7 Options if You Can't Afford a Wedding Videographer
When you ask brides about what they regret spending money on, videography is usually not one of them. Instead, couples usually say it's one of — if not the — best wedding decision they made. Because let's face it, when everything is said and done, the flowers will die, the food gets eaten, and the favors get thrown away. The photos and memories are all that's left... But, photos simply can't capture the day anywhere close to how video footage can — nor can they evoke the same level of emotion.
Simply put, you WILL regret not having some form of video. Period.
The day will absolutely fly by and you won't be able to take it all in because you'll be dragged in a million different directions. There were so many aspects of my own wedding that I did NOT get to see as the bride. It wasn't until it was time for the bridal party to walk down the aisle, while I had to stay hidden, that I realized that I was missing out on important moments of my wedding!
Even with a fairly simple wedding timeline, 115 person guest count, and everything in one location, I still feel like I missed SO much. That's why I'm so thankful I hired our videographer, Jave Bjorkman! Here is my wedding trailer (not the full cinematic feature) to give you an idea of why videography should be a high priority for you:
However, professional videography is certainly not cheap. So what can you do if you simply CAN NOT afford a videographer? Here are 6 options to consider:
Option 1: Rearrange your Budget Priorities
This was how my husband and I were able to afford professional videography. Initially, we weren't going to have a videographer due to our own budget restraints. But then I decided to DIY my wedding flowers, purchase a $16 veil on Amazon, found a gorgeous discounted dress, and found other ways to save save save where we could to make sure we could justify a videographer.
As one videographer simply put it, "It truly boils down to what you can afford, what is a priority and what isn't. For some, video isn't a "priority" but having David Austin roses is. Others? They choose to go with standard roses, skip the $3k in drapery, buy the candles themselves instead of paying the florist to do it, have the bridesmaids carry lanterns or fans instead of a bouquet, have a limited bar instead of a full bar and bam. Budget for video."
However, if you've already rearranged your budget a million times and still can't afford the prices that videographers are charging, consider these other options:
Option 2: Hire an Amateur Videographer or Student Trying to Build their Portfolio
Of course, everyone prefers professional videography. But if you just can't make it fit in the budget, something is better than nothing. And a student/amateur is still better than just setting up a tripod. What you can do is reach out to a local college (or high school) Facebook page, trade site, or marketplace and say: "ISO new videographers trying to build their portfolio. Willing to pay a max budget of: $___, which includes filming and editing. We are on a limited budget, but are searching for someone looking for the opportunity to gain wedding experience."
Or you can simply not include a price and just see what people are willing to offer and go from there.
Keep in mind this option may attract people with low-quality talent. However, it's worth at least putting it out there and seeing what kind of responses you get. Some people truly have the talent but are young and don't have the experience required for them to charge $3K+ and are willing to do it to grow their portfolio. But you simply can't expect your videography to turn out professionally without paying a professional. So if you choose to go this route, make sure you have much lower expectations.
Option 3: Consider a Basic Film instead of a Cinematic Feature
Yes, there is a huge difference between a basic film and a 4-6 minute cinematic feature. It's the difference between a videographer filming your day and your videographer having to spend days/weeks editing it. Though most couples do choose a feature film, many are unaware that there are videographers who may offer basic documentary-like filming where you receive the raw video footage instead of a full feature film. While this option offers no-frills, you'll at least get the benefits of clear video footage and great audio. This is a great option if you know how to edit video footage yourself.
Option 4: See if your Videographer offers Deals or a Payment Plan
A videographer at Wedding Films said, "My suggestion is to ask us if we have any deals running and how can you best save in the process. If you ask, typically most of us will work with you, the worst is that a wedding filmmaker says no and that’s fine as well, you’re not out anything. You can also see if we offer monthly payments too, I’ve been offering 0% in-house financing for many years and it’s a great way for couples to be able to get their film without having to sacrifice the budget all at once too."
Option 5: Have your Guests Film the Day but Send it Off to Get Edited
With almost everyone having their own smartphones now with HD quality capability, you do have the option to just round up some of your closest family and friends, or all your guests willing to participate, to video different parts of your wedding for you. The key is to emphasize you are not expecting professional footage, but want it to be from their personal perspectives. This will take the pressure off of them and will allow them to have fun with it! From here, you can either set up a DropBox option or "Shared Albums" for iPhone users to upload all the footage to.
The other option is to pay for a video editing service like Wedding Mix, who actually has an app guests can download and submit the footage to. You then choose an editing style that best suits you and Wedding Mix will then create your unique wedding video for you! They have packages starting as low as $199 that includes a 2-min highlight real! Or they have packages that allow you to rent their HD cameras for $499, which also includes a 30-minute feature. Here is a testimonial to learn more:
Option 6: Purchase Flip Cams for your Guests to Use and Return
Instead of asking her guests to use their phones, a bride over at WeddingBee decided to use $10 preowned flip cams from eBay. It allowed them to have access to the footage immediately after the wedding, instead of having to track down all the footage that would be on everyone’s phones.
Her key advice on making your own wedding video successful is to make sure you give the Flip Cams to guests you know you can trust to capture awesome footage of the night, with the instructions to take some video, then pass the cameras to other guests. Then have a designated Flip Cam return basket for guests to place the cameras in at the end of the night.
Option 7: Set up your own Camera with a Tripod
If all other options fail, consider at the very least setting up a camera for your ceremony and speeches, even if it has to be filmed with an iPhone on a tripod. Keep in mind someone will still have to be in charge of ensuring they press the button at the right time. Do you have a family member willing to take on this responsibility?
One bride said she tried this method and unfortunately, the aunt who had the responsibility of doing this pressed the button (or maybe she only thought she pressed it) and it did not actually record. Needless to say, this bride was extremely bummed at the outcome and offers the following advice if you are forced to go this route:
Test out the setup. Press record and go up and talk at the front and make sure it's audible. If you can practice before with the mic you'll use even better.
Practice the setup and recording a bunch of times.
Make sure there's a ton of storage on the camera.
Ask someone to press play who is good with technology and make sure they know how to work the camera.
If you have tons of storage click record before people start getting seated just to be safe and you can edit it out.
All that to say, I only recommend the tripod approach if you literally have no other options. Remember:
SOMETHING IS STILL BETTER THAN NOTHING.
I just can't stress enough that you WILL regret not having some form of video footage. Don't let this be you!
"It's a time capsule and when you hire one of us wedding video professionals, you’re not just getting a video, you’re getting a moment in time that you can relive over and over again, something you can share with your children and family and something to take out every year to watch at the anniversary." - Joshua Gabrielson