Photo: Arte De Vie
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video has got to be worth a few million, right? There’s just nothing like capturing the moments from your special day as they actually happened, which is why selecting the perfect wedding videographer will be one of the most important tasks of your planning journey. That’s why we’re here to break this seemingly daunting task into manageable bites, so you’re sure to hire the videographer of your dreams.
Follow our steps below to get started.
Grab every wedding video you can get your hands on
Now’s the time to scour the Internet for wedding videos (or clips or trailers from weddings). Leave no stone unturned in this search, and be sure to ask your recently married friends, family and coworkers if they wouldn’t mind showing off their wedding videos. You’ve got to see a lot of videos to figure out what type of videography appeals to you. Try to pay attention to the pacing, the lighting and how the wedding story develops—these are all really helpful notes for your future videographer as well as being essential to choosing someone who does the kind of videos that you like most. Don’t forget about social media, especially apps like Instagram and Pinterest, as many videographers show off their best and most recent work on those networks.
Hit up your other wedding vendors for recommendations
Great wedding professionals seek out other great wedding professionals to work with, so your best bet for the first step in gathering recs is to ask the vendors you’ve already booked. If you’re working with a wedding planner, start with them, but chances are all of your vendors have collaborated with stellar wedding videographers in the past and are happy to pass along the information. Using this sort of vetted network will likely save you time and go a long way to ensuring that your wedding team works well together for your big day. Not to mention if you have any special considerations—let’s say you want to make sure your videographer is LGBTQ-friendly, or is experienced with South Asian weddings, for example—your confirmed vendors won’t recommend candidates who don’t fit the bill.
Yes, you actually should care about other people’s opinions
When it comes to booking a wedding videographer, feel free to toss all of your mother’s middle school advice out of the window, and read tons and tons of reviews. In this case, it’s totally fine to care about the opinions of others because they’ve had an experience that you haven’t. Unlike other events in life, most people planning a wedding are doing so for the first time, so it’s immensely helpful to rely on others who’ve come before you. While quality of work is super-important, you also want to pay attention to the connection (or lack thereof) couples felt with the videographer. Remember that your wedding video is literally shot through the eyes of your videographer, so having great rapport with this person is a must.
Search early, but not too early
So many decisions in wedding planning come down to simple timing—when your venue’s available, and is everyone else also available on that day and for that location. Well, friends, wedding videography is no different. Absolutely start your search and research early, but you want to be sure you have a wedding date and venue in place before you reach out to videographers. Although always happy to chat with potential couples, they can’t book you until you have a firm wedding date. Also, this step should come after you’ve booked your photographer. Some photography studios offer both photography and videography, so that might be a hassle-free way to hire both services. Even if you don’t go with the same company (or if your photographer doesn’t work with a studio), these two will need to work together at your wedding.
Photo: Napoleoni Photography
Narrowing down the list
Once you dip your toe into the wild world of wedding videography, you’ll realize just how vast and deep the pool can get, but at this stage it’s time to reign it in. With the help of social media, reviews and your network, you’ve probably come across dozens of different videographers, which is way too many to actually contact for a meet up. Strike off anyone who doesn’t do weddings in the location where yours will be hosted. Eliminate videographers whose work you enjoyed, but didn’t absolutely thrill you—your wedding isn’t the time to just be satisfied, you want to be nothing short of delighted with the results. With your shortened list, re-watch some of their videos and try to select your very, very favorites, or just about three to five. These are the folks you’ll bring to the next step.
Make some dates
While you wouldn’t dream of seeing anyone but your honey, when it comes to booking a wedding videographer it’s actually preferable to date around a little. Take your list of top picks and reach out to each of them to set up that all-important first date. A lot of videographers will have a form page on their website for you to fill out, but it’s always nice to write a personal note as well. If you’re stuck on what to say, this short template should help you get started:
Hi [videographer name],
My name is [your name] and I found you on [mention where you found the videographer, whether on a website, at a wedding expo, etc.]. I was really impressed by your work and am interested in learning more about your videography services. I am getting married on [your wedding date] at [your wedding venue], and wanted to check your availability and receive any information on your packages and pricing.
[Your name and contact information]
If you don’t hear back instantly, don’t get antsy. A lot of videographers (and wedding professionals in general) are one-person businesses, so it might be a day or two before you receive a response, although some will send you a near-instant form response. Keep in mind that during wedding season, which is generally the spring and summer months, videographers might be traveling for weddings, or just super-busy with their existing clients.
Prepare for an in-person meet n’ greet
Once you’ve received responses from your top videographer picks you’ll be able to further narrow your list. Some might not be available for your wedding date or may not be in your price range. Focus on the two or three who do meet the criteria and plan to schedule an informal sit-down. They’ll want to meet you and your SO to learn more about you and your wedding vision, while you’ll want to see how comfortable you feel around them and whether or not there’s a connection. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person on your wedding day, and it won’t do if there isn’t a mutual sense of goodwill and comfort.
Be prepared to answer their questions about your big day, which might include what other vendors you’ve booked or other logistical details about the wedding. Have your questions ready as well, but know this won’t be the only time you’ll meet with your chosen videographer, so don’t feel pressure to get every persnickety detail tucked away.
Although not required for the first meetup, it might be a good idea to show your potential videographers the kinds of videos you really like, including the examples of their own work that really resonated with you. This will help them have a feel for the styles that you like and will also give them a chance to talk about their work and their approach—some videographers favor a more cinematic feel while others are more sentimental and still others might be more narrative.
Photo: Smith Studios Photography
Go with your gut
When you’ve found the one, you’ll be tempted to blurt it out during your first meeting, but trust us, resist if you can. Let the videographer know how much you appreciated their time, but tell them know you’ll need to discuss with others who might be helping you plan the wedding and follow up with them later.
Even though it’s always a good idea to resist the urge to make a big purchase on the spot, more than likely your gut instinct will tell you which videographer to choose. Do some of the “right brain” legwork, like plugging the exact cost of the videography services into your overall budget as well as getting the OK from anyone else who might be helping you pay for the wedding, but don’t lose sight of the gut reaction that led you to the perfect videographer in the first place.
Sign on the dotted line
If there ever was a time to put your English teacher's’ advice to good use, it’s now. Read your contract—well. Be sure you understand exactly how much you’ll pay and when it’s due. Know how many hours of your videographer’s time you’ll get and when you should expect to have your wedding video in-hand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either! If there’s something in the contract that you didn’t discuss beforehand, or any wording that confuses you. Have your partner read the contract as well, and don’t be afraid to shoot the contract over to a friend or your parents for a third and fourth pair of eyes. This is a big purchase and you don’t want any surprises.
Be thorough, but quick about this step, as you don’t want another couple to swoop in and snag your perfect videographer. So, once everyone’s comfortable, sign away!