Rethinking Weddings

Having worked in the wedding industry for the last 9 years I’ve been to my share of weddings. And it probably comes as no surprise that I have some opinions on them (okay, a lot of opinions). What probably WILL surprise you is exactly how much I would revolutionize the wedding industry, and wedding traditions, if I had a chance.

What Weddings Look Like Now

Right now when it comes to weddings, the order of expected events looks something like this:

  • Start dating as a teenager. Immediately start dreaming about your wedding. At some point, meet the love of your life.
  • Date for 1-3 years.
  • Get engaged!
  • Have an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and plan a wedding. Spend 1-2 years thinking about nothing but a wedding.
  • GET MARRIED!
  • Share lots of pictures and videos from wedding (which all your friends on social media will look at, and as a result start thinking more about their future wedding, and exactly what they want it to look like).
  • Live the rest of your life together. (You know, all the hard and rewarding stuff that comes with marriage.)

In my opinion, this traditionally American way of looking at dating, weddings and marriage presents several problems.

  • The Wedding, or the Marriage? It worries me that with all the hype we’ve built around weddings, and the many ways we’re now using social media to magnify this hype, that some couples are getting married for the wedding rather than the marriage. (I do not think this applies for all weddings AT. ALL. Do I think it applies to some? Yes. More than enough to make it worth noting? Yes.) Years and years of our* lives are spent thinking about a wedding. Yes, we* think and talk about relationships, but in my experience so many conversations revolve around those first 1-3 years of a relationship, and whether or not we should marry that person, rather than the potential 40 years that could come later. Just recently a friend (who also happens to work in the wedding industry) noted that before she got married friends and family would ask about her relationship, but now that’s she’s married they don’t. There could be a lot to this, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s because we all subconsciously just assume that the end goal is marriage, so once you’re there there’s less to ask about. I know this is likely not intentional, and might also stem back to our ability to ask meaningful questions, but I still think it’s there.

 

  • Weddings are content GOLD. Everyone looks good, the setting and scenery are fairy tale like, and you have pictures taken by a professional photographer. So these photos, and videos, DOMINATE our social media feeds. I get it. I can imagine if I’m wanting to wish someone a happy birthday on social media and looking for a picture of us together it’s low hanging fruit to turn to wedding photos. Plus, after you spend a year (and a lot of money) planning the perfect wedding, of course you want to share every detail with the world. I TOTALLY get it. But I worry that this only perpetuates the whole cycle of couples getting married for weddings rather than marriages. While the intent of sharing all these photos is good, the collective impact I think can be pretty damaging.

 

  • Post-Wedding Hangover. No, not that hangover. Perhaps a more important hangover for us to pay attention to. Once the wedding is over it is often followed by a wave of disappointment when real life sets in. We’ve* spent so much time thinking, planning and obsessing about a wedding, that when it’s all over after just one day it takes some adjustment. What if we spent as much time preparing for the marriage as we did for the wedding? (Again, this is a generalization and likely doesn’t happen for everyone. But I have heard this from enough friends and past #bdlbcouples that I do believe it’s a thing, and something worth noting.)

Solution?

So what exactly do we do to fix this problem? Especially when we have a whole industry and sector of the economy that relies on the perpetuation of it? Well, I have some ideas. Here’s what I think the process should look like…

  • Start dating as a teenager.
  • Date as long as you want. One person or many people. One at a time, or all at once. Your call.
  • Know that you’re ready to commit to one of these people for the rest of your life? Cool. Go ahead and get married. (But also, don’t feel like you have to. Keep dating all the peoples for the rest of your life if that’s what you want and what makes you happy.)
    • This marriage commitment ceremony should be small and intimate, with only family and your closest friends. Maybe at a courthouse. Maybe in your backyard. Your call. Focus should be on the commitment you’re making.
  • Do all the hard and important things that build a lifelong relationship. Go to therapy (together and alone), commit to regular date nights, have children, travel, communicate (regularly), support each other through miscarriages and family deaths and pandemics and all the hard shit that makes up real life. Stay married. (If that’s what matters to you. If it’s not working and you’re not happy, that’s okay too.)
  • 10 years in, throw a WEDDING. You know what it takes to make a marriage, and you’ve done a lot of it already. There’s more to come, for sure, but you deserve to celebrate. Renew those vows, involve all the people in both of your lives… throw the WEDDING.
  • Continue to be married. Celebrate as often as you’d like the longer you’re married. Because while marriage is not for everyone (and should absolutely not be something we feel like we have to do), I do believe it’s worth celebrating when you commit to it and THE. WORK. Just like all the other hard stuff we do in life that we don’t really know how to celebrate (this is definitely a topic for another blog post…).

I’m not naïve enough to think this will be the answer to all the problems we encounter with marriage in our society, but I do think it could be a move in the right direction. A direction that puts more emphasis on the marriage, and life you’re committing to, and less emphasis on the actual wedding and celebration. And while I know 2020 has been a REAL hard year for lots of couples, and the wedding industry, what I’m seeing is what I’ve always envisioned your marriage commitment ceremony should look like. Small, intimate, personal, (and affordable). While I want every 2020 couple who had to postpone to have the wedding they’d like, I’ll be curious to see how many find it as necessary to plan a big reception a year later, when you already have the marriage. Perhaps COVID was a push in the right direction in terms of forcing us to think about what really matters when it comes to weddings and marriage.

 

* To be clear, I don’t think this is exclusively a problem for women, but I do want to acknowledge that I think this is much LARGER problem for women than it is for men. Based on a history of patriarchy, our roles were to get married and make babies, and these days the wedding is the first step. I know a lot has changed since then, but the world we live in now still has this as a foundation, and this influence definitely has a large impact on the wedding industry.

Virtual Video Production

The era of COVID-19 has changed a lot, both about our every day lives (no Tuesday night wings at the Wooden Nickel?!?!), but also about the way we operate as businesses. For us here at BDLB , it means all in-person shoots we had scheduled are now postponed indefinitely.

It also means many of our clients are relying on online more than ever- whether that’s brand marketing to keep them top of mind for when this is all over, to course and training materials to replace in-person work they can no longer do.

Whatever the needs are, we’re actively trying to figure out the best ways to serve our people, and we think we’ve come up with something… Virtual Video Production.

Here’s how it works…

Step 1: Kick-Off Call

We start by hopping on zoom to talk through all the things… what you’re hoping to create, what you want it to do for you, what tools you currently have available, and what (inexpensive) equipment might help in addition to what you have.

Step 2: Shoot Prep

Next you order all the gear you need, and begin prepping content for the actual shoot. We’re happy to help with this part if we can! (Turns out my Masters in Curriculum & Instruction is actually coming in handing lately…)

Step 3: Shoot Day!

We’ll hop on Zoom/FaceTime with you again on shoot day to help you pick the right spot to film, set up the camera/cameras and lighting, get your audio right, and then you can start filming!

Step 4: Deliver Footage

Once you wrap shooting you’ll deliver all the files (video and audio) to us via either Dropbox or Google Drive. We’ll do the hard work of organizing, syncing, and backing up before we dive into editing.

Step 5: BDLB Works Their Editing Magic

We’ll then get to work editing, taking your content and making it even more polished. This can be editing the actual content (cleaning it up, making it shorter/more efficient if needed), dividing into bite sized chunks to make it more digestible for your audience, all the way to color and audio correction to make sure it looks as good as possible. Last we’ll add any finishing touches, like branded logos, text, titles and music.

Step 6: Put It To Work!

Once we deliver the final videos to you, it’s time to put them to work for your business. We’re happy to help with selecting the best platforms, adding closed captioning, and best ways to promote/boost your posts to get more eyes on them!

 

Wanna see an example?  Here ya go!

Anthem Film for Spruce Creative Studio

Course/Community Film for Kate Bowler

Just drop us an email if you’re interested in trying out some Virtual Video Production for your business or organization. We’re excited to offer a free consult, and first video free for anyone who wants to see how it could work for them!

 

 

At Home Videos: What You Need To Get Started

Even though I’m a professional videographer, as a business owner who sometimes works from a home studio, professional grade equipment is not always what you need to produce high quality content for your business.  Today I’m going to walk through the basic equipment needed for high quality DIY At-Home Video Creation.

To start, let me just say, the cameras and mics on today’s phones are pretty great, so you can likely set up basic filming for something like your instastory without any of these- but if you’re looking at creating more consistent & high quality social media videos, or building a YouTube channel, it’s probably gonna be helpful to have a couple tools to help you along the way. So if you’re willing to spend a little cash to take your DIY video game to the next level, these are the three items we’d most highly recommend: 

  • A handy-dandy mini-tripod. Windowsills can be a great stand in if you don’t have the budget, but having a tripod gives you a lot more flexibility in how you want to compose your shot.
  • The second item I’d recommend is a good external microphone. While the mics on our phones work for basic video, they’re really only designed to pick up room audio and aren’t targeted in the way a shotgun or lavalier mic is. And while your average viewer probably couldn’t articulate all the differences between a beginner cell phone video and a higher quality version, it almost always comes down to audio. You can find a bunch of different models of entry level mics on Amazon, but in THIS video we review our top three options that are all less than $100. 
  • The final DIY accessory to incorporate in your at-home video set-up is a light. While you can certainly take advantage of light you have at your house, there are several reasons why having a separate light specifically for videos can up the quality and make the end product look a little less… homemade. We talk through several options in our video on lighting, as well as show some examples of how lighting can impact quality. In terms of affordable options you’ll find everything from a clip-on LED light that runs you about $7 to a full scale LED ring light and stand that’ll end right around $100. Which one you pick will depend on the factors that are most important to you. 

So in conclusion, shooting at home IS possible with only basic entry level equipment and a cell phone. no matter what type of business you run, video is a proven way to better market yourself to your ideal client. 

COVID-19 #porchportraits

Photographers across the country started doing something called ‘Porch Portraits’ almost as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began and people were asked to stay at home. They would drive around to their clients homes and make portraits of them from their car or sidewalk using a zoom lens. It was a way to stay creative behind a camera, and capture their people. Plus, many did this for donations to organizations supporting relief efforts in their community.
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Lucky for me, I live in an intentional co-housing community here in Hillsborough where the furthest house away is about 500 yards from my front door. So this weekend we captured #porchportraits for 20 different families (all while masked and an appropriate distance away), to raise money for @studentudurham. Over at @studentudurham they are collecting laptops and WiFi to better support their students and families so they can continue learning while at home. This extrovert found so much joy in this project and boy did I love getting to be behind the lens again 📷❤️


Amidst this quarantine, projects like this and opportunities to creatively play have given me life, and this one has perhaps been the highlight so far. Excited to share some of what we captured with you here ❤️