These days, looking for a company to film your wedding day can be just as important as looking for the flower vendor for bouquets, or hiring the right DJ for your wedding reception. Video has transformed how people want to remember their wedding day and how we share it with people. With the market currently being saturated with wedding video companies, we’ve made a guide to point you in the right direction when looking for the perfect company to film your wedding day.
1. Start your search at least 12 months in advance
I know that a year is a long time to wait, but it can fly by pretty fast. Starting your search for a wedding video company at least 12 months in advance means that if you wanted to book your “dream” video company there is more of a chance of them still having that date that’s 1 year away still open. In comparison, if you tried to book the same company 2 months before your wedding date, that company might already have that date booked for another wedding, or worse, might raise the rate because they know how desperate you are with so little time before the wedding.
2. Ask around – nothing beats word of mouth
This is a great way to start your search. By asking something like “Anyone have an experience with wedding video companies in ________ city?” on Facebook, you’ll open it up to a lot of people who have directly had experience with a certain video company, or maybe they were guests at a wedding where that company was hired, or maybe someone you know has a cousin with a video production company.
3. Yelp – delve deep and look for genuine reviews
I trust Yelp enough for food reviews when I want to check out a new restaurant, but I would also use the same search tactics I use when searching for wedding video companies. Yelp can be gamed to some degree when it comes to visibility on the site: companies can pay for an ad to display before the actual #1 rated search result. My other Yelp tip is to not rely on the top result, or even any companies in the top 5 results on Yelp; delve deep and look at their ratings and read the actual customer reviews. Keep an eye out for genuine reviews; are a lot of the reviews only all positive and have too many exclamation marks?!!!!! Maybe they are getting a referral credit or are a friend of the owner. Another thing to look for is if people talk about specific things that they liked about working with that company that make that company stand out from the others; for example, maybe the owner makes it a point to personally film each wedding alongside their team to assure quality work.
Another Yelp tip: BE NEGATIVE. Look for negative reviews; if a certain company has one negative thing that people consistently mention, be aware.
4. Watch their videos and judge them
Some people might be relieved when they finally find that one company with the 5-star Yelp reviews that everyone is ringing their hands about, but STOP! Have you seen any of their work? If not, you need to see their work and if it speaks to you. Yes, that sounds full of cringe and super “artsy,” but with many video companies out there, there must be the right one that fits who you are as a couple and who you feel can capture that, and they might not necessarily be the #1 top search result on Yelp (yet). Below is a video by one of my favorite wedding video companies, Amora Cinema, in Seattle. What I love about their work is how cinematic it is, and how they seamlessly incorporate natural environments into their videos. I feel like if Terrence Malick made wedding videos, it would be something close to what Amora does.
5. Make a list and be specific
In our previous blog on how to give feedback without hurting feelings, one of the things we suggested is to be specific about why you like or don’t like a video. “I don’t like it” or “I really like it” alone isn’t helpful in communicating with other people. Be specific! What exactly do you like about this video, or what exactly did you not like about this video? Maybe you like how they incorporated the bride’s hobby into her wedding video, or may you didn’t like how mushy and gross their video was, etc. Keep this list in your email drafts (or somewhere safe) for the next step which is:
6. Contact your top 2 companies and schedule a face-to-face meeting with each
It is important to meet face-to-face with either the owners or the lead videographers of the companies you’ve narrowed your list down to. You want to get a sense of who they are, if they are cool and will “get you” and your personality in order to incorporate that into the video. This is an opportunity to make new acquaintances, but really, you are looking to possibly hire these people (for a pretty penny), to film a once-in-a-lifetime event. Use your own judgement, trust your instincts, and sleep on it.
7. Price – don’t let it factor into your decision too early
This might seem like a one-way ticket to Rip-Off Ville, but when it comes to wedding video productions, you really get what you pay for. Get word of mouth suggestions, read the reviews, watch the work they put out, but don’t ask about their prices too early in your search because you’ll find that it just limits you to bottom of the barrel options right off the bat without even getting to see everything that is out there. You might just be settling for a company that you think is right for you just because of their price, but your special, once-in-a-lifetime day deserves better than that!
Bonus Tip: Have a “dream company” that is way out of your price range? Contact them anyway!
From working with several wedding video companies in Hawaii, I’ve found that sometimes all it takes in that face-to-face meeting is to sincerely express how much you’d like that particular company to capture your wedding day but it’s a little out of budget and to leave it in the company’s park to decide. Sometimes a company will see that as an asset; even though they will be making less money, they will gain a client who is ecstatic about their video produced by their dream company, and they’ll rave about them to everyone on Facebook and make up that loss with new client referrals. That’s not always the case, but worth trying. It also helps to NOT point out how they’ll benefit from taking on your video as it WILL come across as pushy and like you don’t think their work is worth as much as they are asking.
Did I miss anything? Have any tips or personal experiences looking for a wedding video company? Leave a comment below.