by Robbin Montero

            Lights, camera, action! Just as wedding photographs capture special moments of this special occasion, a videotape of your nuptials is an important element of your family archive. A video will not replace your wedding album, but brings your ceremony and celebration to life.


Amateur pitfalls

            Fans of “blooper television” have surely laughed at someone else’s embarrassments declaring we’d be mortified to be caught on tape like that. Our second reaction is often to the poor quality of the images, standard whenever weddings are videotaped by amateurs.

            In having a wedding video made, the goal should be to make a dignified, quality recording of the day’s events. However, due to budget constraints, many couples put responsibility for recording their wedding memories in the hands of a family member or friend who is “pretty sure” their older video camera is working and that they are capable of shooting and editing a tape the couple will be proud to show. I know you love your uncle, but is he really capable of producing a quality videotape? He is also a guest at the wedding and likely to be caught up in the camaraderie of the celebration and distracted, possibly missing precious one-time moments or traditional activities.


Finding the right professional

            Narrow down the field of videographers by focusing on those professionals who specialize in weddings. Start the interview process by visiting their booths at bridal events or contacting a local videographer association.

            Part of shopping wisely includes reviewing a sampling of wedding tapes and obtaining a list of references. Inquire about the type and number of cameras the videographer will use. Many professionals utilize two or three cameras to simultaneously record different angles, much like a Hollywood production.


Create your own wedding video “album”

            Give your videographer advance direction to find the right combination of images and sounds you want included in your wedding archive. Ask about recording pre-wedding events, such as the shower or rehearsal dinner. Ask about the cost and time required to create a montage of childhood pictures with background music for entertainment at the rehearsal dinner or during the reception.

            Be sure to understand the editing capabilities of your videographer and that there are some video segments that are difficult to seamlessly edit. For example, you should provide a list of special people you would like interviewed at the reception, and if one doesn’t turn out well, it is easy to delete. However, during the ceremony, the groom will be sporting a small microphone, so both of you should be careful what is said to prevent an undesirable edit.


Important family history

            A variety of video options are available from ceremony-only to a full storybook-style, including childhood and courtship pictures with musical accompaniment. Ask your videographer about the cost of extra copies for gifts to those who were unable to attend the wedding.    

            When the bridal couple hires a professional videographer, their attention is free to dwell on one another and their guests while making memories they will relive, again and again. Professional videographers foresee, anticipate and capture touching moments without intruding. He or she will ensure that sideline festivities and guest reactions are recorded to capture the warmth and emotion of the day–possibly among the most cherished segments of your wedding video. In years to come you’ll be delighted to watch elderly relatives, some of whom may have since passed, or to show grown nieces and nephews how darling they were as part of your special day.


“Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.