Bride Tips, Wedding Films

Wedding Video Pricing: What to Expect and Why


I had a great conversation with a bride last week, and I wanted to blog about it.  So often during the inquiry process, a couple will ask about prices, get sticker shock, and just ghost.  It’s business, and I don’t take it personally.  I know that some of these inquiries aren’t even ready to book yet, they’re just establishing expectations and working to set a budget; I may hear from them again in the future.  Others just might not be that interested, or our pricing is simply not conceivably within their budget.  

Some of those are just looking for the cheapest price, which makes me cringe a little.  

The Cost of Wedding Video

The Knot lists the 2017 average cost of basic wedding video at just under $2000.  I love how this article from ModWedding not only lists that figure, but they also list what that figure is likely to include.  The coverage and films that make up our product here are MotionWorks are not basic.  So I’m not even going to pretend that our prices are basic.  

We price our weddings in a very matter of fact way: we have this complicated spreadsheet where we plug in everything it costs us to make a wedding film, it adds everything up, and tells us how much to charge.  There are a few reasons why the number on our package might be different than some of the other quotes you may see. 

First, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. 

A lot of companies offer packages in the $2000-$3000 range that are rather basic.  They may not include 2nd shooters, drone coverage, those documentary edits, or even audio of your vows (items that are included in our Wedding Highlight Package).  
 
What does this mean for our couples?  There are no upcharges.  The price you see is the price you pay.  We aren’t going to come up to you at your reception if things are running behind schedule and ask if you’d like to pay us more to stay longer.  We aren’t going to try to upsell you on aerial footage or an extra shooter the month before your wedding.  And you definitely aren’t going to get a video that doesn’t have audio of your wedding vows because you weren’t aware that was a thing you had to ask for or pay extra for.  Those things are included. 
 
When shopping around, ask what is included and what isn’t.  The number one thing I tell people is to ask about audio!  Make sure you’re getting those vows.  I used to think that it would be a given for audio of the wedding ceremony to be captured and included in a wedding video, and more and more I find that is not the case….and I know from both the past 6 years of filming weddings and my own wedding….the audio of your wedding vows is one of the most precious things you can save for the future.  
 

Our price is indicative of our years in the wedding video industry. 

This isn’t a hobby for us, it’s a career.  Our business is registered, we pay taxes, we’re fully insured and licensed for things like drone coverage (you actually have to have a license from the FAA for that one).  Because of this, we’re deeply and personally invested in each wedding we film.  The weddings you see on our website aren’t the very best weddings we film; they are ALL of the weddings we film. 
 
Whether that wedding had a high budget and a lot of planning to make it look Pinterest fabulous, or a small budget used to create a sweet but meaningful affair; we make them all a great film that tells their personal story. 
 
From a client perspective, this means a certain level of assurance that we’re still going to be in business, doing quality work one year from now or 5 years from now.  We aren’t going to get bored and walk away from our hobby, and the films on our website aren’t just a few samples of the very best. We’re not going to have a camera fail, lose your footage before editing, or have some other technical error affect the quality of your film because of those boring (but costly) things like insurance and back up gear.
 
If you’ve asked recently married friends or family for recommendations, you may have found that the company they used no longer exists.  The turnover in our industry is SUPER high*; often clients will find the company that their best friend used just a year ago is already out of business.  
 
*Side note – the day after I sent this email, someone shared a videographer directory from a local wedding board on Facebook.  This thread was only 4 years old, but of the 10 companies who posted over 2 years ago, 7 are no longer in business.  Another does not list weddings as a service they provide on their website, the other has only one wedding video from 2011 on their site….and MotionWorks.  Turn over is high in with independent video companies.  Some of these companies stopped accepting bookings, filmed and delivered everything under contract, then moved on.  Others just closed up shop and ghosted, some without returning deposits or even letting a couple know that they were no longer planning on showing up. 
 
How do I know this?  Because I get calls each year from frantic brides who have been ghosted by a videographer. Why does this happen?  Because creators go into business because they love creating things.  Business isn’t something we think about, and after the first year or two, many creatives discover they are going into debt to make films because they aren’t priced appropriately, then get discouraged and close up shop.   
 
I can’t take credit for treating our creative endeavor like a business from day one.  I legit spent the first two years of our business having fun with a camera.  Chris had a spreadsheet from the very start.  
 

We’re a boutique wedding cinema company. 

This means when you hire Chris and I to show up and film your wedding; we show up to film your wedding.  A lot of companies have different teams of workers (some of them hired just weeks or days before your wedding), with varying degrees of quality and professionalism. You get us.  Our years of experience in the field, our existing relationships with all your other vendors, and the same filmmaking skills and storytelling style that you’ve seen on our website.  We limit the number of weddings we do each year to be able to offer each of our clients the same degree of personal attention and a film that is absolutely unique, not a cookie cutter film. 
 

Do your research!

The bottom line is that we want you to have a great wedding day, and a great wedding film.  We’d love it if MotionWorks is a part of that day, but if we’re not….that’s just business.  We don’t take it personally. If you are ready to start the conversation about your MotionWorks wedding film, contact me today.  I’d love to talk. 
 
I love it when inquiries have a list of questions for me.  I love talking about my craft, even when that conversation doesn’t lead to a booking.  I love sharing education about wedding video, because it’s not something I expect my clients to already know about.  For almost everyone I talk to, this is their first time planning a wedding or shopping for wedding services, and it’s nice to have someone hold your hand a little when you’re researching an important purchase for the first time. 
 
If your wedding vendor gets defensive or doesn’t want to answer your questions, treat that as a red flag and proceed with caution!
If those post helps you to hire a great videographer (even if it’s not us) then I’m a happy camper. If you’d like to receive more info like this in your inbox (usually about twice a month), sign up for the MotionWorks newsletter.  If you know of someone who is beginning to research and plan their wedding, be a good friend and share this post with them.  Friends help friends find great wedding films.   

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