See you in St. Kitts!

I’ve known many photographers who have been fortunate enough to get booked for an occasional destination wedding here and there, and all I could ever do was envy them from afar while covering my own “destination” wedding in places like Louisville or Cincinnati. But an amazing thing happened over the past few days… I just got booked to videotape a wedding in St. Kitts in the Caribbean! Jill & Kevin were referred to me by Tonya Shadoan of Circle City Planners (can’t thank you enough, Tonya!), and during our meeting, I was telling them about a wedding that we had previously covered with their photographer Hether Miles. As it turned out, that bride is Kevin’s sister! (Here’s the video clip from Jennifer’s wedding in 2004. You might recognize her from the TV ads for Watson’s, which Kevin manages.) From that point on, it just seemed meant to be, and I could not be more excited to capture these unforgettable days in their lives coming up in April. To make things even more interesting, Jill & Kevin are going to wait until they arrive there days in advance to pick the spot where they will exchange vows. In addition to the various celebrations sure to take place there, the couple will also have a reception at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on 5/12/07, which we will cover as well. Photographer Angela Talley just happened to shoot a wedding in St. Kitts a few weeks ago, and she was kind enough to share the images with me at her home last Friday. (I hope she forgives me for drooling on her keyboard.) Here’s one of my favorites, taken on one of the island’s black sand beaches:

I was honored to be invited by Tracy Heine to her open house at LaBella Bride of Zionsville last night. Tracy and I met as booth neighbors at a bridal show a couple of years ago, and I was immediately impressed with her business smarts and fashion sense, not to mention her sweet demeanor. She’s been great to me ever since, so there was no way I was going to miss her open house. I had a wonderful time there with Tracy, and it was great to see Stacy and Mary and Jessica Strickland there as well. My eyes probably started glazing over when the ladies (I just now realized I was the only guy there) started talking about the gowns, but I can just blame it on that mysterious “punch” they were serving. Anyway, thanks for a wonderful time, Tracy!

I’ve always wanted to check out the Premier Bridal Connection weekly open house, so this was a perfect opportunity, since it was right on my way home. Not sure what I was expecting, maybe something like a formal bridal show with fewer vendors, but I was pleasantly surprised by the casual, laid back atmosphere. I can see why this has been such a successful, pressure-free environment for brides to drop in and scope out some truly top-notch services. I’ve only recently gotten to know Jeremy Gearries of DJs Direct, but it’s already obvious the guy has a new idea every minute bursting out of his head. Kind of like me, but with the personality to sell it. The best part, and main reason I dropped in, was to say “hi” to Brandon and Cybil New of B&C Digital Media, since we don’t get to chat nearly as much as we should. I have a lot of respect for them as artists, and even more so as people. I hope they didn’t mind staying the extra hour to chat. It can sure take a while to catch up!

Over the past few days, I’ve received a couple of very nice e-mails from some recent brides, starting with this one from Katherine Beiting regarding the video from her 8/26/06 wedding:

Bob, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a lengthy note to you to express our sincere thanks for the amazing wedding video. We received everything so quickly….I was amazed at how fast you were able to edit our video and ship out the final product. The quality of the video was superb and was not sacrificed in the least for the speed in which we got it. My parents were in town the weekend I received the video, so they were able to see it while they were visiting. Everyone absolutely loved it! I remember way back when I was planning for my wedding and was becoming increasingly more frustrated with some of the sample videos I was viewing from other videographers in the area. The sound quality and the uniqueness of the editing were leaving something to be desired. When I got your email advertising your services I was immediately drawn to your website. I really appreciated how well laid out your website was with pricing information and tons of samples…since I was planning my wedding from out of town. Not only was your unique style what I was looking for, but the finished product was better than I could have imagined. Thank you also for including the rehearsal taping in your packages. I thought it was nice how you came the day before the wedding to “scope things out” and get some of those unique shots that you could have missed if you only came for the wedding itself. In our case, you got some great footage of the stained glass when the sun was shining through, which didn’t exactly happen on our cloudy wedding day. Thanks again for all of your hard work and your professionalism. I didn’t even know you were there for most of our wedding day, yet you captured the spirit of the day beautifully. All of our friends think the video is great and I will not hesitate to refer to you if I know anyone who is getting married in the area. I’m so glad we hired you to film our wedding and our video is truly amazing. We love it!

Thanks again,
Katherine Beiting

And here’s one from Christi Soule, who enjoyed the video of her 9/9/06 wedding:

Hi Bob! I wanted to tell you how much we love the video! It really captured the excitement and joy that Eric and I both still remember from our day. It was neat to see how the story fit together on film. You paid great attention to detail, and this video will help us relive the happiest moment in our lives forever! I will definitely be referring IndyVisual to all my engaged friends!

Thanks again,

I’m not sure how many other wedding videographers out there work out of a studio away from home, but from what I’ve gathered here and there, I’m one of the few. It all started about a dozen years ago, when after welcoming an umpteenth couple into my house to the sound of a dog barking and pots clanging, and then asking them to follow me up the stairs to my “studio” in a spare bedroom, I suddenly realized that I just didn’t feel very “professional.” Nothing they hadn’t experienced with other vendors, I’m sure, but my desire to present myself in a more professional manner and differentiate myself from my competitors led me to move the business out of the house. After a few years of paying rent (ah, overhead – THAT’s why I was working from home!), my wife and I finally purchased a small office building from which I have operated since 1998, and I haven’t looked back. It’s been a great situation – two other tenants have essentially made the mortgage payments for me, and I’ve been able to continue keeping home and work separated.

That is, until this week. There have been moments when I have actually missed the comfort of dragging out of bed and walking straight to my “office” down the hall, or getting some editing done on those nights when I can’t turn my brain off. On a few occasions over the past couple of years, I’ve unplugged the PC and brought it home for a day to escape the growing mountain of paperwork and just focus on completing a project. Focus was especially hard to come by last week, since as I’ve been telling most people, my brain was still in Hawaii. So for the first time since who knows when, I decided to camp out at home this week to work on a couple of weddings, and so far it’s been pretty fun. It’s been nice to run to the fridge to grab a snack, or to hang out with the kids while a video file is rendering. Best of all, I’m finally caught up to where I wanted to be editing-wise. I’m starting to get a tad anxious to get back to a real office environment now that I have my focus back. But this has been a fun experiment, and I’ll look forward to camping out here again sometime, perhaps on a few miserable snowy days this winter.

Right as I was ready to wind down from the busiest wedding season I’ve have ever had, I got a last-minute booking for Sandy & John’s wedding at Second Presbyterian Church and reception at the Broadmoor Country Club. While most of our clients book us about six months to a year in advance, we do get quite a few late bookings each year from brides who come to appreciate how quickly their big day is going to come and go, and therefore appreciate the value of having their wedding festivities professionally videotaped. Unfortunately, I have to turn most of these brides away, but thankfully, I had yesterday available. I’m kind of an internet nut, so I was tickled to discover that this was the first time I was booked purely as a result of a good “old-fashioned” Google search. Although most of our business stems from established relationships with clients and vendors, supplemented by some targeted internet advertising, I’ve put some effort into designing our website so that its search engine rankings would be maximized. Now I have proof that it works!

We’ve covered quite a few ceremonies at this beautiful landmark church (designed in part by the great-grandfather of videographer Laurie Buschmann, who assisted), so it’s hard for any wedding to truly stand out there – they’re all “big” at Second Presbyterian. But Sandy & John’s wedding was certainly appropriate for the grand setting, partly due to the huge size of the bridal party, but mostly because of the strong sense of family and community among their guests that has been nurtured throughout their 8-9 years of courtship. In the “small world” department, their reader turned out to be Laurie’s college roommate of four years.

The reception, in addition to being simply beautiful, was an impressive display of logistical planning. The Broadmoor CC staff and consultant Caren Pearlman found an ingenious way to fit what seemed like 300 guests into the limited space. It involved lots of long tables (which actually enhanced the feeling of community among the diverse guests) and by far the largest head table I’ve ever seen – a huge L-shaped table spanning two edges the dance floor which seated 40 people! The band Living Proof was fairly new to the wedding scene, but judging by the way they kept the floor packed with their energetic blend of classic and current R&B, they’ll be around for as long as they want to be. The best part of the day for me personally was hanging out and catching up with photographer and friend Angela Talley about her new baby girl Lucia. I felt like a kid in a candy store when she handed me her camera at the end of the night and let me snap a few shots with the fisheye lens.


Since October I’ve been trying to start blogging in a different format, where every stage of a client’s video production process is reported and updated in a single blog entry devoted to that client, organized by wedding date. So my report about the wedding day, as well as the eventual posting of any photos, highlight segments, feedback and other follow-up will all be conveniently located under one client’s listing instead of scattered over several posts. Hopefully that’ll make this blog a little easier to follow and more fun to read. That said, I have some scattershot catch-up reporting to do here with some pre-October weddings that I completed prior to my vacation last week, so here we go…

Katherine & Michael’s ceremony took place amidst the stunning architecture of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica in Covington, KY, followed by their reception at the Drees Pavilion overlooking the beautiful Cincinnati skyline:

Julie & Paul were one of the first couples ever married at the beautiful new Coxhall Gardens in Carmel. Paul’s surprise serenade to Julie was the highlight of their reception at the Bridgewater Club:

Lynn & Nathan travelled all the way from their new home in California to exchange vows at St. Vincent de Paul Church in her hometown of Shelbyville, followed by a lively celebration in the fellowship hall next door:

Lynn & Nathan’s Highlight Segment – 9/9/06

Christi & Eric tied the knot at my church, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, before packing the dance floor at the Meridian Hills Country Club:

Christi & Eric’s Highlight Segment – 9/9/06

We’re back!

Wow – what an incredible time I had with my family in Kauai! I can’t begin to describe the beauty of the island and the many unforgettable moments we experienced, at least not in this space with so much catching up to do. The moments that linger the most… Entering the Grand Hyatt’s open-air lobby with its perfectly framed view of the Pacific Ocean. Kayaking in their lagoon. Eating Hawaiian shave (not shaved) ice – I’ll never touch a snow cone again! Watching our oldest son Matthew do the hula onstage at a luau. The many stunning views around the island, particularly the Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Valley and pretty much every coast. Dodging roosters on the roads. I’m sensing a ramble coming on, so I’ll cut it short here and leave you with a simple snapshot from our patio that just about says it all for us.

While I am covering Lynn & Josh’s wedding day today, Laurie will be on duty for the second straight weekend to cover Jody & Jason’s wedding and reception at the Bridgewater Club. Consultant Kay Krober of Kay Krober Invitations and Celebrations was kind enough to refer Jody to us, and Gloria Boyden of Events by Design will be on hand to help run the show. Sunny Moon will be spinning tunes at the reception to keep the party rolling. It’s always a kick to already know how the night is going to go and how much fun the couple and their guests are going to have, long before they realize it themselves!

I already covered Jody & Jason’s rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Thursday night. As we walked through the ceremony in the outdoor tent, it became obvious what a stunning view of the golf course and all the beautiful leaves the guests are going to have. If the forecast is correct, this should be a perfect fall day. After a brief stop at the couple’s house to show her family and friends the photomontage video I created for them, we all went to the Levee in Noblesville for some delicious roasted chicken in an intimate sports bar atmosphere. The couple cut and served a sinfully delicious chocolate groom’s cake later in the evening. Jody & Josh are such a kind and down-to-earth couple, so I expect Laurie to have a wonderful time working with them today.

Update (11/2/06): Laurie updated me yesterday on Jody & Jason’s wedding, and it sounds like everything went beautifully to match their perfect fall day. Kay, Gloria and Sunny all reiterated the same thing at the Perfect Wedding Guide luncheon I attended yesterday. Jody’s ears must have been burning, because she called me later in the day to chat about what a great day she had. After a laid-back start to the reception, Jody’s friends gathered on the floor for a group picture, and Sunny swooped right in with the perfect song to keep them and the rest of the crowd glued there the rest of the night. (A classic Sunny Moon trick!)

I’ll need to start the blog entries for today’s weddings before the fact, since once I’m done covering Lynn & Josh’s wedding tonight, it’s straight to bed to rest up for our early flight to Kauai. Hopefully, I’ll remember enough about the weddings when I return to go into a little bit more detail.

Lynn & Josh will be exchanging vows at Bethlehem Lutheran Church today. For whatever reason, the other two ceremonies that I have shot there have been for two of our all-time favorite clients, so I consider that church a good-luck charm. Then we’ll move on to the reception in the lodge of the Riverwalk Banquet Center and Lodge, our first reception in that specific building since about ten years ago when the Riverwalk was called the Crystal Yacht Club. I’ve met photographer Mike Bizila on a few occasions but never worked with him before, so it’ll be fun to get to know him. I have worked with DJ Mark Allam several times over the years, but it’s been awhile since the last time. He used to get the microphone out and actually sing Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” perfectly, so much so that I once absent-mindedly tried to chat with him while the song was playing, forgetting that he was singing live! We’ll see tonight if that’s still part of his repertoire.

Update (11/2/06): Now that it’s after the fact, I am happy to report that everyone involved in this wedding – the couple, Mike Bizila, Mark Allam and the Riverwalk staff – was a pure joy to work with. I got some great shots of Mark hamming it up to “Play That Funky Music” in a 70’s disco wig, among other moments that Lynn & Josh missed that they’ll be glad to see on video. The night’s good vibes definitely set the perfect no-worries tone for my departure for Hawaii the next morning.

Aloha? Oy!

Sometime this week, I was planning to share my excitement about my vacation coming up next week in Kauai, but I’ll have to admit that yesterday’s earthquake in Hawaii has me a little bit freaked out. If it would’ve hit exactly one week later, we would have experienced it first-hand and likely been stranded at the Honolulu airport. Fortunately, there were no casualties or tsunamis (we’re planning lots of beach time), and it looks like it’s all over for now, knock on wood. I’m sure I’ll have no problem ramping my excitement back up. All it takes for me is to look at the picture below. (And that’s just our hotel’s swimming pool!) It’ll be a special trip not only because I’m always excited to get away with the wife and kids, but also because we’ll be spending a few days with my mother, who lives in Thailand and will meet us there. It’ll be a fun Saturday videotaping Lynn & Josh’s wedding knowing where we’ll be headed the next day!