The Making Part 2

The Making Of A Wedding Video

From conception to Packaging

Part 2

A wedding video is a personal memento of an exceptional day in the lives of a two people. It will be looked at for many years by generations to come. But what goes into its making?

The Edit

Shot selection

After the wedding day, we watch the footage (usually 10 tapes and a couple of video cards) and note the shots to be used.

We look for quality, shots that emphasize the content of the day and any spontaneous occurrences which happened whilst filming. We also search for establishing shots to set the scene like a wide shot of the church, the brides house, the scenery, relevant road signs, anything like that.

Generally out of 10 hours plus of coverage we could have anything between 300-500 shots for the raw material of editing.

Capturing the footage

This is an extremely important organisational process. It can take up to two full days to log the clips into their individual folders of the editing program. Examples of folder titles could be ‘Church’ ‘Morning’ ‘Reception’ ‘Speeches’ and ‘Dancing’. It makes it much easier for us when looking for a shot when they are named properly. It does take a lot of time and effort but it is worth for clean file management.

Starting the edit

Firstly because there are two of us, we decide who is going to edit which parts. For example I might do the morning sequence, the reception part and speeches and my partner might start on the ceremony, the photo scenes and the dancing. We of course consult each other on style and music but generally we are left to our own devices until we put it all together on one timeline at the end. The speed of the edit is no reflection on its quality; on the contrary because each editor has less to concentrate on they can make their part all the more better.

Morning Sequence

If there is footage of the bride and groom getting prepared in the morning we generally start cutting this first. Usually the couple have given us some idea of the sort of songs they would like in the film so we lay an appropriately upbeat number on the timeline.  Some nice make up shots of the bride, her bridesmaids and other people is always great to edit together. Others stuff like the finishing off the bouquet or the male members of the household putting on their shoes or ties comes in handy. It’s important to find a rhythm and to convey the hustle and bustle, celebration and anticipation for the morning.   Some shots of people walking or hurrying around intercut with congratulations cards, champagne bottles or photos work a treat. We are building up to the moment when the bride comes out with their dress on so it’s important to pre-empt this with shots of the shoes, the dress hanging up, and the veil. Lastly in the morning once the bride is revealed in full dress, it’s great to show the reactions and happiness all around her as she presents herself for photographs or sips a glass of champagne. Sometimes a nice use of slow motion or elegant black and white can add poignancy.

If there are some of these aforementioned elements available on the timeline it should be a delightful opening to the video. Sometimes when there is the inclination or time it is interesting to show the grooms morning preparation so we can intercut between the two places to illustrate the different stories of the final moments before leaving for the church.


A wedding ceremony generally lasts about one hour but for a wedding video it is only necessary to show the highlights of the ceremony running anywhere between 8-15 minutes.  To be honest no one really wants to sit through long sermons or ‘dead air’ in between parts of the ceremony. In saying this it is entirely up to the couple whether they want a long edit or a shorter edit of their ceremony. This can be decided after the day itself but we would recommend a punctuated mass within the main video and an extended ceremony to be included within the bonus features of the DVD.

The ceremony itself needs to begin by introducing the church outside and inside with people arriving. This will be the first time usually that we see the groom so it is imperative to observe him amongst his groomsmen, his family and with the priest to build a sense of expectancy. Little details like the way he looks towards someone or something can be implied as waiting, organising or even nervousness without going out of the way to make it seem contrived. We still need to give a sense of reality to proceedings but a lot can be said with a montage of faces in the crowd over an appropriate piece of music (classical works best if in a church setting)

Once the bride arrives in the car, a close-up on the groom’s face would show that the important moment has come-his bride is here to take her place beside him.

Footage of the bride making her way up the aisle can be slow-moed and once she has met the groom, a relevant voiceover of the priest introducing everyone is handy to use here to ease into the ceremony. An important shot to be used next is the lighting of the Eucharistic candles. Once this is done it is easy through the mixing of voiceover and music to move into opening prayers and readings. Something that in actuality took 10 minutes can be condensed down to 2 minutes with the essence of events kept.

The gospel can be shown in full with two angles used on the priest, one wider and one close up for dynamism. Reaction shots of the couple and the crowd are important to use. The priest’s sermon can be edited down to include the highlights of his speech or any emotion or even humour that the couple will remember from it.

The vows are arguably the most central part of the video. They can start slowly making sure we can see a close up of the bride and groom and also a wider shot from perspective. Different reactions shot between the couple intercut with the smiles from the crowd can be effective. It is no harm to use a subtle bit of music underneath the vows to add an extra layer of importance to them. The cutting can become quicker as the vows and the ring exchange goes on, to build up a drama. The release from the fast cutting can come in the form of a wider shot or a slow-mo turn to black and white on the marital declaration by the priest or on the couple‘s kiss.

There are many more things involved in the ceremony such as the prayers of the faithful, the gifts and communion. These can be put in to a condensed montage over music and/or voiceover of prayers.

The final part of the ceremony, the signing of the registrar, can be intercut with people taking photographs and usually goes well with a hymn filmed on the day or some added music.

The ceremony ends by combining the walk down the aisle with the congratulations from the crowd at the church door. We use some dialogue collected from people gathered outside to give an added life to the congratulations sequence. These are the tricks of the trade and are perfectly effective in creating an atmosphere. Intercut with shots of the couple being congratulated can be shots of the crowd mingling outside over an upbeat joyful song.

Photos/Early Reception

While the photographer is taken the photos of the couple in the various places e.g. outside the church, a nearby beach or at the hotel, we shoot from a distance without any interference in the process. This gives us the spontaneous angle in the edit that may be missing from formal photographs.

An fitting piece of music should go over the shots to give a feeling of fun, wonder or romance to the scene. The photos may be staged but we in the edit are able through dynamic cutting, voiceover and colouring effects to blend in the actual life of the day as well as adding an extra beauty to the scene.  Motion within the shots is significant as it works to create a flow and a beauty within the edit. Things like slow motion, dissolves, pans and tilts cut together can really elevate the photo sequence and make the couple and their friends and family feel like they are watching a Hollywood romantic montage.

To establish the photography places in context, it is key to use some wide shots of the area or some shot that symbolises the place e.g. a close up of a seashell if it takes place on a beach or a flower floating in the breeze if in a field or a park. Either way this can then cut with closer shots of the couple showing their happiness.

Once the main photo sequences have been cut, it is time to look at the crowd at the reception. Again a pacey song can work well over fast cutting shots of friends and relatives enjoying the day. Sometimes this is an ideal opportunity to put in a couple of personal messages from the crowd directed at the happy couple. Most essentially though, we must convey a sense of celebration and craic amongst the people chatting and drinking. It is also best to use shots of the families of the couple as much as possible within the sequence.


Cutting together the preparations for the meal area is not altogether necessary but it can be a quirky little piece as well as providing a seamless time change from the afternoon/ early evening drinks reception to the more formal dinner setting. Fast shots cut together of menus, cutlery, wine glasses and the table preparation can work very well over another piece of jovial or elegant music.  Once the scene starts to draw to a close the noise of people can come in underneath the end shots of the sequence so as to ready the viewer for the sight of people arriving in the banquet area or sitting at tables. As I said this time transition can be done through the gradual rising sounds of people or else through a simple fade to black and fade up to see the room now crowded.

The speeches are usually the only place where match cutting (cross-cutting between the same actions from two different camera angles that occur simultaneously to provide continuity to a scene) is used through the video other than in the ceremony.  Generally the speeches will be cut in the order in which they transpired on the day but this doesn’t have to be the way. We have in the past cut back and forth through different speakers for funny or poignant lines in their speeches. Also once we see the speakers for a period of time it is interesting to cut to a reaction shot from the bride and groom or from the crowd. There is a bit of manipulation going on here when we see these reaction shots as they didn’t necessarily happen at that specific time. If the reaction on the people’s faces is appropriate this can be a great way to cut through some dead air and move onto something in the speech that is more relevant. Running from one speaker to another can be achieved by fade outs or crowd shots inserted at the end of one speech to move seamlessly onto another. To end the speeches sequence it’s good to have an applause wide shot or at least one of the speakers raising a toast to the happy couple.


The first dance generally will be cut with colouring effects because most cameras cannot produce a perfect picture in the dark lighting within which the dancing take place. Even when we use our low light camera it still needs a little bit of effects added in.  Some fades and slow motion over the first dance song can produce an extra romantic feel to the piece. It is best to use a wider shot at first to establish the dance floor and then predominately use close ups and mid shots of the couple dancing together for intimacy. We sometimes cut in later crowd dancing throughout the song but it is vital to cut back to bride and groom for the ending. Occasionally we use some voiceover from a particularly speech or personal messages in this sequence. However we keep the extra stuff to a minimum as the first dance is one of the most significant parts of a wedding video and should concentrate on the couple mainly.

If there was a song played on the night that really got everyone dancing this can be a good lead on from the first dance to see the enjoyment of everyone on the dance floor. Particular focus should be on the close relatives of the couple and then any funny dancing is always good to throw in. This can be a short piece and can include most of the personal messages intercut with the dancing. As the song reaches a peak we usually put in some of the iconic shots of the day and as the song finishes we end on the couple at their happiest on camera- the cover shot if you were to frame it for a newspaper.


So once the main feature comes in at around 30-35 minutes (it can be longer as it’s up to the couple to decide beforehand), it’s on to the bonus features. As the ceremony in the main video is around 8-15 minutes its best to put in an extended ceremony around 15-25 minutes in the extras. Stuff that didn’t make it to the main cut like prayers, extended sermon, more songs and maybe some of the communion can be put in here. The couple have the best of both worlds: a succinct mass in the main and a longer one if they want to watch for the details. The second bonus is the extended speeches which encompasses them in their near entirety. This can be really nice as the couple and their families sit down and relive all the fun and well wishes of the speeches. The third part of the extras is a specially edited highlights montage of all the main parts and shots of the day over a piece of music that sums up the events. This can be great for putting up online for all the people who couldn’t make it to the wedding. As an extra extra bonus we add in all the personal messages collected throughout the day in a segment on their own.


Usually we produce 10 DVDs for our clients with a personalised DVD cover of a special photo/shot of the day. We make the cover in Photoshop with the details of the wedding on the front. This can look really look well amongst the couple’s DVD collection as they are the stars in their movie. The DVD cases are usually the standard black cases which most DVDs come in. Once we stick on a personalised label onto the DVDs themselves we are ready to send over the parcel to the couple. I haven’t experience myself but I imagine it’s like Xmas morning when the package arrives and they can sit back with friends and family and relive all the special moments of one of the great days in their lives.

So that’s it….As you can see there’s a lot more than just turning up with a camera on the day and throwing a few shots together on a computer. An awful lot of careful thought and planning goes into producing the desired effects of making a bride and grooms big day spring to live in front of them.

If there is any of you out there who would like to discuss your own future wedding video just pop us an email or give us a phone call any time any day. We’d be only delighted to talk to you about your own big occasion.

Cheers for now.

Look out for more blog stuff in the coming weeks.