As filmmakers, the heartbeat of the wedding film is the ceremony. Think about it, from the time the hair and makeup artist arrives to the very last song the DJ plays, we are getting geared up for a 12-18 hour day with our couples, and somewhere wedged in between this huge window of time is a 25 minute ceremony. The ceremony is what the day is about. It is what you plan for, it is what gets special attention during rehearsal, it is what the guests came from all over to witness, it sets the tone for decor, imagery, and scenery, and it embodies the commitment the couple is making to one another for the rest of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good reception and when everyone has a chance to celebrate too!
The ceremony is without a doubt the most vulnerable and raw part of the day. I’m sure you have seen couples who have been together for 25 years, 10 years, 5 years, 3 years, or even 3 months…. and when they are up there at the altar making promises to one another in front of their guests, they all experience the same thing but in their own way… an overwhelming sense of emotion (in a good way of course) and is a feeling they will never be able to replicate.
Our best advice is to encourage your couples to write personalized vows to one another. Repeat vows are great and traditional, but when a couple writes their own words, they can really add depth to their story, to what their relationship means to them and what they have become. Back to that whole “the heartbeat of the wedding film is the ceremony” thing I was talking about earlier… the vows and the emotion that is behind those words become the narrative for the film and they are what make each wedding ceremony unique.
So if your couples haven’t considered writing their own vows during the ceremony, we highly encourage you to encourage them during your consultations with officiants and when planning out the order of events for the ceremony. Their guests will remember the love and emotion behind those words, and if they have a wedding filmmaker shooting their wedding, they will be able to go back and relive that moment over and over!