Wedding Videography Checklist

Plan the important shots using a wedding videography checklist

Photographer shoots a couple during their wedding

Karen Kasmauski / Getty Images

Shooting the video of a wedding is a big responsibility that comes with a level of stress. The best way to reduce the stress and capture everything the couple wants is to plan the shots and ensure you have the right equipment shooting at the right resolution.

Talk with the participants to get a feel for the timeline of the activities so you can be in the right place at the right time. Work with them to develop a list of important shots, and keep the list with you as you shoot the wedding.

Must-Have Wedding Shots

There's only one first kiss at the end of the ceremony. If you miss it, there is no re-do. Good planning puts you in the right place to capture these must-have moments.

Traditional wedding video shots that should be part of every wedding video include:

  • Groom waiting at altar.
  • Processional with bride's entrance.
  • Vow recital.
  • First kiss as married couple.
  • Recessional.
  • First dance.
  • Cake cutting.
  • Bouquet toss.
  • Father-daughter dance.
  • Best man and maid of honor toasts.

Preparation Shots

You can take a few shots as the wedding party prepares, but some, such as the groom pinning on his boutonniere, require some staging (or good timing).

Before the ceremony, look for these shots:

  • Bride and bridesmaids getting ready.
  • Exterior shot of the church or venue.
  • Interior wide shot of the church or venue.
  • Altar.
  • Flowers.
  • Wedding program.
  • Groom and ushers hanging out.
  • Pinning boutonniere on groom.

The Ceremony

Generally, the ceremony is the hardest part of the wedding to film. If possible, bring along an assistant who can record from a second angle. Views of both the groom's face and the bride walking down the aisle, for example, make for interesting, poignant footage.

Wedding ceremony
Ingalls Photo

Other parts of the ceremony to shoot include:

  • Guests being escorted down the aisle.
  • Guests sitting, reading programs, and talking.
  • Family members entering the venue or church.
  • Father kissing the bride and handing her off to the groom.
  • The ceremony. Record it all if you have the space, and edit later.
  • The must-have shots mentioned previously of the groom at the altar, the processional and bride's entrance, the first kiss and the recessional.

The Reception

With the tough business of filming the ceremony over, you can relax a bit and have fun at the reception. In addition to the shots previously mentioned, look for these opportunities:

  • Exterior shot of reception site.
  • Guests signing guestbook.
  • Receiving line.
  • Champagne toast.
  • Cocktail hour.
  • Servers passing food.
  • Ice sculpture.
  • Table tags.
  • Gift table.
  • Wide shot of reception room.
  • Closeup of place settings.
  • Guest favors.
  • Centerpiece.
  • Blessing.
  • First dance of couple.
  • Cake cutting.
  • Bouquet toss.
  • Garter removal.
  • Last dance of the evening.
  • The newlyweds' exit.

The Unexpected

Even with a prepared list of shots, be open to unexpected opportunities to capture the mood of the day. Watch for the ring bearer and flower girl to giggle or play. Record a glance between the newlyweds, a spontaneous (or planned) group dance, or the happy tears of a parent. These emotional moments add immensely to the wedding video.

Ringbearer at a wedding
Ingalls Photo

Remember: It's your job to help the bride, groom, and families relive these moments through your lens. It's better to film too much and edit later; the candid, unexpected shots are often the most treasured.

Candid shot of groom at a wedding
Ingalls Photo

Task your assistant, if you have one, with capturing casual groupings of guests who won't appear in the formal wedding photos and fun shots of people laughing, dancing and celebrating. 

The scenes you shoot will outlive many of the situations and people at the wedding and will become increasingly special to the couple, so pay special attention to elderly relatives, young children, and out-of-town guests.

Weeding Out Extraneous or Less-Than-Optimum Shots

The fun really begins as you edit all your footage down to a wedding video that is short enough to hold interest but still captures all the important, fun, and tender moments of the couple's special day. Let the repetitive, dull shots go so that the more meaningful ones take full focus.

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