There’s something about a wedding disaster where you can’t look away. As we read the most recent wedding catastrophe article, “Wedding pictures become nightmare for bride,” we couldn’t help but think about how many brides out there have a wedding vendor horror story.
Don’t worry, if you haven’t had a chance to read the article, we’ll sum it up (however, please do read). A bride books a wedding vendor (because it was cheap) that turns into a total nightmare. The message of this article was clear and simple-you get what you paid for and if you think it’s too good to be true...it probably is! While that all seems like a simple message and one that we’ve heard many times before, we tend to overlook the obvious when we’re excited or just not knowledgeable. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed.
But how can these wedding vendor tragedies be avoided? After 17 years in the wedding industry, we’ve learned a thing or two here at CinemaCake, so here are some of our insider knowledge tips on 5 important things to know when booking your wedding vendors.
1. Look for Client Reviews
Client reviews are the easiest way to tell if a vendor is all they are cracked up to be. One thing we know, is that no bride is recommending a vendor that ended up disappointing her on her wedding day. In fact, she will go out of her way to make sure other brides don’t go through the same experience that they did. Log into Facebook and search their business page to check the reviews written by real clients or better yet, simply Google them. Type in the name of the vendor and put the word ‘review’ after it. You will find out all kinds of information, both good..and bad. We love to use WeddingWire as a way for clients to document their reviews. With WeddingWire, our brides and grooms can sing their praises and share their CinemaCake experience for all future couples to see, However, you have no control of what people write, so you can see the good, the bad and the downright ugly as these are written by the client, not the vendor. Try searching your vendor on WeddingWire to see what their reviews say.
2. Ask to See Their Previous Work
Bottom line, if a vendor is reputable, they will be happy to show you their work. It’s important to see their previous work, so you can get a sense of what you will receive on your wedding day. Some photographers/videographers may direct you to their image/video gallery, while wedding planners/designers may show you Recap films created just for them. At CinemaCake, we’re happy to send couples our previous works, like our Coming Soon Trailers as well as a fully completed film, that will relate best to their wedding day. Whether it’s films shot at a specific venue, or with a certain vendor, there’s a film we can show you that you can relate to. But be sure to ask for a complete production and work that is recent, not just what is posted on their website or Facebook Page.
3. Communicate With Your Vendors
We can’t stress enough the importance of being clear to your vendors as to what you are looking for in your final product. Whether it be your florist, your photographer, or your decorator, make sure there is always a clear line of communication. It’s important they understand your wedding day vision, and be able to meet your requirements. If your vendor is a reputable one, they will have no problem guiding you along, and will be prepared to answer all your questions and concerns. Here at CinemaCake, you can contact us through our Contact Page where we ask you a few starter questions. Then, we ask our couples to fill out a more detailed questionnaire in advance, so we can get to know you as a couple even more and to be sure we are the right fit. We also meet all of our clients in person, whenever possible, to build upon that relationship and further ensure that the wedding day will run smoothly. Having a wedding planner is a great way to keep in contact with all of your vendors, without the stress of doing it yourself. A wedding planner is there to protect you and guide you and ensure that the whole process goes smoothly from the planning process to the wedding day.
4. See Who Vendors Recommend
It’s a good sign when both a florist and a decorator refer you to the same vendor. Your wedding planner may suggest which vendors are right for you as well. Take the time to ask each vendor which companies they tend to work with and whom they trust.
5. Steer Clear of the Everything-in-one Vendors
If you’re being offered a venue, entertainment, photography, cinematography, decor, transportation, catering, and a wedding dress, all in one, in our humble opinion, is probably too good to be true. It’s best to hire a company that has a niche or only works within a couple select fields. You may feel like you’re saving yourself money or the hassle of booking multiple vendors this way, but in our experience, this is not the best approach. Work with vendors who are passionate in their field and who are masters at what they do. The extra work on your part will be worth it!
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It's a chilly Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia and I am heading out of one of the city's premiere wedding venues. I just spent my morning meeting dozens of newly-engaged couples at a showcase and talking with them all about their wedding day. I love attending events like this one because it gives me the chance to meet couples at the very beginning of the planning process and offer some advice that I have picked-up from working in this industry. It also gives me the chance to dispel any rumors and correct the misinformation I still hear about wedding films.
Over the past few years, I have definitely seen a shift in the wedding industry where more couples are becoming educated and aware of the necessity of having their day filmed. They get that it's the best way to relive their wedding because they can see and hear all the amazing moments and value the need to have their day captured professionally. But even with all this new knowledge out there, I still have some couples coming up to me at wedding showcases and asking me if a film is really necessary. Since I probably won't be able to meet all of you at a showcase, I'm doing the next best thing and sharing my answers to some of your biggest questions about wedding films.
1. I don't really need a wedding film, right?
You may not believe it now, but your wedding day will come and go before you know it. All the months of hard work and planning will play out over several hours and then it's done! Once the last piece of cake has been eaten and the last floral arrangement has wilted, all there is to look back on the day are the film and photos. Of course the photos are a great way to remember special moments, but nothing compares to being able to hear the toasts being given in your honor and see all your guests enjoying themselves on the dance floor.
I have found that in spite of all of my knowledge on the topic, the couples we work with truly say it best. Here was a review we received from Chris and Sarah after they watched their CinemaCake film for the first time:
"Unsurprisingly, we are blown away by what CinemaCake has created for us. They managed to capture not just the major events of our wedding day, but the feeling, emotion, and atmosphere of the celebration as well. To say that we are impressed would be an understatement and we truly cannot thank them enough. The whole team was fabulous to work with from the start and they not only went above and beyond, but did so in an entirely unobtrusive way, capturing moments without us even realizing they were there. In our opinion, that's the mark of a phenomenal videographer and one we would recommend to anyone who asked. Thank you for all of your hard work and for creating something that will be invaluable to not only us, but our families (and Ella!) as well for years to come."
2. Ok, I get it! I definitely need a film! But I can just have my friends film it on their iPhones right?
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" definitely rings true in this scenario. Sure, having footage just for posterity's sake is good, but you'll probably end up with clips that are blurry or audio you just can't hear. Having a professional crew, like the teams CinemaCake sends out, ensures that you will have amazing footage from multiple angles and crisp, clear audio from all of the important moments of your day. Now, you'll truly be able to experience the important moments of your day all over again!
Surprisingly, a recent survey of more than 750 newlyweds found that 35% of the couples wish they had spent more on their film! Budgeting for your wedding film is just as important as budgeting for photography and a good rule of thumb is to budget the same amount for both services if you want the same service and quality. Of course, you want to have beautiful photos of your day, but those images won't let you hear your vows or see your first dance again. Only a film will let you fully experience your day again and again.
Can't find the space for your dream cinematographer in your budget? Why not include a film on your registry! Zola.com gives couples the ability to create cash funds for your wedding film or any other elements of your day. You can let your guests gift whatever amount they like or set fixed amounts so multiple guests can split the cost of your item. Instead of getting more kitchen knick-knacks you'll probably never use, ask your guests for a meaningful gift that you will treasure for the rest of your lives.
3. Alright, I'm hiring a professional! How do I find the best company for me?
One of the biggest mistakes couples can make when they are planning their wedding is not doing the research. It can be hard to figure out who you want to work with or who you can trust to provide the quality and service you are looking for and it's important to educate yourself before you sign any contracts. First, it's good to talk to other vendors you are already working with and see who they recommend. Most vendors take recommendations very seriously and will point you in the direction of someone whose work and personality they trust.
Once you have some names, you will want to start looking online to see what other couples have to say about working with these companies. By simply Googling "Name of Company" and "Reviews", you can find several websites where clients have shared first-hand accounts of what is was like to work with the company on their wedding day and what the delivery process was like once they got to see their work. I always recommend couples check out the review site as well and make sure that reviews can't be removed by the company. It can seem like a lot of work, but it will definitely be worth it when you're working with the perfect team on your wedding day!
Planning your wedding can seem difficult, but it doesn't have to be. If you prioritize the important elements of your day, budget for them or include them in registry, and do the necessary research, you will be able to put together an amazing team. Your team is going to be with you throughout the biggest day of your life and they will work to make sure you have the best wedding day possible!
Best of luck with planning and make sure to come visit me at a wedding showcase soon!
To the newly engaged couple:
Picture your ten year wedding anniversary. Maybe you and your partner are living in a new home across the world or maybe you are both sitting on the same couch as you are right now. Maybe you are surrounded by family or a couple of kids of your own or maybe you two are just enjoying each other's company as you reminisce on the day you said "I Do." You are fondly talking about your wedding day, but the details are a little hazy. What exactly did your maid of honor say in the toast? What was that hilarious thing that your flower girl did during photo session? Did you even see the decor you toiled over for weeks in the cocktail space? Then you press play on your film and are immediately transported back to the day...
Like we discussed last week, your wedding day will breeze by and as the months and years go on, it will be hard to remember all the small details. Having a film of your wedding day will bring you right back to the moment and will give you the chance to hear your vows again and see your guest's reaction to your first dance. By keeping the film a manageable length, usually around 20 minutes, our couples can go back and relive their day over and over again. This also makes the film easy to share with others and something that your guests and people who enter your life in the future will want to enjoy! Lauren and Philip totally understood the importance of having their film documented in this way and we were so thrilled to receive this review from they happy couple.
"Prior to our wedding, the single comment most mentioned was how quickly our wedding day will pass. Given so many events and details happening around us that day, it was important to us that CinemaCake capture our wedding day in a way that not only Philip and I, but anyone who views the film, would be able to experience as though they were actually there. When Philip and I viewed the film, we were brought to tears. You have not only documented in film each moment that Philip and I personally experienced, but you somehow were able to bring to life the entire day and events as were experienced through the eyes of our family and friends. From the beautiful ceremony and speeches through the wonderful reception and every special moment in between, CinemaCake perfectly captured our wedding day. Philip and I are so grateful to have this film and the opportunity to forever relive our wedding day and to share with our family and friends.”
Your wedding film will become important not only to you and those closest to you, but to future generations as well! If you have your own children or nieces and nephews in the future, they will be interested and excited to relive these important moments with you. It will be great to show them what they're family was like before they we're alive and allow them to share these incredibly important memories with you. Jamie Apody and her husband Paul just celebrated their 6th anniversary and the sportscaster shared this sweet, personal post on her Facebook page to highlight the day.
"Because I'm sentimental today...6 years ago was a pretty special night. We showed our wedding video to the boys this week. Tanner is still upset and keeps asking why he wasn't there! I told him he was there in our hearts"
As you experience more anniversaries and get further away from your wedding, your film will become an even more treasured heirloom. It will start to hold new meaning for you as older relatives pass on, but are forever captured dancing and laughing in your film. Years after we filmed the wedding of Michael McKenna's daughter he reached out with a story so powerful, we had to have him tell it again on camera. Have a tissue ready for his incredible testimonial.
Your wedding day is going to be incredible and one of the most important days of your entire life. Be sure that you always have a way to look back and see just how amazing it was. We wish you all the best with planning and hope to hear from you soon.
To the newly engaged couple:
You may not believe it now, but your wedding day will come and go before you know it. All the months of hard work and planning will play out over several hours and then it's done! Once the last piece of cake has been eaten and the last floral arrangement has wilted, all there is to look back on the day with are the film and photos. Of course the photos are a great way to remember special moments by, but nothing compares to being able to relive your day with a film! Leila planned an amazing destination wedding to New Orleans and had this to say after seeing her film for the first time:
"EVERYONE NEEDS TO HAVE THEIR WEDDING CAPTURED ON FILM! We had the most amazing time at our wedding weekend in New Orleans! Dave + team were fabulous and truly captured the essence of the weekend and our favorite moments. Pictures are amazing but film is the only way to truly capture these precious moments in time to remember forever. The celebration all goes by so fast and being able to hear your vows and Maid of Honor's toast again and see yourself dancing with your dad is priceless. This is such an important celebration in your life and you put so much time, energy and money into it and you want to be able to relive it forever. We were so fortunate to have had CinemaCake as part of our big day and we are so glad we made it happen. They are the BEST!!!!”
There will be so much of the day that you won't get to see with your partner and watching back these moments will be one of the best post-wedding experiences. The biggest part of the day you'll experience separately is Bride or Groom prep, when you are each getting ready with your members of the bridal party and family. These small, special moments make up a lot of our film for a really good reason: your partner won't be there to see any of it! With your film, he will now get to see your father's expression when he sees you for the first time, and you'll be able to see all the fun he's having with his groomsmen. Personal moments like these add so much to your film, like the particularly special moment that Janie noted after watching her film several times.
"Every. single. person. could not believe that you were actually present and were capturing the moments that were seen on the film. After the third and fourth viewing, people still commented that they couldn't believe you were there at that particular moment because they just didn't see you. For instance, I clearly remember being surprised with jewelry by Kenny's mom before the ceremony and thinking to myself, "I wish Dave was here to capture this." And you were!!! You and Jimmy blended in so seamlessly with the background that no moment felt staged. Everything was authentic."
Your film will allow you and your partner to experience all the moments you missed later in your day as well. Now you can see your guests mingling at cocktail hour or enjoying the photo booth. You will also enjoy the fun, silly moments that we incorporate into our OutCakes chapter at the end of the film! These bloopers are a favorite among our couples and we often hear that it's the favorite part of the film! Stephanie and Pat's families loved their OutCakes section of the film and the happy bride even mentioned it in her film review:
"Everything about the outtakes is phenomenal! I love the music, I love the compilation of hysterical clips, and the ending of his grandfather dancing is just epic."
Your wedding day is going to be one of the most important days of your life and you'll want to relive it over and over again. Having a film that allows you to not only see the people at your wedding, but hear them as well will do just that. Not only right after the wedding day has passed, but into the future as well. Next week, we will be wrapping up our series with a look into the future and we will discuss how important your film will be to everyone long term. Be sure to check back in and until then, happy planning!
To the newly engaged couple:
If you are over the age of 23, then you have experienced WEDDING SEASON. It's that beautiful time of the year where you could attend anywhere from 2 to 10 weddings in just a couple of months. This time is filled with love and joy, as well as a couple of blisters from all the dancing! It's such an honor to be a part of that couple's special day, but sometimes in can turn into a giant blur of beautiful flowers and bridesmaids gowns...
So how do you help set your day apart from all the other beautiful weddings out there? The key is find ways to personalize your day and make it unique! There are so many ways to do this and these personalized details will play a huge role in how your guests remember your day, as well as what you look back on. Our team takes a lot of time before the wedding day, both talking to the couple and meeting in-person, to ensure we know what details are going to stand out the most when the couple looks back on their day. Kristen, one of our 2013 brides, explains it further in her review of CinemaCake:
"We had a preliminary phone interview to go over details about the wedding, voiceovers, and information about me and my fiancé. This preliminary part turned out to be so important because the things we discussed were exactly what was captured in the video. Every wedding has it's own identity and our video displays that perfectly!"
Now the question is: what details can you add to YOUR day to make it stand out? Some of our clients have brought everyone to tears writing their own, personalzied ceremony, and others have pulled out all the stops with a beautifully choreographed first dance! We also see couples use decor or the favors they give out at the end of the night to give their evening a personalized flair. Another great option is to tap your bridal party for help! Marianna understood the importance of details and the performance her sister gave during the reception is a perfect, memorable example! Here's Marianna's response to her CinemaCake film after seeing all of the elements included:
"The film was perfect beyond words, somehow capturing EVERYTHING that was personally meaningful about our day while still being artistic, impeccably edited, fresh, and original. A lot of wedding filmmakers are good -- but there's no other word for it, CinemaCake is MAGICAL."
In spite of all of your hard work and planning, sometimes the special unique moments aren't clear until the wedding day itself! Our crews are constantly paying attention to everything around them and are ready to catch any sweet moment or planned surprise for the newlyweds! When Lisa and Paul were married in the summer of 2016, no one had a clue what Lisa's dad had in store for the couple and their guests. He pulled off one of the best surprises we have ever seen. You just have to see it to believe it!
Even if you can't get a 3-time Grammy winner to perform at your reception, there are still plenty of unique details you can incorporate to make your day stand out! Don't worry if you miss them on the wedding day either, because your CinemaCake team will be on site to capture every sweet, beautiful, magical moment to include in your film! Next week, we'll talk about your actual wedding day and what you'll experience as the newlyweds! Be sure to check back in and until then, happy planning!
To the newly engaged couple:
Ok, so you have figured out your budget and determined which elements of your day are a priority. Now, you get to start thinking about who you want to work with on the most important day of your life. You start Googling and immediately realize there are a lot of wedding vendors out there!
It can be hard to figure out who you want to work with or who you can trust to provide the quality of service you are looking for and it's important to educate yourself before you sign any contracts. First, it's good to talk to other vendors you are already working with and see who they recommend. Most vendors take recommendations very seriously and will point you in the direction of someone whose work and personality they trust.
Once you have some names, you will want to start looking online to see what other couples have to say about working with these companies. You want to make sure that past clients have experienced good customer service and that the vendors were pleasant to work with on the wedding day itself. A great tool to use for this research is WeddingWire. This site allows couples to rate the vendors in a variety of categories and allows them to speak freely about their experience. WeddingWire does not allow vendors to take down or hide any negative reviews, so you can feel confident in what you're reading! Here's an example of a sweet review we received from Sarah after her 2016 wedding:
"Unsurprisingly, we are blown away by what CinemaCake has created for us. They managed to capture not just the major events of our wedding day, but the feeling, emotion, and atmosphere of the celebration as well. To say that we are impressed would be an understatement and we truly cannot thank them enough. The whole team was fabulous to work with from the start and they not only went above and beyond, but did so in an entirely unobtrusive way, capturing moments without us even realizing they were there. In our opinion, that's the mark of a phenomenal videographer and one we would recommend to anyone who asked. Thank you for all of your hard work and for creating something that will be invaluable to not only us, but our families (and Ella!) as well for years to come. -Sarah and Chris Brown”
Once you know which vendors you want to contact, the next step is to learn about their industries and educate yourself on the newest trends or up-to-date technology that's available. We often hear from our couples that they weren't even planning on having a film because they had heard terrifying stories about intrusive videographers with giant cameras and lights on the dance floor. They are afraid that their guests will be bothered or blocked by these vendors all night and would rather forgo one of the most important elements of their day! These were Susan's concerns when her mom wanted to book CinemaCake for her 2013 wedding. In the end, the bride was so happy with the team on the day of her wedding and of course, her final film!
"Thank you so much! I've been showing it to everyone and all I can say is wow. The wedding video was one thing that my mother had to talk me into and all I can say is that I am so glad she did. It really gave me the opportunity to look back on the day as a whole as well as each amazing moment. The film was perfection! It really did being tears to my eyes."
The truth is, technology has changed so much over the past few years and our teams are now equipped with small, lightweight equipment that look just like photography gear. These enhancements, along with the training our team receives make us completely inconspicuous throughout the day and most people don't even realize we're there! Richard Donze almost missed out on capturing his daughter's beautiful wedding day because of his fears about intrusive camera-men, but thankfully changed his mind just weeks before the event. Hear his entire story in his testimonial film.
There are a lot of different options to consider when you start booking your vendors, but if you do the work and complete the research, you'll find the best team to work with! Next week, we will talk more about planning the details of your wedding and how to make your day unique. Be sure to check back in and until then, happy planning!
To the newly engaged couple:
Congratulations on your engagement! This is an exciting time for you and your fiancé as you enter a new stage in your relationship and prepare for an even bigger step forward! Everything is new and romantic as you begin thinking about your wedding day…
...and right at the beginning of planning you have to start dealing with the least romantic thing there is- your wedding budget. The facts and figures organized in your Google docs that will determine every aspect of your day becomes overwhelming very quickly. It can be hard to figure out how much you should spend on any one specific aspect of your day. You never imagined that your wedding would require nearly this much math!
When working on your budget, there are a lot of factors to take into account and having a film of the wedding day should absolutely be at the top of your list! How else will you, and even future generations, be able to see and hear all of the elements that will make up your day? Gabriela summed it up nicely in her review, below:
“After initially thinking we wouldn't need a videographer, we booked CinemaCake on somewhat of a whim a few months before our wedding (miraculously, they were still available for a popular date!). It ended up being one of the best decisions we made for the day! They are certainly a bit pricey, but their work is a great example of getting what you pay for- every feature and coming soon trailer I've watched are touching and professional, and ours was no exception! As another vendor asked us, how much would you pay to see a video of your grandparents' wedding? Great-grandparents'? We enthusiastically recommend CinemaCake to other couples looking to capture the aspects of their wedding that photography can't do justice to.”
In the 15 years that CinemaCake has been in business, we have never once had a couple tell us they regret filming their wedding day. In fact, what we do hear is that they are so grateful they filmed their wedding and that it was absolutely the best money they spent on their wedding. If anything, we have couples tell us that they wish they had planned for it and worked it into their budget from the beginning.
When Jamal found out about CinemaCake Filmmakers, he worked with his bride Marquita and did whatever was necessary to make sure his wedding was captured the right way. Check out their story, below.
In more recent years, we find that couples make having a film of their day a priority and they find a way to make it work because they realize it’s just too important not to do it. Planning and budgeting for your wedding day can get stressful, but if you focus on your priorities, you can make it work! Nikoletta, one of our 2015 brides, has great advice for anyone planning their budget:
“I know that a lot of couples planning a wedding consider not hiring a videographer in an effort to save costs. If you are trying to decide whether or not to hire a videographer for budgetary reasons, I would suggest trying to save money elsewhere because you will regret not having a wedding video. It was some of the best money that we spent!”
So, when it's time to put your budget together, just grab a glass of wine, take a deep breath, and think about how you want to remember your wedding day (definitely with a film!). Next week, we'll be talking about the importance of educating yourself as you begin hiring and booking your team for the day. Be sure to check back in and until then, happy planning!
You may have noticed that our latest Coming Soon Trailers have felt lighter than air! We have been incorporating aerial cinematography into our films for years now, and soon after the new FAA laws were put into place, CinemaCake passed the test with flying colors. We recently got our own "birds" named Amelia and Betty White and have started using the aerial footage to help tell the whole story of our couple's wedding day. The aerial footage we can now capture has become a real hit with our couples and it is rapidly becoming the most popular add-on to their CinemaCake Collections! Here are our top three reasons to add aerial cinematography to your CinemaCake film!
1. Photo session fun!
Your photo session is a really fun time where you and your bridal party get to relax together before the full reception gets underway. We often catch some of our best moments during the photo session and now we can get even more from the air! Jeannie and David's bridal party really knew how to have a good time and created a human love chain around the happy newlyweds. Check out the fun and more beautiful aerial shots in their aerial-centric CinemaGram trailer!
2. Amazing shots of your wedding location
One of the first and biggest decisions you make about your wedding is where to have your celebration. It's a huge detail and will often set the style or mood for the rest of your wedding! Our team captured the entirety of Olga and Tony's wedding weekend, including some beautiful aerial shots of their venue, Crystal Springs Resort. From the groom's golf outing to the wedding day photo sunset, see if you can spy the aerial shots in their Coming Soon Trailer!
3. Make your day a movie!
CinemaCake films are already cinematic, but aerial cinematography will take your film to the next level! Our drone can capture your wedding day from a new, unique perspective and help tell the whole story of your celebration, from the ground up. Yasmina and John's CinemaCake Recap felt like a fairy tale and the aerial shots added a little extra movie magic!
Our CinemaCake Sampler has had an impact in a very short time. Here are just some of the reviews from the people who made cameos...
"The talent of these folks never ceases to amaze me!! Forget about sending popcorn with your videos Sheryl and Dave -- you need to send a GIANT BOX OF TISSUES! I just watched this incredible film you made and you guessed it--tears. While I was moved by seeing so many of our brides and grooms in the film, what got me was the way you meshed all of it together to create a moving story. This is what we do and all the emotion you captured is why we all work so hard to create magical memories. Excellent Job! Wishing you continued success!"
"This... is... amazing ♥ Thanks for the memories. You guys are TRULY the best!"
Jamie (Apody) Coleman
"Thank you, a most original film! I will certainly pass the word."
"You nailed this one baby. It pulls at every heartstring I have. Think about how lucky we are to be involved in the most special day of our brides and grooms' lives."
Melissa Brannon, Fairy GodMother BadAss
"Look and see - 3 years ago Rachel Silver Barten and Garrett Barten - great day. Thanks Cinemacake for including us!"
Mother of the Bride
That is a beautiful sampler of your work. It brought me right back to our lovely day at St. Agnes and Overbrook Golf Club. Can't believe this June will be 2 years already. My son-in-law Greg will be remembered for his "all right" among the other special moments he and Liz shared on their wedding day. Priceless."
Mother of the Bride
"Hi Sheryl and Dave,
There should be a warning with your email: Tissues required.
This is just beautiful. Congratulations on an amazing job! And I look forward to working with you again soon!"
I DO Wedding Consulting
"A simply wonderful video by our friends at CinemaCake Filmmakers! Ash Mill Farms is one, of many, beautiful location this film was shot at but regardless, this 5 minute reel will probably make you tear up! ♥"
"We are excited to be included in this recent sampler. Beautiful imagery, exceptional sound and a piece that demonstrates flawlessly the art of blending together emotion and timing, the edit. You can hire any number of videographers but there is only one CinemaCake."
Sara and Steve Langdon
"Our friends at CinemaCake Filmmakers put together the most beautiful sampler film that showcases their talents- and the remarkable talents of so many of our professional partners- in such a stunning way! MANY THANKS to Dave, Sheryl, and their gang for including Proud to Plan weddings in your film- we (and our couples) are so lucky to get to work with your team!!!"
Proud to Plan
"One of our favorite videographers to work with - always yields happy brides & grooms! Take a look at some beautiful moments....."
Kathy and Stacey
The Wedding Factor
As we say goodbye and good luck to the current Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, Sheryl and I, with the entire CinemaCake team, decided to reflect back on some of the memories we have by watching a collection of films.
For over a decade, CinemaCake has been shooting films for Four Seasons clients and for the hotel itself. The people of Four Seasons Philadelphia have been so pleasant to work with, from the doormen who greet us to the entire catering staff. It has truly been an inspiring experience for us because rarely do we see the level of service and consistency The Four Seasons has demonstrated over the years.
As the Four Seasons moves into the next phase, we look back through our films to celebrate the events and the people who have touched so many lives.
My name is Keira Hackman and I am the new social media intern at CinemaCake for the summer. This is the first installation in my blogging career with CinemaCake and I look forward to writing on their behalf for the next few months.
On the subject of media, last week on Wednesday, May 13th, a blog post in Philadelphia Magazine's wedding section was released featuring our company owner and fearless leader, Dave Williams. Philadelphia Magazine asked Dave five questions related to event filmmaking. The post goes into detail about what Dave's favorite strategies and tools are in the wedding and film industry and how they help him capture "the story" behind weddings.
CinemaCake would like to take this opportunity to thank Philadelphia Magazine for including Dave in their latest "Five Favorite Things" post, which can be found HERE! They have been a pleasure to work with. Everyone at CinemaCake is thrilled about the post and couldn't be more excited for Dave.
When asked about the interview, Dave chose to elaborate on the second question:
"When asked about my favorite unexpected things, my mind was flooded with examples, like the time the antique Rolls Royce carrying the bride and groom crashed into the back of a minivan on the Schuylkill Expressway, right in front of us. Our crew was there to capture what ended up being one of the funniest moments of the film because nobody was hurt and we stuffed the bride and groom into our production vehicle and took them to the photo shoot at the Art Museum. The bride and groom took it in stride. I guess that's the beauty of this business. We never know what to expect."
I look forward to seeing Dave and the rest of CinemaCake continue to turn some of the most unexpected twists and turns of events into pieces of art.
Last month, CinemaCake proposed the ultimate challenge for editors: create a film that captures the beauty and joy of one of our couple's weddings, while sticking with our signature style, and keeping the film 3 minutes long. Our editors had to have their films in yesterday by 11:59pm and our team couldn't wait to see what everyone came up with!
After many hours of review, our team selected the top 6, and finally our winner. Mary San Agustin sent us her film all the way from San Deigo, CA and we couldn't wait to give her the news that she had won! We called her under the guise that we wanted to have a Skype meeting with a few of the top winners and then set up the recorder to capture her reaction. Check out the film below!
Mary wrote to us after our Skype meeting and wrote the following about her experience with the contest:
"I am so ecstatic and honored to be this year’s winner! I’ve never put my abilities as an editor to the test quite like this before, and I am grateful to CinemaCake for this opportunity! Joseph and Melanie were such an endearing couple and the genuine love between them oozed out of the footage. There was just so much rich material to work with, including one of the most emotional first looks I have ever witnessed. The most challenging part of the contest was condensing their amazing day into only a three minute film. I tried to show their quirky personalities as much as possible while also including meaningful and sentimental tidbits of their day, like Melanie getting married in her mother’s wedding dress. The cinematographers at CinemaCake did an awesome job capturing such beautiful and emotional moments, and it’s gratifying for me to tell their story through film in a way that touches other people."
Check out Mary's recap of Melanie and Joe's wedding day HERE:
Of the 21 entries, we picked these as our top 7
FINALISTS (Sorted in the order they were submitted, not ranked)
C) Mike Kasey
D) Bernie Hipos
I) Kameron Key
N) Bradford DiPietro
P) Peter Liddicoat
Q) Danny Kana
Thanks to the rest of the editors who participated! View the entries below:
A) Dheejay Pagsibigan
B) Kim McIntire
E) Harry Amyotte
F) King Morrison
G) Rob Teifeld
H) Noah Stoner
J) Rob Belfi
K) Brynn Pezzuti
L) Brandon Rice
M) Shannon DeVido
N) Bradford DiPietro
O) Devi Films
Q) Danny Kana
S) Patrick Janka
T) Veronica Burke
U) Rissa Mataya
There is a new trend in the wedding world that many couples are considering when planning their big day: the First Look. This means that the couple sees each other before the wedding and it is usually planned by the photographer/filmmaker. While some couples don’t like the idea of bucking traditions, other couples find that the first look allows them some great benefits. Here are our top 4 reasons for scheduling a First Look:
1. It can take some of the stress out of the day: You and your fiancé have been planning this day for months and you are celebrating with of all of your friends and family. Even though the day is all about your love and commitment to one another, it can still be stressful. A lot of our couples say that the anxiety of the day is relieved when they see their soon-to-be husband or wife, so why not relax a little before your ceremony!
2. It will allow you and your future spouse to be alone together: Sure, you will be standing next to him/her the entire day, but between the photos with everyone, the speeches and toasts, and all of the well-wishers, you might not even get a chance to really talk to each other! The First Look gives you a chance to celebrate your day together before you start celebrating with all your guests! Take a few minutes to talk, laugh and just be together.
3. You have more time to enjoy the party you planned: One of the big benefits of the First Look is the flexibility you have with your scheduling. Most couples will schedule their First Look a few hours before their ceremony. That way you can take all of your formal photos with your bridal party before the ceremony and you can head straight to the cocktail hour! You and your fiancé have spent a lot of time planning the hors d’oeuvres, the signature drink and the music being played during your cocktail hour, you should get the chance to enjoy it!
4. You get to enjoy each other’s excitement: The first time you see each other on your wedding day is really exciting and you should be able to express that joy any way you want. When a groom sees his bride for the first time at the end of the aisle, he may feel pressured to keep his feelings contained because he is in front of all of your family and friends. The First Look lets you see your groom’s true emotions that he may not be able to share during the ceremony. Arielle and Michael’s First Look is the perfect example of their excitement. Take a look at their Same Day Film below:
This past weekend we had crews staying local and heading to the shore, both filming unique and loving couples. We’ve asked Taylor to recap of the events for this Behind The Scenes at CinemaCake:
The first wedding this weekend was right in our hometown of Philadelphia. Our beautiful couple, Beth Anne and Brian, were married in the historic St. Augustine Church. Film buffs will remember this location from the iconic film “The Sixth Sense”, but our crew did not report any ghostly sightings! After the ceremony, guests celebrated at the Cescaphe Ballroom, while our couple took the trolley to Washington Square Park for pictures with us and their photographer, Cliff Mautner. Can you think of a nicer spot in the city, especially in early June?!
Cescaphe is renown for their special touches, such as the trademark “Sparklers Entrance” for the bride and groom’s announcement. Many guests commented on the beautiful decor and table settings, which you can see pictured above. It was clear that Beth Anne and Brian truly enjoyed themselves, dancing the night away with family and friends. The reception ended with a special flambé for the couple, another tradition at Cescaphe. Our crew had a great time sharing this special day with the happy couple, and everyone around the office is excited to see the first cut of their film!
Our crew said it best about the next couple: Sarah and Tim had a beautiful day with a lot of love. It was clear to everyone how much they cared for one another, from their first looks to the letters they read to one another after the ceremony. The wedding took place at St. James Church in Ventnor, New Jersey, conveniently located a block from the beach! We got some great shots of them in innertubes and their wedding party enjoying the shore. We also filmed the couple practicing their first dance before going to the Great Bay Country Club for the reception.
Sarah and Tim really know how to throw a fun party and everyone clearly enjoyed themselves! People loved the toasts and it was pretty funny when Grandpa Joe ended up catching the garter. Once Sarah and Tim hit the dance floor, it seemed like the party would never stop! Our team captured so much but their favorite was Tim’s killer dance moves!
They capped off the evening with a fantastic display of the day’s photography, done by Carley K Photography. Take a look at the trailer we created for their wedding video:
We shot some great weddings and we are gearing up for another busy weekend of bridal prep, ceremonies and fun receptions. Be sure to check back early next week for more news and updates from CinemaCake! Thanks for stopping by!
Doing weddings every weekend can be monotonous, right? Not quite. Every wedding is different. Having been a part of three weddings, back to back to back, it’s clear that everyone has their story and every day is unique. I’d like to share a little bit of what I saw at each one; a peek from behind the lens, if you will. Here are some nice tid-bits that stood out for me, someone who has been a part of over a hundred weddings so far.
Karrie + Tim
What an awesome couple to experience a Same Day Film with. Having a child in their lives years before marriage, Carrie and Tim certainly understood what family was all about, and that really came through during the day. It was a milestone for the CC team as well, as it was the first Same Day Edit to be done without Dave, something we were all a bit nervous about, but we pulled it off without a hitch. And, whoooooooa, there were plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.
We had about four locations to cover (one location = easy to get to editor, many locations = nightmare), which we tackled early on by having Jordan edit in the car. “Who’s that guy in the car with you? Is he a shooter?” We were ready for that question, but we were so stealthy that it never came up. The secrecy was only to fulfill Carrie’s request that the SDE be a surprise to everyone, which it was—even Tim didn’t know about it. Everything came together in the end, and Carrie’s big smile as she watched her film was the only validation we needed.
Selena + Andre
Energy, pure energy. Their vibe was apparent right away, and it helped as the city is big and unforgiving. Working in Philly is one thing (I do that every weekend), but to hike up to NYC and have to chase around newlyweds from Times Square to Chinatown is a horse of a different color. And in this case, that color was red, the color of boxing gloves and quick jabs. Who jumps in the ring with their mate, dons gloves and starts fighting? This couple. Selena and Andre made it insanely fun to shoot because they were VERY much into the photos and film. Obviously.
This date also stands out for me as a great collaboration with CinemaCake and our New York friends, Jonathan Armendariz and Shar Adrias. They don’t shoot for us regularly, but when they do, they’re always solid. And in NYC, their knowledge of the city was beyond helpful.
Janine + Justin
So you’ve seen Goodfellas, right? Imagine a guy just like Ray Liotta, and then take away the ruthless killer part. This guy was a class act, and he wanted to make sure that came through in the single take walkthrough intro that mimicked a scene from Goodfellas. There weren’t boardwalk scenes like in the couple’s trailer where Ray Liotta gave Lorraine Bracco lollipops, but it works for Janine and Justin. It was the kind nature that the couple had and showed for one another that really came through that day.
One Atlantic, sitting on the edge of Atlantic City, provided a beautiful backdrop for a gorgeous day and a sincere couple. I’m not Scorsese, but if he shot wedding films, he’d work for us—all I’m saying.
Sticking with my recent wedding video myth-busting theme, I was reminded of the importance of multiple cameras as I watched a recent film we just delivered. In this segment of the film, Marianna’s sister sings a song she wrote for the couple.
Watch their entire full length film HERE
As you can see, the reactions are just as important as the action itself. With one camera, the instant reactions would have been impossible to cover, making this a very different film.
One Camera is Enough
Many wedding videographers shoot with only one camera. If they offer a second camera, it is often un-manned. As you can see in the example above, multiple manned cameras are necessary to get the action and the reaction, be it during the vows, a speech, or a toast. Recently, I watched a clip from a videographer who posted online. He was complaining about guests getting in the way with their point and shoot cameras. His unmanned second camera in the back of the church was blocked by a guest, so he missed the kiss and other important moments. With one camera, this is very likely to happen again and again. A human being must be in control over the camera because with so many snap-happy guests, it is almost guaranteed that a locked off, unmanned shot will be blocked. You can’t get that back.
More than One Camera is Obtrusive
Some videographers will tell you that fewer cameras are less obtrusive, but the fact is, the more cameras you have, the less those cameras have to move. Two or three cameras at a ceremony, for example, can get two or three angles at the same time, without having to move. One person with one camera has to run around to get all those angles, and can never shoot more than one angle at a time. This means that precious moments and emotional reactions are gone forever.
Speaking of ‘obtrusive’, I can’t gloss over the fact that being unobtrusive has a lot to do with how wedding cinematographers handle themselves. One video guy with a video light on top of his camera moving around the dance floor with a big tripod on wheels is ten times more obtrusive than three stealthy cinematographers dressed like guests and blending in. While the number of cameras is important, it is just as important to understand how your filmmaker operates.
For 30 years, human beings have been coming up with credible reasons to leave a friend’s home when they are asked, “Want to watch our wedding video?”. “Oh it’s only an hour and a half long? That’s awesome - can we do it next time I’m here? I have to go get a root canal.”
Some people equate ‘Longer’ with ‘Better’, but it’s simply not the case. In fact, most of our best films have been 20 minutes or less. Some clients order much longer films and still love them, but over the last couple of years, most of our clients have gravitated to the short film.
Short films are not constrained to telling a story chronologically or in real time. Like most mainstream films today, our films are dense and layered - therefore more interesting to watch. Our philosophy is that the viewer should never feel the need to “fast-forward through the boring parts”. In our short films, every shot is carefully chosen and edited into a story that has real emotional impact. We find that our clients cannot take their eyes off the screen when a short film is playing. This is not a film that will be watched once a year on a wedding anniversary. Instead, it will be watched over and over again, and shared through social media.
Another common myth is that short films don’t take as long to create and should cost less than a feature film. In fact, more thought and effort goes into a film that time-shifts and tells a story in a non-chronological fashion. The good news is that regardless of whether CinemaCake clients choose a short or feature film, the price remains the same.
Here are some related myths to watch for as you choose a filmmaker:
One Camera is Enough
The biggest problem with one camera coverage is that there is no way to capture two things happening at the same time. Imagine all of the moments when the reaction is just as important as the action itself. Take the Maid of Honor’s Speech at Holly and Bill’s Wedding as an example. With one camera, the emotional impact of that short speech would not be there.
The Second Camera Does Not Have To Be Manned
An unmanned camera can be used as a wide shot from the balcony for example, or just a static shot down the aisle during the ceremony. Either way, it’s unmanned so it cannot refocus, re-frame, or move if a shot is blocked. It’s a static, security-camera looking shot that the videographer can’t count on in a pinch. A static camera has it’s place, but it is no replacement for a human behind a camera.
See the Difference for Yourself
At CinemaCake, all of our clients get a choice of a Short Film, a Feature Film, or something in-between. Our films are customized for each client and are always the RIGHT length. For the clients who choose our short films, all unedited footage is delivered as well, so if one day you DO want to look through all of the footage, you can.
Please comment below with myths that you know about.
Looking back on our 10 Real Questions to Ask Your Videographer post in 2008, I feel they are all still relevant and worthy of revisiting. Here’s #5, “How long will it take to get my finished movie?”
We regularly communicate with wedding videographers through various networks and forums. Often I learn about videographers who regularly have a final delivery time of 8-12 months, sometimes even longer. Their clients are understandably concerned that the editing is taking too long. They worry that something may be wrong, especially when calls and emails about the status of their productions go unanswered as promised delivery dates are missed.
With a relatively quick delivery time (usually less than 12 weeks), CinemaCake clients have input every step of the way. Each client gets a passcode that allows access to their online portal.:
Through this portal, our clients can be as involved as they want to be. Our online questionnaires help us communicate with and get to know every client better. Each project is assigned an online editor who values the input because it allows us to create a film that is more meaningful.
CinemaCake also updates a list of productions being edited so clients can follow along with the progress. As their names float closer to the top each week, clients also have the option to view their Coming Soon Trailer. Note: Clients who prefer complete privacy will not be listed here, nor will their Coming Soon Trailer be public.
At CinemaCake, we know that our clients’ films will be the only lasting documentary of the motion and sound of their big day. That is why we work so hard to make it special for each client. Clear and professional communication with our clients is critical in creating a beautiful film that can be enjoyed over and over again.
What is it about New York? More and more, New York wedding and event video clients are reaching out to Philadelphia, our city of brotherly love, to bring in CinemaCake. Why? First, Manhattan is a short two-hour drive for our Philly-based cinematographers and Long Island is just a little farther. This means it is easy for our teams to get in and many times we don’t event have to charge travel fees. Secondly, there are a LOT of New Yorkers and we’re finding that the top local filmmakers get gobbled up pretty quickly. There is just more demand for our type of films than there is supply.
Because of this new demand, we are developing our local New York team of filmmakers, putting CinemaCake wedding films within reach of even more clients.
Camille and Jim’s Coming Soon Trailer, filmed at Bridgewaters, New York City
We don’t ‘Pay to Play.’ When New Yorkers hire CinemaCake, they don’t have to worry about the higher fees and aggravation that come along with the locals who sometimes must pay a percentage to the venue or a particular planner. CinemaCake does not ‘pay to play’ and is proud to be a strong opponent to the payola nonsense that is common in New York. Sure, this means that certain venues may not put us on their published lists, but the folks who do refer us appreciate the honesty of referring a company by merit. It’s a win-win.
Courtney and Evan’s Coming Soon Trailer. (See their entire film below)
As CinemaCake celebrates its tenth year in business, we realize our New York and New Jersey relationships are stronger than ever, so much so that I have gotten more involved in their local New York Videographers and New Jersey Videographers professional association, the NJVA. I joined the NJVA because it has long been known as a leader in education and networking for the videographers and filmmakers in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In fact, the International Wedding and Event Videographers Association (WEVA) is holding a conference there next week!
Our CinemaCake teams are just as “at home” in your city as we are in ours, so CONTACT US and order your own CinemaCake.
We have always believed that the soundtrack makes the film. I’ll even argue that how a film sounds is more important than how it looks. Imagine watching TV and the picture is a little fuzzy. Still watchable, right? Now imagine that same show with a perfect picture but constant static. Unbearable.
So what happens with a live band? Will the energy and great sound come across just the way you remembered it? It helps if you start with a great band. Check out the pipes on the lead singer of CTO’s Park Central!
Recently I attended the ISES REC meeting in Atlantic City. I was a panelist at two one-hour educational sessions. In both sessions, I was asked to discuss how a wedding film can tie the guests emotionally to the event. Unfortunately, what most planners in the audience acknowledged was that “wedding video” was not only seen as a low priority by some clients, but it was even expendable!
Prepared for this discussion, I of course brought along a couple of clips to show the audience. The first clip was a Same Day Edit we did last year. I felt this film demonstrated that there is really no better way and no better time to present the highlights of the day than that same night. This split screen presentation we created after the event shows how the couple and some of the guests at the reception reacted to the film. But that wasn’t the film that got people asking the most questions. What did that was much simpler.
I showed the following Maid of Honor’s three-minute toast. This very simple scene turned out to be the most cherished moment of that day for the bride and groom, Holly and Bill.
After watching Bill and Holly’s clip, four different wedding professionals came up to me and told me that the “Wedding Film” just moved up their lists as one of the “Must Have” items at a wedding.
So why do some not see the value? We ask that same question often of clients who say, “I wasn’t going to do video.” All of us have been to at least one wedding where video cameras were in the way of the guests during the ceremony. Recently, a photographer friend of mine told me of a wedding where three video cameras on tripods were circling the cake on the dance floor, blocking not only the guests’ view, but made it difficult for even the photographer to get a good shot. Naturally, most people don’t want that, but it’s pretty much burned into our DNA that this is what a videographer does. The short films I presented in Atlantic City showed everyone that a well made wedding film is a very different experience, often with guests unaware a film is being made. It was great to see their reactions!
Even when clients do order a video, they typically are not budgeting as much for video as they are for photos. Could it be that clients don’t want the same quality in their film as they do in their photographs? Maybe not, but advice on what a videographer should get paid is everywhere, usually recommending that more be spent on photography. Even TheKnot.com is a little unbalanced with their Wedding Budget Calculator. TheKnot’s calculator recommends 6%-7% of the entire wedding budget should be set aside for the photographer and only 5% for the videographer.
This misconception is often not realized until AFTER the wedding. Bill and Holly admitted it would have been a huge mistake to not buy a film. They “weren’t going to do video” until they found us two weeks before their wedding. They certainly are glad they changed their minds now. Check out this email we got from them:
As we began planning for our wedding, we initially thought that our pictures would be enough to take us back to our wedding night and that we didn’t need a video. But when two weeks before the wedding the opportunity arose to have CinemaCake film our special night, we jumped at the chance. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions we made. At the end of my wedding night there were so many memories that I wanted to hold on to and I knew that pictures would only tell part of the story. And now that I have our film from CinemaCake, I know it would have been a huge regret to not have it. Our wedding film literally takes me back to those exact moments and emotions. You listened to the things that were most important to me about my night and made sure they were all included in the final product. It truly exceeded my expectations. I cry every time I watch it.
More and more, our productions are going out as digital files on our CinemaCake USB thumb drives (pictured below). Digital files are easier to share through social media services like Youtube and Facebook. Digital files can also be easily backed up to many places, making them inherently more secure than a DVD on a shelf (digital files can’t get scratched).
Also, since digital files can be played on just about any computer, you can watch your film in HD, anywhere, without having to buy a Blu-ray player.
Ask that your next production be delivered digitally. CinemaCake delivers on all formats, including Blu-ray, DVD, and digital.