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Old February 19th, 2013, 08:27 PM   #1
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Video guestbook

Hi, looking for some advice as to what to say to guests to get them to leave interesting messages if B&G want you to go around the tables.

Normally, I lead with "Would you like to leave a message for Bob and Joan?" And sometimes follow up with "Do you have any advice for Bob?". But this always tends to result in pretty generic messages. I also try to approach groups rather than individuals -- people seem to find it easier to talk in groups. But that's pretty much the end of my creativity. I really don't know how to approach people properly.

So... any thoughts?
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Old February 19th, 2013, 09:26 PM   #2
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Re: Video guestbook

I stopped doing those back in the late 90s. Seriously, even today when I get asked to do it, I tell the couple I'll get the well wishes from the parents, g-parents and the bridal party but the BP as a group of girls and then guys. Othrwise here's what you get..."congrats you 2, have lots of babies." wink wink!
IMO a complete waste of time and effort but then that's me.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:09 AM   #3
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Re: Video guestbook

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Hi, looking for some advice as to what to say to guests to get them to leave interesting messages
So... any thoughts?
Nothing. Let them say what they feel at the time. The couple want there friends comments, not some stage managed waffle. There are always going to be the stupid remarks from the drunk, simply dont use them. Pick what you want and use the good ones in the final edit. Some will be nervous, others confident, it doesnt really matter what we think of it, the couple will love whatever their friends and family come up with. Last year at a very grand wedding the MOB and 3 of her friends, all very glamorous women, suddenly burst into song, (Love and marriage) it made great viewing, and really added to the message chapter.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Video guestbook

Hi Adrian

For this sort of stuff you have to also be a saleman! "Do you want to talk in the scary camera thrust into your face" ..obvious answer is "no thanks" .... You do need to ask a question that doesn't respond with a yes or no ... thinking on those lines will make things a lot more exciting watching for the couple afterwards too ... I do video guestbook for all my weddings and brides usually ask for them too but they have to be done well, be off the cuff and as Colin says, not staged... spur of the moment comments are the best so you need to be fast and heldheld here and be prepared to move to a fuest in a split second.

Again as said, record them all but only keep the best!!

Chris
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Old February 20th, 2013, 08:59 AM   #5
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Re: Video guestbook

Chris hit the nail on the head, if you ask them if they want to say something for the B&G the answer will nearly always be an uncomfortable no! Some weddings that are formal and starchy just don't lend themselves to guest comments. Others that are light hearted and fun with plenty of young people are usually a better bet. I would usually sidle up to the table and say something like 'I just want to grab some funny off the cuff comments while the B&G are looking the other way, who wants to start?' There are always a couple of jokers and others egging them on.

If you try to do it formally with the camera on a tripod, lighting and micing them up, it usually ends with lots of footage of people squirming uncomfortably, umming and ahhing and asking you what they should say. My experience is that if you are going to do it at all, make it quick and spontaneous and with a group.

Roger
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Old February 20th, 2013, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Video guestbook

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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I stopped doing those back in the late 90s.
Amen brother. Back were they belong.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Re: Video guestbook

Well, that raises another question -- how do you politely talk people out of such a thing if they've requested it?
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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Re: Video guestbook

Try another approach. I always get the best man to make an announcement after the speeches. He tells people that I will be in a certain location between, say, 6 to 7 pm. People turn up of their own accord, and are ready to natter. Catching them unawares at the tables is always going to put them on the spot, and result in awkward comments
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #9
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Re: Video guestbook

Adrian,
first very few of my clients request it anymore. they would rather have footage of dancing and me sticking a fork in my eye ;-) BUT if someone does request guest comments, then I politely explain to them that if I do that then I am not able to get othr footage that they most certainly want such as dancing. I tell them I will get comment from the parents, grandparents and bridal party if they wish and for the last 20 years or so they get the point and understand. Then IF I do have to do those, I do them during the cocktail hour in a quiet area or seperate room away from the noise and if possible I do them BEFORE the guests arrive for the reception. that way they are done AND then I can concentrate on the job at hand.
If they want more than that then I tell them I need to hire a 2nd shooter to do nothing but that, that there will be a seperate disc of those comments and of course there is an additional charge and that will depend on how long they want the 2nd person to stay and shoot the well wishes but that the charge will start at $250.00 for the first hour. This pays for the cameraman and his gear (camera, tripod and light) and the edit with 1 dvd. If they want more, they pay more. Simple.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:53 PM   #10
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Re: Video guestbook

Colin, that's an excellent suggestion. For instance, I could set up some sort of "video booth", next to the photo booth, and have the thing continually running for two hours, unmanned. Thinking I could use an HVX at 720p, with a light set up, and the LCD screen turned towards the guests, so they can see how to position themselves. -- The main hassle just being going through it afterwards to cut out the dead time, and then watching it through to see no one's said anything dodgy, but what can you do.

The only thing I'm slightly worried about -- bride might say, "Oh, but I want to make sure there's shots of ALL the guests, not just those that want to leave a message..."

But there's another way I might be able to talk my way out of table shots. At this particular wedding, there's 25 tables and 250-300 guests. So if I just spent 5 minutes per table, that's a pretty solid two hours of time where I'm not doing anything else. I'm hoping that after I put the maths to the bride she'll be happy with the video booth solution.

Or she might say, "you can spare two hours"...


Edit: Don, thanks for the advice!
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:27 PM   #11
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Re: Video guestbook

Hi Adrian

So virtually everyone is "included", I do a table circle immediately after bridal entry and just go around each table so they have a record of who was where. It's best to do video guestbooks during pre-dinner drinks as they are often outside or in another room....my one trick is to start those early before the main hoard gets there so the room ambient noise is still low...by the time there are 200 people in a room, all talking the ambient room noise virtually drowns out what the guest is saying unless you are really close.

Most, if not all of my couple WANT a video guestbook and expect it so I cannot leave it out...it's still quite simple to do though but I don't think I would try to set up a "video booth" ..you would need another operator for that totally to do it correctly!!

Chris
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Old February 20th, 2013, 09:03 PM   #12
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Re: Video guestbook

Ask the guests to talk about:
1. Their most memorable moments with the couple
2. Habits and/or quirks the bride/groom has that the other half might not know about
3. Why you think they're a perfect match for each other
4. What happened at the bachelor/bachelorette party?
5. Something the bride/groom did for you that made you realize they're very special people

There is actually a lot of material that one could cover, depending if you want to make the message sweet, funny, obnoxious, or memorable. Or you could leave a list of questions and have the guests choose one.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:38 PM   #13
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Re: Video guestbook

Hey Warren

I can just imagine a guest confessing that the groom is actually part of a big time swingers group, something he has very carefully been concealing from the bride. They would be interesting I must admit.

Sorta "Tell us something about the groom/bride that the other doesn't know about" ... You would obviously have to clear a lot of your clips first with either the bride or groom ...they might be deep dark secrets that the other didn't know about!!

I do like your questions though!! Very well composed!!

Chris
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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:56 AM   #14
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Re: Video guestbook

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
The only thing I'm slightly worried about -- bride might say, "Oh, but I want to make sure there's shots of ALL the guests, not just those that want to leave a message..."

But there's another way I might be able to talk my way out of table shots. At this particular wedding, there's 25 tables and 250-300 guests. So if I just spent 5 minutes per table, that's a pretty solid two hours of time where I'm not doing anything else. I'm hoping that after I put the maths to the bride she'll be happy with the video booth solution.
I never include more than a dozen messages, its just a nice little feature to add. Here is an example. (its my daughter, at her cousins wedding, slightly tipsy!!!!) Its about the length of most messages. Dont think I would fancy going round all the tables!!!!!!!!!!!!
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