Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedding Videography: The Great Debate

This week we have a guest post from Mike Fisher of Storymix Media.  Many couples today may forego hiring a videographer for their wedding in order to save some money.  They may think regular photography is enough to capture the important moments of their Big Day.  Check out Mike's great advice about why to hire a videographer and alternatives to traditional videography that won't break your budget:

Wedding video has become the great divide.  Many couples consider it an essential part of the planning while others consider it a waste of time and money.  When deciding whether to hire a videographer for your wedding, here are some things to consider.

There are no do-overs

If you decide against hiring a videographer, unfortunately, the decision is final.  You can't go back in time and fix your "mistake."  Sometimes you can re-shoot some photographs, but with video, there is no chance.  As someone who decided against having a pro videographer, I can tell from painful experience how much I wish I had that footage.  You might not think you'll care, but a few years down the road when you have kids or are celebrating your anniversary, you may wish you had it.

The day will be a blur

Even though your wedding day may seem like the longest day of your life, it will be over in a flash.  Many couples feel as if they can't remember anything that happened, even the day after the wedding!  Plus, there are so many things happening during the day that you are bound to miss much of it, as you'll be focused on specific events.  A wedding video will help you remember what was said and done throughout the Big Day.

Pro equipment isn't cheap

Hiring a pro doesn't guarantee great results, so you'll need to do your homework before signing any contract.  But you can almost always count on a pro videographer to have equipment that will provide good quality footage.  A $5000 camera is going to run circles around a cell phone camera!

Photos aren't video

Many couples think that having good photos will be enough to capture the memories.  While good photography is very important and may be your favorite method for remembering your wedding, still photos cannot recreate the sounds, visuals, and emotions of video.  A photo won't capture the crack in your fiance's voice when he got teary-eyed saying his vows.  And a video of your grandmother dancing to YMCA will be much more enjoyable, since there's a good chance you were busy talking with Table 15 when it happened.

Alternatives to a pro

Some couples just can't afford to hire a videographer or don't want to deal with yet another vendor.  That doesn't mean that you have to give up on capturing footage from your wedding.  At a minimum, ask an aquaintance to shoot some video (close friends and family may prefer to enjoy the day).  You'll at least have the footage and can get it edited later by a company like Storymix Media or do it yourself at home.  Another option is to rent Flip cameras and give them to your bridal party, friends, and family to capture the intimate and personal moments.  In fact, even if you hire a pro, flip cameras are a great way to get your guests involved and capture some footage the videographer may miss while he's focused on the bride and groom.

You don't want to miss any moment on your wedding day.  Hopefully these tips demonstrate the importance of recording your wedding day so that you can make an informed decision about wedding videography.

Mike Fisher
Storymix Media

In a future post, Mike will discuss what to ask before hiring a pro videographer.  Keep tuning in!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getting Creative with Wedding Guestbooks

Camille Victoria Weddings is proud to announce that we were recently quoted as a wedding expert in Wedding Guide Chicago!  In the summer/fall issue of the magazine, we revealed a hot trend we've been seeing -- couples getting creative with guestbooks! 

With traditional wedding guestbooks, guests simply sign their name and address into a decorative book, thereby creating a log of everyone that was in attendance at the wedding.  But ask yourself:  years down the road, will you feel compelled to pull out the guestbook and look through a bunch of names and addresses? Chances are the guestbook will sit on a shelf collecting dust.  That's why today we're seeing couples spice up their wedding guestbooks with creative new ideas.

One way to revamp your guestbook is to create a photo guestbook.  Simply get a decorative scrapbook and some instant cameras.  Ask a couple of outgoing friends to be your guestbook attendants.  They will stand by the guestbook table to welcome guests, take their photos, and paste the photos onto the scrapbook pages.  Guests can then write messages to the bride and groom next to their photos.  I had one bride who set up an old time photo booth, where her guests could take photos and then paste them into a scrapbook with a written message.  Any way that you do it, the photo scrapbook is fun for guests and creates a keepsake that you may actually look at in the future.  Check out the photo scrapbook from my own wedding!

photo by Caroline Eller LLC

photo by Caroline Eller LLC

photo by Caroline Eller LLC

Another fun guestbook idea is to simply use any book that is special to you.  I had one bride who used a coffee table book filled with photos of the university where she met her groom.  I've heard of other couples using cookbooks or storybooks.  The guests then write messages to the bride and groom throughout the pages of the book.

Consider creating guestbooks that you can hang on a wall in your home.  There are many companies on the Internet that create ceramic guestbook platters guests can sign. One couple I worked with framed their engagement portrait and the guests signed around the photo.

One of my favorite ideas is to put out fabric squares for guests to sign.  After the wedding, the squares can be sewn together to create a guestbook quilt

from bride&
There are so many ways to make your guestbook unique and fun for your guests.  Pick an idea that's special to you so that you'll come away with a guestbook that you will actually treasure into the future.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Show Off the City Sights

Your wedding may not be on the beaches of St. Thomas, but it still may seem like a destination wedding to your guests traveling from out of town.  If you have a lot of out-of-town wedding guests, make their visit into a vacation by showing them the sights of your city.  You can get free brochures about things to see from your town's tourist or visitor's center and put them in hospitality bags for your guests so that they can explore the sights in their free time.  Alternatively, you could arrange a tour of the city for your guests.  I recently had one bride who incorporated a trolley tour of Chicago into her wedding day activities!  After the ceremony, the bride and groom made their grand exit onto the trolley and traveled around the city with their guests before returning to their venue for the reception.  The added bonus of treating their guests to a tour was that they got some unique wedding photos, as you can see from some of the great shots by Dave Price Photography and Video.

No vacation is complete without souvenirs, so give your guests wedding favors with a connection to the city.  For a Chicago wedding, for example, you could give bags of Garrett Popcorn or Frango mints.  Make your wedding weekend into a vacation for your guests, and they are sure to have a blast.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Flower Girls, Ring Bearers, and Meltdowns... Oh My!

A tiny ring bearer in a mini-tux and petite flower girls with poofy dresses are such a cute sight at a wedding.  But before you plan for the young'uns to walk down the aisle, consider their ages and what is likely to happen when they are confronted with a room full of strangers watching them.

Flower girls and ring bearers should typically be between the ages of three and seven. At this age, they are usually able to follow directions, understand what they will be doing, and even enjoy the attention.  It can be tempting to dress up your best friend's one year old and put her in the wedding, but kids younger than three are much more unpredictable.  I have seen baby flower girls run up the aisle with glee at the rehearsal and then erupt into tears and screaming when prompted to walk down the aisle on wedding day.  I've had baby ring bearers that are known as happy go lucky kids, refuse to walk down the aisle and then run the other way.  Your best bet is to stick to the age guidelines and choose children no younger than three to participate in the wedding.  But if you just can't resist showcasing that adorable bundle of joy, here are some tips to prevent kid meltdowns.

Bring a Buggy ~ For babies and young toddlers, instead of having them walk down the aisle, consider rolling them down the aisle! You can decorate (or have your florist decorate) a wagon or stroller with flowers and ribbons to fit in beautifully with the ceremony decor.  An older child can pull the wagon down the aisle, eliminating the worry that the youngest kids will refuse to walk or will run the wrong way!

Use the Buddy System ~ Don't expect a one-year old to walk down the aisle alone.  Even the most energetic, cheerful kids can get scared and confused when faced with a long aisle lined with strange faces. Give young children a buddy!  The buddy will be another flower girl or ring bearer that is slightly older and someone the young child already knows. The buddy can help the young child get down the aisle and hold his or her hand if necessary.

Utilize the Power of Parents ~ There is no one a child trusts more than her own parents.  Tantrums and meltdowns seem to occur most often when the child is left alone.  If a young flower girl or ring bearer's parent is in the wedding party, consider having the child walk the aisle with the parent.  If the parents are not in the wedding party, then one of the parents can wait with the child in the lineup for the processional and be there to help prompt the child when to walk.  In case of a temper tantrum, that parent is then on hand to carry the child down the aisle (and back out the door if necessary).

Walk and Be Seated ~ You want to make the experience as easy, fun, and comfortable as possible for children participants.  Avoid making young children stand up at the altar with the wedding party for the entire ceremony.  They are likely to get tired, restless, and even cranky.  Once a flower girl or ring bearer walks down the aisle, it is usually best if they go sit in the audience with a parent or family member.

Remember the Rings ~ If you have a tiny little ring bearer, it is not his job to remember the rings.  The best man should hang on to the rings until it is time to lineup for the ceremony.  At that time, the rings should be tied on to the ring bearer's cushion.  However, tiny tots are known for their tantrums.  That ring cushion could get thrown, tossed, trampled, or misplaced.  The safest option when dealing with young ring bearers is to use fake rings on the cushion while the best man and maid of honor carry the real rings.

Be realistic when incorporating kids into your ceremony.  Considering the comfort and abilities of your youngest wedding participants in advance will help curb any meltdowns and disturbances during your Big Day.