This month marked our 4th anniversary since going full-time as wedding videographers. When we stop and think back to those early days, all the way back in 2012, it feels like the last 4 years have flown by at a frightening speed. Somehow, those first few weddings feel almost like they happened yesterday. We can still remember the “newness” (is that a real word?) of it all. The first couple of weddings were a little nervy but the adrenaline carried us through and fortunately we didn’t make any (major) mistakes. But, when we think of all the people we’ve met since then, the places we’ve seen and the experiences we’ve had, we realise just how much we’ve grown as wedding videographers and as people. Suddenly 2012 feels like a lifetime ago. Time can be funny like that.
Reaching 4 years is a huge milestone for us, especially when we consider all those scary stats flying around about how the majority of businesses fail within the first 3 years. This anniversary also neatly coincided with reaching 1,000 likes on our Facebook page. When you reach a couple of big milestones in quick succession, it has a habit of making you pause and reflect. This year also marks 10 years since leaving behind our
hedonistic studious days at university but that’s a sobering thought that we won’t dwell on in this post. So, from the thousands of things we’ve learned, we thought it would be good to look back on our last 4 years of filming weddings and try to pick out 4 key lessons:
Boom! How about that for lesson number 1? We didn’t expect to get so deep when we first thought about writing this but it’s kinda hard not to. We film weddings for a living, which means we get one day to get a glimpse into the lives of our couples and their loved ones. This is no ordinary day in their lives though. It’s not often that you’re surrounded by all your nearest and dearest, when everyone’s happy and looking their best. All the worries and demands of everyday life get put on hold for one day. A wedding day is full of joy, love and happiness. Old friends and family can catch up, two families are coming together to make one big new family, and everyone’s laughing, smiling and trying to bust out some break-dancing moves. These moments are all too rare in life.
This may be strange to say, considering we’re wedding videographers, but we didn’t truly appreciate just how special a wedding day is in someone’s life, until we were reminded that these moments are unique and will never happen again. At one of the weddings we filmed, we managed to capture a touching moment between the bride and her elderly grandmother, sitting by the side of the dance-floor whilst the party carried on around them. We already knew ahead of the wedding that the bride wasn’t sure if her grandmother would be able to make it to the wedding, so she was clearly ecstatic that she was well enough to be a part of their wedding day. A few weeks after the wedding, we received an email from the bride that we’ll never forget, telling us the bad news that her grandmother had passed away. It hit us really hard. This was the first time we fully appreciated what our wedding films could mean to our couples. It also made us think of our own friends and family. It’s not a nice thought but they won’t be around forever, so we need to be grateful for the special moments we get to share with them.
This lesson is closely related to lesson 1. We’d like to think that we’ve always kept our couples and their stories at the heart of all our films but it’s something that we’ve definitely become more conscious of over the last 4 years. Many of our couples have gone on to have children since their wedding, and some of our couples already had kids. There’s one thing that many of these couples have said to us after watching their wedding film… we can’t wait to sit down and watch this with our children some day. Now, to give this some context, neither of us have kids. So, we hope you can forgive us for not thinking about this when we started our wedding videography business in our 20s. The first time we heard this, it was like a lightbulb moment. We’d never even considered that the wedding film we created could be passed on through the generations, like a family heirloom. This helped to put things in perspective for us.
Making wedding films is much bigger than just satisfying our own creative urges as filmmakers. Sounds obvious, right? But as is the case with many creatives, we’ve been guilty in the past of getting caught up in the art of what we do, and losing sight of the bigger picture. Our couples are entrusting us to capture their memories and tell their story, not only so they themselves can relive their day in years to come but so their children will also be able to experience this. One day, their children will be able to watch the film and see their parents get married and see how young and beautiful and in love they were. When we think about how incredible it would have been to have seen our own parents’ wedding videos, hearing the vows and the speeches and seeing dad’s crazy dance moves, it helps us to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Weddings can be very expensive. You don’t need us to tell you that. There is so much to think about when planning a wedding: venue, catering, transportation, entertainment, flowers and decorations, a cake, stationery, chair covers, make up artists, hair stylists, dresses, suits, sweet tables etc etc. And those are just some of the things you “need” on the day. That’s before you even factor in videography and photography, so that you can actually have something to keep beyond the wedding day, once all the food has been eaten, the dress has been stored away and the flowers have died (sorry to rain on your parade but those expensive flowers will die!) Now, we’re not suggesting for a moment that you shouldn’t have all those things for your wedding, that’s completely up to you and they can all play a part in making the wedding of your dreams. We understand that many brides have dreamed about the beautiful dress they’ll wear and how gorgeous the venue and the decorations will look. But if you find yourself staring at your wedding budget spreadsheet, getting stressed out over the costs and trying to keep everyone happy, this might be a sign that you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.
We’ve learned from filming all types of weddings, ranging from small, relaxed, intimate weddings to big lavish, luxury and celebrity weddings, that having a truly special and memorable wedding day has nothing to do with how much you spend on it. We think it’s worth repeating that again. Having a truly special and memorable wedding day has nothing to do with how much you spend on it. It’s not the dress, or the shoes, or the decorations that will bring you happiness but it’s the simple things like not trying to cram too much into the schedule or spend half the day trying to herd all your guests from venue to venue. This will save you a lot of stress! And most importantly, it’s about bringing together all your favourite people to have fun and let their hair down. Just pure, unadulterated joy. The good news is, these things that are actually needed to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience are free, and at the same time, priceless. However, there is one thing that you should spend money on. At least 80% of your wedding budget, preferably. A wedding film. Ok, maybe 80% of your budget on a wedding film is a little excessive, BUT it’s definitely the most immersive and emotive way to relive your wedding day. We know and love so many amazing wedding photographers and it goes without saying that we’re HUGE fans of photography (in fact we’re often inspired by it), but even photographs can’t bring your day back to life in the same way a wedding film can. But hey, we may be a little biased on this.
Ok, first things first, running your own business is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s difficult. It’s challenging. When we quit our jobs to start our own business, we traded one job for several jobs. A lot of our friends think that all we do is turn up and film weddings on the weekend. In reality, we’ve had to learn how to do all of the jobs that are normally performed by whole departments of people, including sales, marketing, finance etc. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Running our own business has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing we’ve done. And let’s be honest, we know we’re lucky to film weddings for a living.
Weddings are joyous occasions full of laughter, dancing and love. Beautiful venues, exotic locations and great food are some of the other perks of what we do. We’ve met some incredible people, whether it be couples, guests or other wedding suppliers, many of whom we’re proud to call our friends. We’re also fortunate enough to be in a position where we’ve also helped other people get started in wedding videography, pursuing their passions in filmmaking. Sharing our experience and lessons learned to help others follow their dreams is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Reflecting back on the last 4 years, we’ve definitely experienced a lot. We’ve filmed in 10 different countries across 4 different continents. We’ve seen all kinds of weddings and cultural traditions. We’ve met an interesting and eclectic bunch of people along the way and made lots of new friends. We’ve seen some beautiful and interesting places, ranging from castles to rustic country barns, eccentric manor houses with floating giraffes to elephant rides and floating markets in Thailand. We’ve filmed weddings at a chateau in the south of France, lakeside villas in Italy, a Buddhist temple, a bombed out 18th century baroque country house on the Isle of Wight, and we’ve even filmed a proposal in New York with lots of pugs! It’s been a crazy adventure that’s taken us across the UK and all around the world and we’re excited for what the future brings.