Weird Weddings Challenge Even Pro Videographers

A wedding videographer is always conscious that a couple's wedding is one of the most important days in their lives, so he knows that they will choose a form and venue with a special meaning for them. Some couples hold them in unusual locations — not just in parks or gardens, but even stores like T.J Maxx or Whole Foods Market. But more unusual are instances where the couple decides that they want to have some unusual theme: Most readers have probably read news stories about Star Trek fanatics who asked their entourages to dress as Star Fleet officers or Klingons, but in recent years we've also seen couples choosing vampire, superhero or even Super Mario brothers themed weddings.

Last year, a hipster couple invited controversy by staging a 1930s Great Depression hobo wedding, which some considered to be disrespectful to the homeless. And another wedding where the bride and groom danced down the aisle became a viral video sensation in 2009. These sorts of weddings can challenge even professional wedding videographers. Even if it seems silly to you — and, believe me, it will — you have to remember that couples choose strange themes because these themes mean something special to them.

I once attended a wedding of two historical re-enactors, who decided to hold a renaissance faire celebration with lute players, medieval carnival games, and tarot card readers. In a traditional wedding, you often expect the entire party to congregate at the reception, making it easy for the videographer to get everyone on camera. At this one, some guests lingered at the reception, while other immediately wandered off to get their fortune told by the tarot reader or play some game. It meant that the videographer had to be especially mindful that he sought out all the dispersed guests, since he couldn't be sure that he'd get them all on camera just by doing the usual reception rounds. There was also the added challenge of trying to shoot video of guests in situations that they might consider private; several guests objected to having a videographer shoot them during a tarot reading, while others welcomed his presence.

[image:blog_post:12995] One thing that never changes, though, is that a successful wedding video depends all on the planning. Think about the countless hours that the bride and groom spend fixing every little detail, everything from reserving the church or temple to arranging the catering and flowers. And it's all to make sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch. So it should hardly be surprising that the key to successful wedding videography is all in the planning as well. (You can find more info on successful wedding videography and advice to help plan for ANY wedding day weirdness in Videomaker's Complete Wedding Toolkit.) No matter how strange the ceremony, there are a few things that are generally going to be the same for every event. After setting up your equipment at the church, the first order of business is getting your establishing shots. These shots will set the scene for the wedding ceremony. Here are some to include:

  • Exterior shots of the church, temple or hall
  • A marquee or sign with the wedding information posted
  • Guests arriving and entering the building
  • Wide shot of the auditorium as people enter and take their seats

A wedding is a ritual affair. The rituals are different from culture to culture and religion to religion, but they all have highlights. Here are some common highlights a good wedding video must include:

  • The symbolic lighting of the "unity" candle
  • The couple's reciting their formal wedding vows
  • The exchange of rings
  • The pronouncement by the minister that the couple is now husband and wife
  • The kiss

You can be reasonably sure of what to expect when you go to a wedding, but you should never assume anything. Be sure to check with your clients to make sure what to expect. For example, those hardcore Star Trek fans have been known to get married while dressed as Klingons, the warrior aliens from the television series. Since they are having a very non-traditional ceremony, they may be apt to throw in more unusual events and you will want to make sure that you capture the parts of the day that are important to the couple, whether or not they seem important to you. If guests move to mock fight each other with Bat'leth weapons, it may seem like an inconsequential diversion from the main event – but it may be the highlight of the day for your Trekkie clients!

Learn more about preparing to handle any wedding with Videomaker's Complete Wedding Toolkit. And for those wedding videographers in the audience, what's the strangest wedding that you've ever shot? Let us know in the comments!

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