The economy, weddings, and cutting back

All the bad economic news of the past few weeks has a lot of people nervous, couples planning weddings among them. The big wedding becomes a much smaller affair, photographers, videographers, and DJs are booked closer to the event, perhaps video or photography is eliminated. As a professional videographer I certainly hope that brides and grooms will want video at their wedding. There are some compelling reasons to keep it. You might spend a lot of money on flowers, or table decorations, but will they tell the story of your wedding years later? Even photography can’t capture the actual vows, or what the bride’s father said during the toast.

It reminds me of the time right after 9/11. My wife and I were planning our wedding and in those months of uncertainty, we went from having a string quartet and a reception at an expensive restaurant to something much more reasonable.  We also dropped the idea of a Caribbean honeymoon and drove to Canada instead.

I have seen fewer bookings this year compared to last. It dismays me to think that we may not do as many weddings next year, but hopefully we will. As I mentioned many couples will book later. We are not cutting back on advertising or dropping our rates. Realizing that couples may not have as much money to spend, we have held the price on our lower priced package to where it has been for the past two years. And we will not cut back on service. Service costs nothing. Quality is free. No matter where the economy goes in the short term, things will get better. We intend to ride it through and strive for the best.

Congratulations to Mike and Liz

Congrats to Mike and Liz Griffin on their wedding on Saturday. The ceremony was held at Sts. Simon and Jude RC Church in West Chester, PA. Music played an important role starting with the bagpiper who greeted the guests as they arrived at the church. The processional was accompanied by trumpet, and organ, and during the mass there was violin, piano, and a vocalist, all very well performed. After the ceremony, the piper played again for the receiving line.

The reception was held at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA. A jazz trio provided entertainment during the cocktail hour and dinner, while the DJs kept everyone on the dance floor until the last dance, not an easy task these days. Good job!

An interesting note for us videographers. It has been a couple of years since we worked at the Desmond. My memories of the place are that it is a very spacious room with a large dance floor. Actually the dance floor was much smaller than I remembered (although still more than adequate for the guests). I looked at the last wedding that we did there and noticed that I was using a wide angle lens that made everything look more spacious. It shows how preception can be modified by the way that we shoot.

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Winter Weddings

Here in the Philadelphia area, the wedding business is seasonable as it is in most of the northern states. Most weddings take place between April and October. However there are at least a few people willing to try for a winter wedding. Yes, there is a risk with the weather, but there are benefits. I have been learning this as my stepson Tim and his fiancee Alicia have chosen a January date.

For one thing most reception venues are often wide open. Photographers and videographers are more likely to be available and there is much less stress overall. There is also the chance that vendors may provide discounts for winter weddings. It depends on how business is at the time. You should ask, but don’t walk away from someone you like because they are not discounting their services. Consider the overall package and choose who you feel will do the best job. Don’t expect any discounts for a Christmas Eve or New Years Eve wedding however. These dates are in demand and many vendors would rather spend the day home with their families.

Another benefit is if you pick a date right after Christmas or New Years, you will often find that reception venues are still decorated for the holidays which will add a festive touch to the occasion.

The big issue is often weather. We have been lucky so far and have not been in a position where a wedding that we were shooting was snowed out. Part of this is that the Philadelphia region like much of the country has been having milder winters. If snow is in the forcast, keep in touch with your vendors. Let them know as soon as possible if there are any changes due to weather.

Another advantage of having a winter wedding is that your photographer and videographer may be able to deliver your photos and video sooner, as we may not have any backlog as we often do in the summer.

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