I post things that are on my mind and sometimes it’s more niche than others.
After 15 years as a wedding videographer, I’ve noticed some interesting shifts in couples’ budgets and priorities when it comes to hiring a videographer. When I first started out in late 2006, the majority of my clients were children of baby boomers who were paying for their children’s weddings. Back then, hiring a videographer was seen as a standard part of the wedding package – right up there with the photographer, DJ, and caterer. Most couples wouldn’t dream of not having a wedding video to document their big day.
But over the last decade or so, I’ve seen a steady decline in couples hiring videographers. Moving from millennial to Gen Z started getting married, having a videographer was no longer a given. Many couples saw it as an unnecessary expense they could do without. After all, their friends and family members would take plenty of cell phone videos at the wedding that they could use to create their own DIY wedding videos. I use my iPhone on shoots all the time and it’s pretty near perfect With reels and tiktok shooting portraits throughout the day is important. I have an attachment to place my phone on a camera to record landscape and portrait simultaneously.
From talking with recent clients, it’s clear that hiring a videographer has shifted from being a wedding must-have to more of a luxury item. Couples today have so many expenses surrounding their wedding day – from designer dresses to Instagram-worthy floral arrangements. As must-have vendors, Venue, Photo, and Music, raise prices, Videography can get crowded out.
It seems to come down to a shift in priorities and how couples want to spend their limited wedding funds. Photographers are still viewed as crucial for capturing precious moments. But videographers tend to get put in the “nice to have” rather than “must have” category – especially among cost-conscious millennials and Gen Z couples. There is a budget level that includes Videography as a must-have and if you’re in a big city things will run like they always have for a while.
The rise of DIY weddings also plays a role. Couples feel more empowered to cut costs and take on wedding tasks themselves. With affordable video editing apps and 4k quality cell phones, they believe they can easily create their own wedding video instead of hiring a professional. Wedding videography has become a luxury wedding expense.
While this DIY approach works for some, there’s still value in hiring a seasoned videographer to document your wedding day. Professional videographers have high-quality equipment, backup plans in case of technical issues, and the skills to creatively tell the story of your wedding. Amateur videos simply can’t compare, but the gap is closing. I have been a guest at a wedding and filmed on my phone a professional looking mini-film. The rise in DIY weddings also mirrors the declining discretionary spending power across the economy.
As a videographer, I understand the need to cut expenses. But I also want couples to think carefully before axing the videographer from their budget. A wedding video provides lasting memories and can be shared for generations to come. There is value in high-quality wedding videos. We haven’t moved on from providing them but we are working on other types of projects.
What does the decline in couples hiring videographers say about the economy as a whole? Well, it aligns with statistics showing stagnant wages and rising costs of living for middle-class and younger demographics? With more money going to basic necessities, fewer couples have disposable income for “nice to have” wedding luxuries like professional videography.
It also potentially reflects the gig economy’s squeeze on creative professions like videography. Couples can find amateur videographers charging much less than professionals since it’s not their full-time job. This undercuts the market for seasoned wedding videographers. There are multiple times the number of videographers in the market as when I founded the company but fewer weddings to compete for.
However, the wedding industry is also fairly resilient to recessions. Even in down economies, people continue to get married. But the average wedding budget gets leaner as families have less to spend. Videography falls more under “optional splurges” compared to must-have wedding expenses.
So in many ways, the decline in wedding videography budgets seems to highlight broader consumer trends. It shows how even for important life milestones like weddings, individuals are carefully prioritizing expenses. And it reflects how the middle class is having to cut back on non-essentials in an era of economic uncertainty. You can’t coast anymore, find ways to be sure you are essential and you’ll keep a booked-up calendar.
If you’re interested, you can find my wedding videography at Forever Lucky Films.