November 03, 2003

Scary Movie

Friday being Halloween, we did what any recently engaged couple would do on a night filled with parties, parades, and copious amounts of candy. We stayed in.

We're not usually that dull, but it was an exhausting week for the two of us so we decided to keep it local, make dinner, relax and watch a movie. I'm a Netflix junkie and had lined up 28 Days Later to arrive in time for the holiday.

I had the DVD ready to go when L decided to make the night a double feature. "Let's just watch this one before we start yours," she said and popped a cassette into the VCR. What unfolded on our television was the most frightening movie I had ever seen.

It was a wedding video. And not just any wedding video, but a compilation of sample wedding videos shot by a videographer who is among the few we are considering to shoot our wedding. If there's anything more boring than watching the wedding video of people you know, it's watching the wedding video of people you don't know. There, in our living room, an anonymous couple fed each other wedding cake to the sounds of Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." Another bride and groom danced in slow motion in video that looked like it had been filtered through three inches of gauze for use on a Barbara Walters special. Titles introduced us to each "starring" member of the wedding party. Innocently enough, L wanted us to watch these videos to "get some ideas." I peeked through slightly spread fingers to spare myself from the terrifying images.

It won't surprise anyone to know that I'm not one for flashy wedding videos. I don't need fuzzy-bordered footage of me and L dancing to adult-contemporary music by Diane Warren or slo-mo shots of the two of us being raised in chairs to the sound of clarinet-infused klezmer music. All I really want is a video documentation of the day, something I can show my kids and grandkids years down the road with minimal cringing.

When it comes to wedding videos, my number one influence is the film of my father's bar mitzvah, which my mother had transferred to video back in the pre-digital 1980s. No director is credited, although the cinematography is stunning in its simplicity. It's shot in a typical home-movie-from-the-early-sixties style with vivid color and no sound. There's no music, no silly chyroned graphics ("Starring N As the Bar Mitzvah Boy!"), just images of my dad, uncle, grandmother and some long-deceased but fondly-remembered relatives as they enjoy themselves.

L and I will continue our search for a straightforward, documentary-style videographer, although the vocabulary of cheesy music and fuzzy lighting seems so ingrained in the minds of wedding videographers that we're starting to wonder if we might be better off handing a camcorder to a college student and letting him loose around the reception.

Posted by The Groom at November 3, 2003 11:54 AM

Hey--L said she was very disappointed that I don't read this every day and post and tell you how much I love you (you know that already, right?) Anyway, kudos on your newfound fame--don't forget the little people! And yes, I do think you are an EXTREMELY talented writer!

Posted by: J in DC at November 4, 2003 09:14 AM

Sorry, I know i'm a total random to your blog, but I was reading the series on and came across yours. It was too much coincidence to pass up. My fiance and I also just got engaged in August and are getting married at a summercamp in Wisconsin. Hmm, maybe that is not all so thrilling. but anyway, good luck with everything planning-wise. if you come up with any earth-shattering camp wedding ideas feel free to pass them along.

Posted by: EM in Chicago at November 6, 2003 03:10 PM

>>L and I will continue our search for a straightforward, documentary-style videographer, ...<<

Have you tried a Google search? How about asking Jeeves "Who filmed N's Bar Mitzvah?" While you're at it, maybe you can find the band, too. (They sound better in person than they do in a silent movie.)

Posted by: N at November 7, 2003 06:33 PM

Go with the college student. Or a family member. Wedding videographers are hideous. And, trust me, I haven't found a documentary-styled one yet! :P

Posted by: C from Milwaukee at November 10, 2003 09:27 AM

My brother in law did my sister's wedding for free and it was great. He caught all the major points and of course knew who all the key people were and asked them to say something to the newlyweds during the reception. It was actually funnier than most wedding videos and as a result we all enjoyed watching. I dare say people would enjoy watching it more than one of those cheesy ones that cost over $1K!

Posted by: Luci in NY at November 13, 2003 02:24 PM