The importance of wedding films
A time capsule is an apt description of what we create in a wedding film. It’s a historic cache of good times, family, friends and love which I believe are the truest treasures of all.
A best man quoted an American labour leader and civil rights activist called Cesar Chavez during a recent speech. Intrigued by the unknown individual I took a little time to research the man and in my educating found a quote that again is rather apt.
Cesar Chavez said,
“True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.”
In mentioning the legacies we leave behind Cesar Chaves was right! For in film we have the ability to communicate through generations, to inspire those with the goodness in our lives, in the demonstration of love, of living and of celebrating those things.
In my youth, as many do, I had a carefree attitude towards time. Perhaps this is an honest aspect of youth, to have a disregard, a naivety towards the inevitable end but as I’ve aged and my role in life turned to husband then of Father I realise how cavalier I was.
There seem to be darker tones which linger in my mind these days, it’s the juxtapositions in life, a fear found in the loss of the things I love because there are beautiful moments in life but equal pain that comes along with them.
It is the reason I continue to create the films I do, to celebrate the joyous moments so to balance the sad.
Not capturing my wedding day on film was certainly the spark that imbued Cinemate with life but as the years have passed and I have had the privilege of being invited into the fold of many incredible family moments. I have gained a certain perceptive towards the importance our role plays for these families in their present and in their futures. It is an honour and a responsibility I hold in the highest regard.
In pondering the importance our visual legacies have to the generations we leave behind, my mind pivots to the more selfish aspects of the visuals we invest in and capture. How do our own films affect us?
There are many avenues I could write about and from a plethora of scenarios but I want to focus on those that personally strikes me as the most devastating and that I fear the most, the loss of loved ones.
As I continue, Cinemate bride Lisa, aids me in my writing.
Gary and Lisa had been together for thirteen years, five of which had been spent married and of course, it was ourselves who captured their wedding in film. As we spent time with them on their day it was clear that they both had a sense of humour, in fact, Lisa described themselves as “big kids who could switch from super serious and responsible one minute to silly and giggly the next.” Their wedding day went as planned, it was an entertaining, fun day filled with laughter and happiness.
“We loved that we were having photographs and video to capture all of the things we wouldn't see, the little candid moments that are so fleeting”.
However, Gary had been diagnosed previously with Angina in 2008 and unfortunately went on to have a total of eight stents implanted and an ICD (personal defibrillator) between Dec 2016 and Feb 2018. In Dec 2016 he had approximately three silent heart attacks and it was by sheer luck he went to the doctor as he had none of the symptoms of a heart attack. On March 22nd, 2018 he had another suspected heart attack and when in hospital his heart stopped and it could not be stabilised enough for them to operate. Simply his heart could not go on anymore and he passed with Lisa at his side.
Ever since their wedding I have been friends with them on Facebook and had reached out with well-wishes earlier in the year when I heard of Gary’s passing however when writing this blog decided to reach out again for any insight Lisa could offer. Lisa was extremely open and honest with me so much more than I thought she would be due to the severity of the subject.
Aletter from lisa
In all honesty, her openness was overwhelming and as I don’t want to dilute any of the poignancy of what she wrote me I shall let Lisa continue in her own words…
“The most important things in my wedding film are the shots of family and friends just enjoying the day, the speeches and Gary singing to me for our first dance. It was a day of very long preparation and the culmination of so many hours of planning. We had family members and friends together for the first time in years or ever and it was such a great thing to see their faces in the film. My mum’s aunt who was in the film sadly passed away the year after so it was lovely to be able to show her smiling and looking so lovely to her family.
I have always known that I would appreciate the wedding video over the years as family members passed away and kids grew up. But I, of course, did not consider losing Gary so young. I have not watched the film all the way through yet since Gary passed, So far I have picked certain parts to watch and some of the unused footage too. I am building up to watching the whole thing soon. I watched it to remember what Gary’s voice sounded like, and my dad’s. To try and find a part where I could hear Gary’s booming laugh as that is what I miss more than anything the physical contact, of course, is missed but the silence of voices and laughter is what truly hurts. Gary was such a loud and loving person that I miss everything from the silly crap jokes to the raucous laughter at a comedy gig. Then the cheeky face he would pull when he says something cheeky.
Watching the video and hearing his voice helps me a lot to remember that although he is gone, I really did have an amazing man for 13 and a half years and although it was far from a smooth ride, I had strength to go through a lot with his health problems and his family problems and I still managed to smile a true smile.
Wedding photos are great to have but they are silent and still, we are like that when we are dead.
Forever silent and forever frozen in place. It’s the video that means so much more, the life, the laughter, the love you can see it animated and alive. Hearing the voices and the warmth in them, the accents and funny little quirks in the way someone speaks. I can almost recite the best man speech from our wedding as I loved hearing Gary’s booming laugh in the background. I don’t see him but boy do I hear him. That brings such a warm feeling to me and although I cry my heart out I also laugh along with him watching it.
My advice for couples getting married is VIDEO YOUR WEDDING! If not, for now, there will be someone at sometime in the future that will be in that video that you wish you could see moving again and hear their voice. I have a colleague who wishes with her whole heart that she still had something with her mother’s voice on it as that is the one thing she found comforted her when she was young. Now that her mother is gone she misses her soothing tone and would give anything to have it back.
My dad is gone and I have no other video of him except my wedding video. I have photos and video when he doesn’t talk but hearing his voice has meant a lot too. In short, I owe you a lot for agreeing to film our wedding and for allowing us to buy all of the raw footage too. I will be putting the video and also the sound files onto my iPod for me to listen to or watch when I need that little boost.”
A time capsule certainly is an apt description then. I shall be putting more priority in keeping these treasures in the present and not let them slip away into the past.
– Simon Ferguson