Vendors & Your Seating Plan: Setting Us Up For Success

Christian PetersonComment

As wedding filmmakers, about 90% of our time is spent working on our feet. We don't want to miss a moment – that's why we're busy shooting from morning to evening, making sure to capture the preparation process, the ceremony and everything in between. 

Most days it's not until halfway through the reception that we have a chance to sit down, but even then, we're still working. What's our strategy for introductions? How's the audio, the lighting? What angles are we planning on using for the first dance? These are questions we're asking ourselves as your guests prepare to enter from cocktail hour. The ability to work silently, efficiently, and most importantly, invisibly, is essential to us as the storytellers of your wedding.

That's why it's important to seat your vendors strategically in the reception hall.

We want to be as discreet as possible but we also need great visual access to the main stage. At the end of the day, we understand that vendors are there to lend our support to your wedding, not steal focus. Where you decide to seat us in the dining hall makes a big difference for what we can and can't do. 

Here's a list of tips to help you place your filmmakers right where they need to be on your seating plan to get the best shots possible, as well as some friendly facts to help you smooth the process for your vendors on your wedding day.

Seat Us In The Dining Room

Some couples choose to seat their photographers and filmmakers in a separate room, away from the hustle and bustle of the dining room during the reception. While that may seem like the considerate thing to do in regards to privacy and workspace, its actually counterproductive for us as imagemakers. Running back and forth from room to room leaves us less time for the important tasks, like recording, and disconnects us from the natural flow of your wedding. 

No matter how diligent you are, there's always surprises like an unexpected toast or an impromptu hug from Grandma during dinner. That's the beauty of weddings – the fact that they rarely go exactly as you planned, leaving room for candid moments. But if you don't seat your filmmakers in the dining room with the rest of your guests there's a chance we'll be missing out on capturing all those spontaneous moments that will make your wedding video that much better.

All that being said, we don't want to disturb your reception. A table placed at the back of the hall gives us a chance to take a breather while still being present and accessible when needed. We can keep our cameras right by our side while we eat and be ready to pick them up at a moment's notice. Plus, it's great to be able to connect with your other vendors; it fosters collaboration. Our personal preference is for the table to be as close to the DJ or audio board as possible so that we can quickly double-check sound quality before important speeches. 

Give Us A Heads Up

Most weddings tend to go off schedule, which means that it's difficult for us to know when, for example, the best man will do his speech. We can react, but we can't guess. Having the co-ordinator or MC give us a signal about 5 minutes before any speech is key. It'll give us time to adjust camera focus, check the audio, and start recording before any important programming starts instead of midway through.

Eating On The Job

On the day of the wedding, your filmmaker will likely include in their contract that they need to be fed. We don't care if we receive a multiple-course meal or a vendor meal (a simpler meal than you'd serve your guests). But do keep in mind how long it's been since we last ate. I'm a member of a lot of videographer forums online and I can tell you that failing to provide meals to your vendors is often a source of frustration and can be very detrimental to your relationship with your vendors. We love our couples, but when we arrive at the reception and are told that our meal will be served 'later', it's a bit tough to stay upbeat.

However you decide to work out the logistics, just keep in mind that vendors have often been working a very long day and likely deserve a break.

Be Open

We've had couples tell us that they'd rather their vendors not drink alcohol during the reception because they've had bad experiences at other weddings. We can understand that. However, most high-end vendors will act in a professional manner and would never do anything detrimental to your special occasion. That being said, you should feel free to share any concerns you may have with us ahead of time.

Our work with you is based on trust and honesty. That's why we wrote this blog post: not only to share some ins-and-outs of wedding filmmaking with you but also to be honest about what makes us feel respected and excited for the work ahead. After all, it's much easier to care about people that care about us!