of photos (e.g. bride and groom growing up, meeting and courting), ask for the photos as soon as possible.

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