McElroy Weddings is Featured in The Knot!

We were recently asked to answer questions concerning videography packages, trends, extras, etc for The Knot and are honored to be   featured in the Spring/Summer issue.  We are very excited to share the article with you!

Founded in 1996 to offer a much-needed alternative to the white-gloved, outdated advice of the available etiquette experts, The Knot has quickly become America’s leading wedding brand reaching out to millions of engaged couples each year through our award-winning website, books, magazines, and broadcast offerings. (From

What do you consider must-have elements for a wedding video package (like DVD chapters or a menu, a highlight reel, etc. 

There are a few must have’s when it comes to a wedding video package.The knot_page 3

First, it’s very important to have each wedding well organized. We divide our DVDs and Blu-rays into chapters that are easily navigated through chapter menus. Newlyweds shouldn’t have to spend time fast forwarding to find their vows or cake cutting: Chapter menus make it easy to find a specific moment during the wedding day.

Second, it’s important to be able to see the WHOLE wedding day. Most wedding videographers will provide a short highlight reel . . . and that’s it. We provide a highlight reel as well, but then the rest of the DVD or Blu-ray is dedicated to the ENTIRE ceremony and ENTIRE reception. We want to make it possible for newlyweds to relive the most important parts of their wedding day by providing video that is polished and edited (We do cut out down time when nothing’s going on!), but leaves nothing out: See the brides walk down the aisle to the actual music recorded on site, see the vows in their entirety, musical performances, speeches, first dance, flower toss, cake cutting . . . if it was important to you and happened that day, it’s in your video.

In addition, we also provide our couples with several highlight chapters. The first highlight we call the ‘trailer’ and summarizes the entire wedding. Then we edit a preceremony and formal highlight reel for each wedding. The trailer is something many videographers provide their clients, but we take a fresh approach by editing in a cinematic ‘music video’ style to music of the couple’s choice. The preceremony chapter is a fun way for our newlyweds to relive the emotions right before the ceremony as they are getting their hair done, make-up applied, shoes shined, and ties straightened. Finally, the formals chapter follows the wedding party as they are photographed. Footage from the formals chapter really can put the personality of the wedding party on display and more often than not, we get the most romantic and picturesque moments from this chapter of every wedding. Each of the highlight chapters is edited to music of the couple’s choice as well, making the wedding extremely customizable.

To bring the wedding day to a close, we provide our clients with a credits chapter to a song of their choice. This chapter lists the entire wedding party and other important people that helped make the wedding day possible. Brides and grooms can also choose to include their favorite quotes, poems or personal messages as well. The text scrolls like the end of a Hollywood movie and even includes footage from throughout the wedding that may have been left on the cutting room floor, or may not have fit elsewhere in the wedding.

Finally, it’s very important for videographers to provide all the un-edited, raw footage of the wedding on DVDs. We also provide couples with digital sharing files, or files that can easily be sent to friends and family that may live far away or couldn’t make it to the wedding.

If you can only hire a videographer for the minimum amount of coverage, so you won’t be able to get the entire day on film, which elements of the day do you recommend making sure you catch on film? 

This is an interesting question. I guess some video is better than no video. However, we would always recommend choosing video over other areas that a bride may spend her money. For instance, what are you left with after the wedding is over? Flowers will die and food will be eaten . . . the only thing you’ll have are stories and memories. However, you may have opted to include wedding video in your budget so you can re-live all those important moments. A picture says a thousand words, but a video says a million. However, if you had to choose one moment to capture on video, most couples would consider the ceremony a must. This is the actual act of getting married. There are readings, special music, vows, and the exchange of rings that you may want to re-live. That said, the reception is very special and for some couples, is the most important part of the wedding day. Introductions, the first dance, parent dances, and speeches are essential moments in every wedding. But why choose one moment or another? Have your entire wedding day captured.

Are there certain video package elements that are going out of style  or that you consider unnecessary if you’re looking to save money? (For example: Are photo montages still being incorporated into couple’s wedding videos? Do you need pre-ceremony video footage? Are guest interviews corny and do couples still like to include them?

As wedding video evolves, some aspects that have been staples of wedding videography from the start are falling by the wayside.

Brides and grooms are smarter than ever and want a cinematic feel and look to their videos. That does not include on-the-fly interviews during the reception. The result of shoving a camera in a guest’s face is unpredictable and more often than not creates bad feelings toward the videographer than it creates a thoughtful message. A close up of a guest happily dancing at the reception is just as powerful as anything they might say in an interview, without the ‘in your face’ videography.

With our business, part of our selling point is our ‘invisibility’. In other words, our videographers will do what they need to get the shot, but they won’t be disruptive. If a couple can go the whole wedding day and not remember we were there, it was a great day for us.

Also important in our cinematic style is editing. Our editors come from film schools and edited narrative scripts and music videos. Gone are the days of the 15 second cross dissolve and slow zooming: Brides and grooms want depth of field, high definition, and precise quick editing.

The knot_page 2Another aspect of wedding videography that’s hit the curb is personalized DVD books. DVDs used to be huge packages filled with video screen shots and other printed material. The way I see it, the more time your videographer is spending personalizing printed material, the less time he is devoting to editing and polishing your wedding. The product is video and that’s what a videographer should be concerned with. We do customize the covers of our DVDs to reflect each wedding as well as create custom DVD menus, but brides and grooms are smart: They know that the money is better spent on editing and other technical aspects than a complex wedding book.

With the advent of more and more advanced personal computers, photomontages can, and in most cases are done by the brides themselves relatively easily and with professional quality. Hit a couple of buttons in iPhoto, and you have yourself a terrific, professional quality slideshow. We do provide montages that are perfectly timed to music and in styles that iPhoto and other personal software doesn’t provide, but brides, again, are smart and know where they can pinch pennies and do things themselves.

Are there any new trends or offerings that you recommend (or couples are asking for) for their wedding video packages? 

There’s been some very interesting trends to appear lately. Couples are hiring videographers to create save-the-date videos in many parts of the country. These videos are usually creative, artistic videos that feature the bride and groom kissing, walking hand-in-hand, and other cute moments, capped by titles that provide the date and time of the wedding. There’s also a variation of the save-the-date videos or concept films where the couple acts out the moment they first met or the moment they proposed in little skits. Sometimes these concept videos are exaggerated or flat out made up for comic effect. Whether they’re serious or not, these videos are fun to produce and really add a lot of hype to a couple’s upcoming nuptials when they are shared with family and friends over social networks. In our Boston location, these videos haven’t caught on, but I’ve seen wedding videographers in California, New York, and our second location in Florida creating these types of videos for their clients.

Also a new trend is the same day edit where an editor tags along with the videographers at a wedding and edits the footage as it is shot. The idea is that, by the middle to end of the reception, the videographers will present a 4 or 5 minute highlight reel to the guests featuring everything leading up to the reception, from the preceremony, ceremony, to the first dance and maybe some speeches. Then, after the wedding day, the couple receives a longer edit.

What are the different types of wedding videos you can get and which do you recommend? Highlight reel

For our company, we approach every wedding based on schedule, religious tradition, and the couple’s taste and suggest the best possible package to cover the wedding day. That said, it’s interesting that, whether your Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, or Eastern Orthodox, every wedding tends to fit within a very similar framework and while the content of each chapter will vary wildly, the chapters tend not to change. We always will provide our clients with a highlight reel and a longer cut, unless, as in a rare case, they aren’t interested in the longer cut. We want to make sure that all of our clients know exactly what they are getting, but we are more than willing to take special requests and by allowing the couples to choose their own music for all the highlight chapters, each wedding is truly unique and special.

We do offer what we like to call a ‘wedding story’ where, through professionally lit interviews with the bride, groom, parents, and other important people before the wedding, we create a video documentary out of the couple’s wedding day. These videos are especially powerful and fun for all involved.

What extras do you recommend getting with your video package and/or are popular with brides? Same-day edits? Single-event edits? Save-the-date movie trailers? Video photo booths?

At McElroy Weddings, our most popular packages include multiple videographers, preceremony coverage, DVDs, Blu-rays, digital files, and raw footage, but we are also set up for save-the-date videos and same day edits.

It’s very important for anyone providing a service to clearly outline to the client what they are getting for their money, to be professional at the site of the wedding, and to provide personalized and timely service.

Sometimes, brides looking to cut down their budget will choose to forgo extras like Blu-ray and Digital files, but more often than not, after the wedding is edited, they come back to us for Blu-ray or Raw footage. It’s hard to drive home how important video can be for your wedding until couples see the end result. Many of our reviews clearly state that our clients were extremely happy with their video and would advise any couple getting married in the future to keep some money aside for it.

Grab your copy of the knot to see our article in print and get more wedding ideas for your special day!