Amen Corner: Reporting from Video 08
Posted Jan 28, 2008

For those of you who attended the 4EVER Group's Video 08 last week in Orlando, you probably attended at least one of several sessions that discuss the business side of wedding and event videography. One of the best sessions was led by Jeannie Savage, a wedding coordinator that owns Details, Details and works at the epicenter of the Southern California event industry—Orange County—but has clients as far north as Santa Barbara, as far south as San Diego, and as far east as Las Vegas.

"I got into wedding coordination when my husband and I got married in Santa Barbara, about three hours from where we lived," said Savage. "Several coordinators I interviewed in that area were coordinators because it was fun but didn’t have a professional approach to helping brides maximize the money to make their day special. My fiancé said he thought I could do this, and given my background in the hospitality and hotel industry, I realized I could."

Savage provided worthwhile information for event videographers in the session, mentioning in a later interview that her father—who came from Taiwan for the wedding and was a rather quiet Chinese man—gave a wonderful toast at her wedding that wasn’t captured on video. "One of my biggest regrets," Savage said, "was that I didn’t have a video of my wedding."

When I asked Savage what things a church could do, from a technology standpoint, to help a wedding coordinator, she gave three surefire suggestions. These are pertinent for your day-to-day wedding work, but also keep these in mind as you volunteer at your local house of worship. You never know if your helping your house of worship make a bride’s day the best it can be will help you do a wedding in that same venue.

Fix your sound system. The immediate reaction to my question was "fix your sound system!" Savage expanded on the suggestion by saying that a majority of the event videographers she works with will take their audio feed from the church sound board—if they are allowed to by the church’s own wedding coordinator—and often find the number of microphones is inadequate or the soundboard isn’t being monitored properly. The first issue—being unable to use board feeds—means that the video crew has to double-mic the groom and priest ("never mic the bride!" Savage says). The second issue—lack of microphones—means that key elements may be lost (such as the all-important vows). The third issue—working the board properly—means turning down the microphones of the musicians after they’re done singing won’t capture all the chatter or rustling on the tapes.

Be available. Savage says she understands videographers need to have their own backup microphones, but they often find out they can (or can’t) use the soundboard outputs less than 30 minutes prior to the wedding. "Many church wedding coordinators," Savage said, "won’t allow the couples’ wedding coordinator to contact the house of worship’s sound or video technician. This might be due to the feeling of not bothering the volunteers who run the board or handle video during their normal work week. They will let the bride contact the sound or video technician, but that, according to Savage, isn’t very helpful since the bride’s focused on something other than the technical aspects of the wedding.

"I make sure that the bride’s day is special," Savage said. "In many instances, though, I can’t get the wedding videography team in touch with the church’s sound or video technician prior to the event, which makes a wedding video setup a nailbiter when it doesn’t need to be."

So what does this mean to you? If you’re the one that manages the audio or video in-house for your house of worship, let your venue’s wedding coordinator know you’re available to talk to other professionals, including the wedding coordinator and the videographer. Chances are it will help bring in more donations to your house of worship, since wedding coordinators have an amazing amount of sway in terms of helping ensure that the venue, the musicians, and the volunteers are covered by the donations.

Consider the technology and packages the house of worship might offer. Savage suggests that houses of worship could work actively with wedding coordinators, marketing the venue in much the same way as a hotel or resort markets to brides and coordinators.

"We’re not talking about selling out the purpose for the house of worship," Savage said, "but many people who might have attended a church or synagogue early in life or have moved to a different area of the country still want a wedding in a church, and many times don’t know how to approach the church. Churches don’t make it easy either since they’re focused on their own world."

Savage also suggests that churches could offer packages—almost like a rate card for videographers—that shows each of the options available at the church. A further step for houses of worship to help the bride or the wedding coordinator is to work with a local hotel or resort, splitting the ceremony and the reception between the two venues.

"It’s a symbiotic relationship," Savage said, "between the house of worship, the bride, the reception venue and—in some cases—a wedding coordinator. Your readers who do this for a living, and also volunteer on the weekend at their house of worship, are on the front lines of helping move wedding videos forward."

Tim Siglin is a contributing editor to EventDV and Streaming Media.