Wedding Videography Checklist

Plan the important shots using a wedding videography checklist

Photographer shoots a couple during their wedding
Getty Images/Karen Kasmauski

Shooting the video of a wedding is a big responsibility that comes with a level of stress. The best way to reduce the stress and film everything the couple wants is to plan the shots ahead of time and have the right equipment to capture those shots.

Talk with the participants to get a feel for the timeline of the activities and be in the right place at the right time. Keep a list of important shots with you as you shoot the wedding footage and make sure you capture everything the bride and groom expect to see.

Recommended Reading: How to Use a Video Camera

Must-Have Wedding Shots

There is only one first kiss at the end of the ceremony. If you miss it, there is no re-do. Good planning puts you in the right place to capture these must-have moments.

Traditional wedding video shots that should be part of every wedding video include:

  • Groom waiting at altar
  • Processional with bride's entrance
  • Reciting vows
  • First kiss as married couple
  • Recessional 
  • First dance
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet toss

Preparation Shots

Some of the preparation shots can be captured ahead of time, but some – such as when the groom is pinning on his lapel boutonniere – require some staging or good timing.

Before the ceremony, look for these shots:

  • Bride and bridesmaids getting ready
  • Exterior shot of church
  • Interior wide shot of church
  • Altar
  • Flowers in church
  • Wedding program
  • Groom and ushers hanging out
  • Pinning boutonniere on groom

The Ceremony

Most videographers agree that capturing the ceremony footage is the hardest part of wedding videography. If you have an assistant who can record from a second angle, you'll get better ceremony footage – views of both the groom's face and the bride walking down the aisle, for example.

Other aspects of shooting video of the ceremony include:

  • Guests being escorted down the aisle
  • Guests sitting, reading programs and talking
  • Family members entering church
  • Father kissing bride and handing off to groom
  • The ceremony. Record it all if you have the space and edit later.
  • The must-have shots mentioned previously of the groom at the alter, the processional and bride's entrance, the first kiss and the recessional

The Reception

With the tough business of filming the ceremony over, you can relax a bit and have fun at the reception – as long as you record all the fun for posterity.

Look for these opportunities:

  • Exterior shot of reception site
  • Guests signing guest book
  • Receiving line
  • Champagne toast 
  • Guests enjoying cocktail hour
  • Servers passing food
  • Ice sculpture
  • Table tags
  • Gift table
  • Wide shot of reception room
  • Close up of place settings
  • Guest favors
  • Centerpiece
  • Blessing
  • Toasts
  • First dance of couple
  • Parent dances
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet toss
  • Garter removal
  • Last dance of the evening
  • The newlyweds as they exit the reception

The Unexpected

Even with a prepared list of shots, be open to unexpected opportunities to capture the mood of the day. Watch for the ring bearer and flower girl to giggle or play and capture a glance between the newlyweds, a spontaneous (or planned) group dance, or the happy tears of a parent. These emotional moments add immensely to the wedding video.

Task your assistant, if you have one, with capturing casual groupings of guests who won't appear in the formal wedding photos and fun shots of people laughing, dancing and celebrating. 

Then the fun really begins – editing all your footage down to a wedding video that is short but captures all the important, fun and tender moments of the couple's special day.