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Hey future brides & grooms! It’s Paul Kwak, your local Maryland, Virginia, & Washington DC wedding videographer/filmmaker!

Your photographer will tell you exactly how to pose, be, and how much to smile – with teeth, without teeth, just a smidgen, etc…..but what do you do in front of OUR cameras?

HAIR & MAKEUP/GETTING READY:

Many times we tell our couples to pretend that we are not there. During the getting ready portion of your day, that is a little easier to heed. The brides have to sit there and not move too much anyways, so we like the reality of those situations. If a bride is grinning from teeth to teeth while getting her hair did, that’d be scary….

COUPLES PORTRAITS:

For couples portraits and sessions on the wedding day, many times after the photographer is done with a specific pose or setup, I will tell you guys to simply “Hold that pose!!” and sweep right in like an eagle and get my shot and move on. Literally can take 2 seconds sometimes.

Sometimes I will ask you to simply walk towards me looking at each other (without tripping in front of a large rock of course or falling down a set of stairs – none of which has ever happened, thank God!)

Sometimes I will ask the groom to twirl his bride like a ballerina to have her dress catch in the air.

If there is a little more cushion room in your schedule, we’ll get you guys in some epic, vast landscapes….

DON’TS:

What you DON’T want to do is pose in front of our cameras the way you typically would in front of a photographer’s camera, namely looking right at the lens, smiling big with a lot of teeth. We do rarely ask you to do the aforementioned things sometimes, but many times the photographer’s pose on video will look just like that – a pose for the photographer. It definitely looks – I hate to use the word staged or fake, but…… not authentic.

BEING YOURSELF:

Even though some of the direction coming from us is technically staged, the words used from us are at a minimum, creating an atmosphere and room for you two to take over and be yourself in those moments. And it shows in our films because these moments seamlessly fit right in with our editing style and looks and feels authentic with the tone of our films.

Now there are also moments we do not pose, but direct you two to just be as well. These candid moments are gold simply because generally in a timeline of a wedding day, things can feel rushed and hectic sometimes. These moments stick out because they’re pure and everything else going on throughout the day temporarily becomes a blindspot.

SUMMARY:

So to summarize, you DON’T need to worry how to pose. Your photographer will direct you well and the photographers and us can piggyback off each other. A lot of the day is trusting your photographer and your videographer and that we’ll direct and ultimately edit your wedding day into the masterpieces they deserve to be!

for your notethank you

Kirsten & Zak | 10/19/19 – Robin Hill Farm & Vineyard Southern Maryland

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Kirsten & Zak got married at the beautiful Robin Hill Farm & Vineyard right here in Southern Maryland. Local weddings are not only always good simply because of the distance, but because it’s still always so different from the Virginia vineyards, DC hotels, and other estates.

Something so simple about a farm, but this was no ordinary farm. The acreage spanned quite a lot of land as there was a vineyard, lots and lots of animals, particularly, a horse and goat who appeared to be best friends!

Simply Hitched from Hitched by Heather was the event planner and it’s always great to work with their team. Heather was the one who got my foot in the door and I officially became a Southern Maryland wedding videographer and moved on up to work in the Washington DC, Northern Virginia area primarily!

I was doing it part time when we lived in California, but in 2013-2014, we were looking to expand more and so she suggested I do a wedding for free. Got 3 additional weddings from the free wedding we did throughout the years, and many referrals. So to those starting out in any industry, I personally wouldn’t avoid doing all things for free. Some things are worth the sacrifice if you have the right vision, grit, and PASSION!

Now back to Kirsten & Zak!

We love that they booked us like almost a year and half out for their wedding! That is always the best compliment for us as a business – that we are worth it in a couple’s eyes, especially that early in advance.

Both of them got ready nearby each other getting ready for their first look. Once Michelle Whitley, their wedding photographer got them ready, Kirsten approached Zak and he saw her for the first time in her dress followed by some bridal party and portraits.

Luckily, the weather was good before some nasty rain the next day, and that there were still some Fall foliage….scratch that, not still, because the foliage came pretty late this Fall compared to how I remember it to be.

Once the ceremony started, many tears and laughs continued, thanks to Kirsten’s upbeat and cheerful personality. Their full vows are not in their highlights video above, but their vows are eerily very similar as Kirsten notes – in the video above. Destiny – like most of our couples!

They actually also work together! Like us, they are small business owners and own a Tropical Cafe Smoothie in a nearby plaza. So much props to them and I instantly had an even greater connection with them on top of the 25-30 hours I spent with them on my computer, editing their clips!

Yes, that is the number of hours I spend with each couple, sometimes up to 40, on my computer! But it really isn’t a chore. It’s a connection with two families embracing one another and a demonstration of a lifetime of love being poured out onto each other throughout the whole day! That is a really special thing that I am doing and something that I ENJOY!

I digress again! After the ceremony, more portraits were taken, this time at the vineyard, and we were preparing for the reception as well as getting some cocktail hour shots. Extra extra points for serving Neapolitan pizza for dinner from BricknFire Pizza Company after their beautiful first dance!

The rest of our coverage included some further dances, hilarious and heartfelt toasts, cake cutting, bouquet & garter toss, and some open dancefloor. Enjoy it all from their highlight film above! Watch and leave a comment and again, we are so thankful that Kirsten & Zak chose us to capture one of their most special days of their lives at the Robin Hill Farm & Vineyard!


Vendor Credits

Venue: Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Planner: Simply Hitched
Makeup: Miranda Paige Beauty Hair: The Hair Company

Florist: Sha Marie Designs, LLC Photography: Michelle Whitley Photography
Catering: BricknFire Pizza Company

Dress: Champagne Taste Bridal
Photobooth: SOMD Entertainment Cake & Cupcakes: The Front Porch

for your notethank you

Swapna & Bobby | 10/05/19 | Westfields Marriott Dulles Hotel

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Swapna & Bobby got married at their lavish spectacular wedding in Northern Virginia at the Westfields Marriott Dulles Hotel.

It was great to be back after almost 5 years had passed. It’s a local favorite for different cultural weddings. Previously we had done a Muslim/Hindu wedding here and it’s a great place to hold a really large party.

We were privileged to capture day number 3 of their 3 day extravaganza. If you didn’t know by now, Hindu weddings are multiple days with various types of customs and traditions. The more days the better. Get with the program, Americans!

The day started with both Swapna & Bobby being so welcoming as they were getting ready and prepping for their first look outside in the front of the hotel. A few tears were shed as all her jewelry was being put on her. I’m sure everything must have been pretty heavy! But you wouldn’t know from her excitement to see Bobby!

After more tears were shed upon seeing each other, we did some photo sessions with the always amazing Nat Wongsaroj Photography and the groomsmen and Bobby made their way further out in the front to prep for their Baraat.

Think of the Baraat as the bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom, but this time it’s a long celebratory walk/dance with groom’s side and family and friends making their way to greet the bride’s family and friends and perform a mini-ceremony.

During this walk/dance, sometimes the groom is on an elephant, horse, but in this case Bobby was in a nice car from Regal Limo Inc.

Ceremony

As the official ceremony began shortly afterwards the Baraat, Swapna makes her way with her parents in the outdoor ceremony beautifully arranged by Yaadein Weddings with flowers from Nova Blooms by Megan.

I love seeing how Indian ceremonies include so much of the parents, relatives, and friends in their unique customs.

There’s definitely some traces I see in Korean tea ceremonies with the types of foods involved, colors, different families’ blessings to the couple, and even the circling that occurs.

As they made their way out to their car for an exit, they made their way back to get some rest as well as change into their second formal outfits. We did some quick nighttime shots with Nat and began setting up for the grand entrance into their grand ballroom.

Definitely a highlight of the day is all the dancing and choreography involved. Bobby & Swapna performed a beautiful first dance followed by many performances from their bridal party and a highlight from the bride – a large group flash mob!

You can witness all of these in their highlights above! Watch and leave a comment! And enjoy this most special day in the lives of Swapna & Bobby!


Vendor Credits

Venue: Westfields Marriott Dulles
Planner: Preetie Exclusive Events
Decor: Yaadein Weddings Mendhi: Henna by Shazia

Florist: Nova Blooms by Megan, LLC Photography: Nat Wongsaroj Photography
Hair & Makeup: Salon SBS

Transportation: Regal Limo Inc.
DJ: DJ Lucky USA Bride Wedding Outfit: Frontier Bridal Boutique

for your notethank you

SUSIE & MICHAEL | 9/28/19 | Mayflower Hotel Washington DC

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It was great to be back at Mayflower Hotel Washington DC the second time this year! No matter how many times we shoot here, there’s something always fresh and unique to capture and it doesn’t help that Susie & Michael were always game to walk in and around the hotel to get some shots as well as some shots in nearby Georgetown.

But the day started out with some quick shots with Michael and his groomsmen. I brought along Andrew which was his first wedding assisting me (who is now my official second shooter)!

Michael was relaxed and enjoying his time and we were able to capture some of his details quickly before moving into the bridal suite. Susie was so kind as well which added to the comfortability of us shooting and being in our element.

Part of our job is to make our couples comfortable and relaxed as they have so many things to do and think about. Our couples being kind and relaxed is just the cherry and Susie & Michael were just that!

As much as we love first looks, we love just as much first looks at the ceremony. I remember bawling at my own wedding as I saw my bride, Susanna, walking down the aisle with Canon-D playing in the background. Michael also became emotional seeing Susie walk down the aisle and we just live for these moments!

The ceremony went without a hitch and they both gave eloquent, heartfelt vows to each other which you can hear in the video above! Although the ceremony went without a hitch, the start time was a little delayed which made for a rush of a trip to Georgetown to capture their portrait sessions.

Paul Woo from Wandering Woo Photography was awesome to work with because he’s quick and fast! He had to be, but you’ll be amazed the amount of things that we can capture and you’ll never be able to tell when looking at our video that we were rushed for time, so don’t sweat it if things get delayed. Delays happen all the time and we are ready for it!

We love Historic Georgetown as there are so many picturesque scenes with the old and modern. When we all Uber’d back to Mayflower Hotel DC, we got ready for the grand entrance which we love at the Mayflower because they welcome everyone on a terrace in the grand ballroom.

They performed their first dance and was followed immediately by the Lion Dancers, which is a traditional wedding custom and performance from acrobatic Chinese dancers – Michael, being Chinese.

With Susie, being Korean, they also did a Paebaek traditional tea ceremony which we love shooting because Susanna and I did not do one at our own wedding. The lack channels into passion in what we do which I have expressed multiple times throughout the years! Haha.

The rest of the evening went smoothly and beautifully with Fluffy Thoughts Cakes always delivering extravagant cakes and a sparkler exit in the back of the Mayflower. We are again so happy for Susie & Michael entrusting us to capture their wedding day and also entrusting our vision in the final product! Congrats again to you two!

Check out their Highlights above, leave a comment, and be inspired by the awesome vendor team with their links below!

Vendor Credits

Venue: Mayflower Hotel Autograph Collection DC
Planner: Gilded Leaf Events
Florist: Blooms Reston Floral Photography: Wandering Woo Photography
Hair: Hairxjojo

Makeup: Suhreal Artistry
DJ: DJ Phlipz Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes Lion Dancers: Yee Association @ Washington CYC Korean Paebaek Ceremony: Wedding Story, LLC

for your notethank you