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Video article – Let’s watch our first dance … oh, that’s right, we can’t

By January 18, 202248 Comments

Let’s watch our first dance … oh, that’s right, we can’t

Hiring a videographer is more important than you think

I was helping my parents clean out their house when I came across a box of old 8mm movie reels. Most of them were shot with the family movie camera when my sister and I were kids. One of them was larger and in a nice, plastic case, not a metal canister. I couldn’t remember seeing it before and was curious about what could be on it.

So, I dug out the movie projector (that’s what we had before cloud video, YouTube, DVD players and VCRs), blew the dust off and fired it up. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. The images were of my parents’ wedding in 1954, but they didn’t look like the home­made images of my youth, they looked better. I was speechless as I watched the silent images of their ceremony and reception.

There stood my parents, happy and youthful, sharing their wedding day with friends and relatives, many of whom were no longer with us. I saw their first dance. I saw my grandparents, who were probably my age now. I saw my great-grandparents, who were probably the age my parents are now.

I asked my mother about the film, and she said that they had hired a professional for the wedding. While that’s commonplace now, I’m sure it was very progressive in 1954.

Fast-forward and I’ll soon be approaching my own 40th an­niversary. I would love to be able to watch the highlights from our wedding. I’d love to hear our vows, see our first dance and watch our friends and family getting down on the dance floor, but I can’t.

You see, when we were planning our wedding, B.I. (Before the Internet), no one asked us if we wanted video, so we never really had a chance to decide. We were the first of our friends to get married and we didn’t have anyone to ask. All my fiancé had for planning help was a national wedding magazine to look at for ­dresses. There were no wedding TV shows or local magazines.

If someone came to us on our 10th, 20th, 30th or 40th anniversary and said they had a video of our wedding, what do you think it would be worth to us? Priceless, right? When I see the amazing wedding movies that today’s couples are getting, it makes me wish, even more, that we had one of our wedding. If only we could share with our two sons those special memories. Now that we have a grandchil­d, and especially since my Mom has passed, I’d love to be able share those memories with him.

I’ve been in wedding media for over 25 years and one of a couple’s biggest regrets after their wedding is not having a video. Lucky for you, if you’re reading this, you still have the chance to capture your wedding memories for your children and grandchildren. If you already know you’re having profes­sional video, great. If you’re on the fence, I hope my personal story will help you decide.

If you were thinking of not having professional video, do yourselves a favor and at least take a look at what’s being done by today’s video pros. It’s not about how many times it gets watched. It’s about what it means to the people who get to watch it, every time they do.

This original version of this is an article I wrote that was printed in Beautiful Bride Magazine

If you’d like a copy of the PDF, please email me

Join the discussion 48 Comments

  • Mike P. says:

    As a groom, I never thought I would love my wedding day as much as I did. It might be the single greatest day of my life and the happiness and love I shared with my bride and family was unparalleled. I share this because I was really skeptical about having my wedding day filmed. My mental process was “when would I ever care to watch a video of my wedding day and why would I spend money when I’ve already hired a photographer?” FORTUNATELY my bride was adamant. Now, weeks after the wedding I cannot wait to get the finished video and relive the greatest day ever. Alan’s article is spot on and I will cherish my wedding video for the rest of my life. I am so thankfully that, as always, SHE was right and I was wrong:)

    • Alan says:

      Thanks Mike, when we were talking before your wedding and you told me you weren’t sure about having video I knew you’d change your mind after your wedding… which would have been too late had your wife not insisted on having it. I know you’re glad you did and I’m sure others will be too.

      It’s not how many times you watch your video, it’s what it will mean to those who see it the times they watch, days, months and years from now.

  • A family member referred me to this resource.
    Thank you for the resources.

  • I highly recommend videotaping the whole wedding day but at a minimum capture the ceremony vows and the First Dance. The First Dance is the most sacred ritual of the reception and with a little preparation it can be seared into everyones memories with or without a video!

  • Mary says:

    Alan- Back in the early 80’s the video cameras were huge. The videos were grainy, the sound was horrible and the camera people were intrusive and used horrible bright lights. I made the conscious choice not to have a video. Do I wish I had it now? Sure…but like they are now. The old videos were mostly unwatchable. I watched plenty of my friends…and it was torture. I’m still kind of glad I didn’t get one of those.

  • Thanks for the article Alan! I may be bias, but I think this is spot on (I’m a wedding filmmaker).

    I recently found some super 8 film of my dad as a kid. It opened up a different view of his childhood, one that photos alone did not.

  • Thanks so much for writing this Alan! My husband and I are videographers (we even shoot on Super 8mm, so I love to hear people’s Super 8 & 8mm stories). This is very much what I try to convey to the brides and grooms with meet with when we have wedding videography consultations–the value truly is priceless. And I know first-hand how heart-breaking it is to have skipped professional video. I’d love to link to this on my blog. Thanks again!

  • I can’t tell you how many times people tell me they regret not having video at their wedding. Your story proves that is not on the bottom of the list, but at the top. Well written and thank you for sharing.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Christina, if brides would only take a look at the wonderful movies that are being created these days, they’d all want one.

  • Wonderful Article Alan. Thank you! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Video is so important and its value will only grow over the years. Thank you for taking the time to share your personal story!

  • Eric Newland says:


    Thanks for your words of wisdom. I am sure you have received many emails regarding your article. I wanted to personally thank you for writing such a candid article about the importance of video. I assume all is going well with you as your name is constantly popping up. Kudos to you and keep up the great work!

    Eric Newland
    Hybrid Moon Wedding Films
    Portland Oregon

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Eric. My first client is my business, so I try to set an example for others on how to keep moving forward. Thanks for noticing.

  • Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful blog post. This is exactly what I have been trying to explain to my clients, but you beautifully articulated it. I as well do not have a wedding film and it breaks my heart. Not so much for me, but that my sweet babies can’t see mommy and daddy get married. How cool would that be? It would be worth its weight in gold.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth. We have two boys and our older son is now older than when we got married. How cool it would be to show them our wedding at their age.

  • Great article thank you for sharing your personal experiences with Brides. You and your wife just need to renew your vows and capture it on film for your sons and future grandchildren to enjoy some day.

  • It’s always nice to have an unbiased, outside perspective support our profession. My wedding video reinforces your views, as it has become the last great video of my Mom who passed away at the young age 55. With no health issues at 54, I would have never imagined the added importance of the video. Again, great article. We need to get you out to Boston for an NPVA meeting…

  • Great article and I couldn’t agree more. I can’t count the times I’ve gotten calls/emails after delivering the film to the couple with them telling me how they almost didn’t hire a professional to film their wedding and were glad they did!

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Michael. It’s one of their biggest regrets when they don’t have it. That’s why I wrote this. There are no second takes.

  • Lou Kulynych says:

    Hi Alan, I enjoyed reading your article and nothing more is true then reliving and seeing the live experience of your wedding film. I recently watched my wedding video from 16 years ago with my young kids and it caught their interest in seeing everyone come alive in 1996. They said it was like a time machine where they saw me with a full head of hair and my whole family having a great time in our wedding celebration.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Lou. Since you and I have the same hairline, I can relate. I wish I had it to watch for our wedding.

  • Thanks for the great write up. We videographers have been preaching this for a long long time but are still fighting the uphill battle of brides just not understanding. I will share for sure where ever I can. I assume you are ok with me posting it on my blog…right? Alan, my biggest question is do you have a way to get this seen in mass by engaged couples? How will they find this on a bridal advice site unless they intentionally search for it and find your blog. This needs to be high profile. I’m sure many in the video community will get the word out as best we can.

    Thanks again.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Phillip, I appreciate it. My reason for writing this in that magazine is to try to get it seen. Maybe if you and other video companies share it, it will get into more hands.

  • Oren Arieli says:

    Couldn’t agree more. But then again, you’re preaching to the choir with me. I want to share a quick story about my wife’s grandmother. She passed away just a few months ago, and our wedding video was the only time she was ever interviewed on camera (and professionally, I should add). It is an invaluable reminder of her voice, wit, wisdom and spirit. The photos are great, but video really allows us to connect on another level.

  • Dan O'Hara says:


    Great article… couldn’t agree with you more!

    Hey and if you need those 8mm films transferred to DVD (or digital), let me know… I can help you with that!

    Dan O’Hara

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Dan. I had them put on VHS back in 1994 and then John Goolsby transferred them to DVD for me a few years ago. I also recently discovered that my Mother has 3-D color slides from her wedding. We were down in Florida last month and my Mom pulled them out of her closet. How is it that I never knew these existed??? They were very cool. I’m guessing that hers was a high-end wedding in 1954 with film and 3-D slides.

  • Toni Nelson says:

    There are 2 regrets from our wedding. Number 1 was hiring a friend to photograph the wedding. Number 2 not having video. I would love to be able to share with my grandchildren our wedding day and “introduce” them to their great great grandparents. These two reasons are why we are photographers and videographers. We want others to have what we didn’t have. When we meet with couples we show them not only albums but a couple of quick video highlights from a wedding like the baby who threw the pedals from her basket all by herself or the super cute wedding speech from two sisters to their big sister. Whether they are considering video or not we want them to know there are so many moments that only a video can bring back. Video is the icing on the cake. By having photography and videography they have total wedding coverage.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Toni. I wish we had video. We’re married 29 years and while we have still images, it would be very special to be able to show our kids the moving images, the sounds and the people at our wedding. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sonya Scott says:

    Great article, Alan! Your words should convince a few brides. At every wedding, I see or hear something that just can’t be captured by a photographer. Trying to convince brides of that in advance is the hard part.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks, Sonya. You’ll really like the next one I wrote for them. It’s why they need a wedding planner! Stay tuned.

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