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Finding Your Wedding Videographer

Hiring a videographer can help keep your wedding memories alive.

You'll always treasure the framed wedding photograph displayed bedside or on your mantle, but only professional videography unites the sights, sounds and emotion of your monumental day. If you could relive the teary-eyed toast your best friend plans to give, or have the opportunity to revisit the emotion of your vows on your anniversary, wouldn’t you?

“It’s the only day when the world feels like it’s moving on its axis,” says Amy Sparks, a wedding videographer who owns Digital Art House in Minneapolis with her husband, Adam. “Everything is moving so fast and you’re trying to stop and notice that your flowers look gorgeous and thank your bridesmaids. We capture those emotions, the realness, the details—anything you might forget.”

In fact, wedding videos are more important to brides now than ever, according a recent survey taken by the Wedding and Event Videographers Association. Of the 500 newly married women surveyed, 62 percent had their weddings videotaped. Many of those who didn’t said they wish they had.

Recent bride Kate Emanuel of Zumbrota says that because of her wedding video, “I’ll never forget the way we felt and the love that was shared that day. We’ll never forget it because every time we watch it, those same emotions come out.”

Styles of Wedding Videography
You put so much thought into which flowers you like best or what your bridesmaids will wear, and selecting a wedding videographer should be handled just as carefully. Start looking as soon as you’ve chosen a wedding date and location. Some videographers book at least six months out.

Your newlywed friends are the best sources of information. Can they give you a glowing referral of the videographer they used? Wedding fairs and Web searches are the next best research tools. Many Web sites have demos online, but watch a full-length video in person if you can. Ask videographers if they have samples of weddings filmed in the locations where your ceremony and receptions will be so you can truly see how your video will look.

Barry Peterson of United Video in Deephaven meets with every couple before their wedding to find out which moments absolutely can’t be missed. “I learn a lot about a couple by hearing what they want. For some they’ll say the ceremony, the vows. Others say ‘the first time I dance with my dad.’” Decide which moments are most important to you, too.

Each videographer has his or her own style, so watch several videos from different companies to help you figure out if you prefer something that is more romantic and elegant, documentary-style with interviews, a video that’s high-energy and fun, or a combination of your favorite approaches. Also discuss with your videographer whether you want special effects such as certain parts in black and white, sepia or slow motion.

A buzz word these days is “cinematic,” meaning that your wedding will be filmed and edited to have the look and feel of a movie, starring you and your groom. “It tells a story. It has a cast of characters and a setting,” says Carl Anderson of Princess Bride Cinematic Videography in Minneapolis. “We pull out the emotion, the romance, the love. We film the love story between the bride and the groom.”

Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, take a few extra minutes to learn whether the videographer you’re considering shoots in digital video (DV) or high-definition (HD), and view samples of both. Each can create a gorgeous film-like quality, though HD is the latest technology and is likely to replace DV within a few years. “HD handles contrast so well. It’s stunning. The colors are sensational,” says Peterson, who films entirely in HD. “When you watch it on a full screen you think you’re at a movie.”

Finding Your Wedding Videographer
Most videographers are skilled and discreet enough that you won’t feel like paparazzi are tailing you. Still, your videographer will likely spend all day with you, from the time you start getting ready until your guests are dancing the night away. That’s a good enough reason to make sure you really like the person you hire.

Newlywed Kate Emanuel and her husband, Todd, found that synergy with Amy and Adam Sparks. “It felt like they were part of our day. They became like friends or family. At the same time, they blended in so you didn’t even know they were capturing those unscripted moments,” says Todd.

Videography Pricing and Packaging
It’s no secret that videography doesn’t come cheap, but happy newlyweds say it’s worth the splurge. “I’ve already told friends, “If you’re going to spend your money on something, spend your money on this,” says Kira Hilden of Bloomington, who used United Video for her wedding last year.

In Minnesota, packages average between $2,500 and $3,000, and go up from there. Most videographers offer several copies of your DVD as part of the package, which usually includes an edited 20- to 30-minute recap of the day set to music, as well as the full ceremony and all your loved ones’ toasts.

Despite the cost, newlyweds who used professional videographers for their weddings say they wouldn’t give it up. “This will be your prize possession—more than your flowers that die the next day or your programs,” says Jennifer Bessler, a recent bride who lives in Inver Grove Heights.

And can you put a price on the value of preserving your love story for generations? “Your video is an investment,” says Anderson of Princess Bride. “It’s your memoir you carry with you. If it’s done well, you’ll watch it over and over. And your future kids will be able to enjoy your story, too."

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