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Old August 6th, 2015, 05:20 AM   #1
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American tradition

Quick question in regard to American wedding tradition. I"m covering a American wedding In Belgium together with one of the UK based members on this forum, I have watched a lot of American weddings and have seen that often in the morning the couple writes a letter to eachother where they express their feelings and that is given to eachother before they first meet, sometimes there is also a gift for the groom like a watch. Is that something typical for American weddings and if so, is there a name for that moment? I could ask the couple but it might be clearer to them what I mean if I can name it.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: American tradition

Our couples do that here too Noa .. quite often but I have never thought about giving the event a name?? Here it's part of bridal prep and for the guys, the groom's gift is opened in the presence of his groomsmen not the bride ...and always captured on camera. Maybe it does have a name? I'm not sure if the USA tradition is the same but here the gifts are delivered along with the letter to each of them but they don't see each other so it's a private reaction ... I film the letter being read too!! I guess you could ask them if they send each other a gift and personal message whilst getting ready. If it's short enough, ask the person to read it out aloud ..they love if you cut between each of them in the final video!!
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Old August 6th, 2015, 08:00 AM   #3
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Re: American tradition

Hey Noa, I doubt there's a name. So just ask, "Are you guys exchanging letters and gifts in the morning?"

And then ask if they're doing a "first look" before the ceremony.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 08:50 AM   #4
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Re: American tradition

Its not really a "tradition", although its somewhat common (1/3?). Sometimes they mention they wrote a letter for each other, and want footage of them reading it, when I tell them I could record audio of them reading it and place it as a voiceover they become interested in doing it that way. It may be something to recommend to them, and they're willing to do it, but no it isn't an every wedding thing.

As for a name, I would just ask if they're writing a letter to each other, if they say yes then mention the voiceover idea.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 09:13 AM   #5
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Re: American tradition

Noa, here is everything we ask about to make sure of. I guess I don't know what will be different from what you're used to.

Possible before the ceremony:

- gift or letter exchange (for this, we get close ups of the letter or card, get the writer to read theirs, then film the receiver opening it. If its a letter, we do a quiet place by themselves).

- something borrowed, something blue, etc. what personal items will they be carrying? (very often its grandma's hankerchief or some such)

- first look. This is done so they can do pictures before the ceremony. Frankly its kind of nice to have all that done already.

- first look with dad, mom, or even bridesmaids. Much rarer but still done sometimes

- usually there isn't a big moment of arrival for the bride at the church like a see from the English videos.

- go for drinks and/or more pictures at some random place(s) after the ceremony.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 09:19 AM   #6
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Re: American tradition

Not so much a tradition... not everyone does it. At least not in my area (or maybe just my weddings. lol)

I say for me, it's more like 1 in 10 that do the gift... and in 15 years, I've never had handwritten vows or love letters.

BUT, just this past weekend, I updated my "Tips to make your wedding film better" document that I give my clients to include as the first thing, the love letter idea... and also added to have parents write something similar as well.

Because, as I move into this "feature film" path, I need words!
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Old August 6th, 2015, 09:41 AM   #7
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Re: American tradition

I just send the groom some questions, see what he has to say about it, often these kind of details are not mentioned but for me it makes a big difference to know so I can prepare better. They also will be standing up the entire ceremony facing eachother which makes it also a lot easier to cover it from the sides.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 04:07 AM   #8
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Re: American tradition

My impression is that it's not a tradition at all but something that is encouraged & staged by videographers to get some good footage.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 08:35 PM   #9
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Re: American tradition

Hi Nigel

I very much doubt that! I have done quite a few and they have never even mentioned it during our initial interview at all. It has normally come up by surprise and more often than not I have to get them to back track as the groom is already reading his letter when I notice it is happening!! It has always been a surprise for ones I have done so definitely not initiated or suggested by us ...then again to come to think of it it DOES make good emotional footage so maybe we should suggest it to couples??
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Old August 9th, 2015, 12:59 AM   #10
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Re: American tradition

Well, the bride wrote a love letter kind of thing yesterday and the groom got to read it before they saw eachother :) I asked the second shooter to have him read it out loud while it was recorded. I wish my other clients would do that too, it can give some nice voice over for a trailer in case the vows or the speeches are nothing special.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 09:14 AM   #11
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Re: American tradition

Chris, what I meant is that it's a relatively new tradition started by videographers eager for some good footage. I would be interested to hear from a genuine American as at the moment it's an Aussie, a Brit & a Belgian all speculating about US mating rituals:-)
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Old August 9th, 2015, 10:13 AM   #12
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Re: American tradition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Chris, what I meant is that it's a relatively new tradition started by videographers eager for some good footage. I would be interested to hear from a genuine American as at the moment it's an Aussie, a Brit & a Belgian all speculating about US mating rituals:-)
ummm... hello.

Its not a tradition so much as an lovely idea someone started in the relatively recent past. I wrote a note to my wife on our wedding day, and that was before we ever started working in videography.

It happens less than 50% of the time, that's for sure, though.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 11:47 AM   #13
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Re: American tradition

In Ontario Canada, the gift and letter routine is about half the time. Ther's no special name for it, and it's certainly not started by videographers looking for good footage. I use my four question interview for that. 1) How did you meet,2) tell me about your first date, 3) tell me about the proposal, 4) when was that?. Then i cut between the bride and the groom to see how much the stories differ!
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Old August 10th, 2015, 08:55 PM   #14
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Re: American tradition

All you need to know about American Weddings (from East European perspective):
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