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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:00 PM   #1
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Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

So how do handle the Bride/Groom prep? Do you talk with them before hand about certain shots? Do you hang out for a few minutes and fake "special parts"? Do you sit in a corner like a fly and try to capture the actual preparations including candid conversations? How do you make this NOT awkward. Sorry for bombarding with questions in one post. It just seems hanging out in a room with a camera while people are getting ready lends itself to be an awkward time. Please describe your normal routine including your interactions with the B&G. Thanks!!
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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #2
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Hi Byron

I normally arrive and do some shots of the dress hanging up and the bouquets (also the jewellery if I'm doing stills too) then shots of hair being done, makeup being done (but only the final bits so the girls already look good) Then the bride getting her dress laced up and putting on necklace and bracelets and earrings. If I have time to spare I'll get the girls leaving the house and getting into the limo but more often than not I need that extra time to get to the ceremony venue to set up. A couple of fill in candid shots are worth doing too just so you don't run out of footage. I restrict mine to the length of a song on video so normally 6 -10 minutes is more than enough.

Chris
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Old July 8th, 2013, 12:18 AM   #3
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Chris has some good tips for shots you can take. You may think of others as well but I sense you are nervous about being there. It might help you if you realize that they are probably more nervous than you. If you take steps to help them relax, it will have the same effect on you. Take your cue from them. I find often times a bride or groom appreciates chatting with me because it helps them relax especially if you keep it light hearted.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 03:55 AM   #4
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

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Originally Posted by Byron Jones View Post
Do you sit in a corner like a fly
Basically, yes. But it helps if the fly talks from time to time, and even better if the fly makes jokes or delivers compliments.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #5
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Same as Chris but i now stage a few things if say the bridesmaid is doing a speech, i get her to read it out to me at the prep so i can use it for my story changing from the prep to real speeches later. Also if the groom has bought any presents or a nice card i get the bride to read it out or one of the girls, then i stage a champagne shot and fun and laughter to get everyone unstressed at the prep. Later on i use the glidecam if sunny and stage walks and talks.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

The most important way to not make it awkward is communication. I arrive early, chat people up. Introduce myself and then explain myself - what I am doing, what I expect, and their options. Which is to say, not much. I also make sure they know I"m there to try and make them look good.

I find that once you become friendly with people - which with the B&G can be and should be done before the day of - the more comfortable they will be. I used to be a waiter, and am really good at quickly reading people, and matching them. I'll be conversational, especially early, then start to pull back and observe as their friends and family arrive.

And along with planned shots like Chris Harding points out, I am just hanging around hoping to catch some random moments and stories; genuine emotion from smiling or nervous faces.

Another reason to chat them up is priming. This is the idea that sometimes you need to gently lead people to where you want. Before the B&G see each other, or the dad sees the bride for the first time, ask leading questions to put their mind where you want it: are you excited/nervous? How did you two first meet? How did you propose? What's your favorite thing about X?

By doing that, you can get great audio, but also better reactions from them when the next thing happens because they start to think about their fiance instead of whatever has been going on for the last five minutes.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Some great points there, communication is key and as Robert mentions arrive as early as you can and yeah it's important to be friendly with them, one or two i've even let them take a photograph of me etc. - breaks the ice!
a good question to ask is 'how long ago did the planning for this begin?' the bride especially, will just love to tell you about all the planning and the excitement etc. that culminates to this day.
The priming idea is good too, people aren't used to being the center of attention with cameras and lens etc. pointing at them, but tey get used to it after a while especially if your there early!
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Old July 8th, 2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Good advice Rob.

I'm a chatterbox anyway so I certainly don't cower in the corner but chat to everyone and by doing this getting shots is really easy.

Actually on a prep a few weeks the MOG was practicing her reception speech so I filmed her and it went down really well. Mum was of Dutch origin and her son was marrying a New Zealand girl with a Maori father so she was going to read a Maori blessing and struggled with some of the words but was helped along by the bride and it really was a nice personal sequence.

I think if you are friendly and a bit talkative, the girls will feel more at ease and open up and also be more natural rather than see you as the "big bad wolf" crouching in the corner of the room.

Chris
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Old July 8th, 2013, 10:10 PM   #9
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Yeah - good post Rob.

I make a habit of not even getting my gear out for the first 10mins, instead just chat to the bride - introduce myself to everyone and try and appear relaxed as possible. (I hate it when the bride just sits there and doesn't introduce you to everyone).
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Old July 9th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #10
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I am wishing I would have posted this a few months ago. So, on average, how much time do you spend with the bride (& bridesmaids)? The groom (and groomsmen/ushers)?
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Old July 9th, 2013, 02:45 AM   #11
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Hi Byron

I normally allocate an hour for prep but get there early ..better than rushing and I can chat and get offered a cool drink before I start. With most brides I end up hurrying them up at the end as I have timed it so I'm 30 minutes ahead of her to give me time to set up at the ceremony and be ready waiting for the limo without rushing. Sometimes right at the end you have to take shortcuts and let her put on her jewellery while the bridesmaids are struggling with dress lace ups but I have found that 60 minutes usually works out well ... you are not going to need that long but I prefer to take a no stress attitude on stuff I can control!

Chris
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Old July 9th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #12
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Hi Byron, yep - similar to Chris.

Our churches here are usually only 15mins away from the brides house. So I would arrive 1pm at brides, leave around 2:15pm, get to church 2:30pm and setup for a 3pm service. That's the stressful bit, between 2:30pm-3pm.

I make it clear (firm and friendly) that bride needs to be getting dressed around 1:45pm - as I need to leave at 2:15pm NO MATTER WHAT. Getting setup for ceremony is more important than doing up dress shots.

I can't stand doing groom-preps. Whenever I have it's been a disaster. Just don't enjoy doing it so I don't offer it. Grooms don't seem to care. I tell the bride the best shots of them are at the church nervously greeting guests... they are always cool with that.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #13
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Hi John

Me too.. I make it known very clearly that when I say "I'm out of here" at 2:00pm I really do mean it and there is no negotiation on the time. I normally tell them to be in their dress at 1:45pm latest (if I'm planning to leave at 2:00pm) The LAST thing you want to do at a Church is be running around like an idiot settting up gear with sweat pouring off you and the limo coming down the road!

Byron? be VERY firm with this aspect of bridal prep and give yourself plenty of time to set up for the ceremony ...Churches don't wait for you if you are late!

Chris
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Old July 9th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #14
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

My female partner who is the creative part of our team handles all of this. However in cases where the groom is getting ready at the same time sometimes we use our second shooter to film the groom. If he is already ready we have him looking into the camera as if it were a mirror and adjusting his tie. Also perhaps a closeup of him tying his dress shoes, straightening his jacket, etc.

Most of the prep video is focused on the bride but we do like a little of the groom when possible.

Another big part for us is when couples do the "first look" before the wedding. We generally use two cameras with one on the groom as the bride walks out to him and one on her with usually that camera also getting a wide shot of both as them as she gets closer to him.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 03:26 AM   #15
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Jones View Post
I am wishing I would have posted this a few months ago. So, on average, how much time do you spend with the bride (& bridesmaids)? The groom (and groomsmen/ushers)?
Hey Byron, here's a normal wedding morning for me:

-- Arrive at groom's at 9am
-- Leave at 10am
-- Arrive at bride's at 10.30am
-- Leave at 12pm
-- Arrive at church at 12.30pm
-- Ceremony at 1pm

So, I'm allowing 1 hour for groom, and 1.5 for bride. If I can, I prefer to spend longer. That morning time just disappears for me. It's not difficult to spend half an hour just mucking around with filming the dress and accessories.

But it's not usually me telling them how much time I want -- it's more often them telling me how much time I've got to work with. Which is sometimes very little. Depends on travel times, on scheduling, on when they're comfortable with you arriving, etc.

Whether there's more action happening on bride's side or groom's side just depends. A lot of variables. Pretty much anything that's not a Protestant wedding or civil ceremony = lots of family members and plenty of action on the groom's side, or so I've found.

How much time you ought to allow -- I think this depends partly on what sort of product you're delivering. How many minutes of prep do you plan to use in your finished videos?

I often console myself with the thought, "It's hard to completely stuff up a prep". If only a few minutes at most are going to make it through the edit, then surely you're going to come away with enough usable footage after an hour of filming. Added to this is the fact that you don't have to show anything. It's not like other "key" moments during the day. -- If you don't get any make-up shots, does it really matter? If you don't film the bride actually getting dress laced up, does it really matter?

Last edited by Adrian Tan; July 10th, 2013 at 04:10 AM.
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