There’s no way around the fact that getting ready for your big day requires lots of planning — from finding your perfect florist to venue booking to seating arrangements to accommodating each guest’s unique needs.
However, the idea of preserving your wedding night through photography and video footage can easily be forgotten in the bustle of planning logistics. This can lead wedding planners to wonder whether it is better to attempt to capture this footage through a friend or outsource to a local expert — and how long does it take to edit a wedding video, anyway?
In this article, we will touch on everything you need to know about capturing the best parts of your wedding, as well as easy and meaningful ways to share them with those loved ones who showed up to participate in your big event.
Should You Obtain a Wedding Video for Your Ceremony and Reception?
Of course, every bride plans their wedding a little differently. Some couples plan for a reception for folks coming from out of town, a rehearsal dinner the night before, a venue for exchanging vows and a place to party into the wee hours of the night.
Unequivocally, you will want to ensure you capture the ceremony itself first and foremost — taking care to zoom in on the faces of the lucky couple, the exchange of vows and the big, celebratory kiss. Getting this part on film is perhaps the most crucial aspect of preserving the essence of your wedding night so you can look back fondly on anniversaries for years to come.
Others may want to get some footage of the rehearsal dinner and the post-ceremony celebrations for a more “complete” look at the story of the wedding. What were the vibes during the rehearsal dinner? Was everyone relaxed and having fun? Was there an open bar and outrageous dancing after the ceremony? Did the bride dance with anyone special or their partner, for that matter? What about the toast from the best man? These are all special moments that deserve to be preserved as well — especially if this is your first wedding.
In short, most people do not regret taking the time to delegate the task of filming special moments to one or two family members or even hiring a professional to take the best possible shots for them, so they don’t have to worry about unfocused or bumpy camera footage.
Top 7 Traits to Look for in a Professional Wedding Filmer
While it’s always convenient if you’ve got a family member or dear friend experienced in photography and film, not all of us have this luxury when it comes to our big day. In general, if no one in your party fits this description or is willing and able to step outside of themselves to play the role of wedding filmer, it’s generally best to hire a professional for the job. Here are the top seven traits to look for in a professional wedding photographer and filmer:
1. Ability to take both incredible photos and film:
If possible, look for a jack-of-all-trades photographer who can not only capture incredible still images of your evening but has an eye for the most important parts of the evening as well as the best cinematographic tricks to capture them. Finding a photographer that is capable of both skills may come at a slightly higher rate — but their rates will likely save you money when compared to hiring both a photographer and a professional wedding filmer.
2. Access to the best equipment possible:
If you want to put your best foot forward for posterity, it’s important that your industry professional is rocking some of the best tools in the game — from special lighting effects to cameras, flashes, editing software and more. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer what they use during the interview process and why they like working with said equipment.
3. Familiarity with your venue, lighting needs and other ways to capture proceedings at their best:
It is always a plus if your wedding photographer has worked at your venue before. This can help them understand everything from how light interacts in space to where the nearest outlets are — and even the best places to take a surprise snap or two, such as from a balcony looking down.
Can this photographer make the experience positive for your wedding night? How many years do they have in the game? The more professional and experienced your cameraperson, the likelier you are to receive beautiful output to immortalize your wedding night — so take the time to ask this question upfront.
5. Positive reviews, positive vibes, takes time to talk with you about questions:
There’s no rush going through customer reviews — and, while it’s always best to read them with a grain of salt, they can be a great starting point for understanding the type of service and experience you can expect from a photographer. If you have questions, comments, reservations, etc., feel free to call the professional and ask them to explain.
6. Ability to become a “fly on the wall”:
The best cameraperson will almost become invisible throughout the evening, stepping up when there are good moments to be caught on film and slipping back into the shadows to get a group shot every now and then. They are with the party but outside of it at the same time.
7. Offers editing services, including retouching photos:
Will they edit your footage for you? What about photo touch ups for that giant zit you had to live with on the morning of your big day? Ask the cameraperson you are interested in about the full extent of their services.
How Long is the Average U.S. Wedding Ceremony?
Fortunately for a couple eagerly looking to tie the knot, most United States wedding ceremonies take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. This includes a warm welcome for those who came, any inspired religious or spiritual readings, vows, ring exchanges and the ever-popular final kiss.
However, it’s important to note that wedding receptions can take up to six hours, depending on the libations provided and the raucousness of the crowd! For the extremely party-hearty, there’s no telling how late into the evening these celebrations will go.
If you have delegated the camera duties to an experienced friend or family member, make sure they have access to batteries or a way to charge batteries, plenty of film or memory on their camera and any other things they might need — including a glass of bubbly!
Should I Hire Someone to Edit My Wedding Footage?
Let’s be honest with ourselves here: after the wedding night, all the lucky couple is really going to want to think about is the honeymoon. Likely, the last thing on their mind will be editing footage captured at their wedding — but does this mean they should hire someone to edit their wedding footage or wait and do it themselves after the honeymoon has come to a sweet close?
Pros of Editing Your Own Wedding Footage:
There are some benefits of taking your time with the editing process and doing it yourself. These include:
- It can usually be done for free, aside from taking time out of your day
- You can learn or practice a new skill
- You have total control over how the footage is presented and the story you want to tell
- No need to outsource the project
Pros of Hiring Someone to Edit Your Wedding Footage:
Not everyone likes to spend their time editing hours of footage — especially up to 6 or 7 total hours of footage and turning that into a cohesive, sweet and memorable story. Here are some primary reasons why a newlywed might outsource editing their wedding footage to a pro:
- Access to better tools and software
- Experience, expertise, efficiency and professionalism
- Saves time
- Surprise outcomes can be a lot of fun
- It’s a lot less work for the client
How Long Does It Take to Edit a Wedding Video?
Of course, the answer to this question largely depends on how many hours of footage you managed to take of the wedding, as well as whether or not you plan to edit your footage yourself or hire an experienced professional editor instead.
For reference, for every one minute of footage gained, newlyweds can expect average editing times to vary between 30-60 minutes until it is precise, clean and tells their story. Generally, most editing services can get this back to you within two or so days for your review before making a final draft. At most, the whole process would go into the next business week.
However, if you are planning on taking this project on yourself with little or no experience, you can expect to be at it between 3-5 days, depending on how quickly you take to the process. For the wait and effort alone, some find it worth it to invest in a professional editor, while others like the practice of learning something new and having total control of the quality of the video, the message, the feelings evoked and more.
What could be taking so long?
When you choose to hire someone to edit your wedding video, it’s easy to get impatient as you’re likely excited to sit and look back on the best parts of the day. This can get pretty frustrating and you’re probably wondering why it’s taking so long and thinking you could have done it yourself in half the time. Well here are some of the reasons your wedding video may need more than a week’s worth of work;
The overall quality of your wedding video matters a lot when an editor is trying to piece together your video to tell a story. Naturally, grainy and shaky videos that have entire sections cut off could be a lot harder to work with than professionally shot videos. As much as you would like to save a few bucks on your wedding, asking your friend that does photography as a hobby to fill in could end up costing you a lot.
They may be good at occasional photography however a wedding shoot requires equipment that they may not have on hand leading to compromised video quality. If this is the case, patiently wait for the editors to work their magic on an impossible situation.
Well, you went the extra mile and hired a professional shouldn’t I have my videos by now? Well, did you ask for cinematic-level editing? Editors offer different editing packages from a basic edit to production-quality editing. Color saturation, noise cancellation, building a story, and embedding music into your video takes time!
If you asked for a simple edit, you have every right to be concerned and you should probably contact your editors if two months have gone by. However, if you paid for a cinema-like video, you’re going to have to be a little more patient as it takes time to create a masterpiece.
Most video editors do not work on projects based on the order in which they came in and more on whether or not they have received all the information they need to begin. If you jetted out to your honeymoon before handling payments and going over your requirements with your video editor, chances are that others who complete these steps before you are going to be served before you. We know you’re excited for what could be your first trip together but it’s important to handle things back home so you don’t have to deal with delays.
If you had your wedding during peak season, chances are that your video editor has no shortage of work on their desk. This does not mean that they’re failing to prioritize your work but more likely there’s just too much on deck. This is especially true if you’re working with a sought-after professional. You can avoid this by having your wedding during the low season to get served faster.
How can I have my wedding video worked on faster?
If you’re in a rush to have your wedding video completed within a shorter amount of time to meet your second wedding elsewhere, you can speak to your video editor to arrange for this at a small extra fee. Other than that, there’s really no reason to be paying more for an already expensive service.
Best Ideas for What to Do with Edited Wedding Footage
So, you got your adorable wedding video all edited — now what do you do with it? Naturally, the first thing you are going to want to do is to make sure you have a hard copy of the video, a backed-up copy and one in the cloud should there be a problem with any of the other two methods. This ensures your memories will be accessible for years to come!
Other options include posting the video to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok or some other platform and sharing it with attendees as a “thank you” for coming. If you don’t have another plan of thanking your guests for showing up, now would be a good time to think of a “Plan B” — unless you think sending out sweetly labeled copies of your wedding video montage would be a welcome present.
Another idea is to send your wedding footage either to the editor who parsed it together or the wedding planner you worked with so they are better able to market themselves. This can act like a “tip” for their high-quality service and may even help them with conversions down the line.
If you and your hunny have a blog or wedding-focused website, now is the time to post that video and link to its contributors. Those backlinks are a big deal for independent businesses and entrepreneurs and are generally considered a classy move when you are satisfied with the work they’ve done for you.
Is Editing a Wedding Video Hard?
The short answer is “yes and no.” For some, working on computers (and tasks like video editing) come fairly intuitively — while for others, it is a waking nightmare. If you would like to edit your footage yourself but are unsure how to splice the footage together, speak with a friend or professional with a cinematography background to see how you can take your edited wedding footage to the next level.
While it is not necessarily challenging to edit your video from scratch using free tools, it will take a lot of time. For this reason, many find it’s worth handing the baton to experienced editors with high-end editing software who can get the job done beautifully, efficiently and at the best possible rate. So, what are you waiting for? Add wedding filming to your list of things to plan for on your big day for memories to cherish for a lifetime and to share with the dear ones in your clan who came to say they love you.