When my wife and I were planning our wedding we set a budget and pretty much stayed within it. This meant scrapping the idea of having a professional videographer. We LOVED our photographer, though, which made it easier to let go of the idea of having video footage of the day. By the time the wedding rolled around, video was the last thing on my mind.
As we walked down the aisle, I had a moment of panic when I noticed multiple cameras on us — not only were our husband-and-wife photographer team standing at the end of the aisle waiting for us, there were two people with video cameras up there, too! Thoughts of wedding crashers who got in under the guise of being the hired videographer crossed my mind… but it turned out that both my wife's dad and my mom had decided to surprise us with a videographer. Although they didn't communicate their surprise idea to each other, my mom did tell our wedding coordinator, who cautioned that wedding day surprises were rarely a good idea. She was correct, based on the panic and confusion I felt.
Beyond the short-lived drama over the two identical surprise gifts, it turned out to be such a wonderful surprise (in the end).
Here's what I learned from this unique experience of having the home video-style photography AND the professional videography:
Home-style, camcorder video with no editing
My father-in-law's videographer was a friend of his from work, who used a regular old camcorder and didn't do any video editing. I did not like watching the ceremony from start to finish with no editing. I started to pick out the tiny little things that didn't go perfectly to plan, I over-analyzed my nervous fidgeting at the altar, and I noticed my nervous laughing during the reading in memory of my wife's mother who passed away. I discovered that the recessional music was too quiet for the effect I wanted it to give (as far as I could tell through the camcorder recording). All these silly little things, that I didn't notice on the actual day-of, were displayed in an awkward exact-replay of the ceremony.
Professional videography (done by the film program at Ryerson University)
I LOVED the professional video. We chose the music to accompany the perfectly-spliced-together footage — capturing only the best moments of the day, yet at the same time giving us a satisfying reminder of the best of how the day looked and felt. I don't know if this was due to creative editing, but it made us and our guests look GOOD.
If I were to do it again
I would find a way to be able to afford one videographer — either professional or film student. Then I would ask for separate, un-cut footage of the ceremony (which I would NOT watch until years later) just so I could still have that record of the vows and the ceremony we wrote for ourselves. Summary of what I learned? Editing is really important.
What were the lessons YOU learned from your experience with wedding day videography?