Advice from an Expert - Adam from Special Day Films
Wedding planning isn't always easy, there is no denying that, but when you can have some advice and guidance from experts in the industry, it really can help lift a weight. Adam from Special Day Films has been creating unique wedding films for 15 years and has a wealth of knowledge, so we picked his brain for his top tips and stories!
Hi Adam, thank you for your time! So, tell us a bit about your business and what you do to help perfect a couple’s wedding day.
We’re Special Day Films. We’re a videography company based in North Yorkshire, covering the whole of the UK (and further, if required!). We don’t offer set price packages like “Bronze”, “Silver” and “Gold” - every wedding we work on is unique, so one-size-fits-all doesn’t really work for us. We like to get to know what the couple have in mind, and offer them something we think will work for them and their budget. We've filmed weddings all over the country, in all kinds of venues, for people with all kinds of budgets – the thing we love best is when the couple has decided to ditch the clichés and have a wedding that shows off their personality.
It’s super important to us that everyone feels comfortable - we strive to be anxiety-friendly - and our couples often compliment us on how unobtrusive we are. We are a vegan and eco-friendly business, and we welcome enquiries from the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud to support marriage equality just as we support equality elsewhere.
Sounds like you really offer something special! When did you start your business and why?
We officially started in 2005 but I’d been interested in playing with cameras and storytelling in various forms ever since my parents brought home a super-8 cinecamera from a car boot sale when I was little. Wedding videography is a form of storytelling, really – it’s a privilege to be invited to come and make a film of one of the happiest days in someone’s life.
You must really love what you do. What is it that you love about it so much?
I love shooting real life like it’s art. Cinematic moments don’t always have to be rehearsed and have stage direction or lighting crews – they happen all the time and you just need to keep your eye out and be ready with your camera.
It's wonderful to hear that you capture those wonderful moments in such an artistic way. How would you describe your style in 5 words?
Candid, indie-style, creative, friendly, down-to-earth. I know that’s technically more than 5. I cheated by hyphenating.
Don't worry Adam, we'll let you off with your hyphenating! What would you say you offer that makes your business special, what are you most proud of?
One of the things I like about filming weddings, is that you make a little film and it might not get seen by very many people - it might just be two people - but those two people will really treasure that film. By the time you’ve finished working on it you sort of feel attached to the couple, so when they they see the finished film and tell you how much they love it, it’s really rewarding. We occasionally get messages from couples years later to let us know it’s their anniversary, they’re re-watching the film, and they’re expecting a baby. That’s always so nice to hear.
How lovely that couples let you know when they re-watch their wedding film. What would you say has been your biggest wedding day success story?
One of our first ever weddings was for The Duchess of Cornwall’s son, Tom Parker Bowles and fashion editor Sara Buys, and we were incredibly nervous as we were still finding our way a little bit, and there were armed police, celebrities, and paparazzi. A few years later we got asked back to film his sister Laura’s wedding to Harry Lopes - there was even more press coverage at that one and it was fun to see the BBC reporters penned in behind this little fence, while we swanned into the church. Although those were unusually high-profile weddings, any time we’ve been booked as a result of word of mouth feels like a success. One wedding even provided an actual video prologue for another – we filmed the bouquet being caught by someone who then invited us to film their wedding a few years later!
You must have seen so many gorgeous wedding moments. What is your favourite personal touch that you’ve seen at a wedding?
It’s so hard to pick a favourite! A memory that stands out for me is a wedding where the bride had written a personal message to each of their guests and left them at their place settings. It was a really lovely thing to have done and you could tell from the reactions that it meant a lot to them all.
When it comes to couples booking their videographer, how far in advance should couples look to get booked in with you? What happens after booking and on the big day?
We've had bookings two years in advance and bookings two weeks before the wedding. We are very flexible so once you’ve booked us, you’re free to spend a bit of time to work out exactly what you want from your film. I think some people initially feel like a wedding film isn’t a “must-have”, but then realise nearer the time that they’ve put so much time and money planning this day and it’s going to go by in such a blur that a video is the best way to get a lasting memento of it all. We recommend that you book as soon as you can but if you fall into the latter category, don't be afraid to ask for availability at the last minute.
In terms of booking, we generally chat with each couple a bit over email or Zoom and find out what they're looking for and answer any questions they might have. Once we've worked out a price for the film that they want, we'll send over a booking form with extra info and questions about their favourite films (this isn’t important, but we love chatting about films!). In the past we've popped over for a cup of tea to chat in person, or even film pre-wedding interviews (which can be really funny). Sometimes we'll come along to see the venue beforehand but that's usually not necessary. On the day we arrive with enough time to say hello again and meet your bridesmaids/groomsmen and the venue staff, and after that you'll probably barely notice us - the main aim is to allow you to enjoy your wedding day and not have to worry about us! During the edit process, we'll probably upload a sneak preview or some screengrabs and then not long after that we'll upload the full film for you to share with friends and family. The USB/BluRay/DVDs will arrive shortly after, with all the extra films and bonus footage.
You are a listed supplier here at Love of All Weddings, so what made you decide to embrace a vegan, eco friendly and ethical approach within your services?
It's something I feel quite strongly about and thankfully it seems like more and more people are starting to feel the same way. Whatever I'm doing, I try to make sure it won't have a negative impact for someone else. So I try to reduce my own personal waste, I repair old clothes, try to avoid single use plastics and things like that. With a wedding video, luckily there's never really been a huge amount of waste - especially now so much is digital.
A few years ago we started using more environmentally friendly materials for our packaging - we got rid of the plastic as much as we could and switched to recycled paper, and packaging that can be recycled, even our USB sticks are made out of recycled paper - and of course they can be re-used. We also use green energy suppliers for our work-spaces.
Obviously it's a journey, so there will hopefully be more things in future that we can adopt and improve on as well.
A wedding is all about love - love between the couple, and all their friends and family that they love being there - and I just kind of think that it makes sense for that celebration to not have a negative impact on others, be it the environment or in the form of animal suffering.
Plus a wedding is the start of two lives together, so it makes sense to try and make sure the planet is a nice, inhabitable place going forward!
Thank you for your time chatting today Adam. One final question, what is your advice to couples currently planning their big day?
- Don't worry too much on the day about things going wrong. Plan as much as you can (without getting too stressed!) but most importantly, enjoy the day! You cant control everything and sometimes the unplanned things are the things that end up being the most memorable.
- Be yourself - if you want a really traditional style wedding, go for it. If you want to come down the aisle in a sequinned jumpsuit and cape, that's what you should do. The important thing is this is your day, and if there's ever going to be a time where you get to really indulge your quirks, it should be your wedding day.
- Let the women speak! If the bride wants to give a speech, go for it! It's traditionally the father of the bride, the groom and the best man who make the toasts but it doesn't have to be that way if you don't want it to. Some of the best speeches we've seen over the years have been from the bride, the mother of the bride or the chief bridesmaid.
- Obviously I'm going to say hire a videographer but I really do think it's a good investment. A video is such a good way to record the day that you've spent all that time and money on. It'll all be a bit of a blur on the day, so it means that you can re-watch the ceremony and speeches back when you're over your nerves.