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Time and time again when filming an event like this I am taken back at what I am experiencing. I find myself laughing, crying, and honestly grateful that these memories are being captured to be seen over and over again.

This was one of those special moments and it nearly didn’t get recorded. After originally declining, the mom of the bride decided to book me just a few days before the dinner to capture the program that was happening the night before the wedding. I was inspired to share this little clip after I received this message from the talented photographer Jalene Taylor, we met when I shot her wedding almost two years ago:

“I was just sorting through some papers and found my wedding planner. I can’t tell you how often I kick myself for not hiring you to video our dinner the night before. Biggest mistake ever. You should’ve made us let you. Tell other couples it’s my biggest regret.”

I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to let her message be in vain. Because as professionals it is our responsibility to teach and inform the new couples.

Here is what I later learned about Jalene’s experience:

“When we first met with you, you asked us if we wanted you to shoot our wedding dinner the night before. Having never really attended a wedding dinner myself, I immediately assumed that it would be a bunch of our family and closest friends just sitting around eating dinner. Nothing too exciting. As months went on and we planned our wedding dinner it began to look like a program and for some reason that I can’t remember, I still didn’t ask you to film it (kicking myself). Our wedding dinner ended up being one of the most special nights of my life… We had a few people sing and our parents and family said things about us that were so special. And [my husband] Lincoln and I said a few things as well. Combined with my struggle to remember what people say at things like this and a crazy whirlwind of a wedding day, I don’t really remember what people said. I remember that it was so special and fun but I wish I had a recording of it that we could go back and watch. I understand that budgets can sometimes prevent someone from booking this type of event, but in the end a [few] hundred dollars isn’t a big deal in the wedding world… Our wedding was wonderful and absolutely perfect, but the biggest regret I have is not having our dinner filmed. I seriously wish I could go back in time. It may not seem like a need when planning, but after all is said and done the things you want to remember are the things people you love said about you. Something so special and intimate should be documented if only for posterity’s sake.”

IMPORTANT: If there is ANY chance of ANYTHING besides just “eating dinner / lunch” taking place – you need your videographer there to capture it (rarely is it just eating). Like Jalene, it is very common that you as the bride or groom will not be aware of such a program that might be happening … so make sure you are absolutely sure that there will be nothing happening. Be aware that your family may downplay or deny the program because they will want whatever they have planned to be a surprise. It is usually safe to assume there will be something that happens that you will want captured. Lastly, don’t rely on someone having their xyz recording device to capture what happens.

Sound: On these devices the microphone that picks up the sound is attached to the camera. What does that mean? It means any sound happening around that camera will be captured much louder than those sounds that are farther away… so your memory will be tainted by the sound of background conversations, clanging dishware, and other undesirable noises.

Shaky Cam: Most will attempt to hand hold the camera/iphone/camcorder this will make for a noxious viewing experience later on.

Getting it: Whether taking a break, being caught up in the moment, or an accidental format. Someone just recording it may lead to you never seeing it. So get a professional – they know what they are doing.

Like Jalene I love my video from my rehearsal dinner. With so much happening in a short period of time, how quickly kids and everyone grow up, and so much change that happens over the years. It is always nice to go back and relive those musical numbers, toasts, and of course roasts that we shared with family and friends before we were married.


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