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!

Angela & Martin – 10/14/06

While I was covering Maureen & Don’s wedding and reception in Carmel yesterday, Laurie videotaped Angela & Marty’s wedding day downtown, and by all accounts, it was quite a day to remember. Angela has shown a great attitude throughout the planning process despite being thrown a few curveballs, and she definitely surrounded herself with wonderful vendors to see her big day through. The ceremony took place at the State House, with beautiful decor provided by Gene Huddleston of Detail + Design and superb overall organization by Teresa Gift and the rest of the EventFull Planning crew. The couple surprised their guests with a gospel choir performance at the end of the ceremony, which interestingly marks the second time this year we’ve covered a State House ceremony with a surprise gospel choir performance at the end.

I’ve been very fortunate to have my good friend Laurie Buschmann available to shoot about one wedding a month for IndyVisual during our peak season over the past few years. As a full-time producer for WISH-TV, she brings plenty of talent and smarts to the weddings she covers, and a good example of this took place during a short break after the ceremony area cleared out. Laurie asked the choir for a quick encore performance, which gave her and photographer Jessica Strickland (who referred the wedding to us) the opportunity to get some great close-ups that will add some nice cutaways for the edited video.

She then went across the street to the Westin to cover the cocktail hour and reception, with music provided by the talented duo Dave & Rae. I’ve edited several videos that they’ve performed in, but for various reasons I’ve never been the one to videotape them, and I’ll have to enjoy them vicariously again this time. From what I’ve seen in the receptions I’ve edited, they do a great job of sounding like a full band with only two people!

Update (11/2/06): I was going through photographer Jessica Strickland’s blog to find a good sample image from Angela & Marty’s wedding day to post here, and needless to say, I had a hard time picking one out from the many gorgeous choices. (Thanks a lot, Jess!) This one spoke to me:

Maureen & Donald – 10/14/06

Maureen & Don enjoyed a beautiful wedding mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel yesterday. They were such a nice, easy-going couple to work with, which always makes the day more fun. It’s amazing how much that church has changed since I first worked there about ten years ago. When I returned there a couple of years ago, I hardly recognized it, especially the altar and narthex. The ceremony was what I’ve come to expect there, lots of flowers courtesy of McNamara Florist, lots of singing and lots of incense. Gloria Boyden of Events by Design is also a member and wedding coordinator there, so she must really enjoy helping couples in her church plan their ceremonies and overseeing the rest of the wedding staff, all of whom were very sweet people.

The reception brought me back to the Ritz Charles (who referred the wedding to us) just six days after my last visit there. The atmosphere was casual, with an emphasis on quality time and mingling with family and friends. I was impressed with how “real” the couple was in general about appreciating the true purpose of the day. They did not even cut the cake, which was a first for me in over 500 weddings. It was funny how Matt Lee of Matthew Gordon Photographer and I almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves when we learned that. But I do get a kick out of seeing something different every week, which is what makes it so much fun. Adding to the evening’s casual vibe was down-to-earth local music scene legend Carl Storie and his band, who warmed over the crowd with some sunny 60’s and 70’s nostalgia, typified by their performance of Carl’s national hit “Dancin’ Shoes.” Just thinking about that song makes you sway, doesn’t it?

Update (11/2/06): I happened to run into photographer Matt Lee at a Perfect Wedding Guide luncheon at the Oak Hill Mansion today, and he told me that Maureen & Don’s proofs were now up on his website. The shot below was taken shortly after their first glimpse of each other at the beautiful Coxhall Gardens. I didn’t learn until shortly after I returned from my vacation in Kauai that Maureen & Don were honeymooning there at the same in the resort right next door!

Julie & Justin – 10/8/06

I had a blast covering Julie & Justin’s wedding and reception yesterday at the Ritz Charles. It was a very emotional day, as both of them have weathered so much adversity in recent years to get to where they are today. Even the mother of the bride had to recover from injuries from one recent accident and survive yet another last week just to be able to walk the aisle. This is one resilient group of people! I loved how the ceremony was tailored to include Justin’s two children as a significant part of their union. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the four of them went up to light the unity candle. I spotted photographers Stacy and Mary and chapel coordinator Anne Clidence all getting a little misty-eyed, and I’ll admit getting a little lump in my throat myself.

The reception was the first that I’ve shot in the Ritz Charles’ permanent outdoor pavilion. In fact, I didn’t even notice the structure was new until consultant Tonya Shadoan of Circle City Planners (who referred the wedding to us) pointed it out to me. I had shot one there two years ago in their big “tent,” and this new structure looked exactly like it! The whole space was beautifully designed, with lots of apples everywhere, including the tall centerpieces. (My chocolate-caramel apple favor was a hit with my kids later that night.) The Ritz Charles, Tonya and designer Julie Acheson of Royal Creations all did a magnificent job! DJ Brian Jones of Indy Sounds was thoroughly professional, and much of his dinner music was exactly the same music I like to use when editing our videos. But stealing the show once again was the happy couple, whose heartfelt speech – acknowledging the anniversary of Julie’s own adoption and remembering family members and firefighters from Justin’s unit who had recently passed away – had us all misty again. They’ve definitely “earned” every ounce of happiness that they will share with each other!

Update (10/12/06): Here’s a cool photo from Julie & Justin’s wedding day that I found on Stacy & Mary’s blog. There’s also a photo of me on there, so view at your own risk! 😉