How to Find a Wedding Videographer Within Your Budget

Get a high-definition look into whether paying for a professional videographer on your wedding day is worth the money.

By Emily Forrest

couple embracing in front of art wall
Photo by Zola

Watching yourself on film can be a strange sensation, especially when what you’re viewing is a moment or event that you have a strong emotional connection to. When it comes to your wedding video, re-watching the most important moment of your life together as a couple is not strange in the least. On the contrary, it’s a beautiful reminder of the love and commitment you share with your partner. Like some sort of emotional time capsule, your wedding video will not only allow you to relive your past, but it will remind you about the hope you both share for the future.

Before you can ever watch your wedding video and relive those moments, you must first record the special day. To ensure that you capture the unfathomable joy of your wedding day in its entirety, Zola recommends hiring a wedding videographer.

While budget may be a concern, it’s not a reason to dismiss the need for a professional videographer. On the contrary, we recommend that part of your budget be dedicated to hiring someone who can oversee and execute this extremely important task of capturing your love story. Fortunately for you, Zola knows a couple of tricks to find an affordable videographer that fits your budget and creates amazing work.

Why You Need a Videographer

First, let's establish that yes, you absolutely do need a professional wedding videographer. Even if you’re of the mindset that there is no possible scenario where you would ever sit down and watch raw footage of your big day, respectfully, you're mistaken.

Something absolutely magical happens on your wedding day. As the moments blend together and time fades away, you become overwhelmed with the greatest joy you’ve ever experienced. We assure you that in the hours leading up to and following your wedding ceremony and reception, you experience the full range of emotions that stem from being madly in love.

Amid this haze of love, there are certain things your brain will forget. It seems crazy that you could possibly forget any details of your wedding day. Still, the truth is that your laser beam focus on your partner is so intense that it pushes every other detail into the background. Hiring a videographer to capture your wedding day not only ensures that you will be able to remember some of those lost details, but it also brings you back to that unbelievable feeling of love that you experienced on the day of your wedding.

Additionally, there are parts of your wedding that you will never get to see unless you hire a videographer. For example, the wedding parties get ready separately, and there are moments from each collective group setting that your videographer can capture. What would typically be an unknown aspect of your spouse's wedding day can be captured by your videographer in a way that you can laugh about and share with one another.

Similarly, there are moments that you, as a couple, may miss out on entirely. For example, the cocktail hour is a part of your reception that you’ll likely miss due to taking pictures. A videographer can capture highlights of this portion of the day so that you can witness the fruits of your planning.

How to Find a Wedding Videographer Within Your Budget Photo Credit // J. Lebron Photography

The DIY Approach

There has never been a time where shooting high-definition video is so easy to do. With so many affordable camera options on the market, it’s never been easier to simply point and shoot with incredible results. Even our modern smartphones are equipped with a superior camera lens that rivals the average digital camera of five years ago. The point is, if you’re committed to a DIY approach, finding the means to record great video is easily in reach.

Where the DIY approach to videography gets tricky is finding someone who knows what they are doing. Not in the sense of powering a camera and filming, but rather, knowing what to film, how to set up for the shot, and how to make sure you get the footage you need. Even if you ask a friend to be your DIY videographer, you’ll need to be very specific about what you expect them to film.

Trying to use a DIY setup for event videography will require a lot more planning and effort. Additionally, unless you already have a good amount of camera equipment, the cost of procuring all the necessary equipment may be just as much as hiring a professional for their videography services.

When going with a DIY approach, you need to be prepared for not getting all the footage you want. Where there is accountability with a professional videographer, there’s little to none for whoever is manning your DIY wedding videography operation. Even if you’re offering a small fee to the friend you're trusting to capture this special day, more often than not, the end result is less than ideal.

For such an important task, on such an important day, a professional is almost certainly the way to go. Unless you plan on setting up a stationary camera or two to capture the ceremony in its entirety, a DIY approach is not recommended.

Finding a Videographer

Before you can begin your search for a videographer, you need to decide how much of your budget you’re willing to sacrifice for high-quality video. The average cost of a wedding videographer is somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500. Keep in mind that videographers in NYC are going to be more expensive than those in rural areas.

While this may seem expensive, try to remember that this fee includes multiple cameras, one or two dedicated videographers to capture the day's events, sound equipment, and editing services. Most professional videographers offer packages that can be modified to your budget, but you may need to make some concessions about how much you receive in return.

Here are some of the best ways to find the right videography package for your budget:

  • Ask a Friend When it comes to finding a professional wedding videographer for your wedding, your best resource is your married friends. Utilizing your network of friends who have already been through this process is a great way to skip the hassle of trying to weed out applicants. If your friends had a videographer they loved, reach out to discuss cost.

  • Ask Work Colleagues Lots of videographers who shoot weddings do so as a side gig. This means that someone you work with may have connections to a videographer that specializes in corporate projects, who may be able to shoot your wedding on the cheap. If you’re in search of the cheapest wedding videographer with experience, you may be in luck in certain circumstances.

  • Search Online You’ll need to do your due diligence when hiring a videographer you found online, but often this is where you can find the best deals. Try searching message boards for film students, as they’re usually eager to practice their skills and could use some extra cash. Fair warning, you get what you pay for.

  • Talk to Your Venue Preferred vendors are a staple for the vast majority of wedding venues. The wedding industry is a tightly woven community of expert professionals who thrive on having good relationships with one another. As a result, it’s almost certain that your wedding venue has a trusted videographer who they work with almost exclusively. While preferred vendors aren't always a good fit, they’re an excellent place to begin your search, especially for something as specific as wedding videography.

Some venues even have staff videographers who may work at a discounted rate depending on the packages that your venue offers. Wedding packages, which include tiered benefits, such as pictures, video, etc., are a common upsell for wedding venues.

While they’re not always the most economical choice, wedding packages can offer value, especially for pictures and videos. Usually, the more tasks you hire a single vendor for, the cheaper those tasks become. The best option for your wedding will likely be based on your budget, but talking with your venue about preferred vendors is a great method for finding the right videographer for the job.

How to Find a Wedding Videographer Within Your Budget Photo Credit // Bells And Whistles Photography And Videography

The Editing Process

Once you amass all of this footage from your wedding day, you’ll need to put it together into one cohesive, edited video. Perhaps there will be multiple videos, ie. one for the ceremony and one for the reception, but usually, you’ll want your footage pieced together into one short film.

While most professionals offer wedding video editing as part of their services, it may be worth deciphering if it may be cheaper to use a separate editor. More often than not, it’s cheaper to simply obtain the raw footage from your videographer and have a different company or person edit it.

A good videographer can capture the joy of your wedding day in a way that you’re unable to experience while it’s happening. On the day of your wedding, your focus will be pulled in so many different directions that many of the interactions you have will be short-lived. A wedding video will allow you to relive your wedding day, while offering a different perspective that you were unable to experience firsthand.

The magic of a wedding feature film comes in its ability to provide you with even more memories of this incredible day. This added element of watching events you were not able to experience firsthand almost makes it like you were in two places at once. Believe us when we tell you that forgoing a videographer altogether is a great mistake in your wedding planning.

Budgeting for a wedding can be a challenge, but hiring a videographer is not one of the things you should cut corners on. The best method for hiring a videographer that fits your budget comes from being honest about what you can afford. Once you decide on the amount of funds you can dedicate to this crucial element of your wedding day, you can begin the search for your perfect videographer using these suggestions as your guide to success.

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