Bride and Groom at Sunset

Wedding Film Style

Documentary vs Cinematic

When researching wedding films, terms like, cinematic and  documentary are often mentioned, but what does it all mean? 


They are two main approaches or styles taken when creating a wedding film. These are documentary style and cinematic style. It is important for a couple to decide on what style they would like before their wedding day as this will have a major impact on how the wedding film is shot. By default, we shoot a documentary style for all our packages unless otherwise instructed. 


Documentary Style Wedding Film


Our preferred style of wedding filmmaking is a documentary style, and is a standard offering with all our packages. A documentary edit follows the wedding day in sequential order from preparations to ceremony, photoshoot, speeches, meal, and dancing. A documentary edit normally includes the entire wedding service, whether church or civil ceremony based. Documentary edits can vary in length from around 60 minutes for a wedding which has a quick ceremony with no music, reading or reflections, to 90 minutes for a wedding which has about a 30 minute wedding service, to between 120 and 150 minutes, or even longer for a wedding which has a church based wedding service. This compares to an average length of 6- 7 minutes for a cinematic edit.


Why do we prefer a documentary style? 

Our feeling is that while a cinematic wedding film has an initial WOW factor, and is more suitable to share and consume with family and friends via social media, this WOW factor dulls after every time it's viewed. 


The very sad reality of life is that people who attend a wedding day will not be around forever, and having a detailed documentary film of your wedding day will become a priceless treasure, where you can relive key moments of your day as they happened in real life. Also, we believe that children will appreciate a documentary edit of your wedding day, and is something that can be thoroughly enjoyed agan and again, in 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years time. 


In essence, our strong belief is that a cinematic film is a nicer film in the short term, but longer term we believe a documentary edit offers considerably more opportunities for enjoyment.   


Highlight Package

A highlight package is a hybrid of a documentary and a cinematic film edit. It is available as an additional add-on to some of our packages and is included with others. A highlight package takes the very best pieces of the documentary edit, plus some footage that might not be in the documentary edit as the footage would have been shot with the highlight edit in mind. This is a 3-4 minute highlight film, which includes some cinematic style footage and is ideal for sharing on social media. A highlight wedding film complements a documentary wedding film, it does not replace it. Basically, the highlight package exists to allow couples who opt for a documentary edit to share the key and best moments of their wedding day on social media. 


Cinematic Style Wedding Film

A cinematic style wedding film, is, by its nature, more “cinematic”, and therefore slightly more staged. In some cases, scenes, such as a first look, may have to be recorded several times from different angles to get the footage required for editing. This can consume valuable time from the Bride and Groom on their wedding, and, by its nature, is not a totally accurate account of what occurred during the wedding day. However, style wedding films compress the day into about 6-7 minutes of footage, which looks and sounds epic, and is ideal for social media distribution.