In 2004 I wrote a book filled with everything I had witnessed , observed, experienced from all of my 11 years of shooting (and even editing) weddings, in hopes that I would never do it again. You can still buy copies of “Notes of a Retired Wedding Videographer” on Amazon.
In the spring of 2015, after 10 years of being out of the business, I messed up. An editor who was a friend of a friend asked me to video his daughter’s wedding & he will edit since that is his profession. I needed the funds, I hate to say. Eventually, I learned that she was marrying into a kind of mob family, and she did not want the event to be videoed. “OK” is my thought. In my book I mentioned some of the times that I have been punched, kicked, groped, told to “fuck off” and even given the finger for doing as I was hired for. I guess after a few drinks the guest forgot that I and any Videographer/photographer are not shooting the event for free….(duh) However, I am usually hired by the bride which is KING in safety for us tech people. Especially if you are a woman, of which I am.
At this event, I had the bride giving me looks of scorn which eventually escalated to her giving a bridesmaid a nod, who then followed that nod by a punch or kick to my person. My second, unmanned camera was almost kicked over to the ground. Luckily I was able to catch it. The room was turning hostel yet I still had to get the shot. As a trained camera person, I CAN NOT MISS THE SHOT! I never did, I never will. The show must be captured, to turn a phrase. Eventually the bride and groom left the dance floor, as well as their “posse” and things were looking slim. The dad regretfully walked over to my side, and told me that I could go home. I could tell he was heart broken. We had yet to capture his dance with his daughter. There were folks there who knew the complete family history, just waiting for Death to stop in and help them along to the next adventure. I did get a few stories out of these folks and told the dad. His sadness lifted a bit. I could tell, this is not the match-up he wanted for his daughter. I could tell, he saw the long term of wanting this video. As I write this, remembering my wedding, I made sure to have video and my dad made sure to leave a few messages that I go back to every now and then. He was wise, he had served in 2 wars, grew up during the end of the depression, always focused on enjoying life, and loved my mom and me. Many people forget the longevity of these wedding videos. They are not something to watch everyday, and they can be forgotten for many years, yet when they are played the impact is greater than a faded human memory. This takes long term, “think outside the box” thinking that I see less and less of with younger generations. They think more of the now, make some life plan without really realizing the full impact, and when they are old have so many regrets. I made up my mind in youth to not regret, “Just do it” as Sir Richard Branson once wrote. Of course, as much as I try, regret will still happen. However, I plan to have fewer than most.
Of course I was very happy to leave the wedding. I had only suffered mild bumps from the guys who thought they were “tough Guys”. I’ve shot tae kwon do weddings with more kicking and punching than the “mob” wedding who wanted to frighten me. I even had one of the “guys” ask me if I wanted him to escort me to my car to “be safe.” I told him I have an SUV, taser, and to much gear to look after to keep me and him safe, “but thank you.” 😉 We were nowhere near any kind of danger other than them in general. However, he and that wedding are in danger of being in the potential of an updated book that I don’t know I want to write. I have other, better story ideas in mind. 😉
The “retired wedding videographer” has no desire to ever go back again. That wedding helped remind me of the “why” factor vs the “money” factor. I refuse to shoot depositions in prisons and mainstream courthouses for the same “why” factor. It’s just not worth the potential for physical damage. Weddings can be dangerous on so many levels.