Wildwood’s wide beach was like the Sahara Desert for me when I was a little kid. As I grew up I appreciated it more every year from days with friends and family on the boardwalk to finally being able to rent my own place and take in the town’s bars and restaurants with new friends.
Weddings are like a little Wildwood in a single day. Liz and PJ’s wedding went down in the waning days of Summer. With kids back in school and temperatures still summerlike there was lots of open space for photos and video.
A beautiful church ceremony followed by a reception by the sea. It was a storybook day. I can’t say enough about the soft tones and Liz’s warm smile. So much beauty captured wonderfully by Dan. Photographer, Kella MacPhee, is one of our very favorites to work with. She always has fun clients. I love her style and Wildwood is the perfect spot to show it off.
So after filming 300 and editing about 450 weddings, I know nothing gets stale. Styles change mid-year. Thanks to social media everyone knows how to pose. I feel like there are some things that are pretty solid and as a male and a vendor for ten years I feel pretty good about advising. Here are a dozen things mostly not video related, I jotted down while waiting for a bride to arrive.
Do the first look if you can. If photos are important to you and you spent a big chunk of money on them (and maybe videography) doing the first look ensures you’ll have better pictures. The added benefit is alleviated stress. You get to share the ceremony stress after the first look. I’ve seen nerves float away with a hug during the first look.
Okay, you can do the bouquet toss but stop there. A ten-year-old kid will catch the garter I guarantee it. You don’t need a halftime show, keep the dance floor going.
Don’t announce the cake cutting if the dance floor is packed. I’m against anything that gets people off the dance floor, the cake cutting included. Cut it on the side, invite the parents and get back to dancing.
Get footage. Even if you don’t have a pro videographer make sure you get footage of the speeches. I’ve seen many emotional, pitch-perfect speeches and I can’t imagine how many have been lost forever.
Have bobby pins on hand. I’m not sure how this applies but I hear this a lot.
Nudge the guests towards putting the cameras away during the ceremony. I know it’s like telling people not to breathe but it’s worth a shot.
Get the dance floor going early. I love weddings that open the dance floor right after the first dance and then keep it going whenever they can.
Keeping with the theme, you know that last table of invites, the ones you’re not sure to invite. Invite the dancers. The life of the part types.
Great bands win all, but experienced DJs are key too. I’ve seen many a wedding where the DJ panics at an empty dance floor.
Ask your vendors about other vendors. Want to know about a venue? Ask us? We’ve been there. We know the score. We’ve been there on rainy days and cold days and see how they handle it. And we know their food.
Brides and Grooms, you need to be one of the first five people on the dance floor even if you’re not the “dancer type”. Once the floor is packed your job is done.
If you are lucky enough to have Grandparents, be sure to include them. Pictures are nice, but having them read advice or sharing a dance is really sweet and emotional.
Yes, the day flies by. Drink early. Eat food. Hug your grandparents at least a dozen times. Hang around, funny people. Be a little irreverent even if it’s off camera.
I’m sure I missed some. If this helps maybe I’ll do a part II down the road after the next 300 weddings.
Jersey City Wedding Videography: Jacqueline and Jessica got lucky. First, they found each other. There are equal parts fate and luck finding your soulmate. Also, they got lucky to have chosen a perfect weather day. Finally, they got lucky to pick a date only 5 days before a venue would need to close for safety reasons.
We’ve shot at Battello before and it’s one of the best venues on the Hudson. The view of Manhattan is incredible. It’s ballroom and its beautiful natural light is unique in the business.
I don’t know the future of the Battello but Jess and Jackie’s big day was a worthy way to send it off for it’s temporary (hopefully) hiatus. Charles followed the couple for the day and captured many of their best intimate moments.
I’ll note the vows were probably the best we’ve ever filmed and I put a little taste in the highlights. Check them out.
Park Chateau Wedding Highlights – Meryl and Max’s wedding was a grand affair. It was our first trip to the Park Chateau in East Brunswick but it’s an unforgettable location modeled after the chateaus of France. There are extensive grounds to ensure photographers and videographers have a seemingly limitless number of backdrops available.
Charles Astuto shot their big day and his work never fails to amaze. We have much more coming from him in the coming days. Check out Jess and Jackie on our Vimeo page if you’re curious
Enjoy our edit of Meryl and Max’s highlight video and be sure to stop by for more blog entries this week.
Crane Estate Wedding: You would be hard pressed to find a more elegant venue than The Crane Estate. It’s been in countless movies and television shows and I was told Bill Murray has hung out for weeks at a time somewhere on the property.
Kelsey and Ed’s ceremony was held in Newburyport in Massachusettes. It’s a great little town where you’re never more than 50 yards from good coffee and a pastry of some sort.
Then the party moved to sea. A camera was lost to the high winds but fortunately, the backup cameras did the job. A drone showed up. Forever Lucky was suspected of course but it was a guest who captured some mighty impressive footage. Unfortunately, drones aren’t allowed on the property but I did use two of the shots sent to us that were the most distant.
We were very excited to be working with Brass Tacks Photography again. We worked with them on another quintessential New England wedding last year. I highly recommend Andrea. Very easy to work with a great eye.
Von Trapp Lodge Wedding: Stowe is the quintessential town to hold your destination wedding. It can welcome big families, there’s plenty to do every day of the year and the backdrop is stunning. The Von Trapp Family Lodge hand handle all three of those requirements. It’s no wonder Sasha and Richard chose it for their wedding.
Jake capture the wedding and his images are stunning. The evening concluded with a rap set by none other than the groom himself and it was awesome. It also seems we’ve dodged a lot of really bad weather days this summer. It’s been a soggy one, but you’d hardly know by our films. And be sure to check out our super slow-mo fireworks.
Onteora Mountain House Wedding: We posted briefly about Sophia and Tait’s beautiful wedding, held at the incredible Onteora Mountain House. New York’s Hudson Valley. It makes a great destination spot for much of New England and the North East.
Sophia and Tait hail from Delaware and while Delaware has some beautiful locales, it’s impossible to get the feeling of the incredibly lush mountains.
We filmed Sophia’s sister’s wedding in 2015 and they have a true passion for the outdoors. Sophia and Tait did the research and found incredible spots for photography. We loved their wedding. Check out photographer Pat Robertson’s incredible pictures and DJ Lou Paris gave us audio for the day. He’s the most prepared DJ I’ve met in ten years.
Excelsior Lancaster Pennsylvania: We’ve shot weddings in Lancaster on many occasions. When Rachael and Kyle inquired about our services, their location was new to me. After googling I learned a long vacant hall in the center of Lancaster was being renovated to become an upscale event space.
What was cool, was the space isn’t finished and there is an entire floor undergoing a complete overhaul. That’s the floor Rachael and Kyle settled on doing their first look. I’m sure the floor will look extra great in the future but it had a certain unique appeal that looked perfect on film. It was a nice contrast to all the many wedding we’ve done in Lancaster with a rural setting.
Thanks to Dan for knocking it out of the ballpark. The shots looked amazing.
Hudson Valley Wedding Videography:I’m not familiar with New York’s Hudson Valley have only driven through a couple of times but was blown away by its beauty. It was so lush it I expected to see a Brontosaurus walking down the path like in Jurassic Park. It was a wet weekend so the green was amped: its lushness reminds me of Hawaii minus the palm trees.
Sophia and Tate did their research. They knew there must be a quiet picturesque spot where we’d be able to do photos and video and their tenacity paid off.
They found a narrow path leading to a grouping of rusty row boats, some chained to trees untouched for a decade. Deer hung about wondering who was visiting, but turns out they had better things to do that to the subject of a video.
While filming we managed a cell phone snap posted on Instagram down below. We really looking forward to seeing what the pro’s photos will look like. I’ll post a link when I have.
I’m not sure if I’d be able to find this exact spot again but it’s worth the effort! A song was written about the beauty of Ashokan, made famous by Ken Burn’s Civil War.
I love the shots Craig captured at Kailee and Tim’s wedding at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. Philly has many wedding gems and this ranks high. I especially love the dance footage Craig filmed. The band was on point and there must have been about forty members on stage.
The incomparable photographer Andy Todes referred us and we’re thrilled he did. If you’re not following him yet, you should. He better he gets the easier he makes it look. We enjoy having an opportunity to work together.
Music on this track is Hanging On by War on Drugs
This is a fun one. Enjoy!
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