5 wedding highlights reel traditions to break with documentary style

5 wedding highlights reel traditions to break with documentary style

Choosing to build your wedding highlights reel around a documentary style is a great, creative way to actually tell a compelling story with footage from before, during and after your ceremony. If you have decided to embrace this particular filmmaking technique, there are a few key “traditions” that you’ll do well to avoid as much as possible.

“In the Beginning…”

Documentary-style wedding highlights videos are all about capturing the reality of your wedding day. Because of this, you’ll want to avoid starting your video with either background voice-over tracks of your officiant leading the ceremony, you reading your vows, or even worse – the best man or maid of honor delivering their speech. This is a huge red flag that your video will lack a story, which is the cornerstone of creating the type of compelling video you actually want to watch again in the future.


Sometimes a wedding videographer will suggest that you focus on the little details. They’ll want to fill your wedding video with sliding camera shots of things like shoes and accessories, when in reality what they should be capturing is your expressions and reactions. Capturing how you FELT about those items is more important than the items themselves.

Slow Motion Wedding Highlights

There’s a reason why most documentary feature films don’t include huge numbers of slow motion shots: they destroy the reality of the moment. While slow motion is a great tool to draw a moving portrait of a couple, capture a smile, a kiss or a dance move, building the entire story in slow motion is just not right because of single undeniable reason: you do not leave your life in slow motion and it just doesn’t seem natural.


Once again, documentary-style wedding video highlight reels are all about truth, honesty and accuracy. Instead of lining all of your guests up against a wall and making them say nice things about you into a camera (which is awkward to say the least), capture them having fun at the peak of your wedding to paint a picture of the CELEBRATION itself.


While recreating events or staging shots is fine for your photographer, it’s absolutely not a good idea for your wedding video. No recreated shot will ever be able to capture the emotion present in a genuine, verite-style candid shot.