Jimmy + Jess | Palm Desert wedding film {Destination wedding videographers}

Talk about one amazing weekend. Palm Desert, California is gorgeous, the wedding at Toscana Country Club was even more stunning, and Jess and Jimmy’s energy is off the charts! We always ask our couples if their first dance will be choreographed. I knew we were in for a fun night when Jess answered with a laugh, “….sort of?” Jess is a pro beach volleyball player and Jimmy is in the NFL, and while they may be serious, hard-working athletes, when they’re together there is and adorable playfulness between them that is too cute for words. …unless– as we learned during their ceremony– those words are being spoken in baby-talk. We had a fabulous time and wish we could do it all over again.

Jimmy + Jess | Palm Desert destination wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photogrpahy, Josh Glazebrook | Venue, Decor & Catering, Toscana Country Club | Welcome Party & Accommodations, JW Marriott Resort Palm Desert | Florals, Artisan Events | DJ/MC, DJ Roueche | Cake, Exquisite Desserts | Hair Stylist, All Tressed Up | Makeup Artist, Makeup by Liz | Bride’s Headpiece, Litter Jewelry

Nicole + Grant | Tulsa wedding film ~Oklahoma wedding videographers~

I love New Year’s Eve weddings, I really do. And this one was extra special because Nicole is one of the event coordinators at The Mayo, but this time we had the privilege of working with her on her OWN wedding. And oh was it a blast! The rehearsal dinner was filled with touching toasts, and funny ones too… usually at Grant’s expense. As for the wedding day itself, it was sweet, fun, and of course stunning. Top it all off with sparklers on the cake and confetti canons at midnight, and you have the perfect day. Nicole and Grant’s story began over a decade ago, and we hope you love their story as much as we do.

Nicole + Grant | New Year's Eve Tulsa wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photography, Kevin Paul Photography | Coordination & Design, Mayo Events & Designs | Rehearsal Dinner Venue, Southern Hills Country Club | Ceremony Venue, Christ the King Catholic Church | Reception Venue, The Mayo Hotel | Florals, The French Bouquet | Lighting, Empire Lighting & Design | Cake, Icing on The Top | Rentals/Decor, Party Pro Rents & Marianne’s Rentals for Special Events | Band/MC, The Lost Wax | Makeup, Shannon Schroeder | Hair, Lindsey Garroutte | Transportation, Cheyenne Bus Co. | Stationery, The Inviting Place | Cigar Roller, Brian Wilson

Katie + Will | Napa Valley wedding ~Destination wedding videographers~

Katie and Will have quite the story, topped off with quite the wedding week in Napa. FYI, if you don’t already know this, early December is the “rainy season” in Napa Valley. We were greeted by “stormageddon” which knocked out power and caused flooding in San Francisco and all the way up to Napa and surrounding areas. Katie and Will must have a direct line to God, though, because the rain stopped just long enough to get the wedding day in. It was fun and beautiful all around. Want to know their story? I guess you’ll just have to watch their film.

Katie & Will | Napa Valley wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography | PenWeddings
Photography | Julie Kay Kelly Photography
Planning | Stephanie Cole, ColeDrake Events
Ceremony Venue | St. Helena Catholic Church
Reception Venue & Catering | Auberge du Soleil
Rehearsal Dinner | Merryvale Vineyards
Florals | Fleurs de France
Rentals | La Tavola
Cake | Elegant Cheesecakes
String Quartet | Synchronicity Strings
DJ/MC | Close Cut Productions via Wine Country Entertainment
Macarons | Bouchon
Accommodations | Auberge du Soleil & Silverado Country Club & Yountville Hotel

Music by Richard Powell and Phillip Phillips, licensed through SongFreedom

MaryClare + Chris | Rosemary Beach wedding ~destination wedding videographers~

Because MaryClare and Chris are fellow wedding filmmakers, shooting their big day was extra n̶e̶r̶v̶e̶-̶r̶a̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ special. Calling it a “day” doesn’t do it justice since we got to hang out and shoot multiple events over the course of three days. From a luncheon, golf outing, and bonfire on the beach, to the rehearsal dinner and wedding itself, it was an absolutely amazing weekend. I immediately fell in love with Rosemary Beach in the Florida panhandle and cannot wait to go back someday. I could sit on that white, sandy beach and soak in the sunset for hours (you know, if the sunset lasted for hours). These two have an obvious love for life and, of course, each other. I hope you love this glimpse into their amazing wedding weekend.

MaryClare & Chris | RoseMary Beach, FL destination wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photography, Mark Eric & Eddie Marroquin | Coordination & Design, It’s a Shore Thing | Ceremony & Reception Venue, Rosemary Beach Eastern Green | Rehearsal Dinner Venue, Restaurant Paradis | Florals/Decor, Florals by the Sea | Catering & Rentals, Townsend Catering | Invitation/Save The Date, The Little Blue Chair | Calligraphy/Logo, Janice Montoya | Officiant, Pastor Michael Young | Bonfire & Ceremony Musician, Michael Liuzza | Wedding Cake, Cindy Pagragan | Groom’s Cake, Confections on the Coast | Band/MC, Mo’ Sol | Hair, Mindy Norris | Makeup, Make Me Blush | Bridal Luncheon, George’s at Alys Beach | Golf Course, Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club | Bride’s Gown, Judd Waddell from Town & Country | Groom’s Suit, Luca Falcone | Bridesmaids Dresses, Amsale

Music by Jake Etheridge and FM Pilots, licensed through SongFreedom

Sami + Joe | A Surprise Wedding ~Oklahoma wedding videographers~

Once in a while, an opportunity comes along that is so special you know you’d better soak it all in because chances are you’ll not experience something like it again. Sami and Joe’s wedding was such an event. It was a small, intimate, family affair… that Sami didn’t know was happening. Yes, it was a surprise wedding for the bride! We’ll let the video tell the rest of the story. These wonderful people moved us to tears, and we hope they do the same for you.

Sami + Joe | A Surprise Wedding for the Bride from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photography, Ely Fair Photography | Coordination & Design, Gibson Events | Venue & Catering, The Ambassador Hotel | Florals, Poppy Lane Design | Cake, Raspberries and Creme | Rentals, Marianne’s Rentals for Special Events, Mood Party Rentals, Kahoy Studios | Lighting, Innovative Event Solutions | Stationery, Chirps & Cheers | Hair, Dry/Shop | Makeup, ChelseyAnn Artistry | Bride’s Dress, Kate Spade

Loan + Tony | Tulsa wedding film ~Oklahoma wedding videographers~

Loan and Tony are such a sweet couple. I loved seeing the dramatic shift in mood on their wedding day. Before the ceremony things were subdued and soft. Everyone was excited, but it’s like there was a tenderness in the air (am I making any sense? LOL). But after the ceremony, oh how this crowd cut loose! I’m quite certain they could have partied all night. The Tulsa Garden Center was a beautiful backdrop, and we loved being a part of this special day.

p.s. Funny story, both Loan & Tony’s last names are Nguyen, pronounced “win.” So our friend and DJ Chasen Shaw got a real kick out of getting to call it the “win win” wedding. :-)

Loan + Tony | Tulsa Garden Center wedding from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photography, Andi Bravo Photography | Coordination, Kim Nguyen | Venue, Tulsa Garden Center | DJ/MC, Chasen Shaw Entertainment | Catering, Ladyfingers Catering | Makeup Artist, Bridal Makeup by Starla

“Mary Me” by Skyeler Kole, “Miracles” by Zerbin, licensed through SongFreedom

Emily + Jeff | Dallas wedding film ~Texas wedding videographers~

The first time we met, Emily and Jeff had me in stitches. They actually remind me a little of Rick and myself in that Emily is a chatterbox and Jeff is quiet most of the time, but when he does speak it’s like he’s been planning the perfect, witty remark for days. Their intimate wedding was at the Hotel St. Germain in Uptown Dallas, and we fell in love with this quaint little boutique hotel instantly. We were greeted with champagne, and had breakfast on our private veranda. I only wish we could have stayed longer.

Emily + Jeff | Dallas wedding film at Hotel St. Germain from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Cinematography, PenWeddings | Photography, Iris & Light | Venue & Catering, Hotel St. Germain | Florals, Village Garden & Gallery | Cake, Dallas Affaires Cake Company | DJ/MC, Jason Esquire | Accommodations, Rosewood Crescent Hotel | Bride’s Gown, Stardust Celebrations | Menswear, Culwell & Son | Hair stylist, Kimmi Peacock | Makeup artist, Queen of Crowns Hair & Makeup by Nicole Cano | Bride’s shoes, Neiman Marcus | Groom’s bow tie & pocket square, Harley’s

Why wedding “First Looks” are great | A response to Huffington Post

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me make one thing very clear… whether or not to do a “first look” or “first sight” on your wedding day is a very personal decision and I fully understand both sides. That said, as a wedding filmmaker and bride who wishes she’d done a first look, I feel compelled to respond to a recent article shared by Huffington Post on their HuffPost Weddings blog.

You can read the article here.

The title of the blog post is “3 Reasons First Look Wedding Photos are Stupid.” The writer bases her reasons on her own opinions (which are just that, opinions) and on the fact that she has, quote, “edited hundreds of wedding videos.” Let’s expand on that. The author is co-founder of WeddingMix, a company that offers wedding videos starting at $99 (we spend that much on a sushi date) where your friends and family record your day on their smart-phones (or a small HD camera should you want to add that to your order) and the company then edits the footage. Now I understand that there are all different budgets out there… trust me, Rick and I pretty much had a “low-budget” wedding based on the national average. But I don’t think editing amateur footage gives one the best insight into how a well-planned first look goes down and how emotional and special it can be.

Tulsa wedding first look

Let’s look at 3 Reasons First Looks are Great… but before I give my opinion (and it is just that, opinion) why not see for yourself? Here are four of our most recent “first looks.” These have already been shared as part of each wedding’s highlight, but for the purpose of this post we thought we’d let them play out more (as we often have to condense certain moments in order to fit everything into a highlight film). Yes, the clip is five minutes long, but I encourage you to watch it all as that is the whole point… to get a feel for what these moments are truly like.

Four adorable wedding First Looks from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

Seriously, how can you NOT see what a special moment this was for each of these couples?!? One of these brides even posted on her Facebook page just this week how the first look was her favorite part of the day. So, let’s address why first looks are not stupid, and are in fact, fabulous.

1) It’s a special, intimate moment for the bride and groom.
Yes, the moment the bride walks down the aisle is a big, grand, emotional moment as well… but one thing it lacks is intimacy. This is one of the main reasons Rick and I wish we had seen each other before our ceremony. You walk down the aisle… your father gives you away… you stand there facing your husband-to-be… and you have to wait the entire service to really get to talk with one another. You can’t hug. You can’t kiss. For some this may be no big deal, and that’s fine. But for us, after shooting and editing dozens of first looks, we’ve come to kind of envy that moment between our couples. We like that special time to talk and hug and kiss (if you so desire, some still wait until they are pronounced husband and wife). And for those who worry it will take away from the moment the bride walks down the aisle, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t. In fact, some of our most emotional “groom reactions” are from weddings where the couple did a first look. I’m not positive, but I assume this is because he’s already had a chance to see how you look… to asses the dress… and now it’s just “this is it, it’s really happening.” He sees you walking to him and instead of taking in how you look, he is staring into your eyes, taking in the moment. We’ve had many emotional grooms, both with couples who did a first look and those who didn’t… it really comes down to what you are like as people. But don’t fear that seeing each other before your ceremony will make the “big moment” during the ceremony any less special.

2) It is planned, but not staged.
There is a difference between the two. Of course the first look is “planned” (as is the ENTIRE WEDDING!!!)… we want to make sure that a) the groom doesn’t see the bride before he is supposed to, and b) we are able to capture the special moment and not miss anything while being as unobtrusive as possible. But that doesn’t mean it is “staged.” If we said, “you need to have this reaction, then hug, then kiss, then say something sweet, then cry…” THAT would be staged. Now I will confess, we have worked with a few photographers who– much to our chagrin– did try to control the moment too much. They told the groom what to say and stopped the bride every few steps to pose the shots they wanted. In our opinion, this killed the moment (and killed how it turned out for the video as well). But those experiences are few and far between. We always ask the couple how they would prefer to do it (face and walk towards each other, come around a corner, or the most popular, groom turns his back & bride taps him on the shoulder) so we know what to expect, but after that we let it play out naturally.

3) You will most likely get better photos and a better wedding film (especially if you have a winter wedding when the sun is setting earlier in the day).
The hour following the ceremony is often the most crazy for us. We are trying to pack up a lot of gear, get to the reception space, shoot decor before people enter the room, and shoot cocktail hour before it ends. When you add in getting shots of the couple because they did not do a first look, this often means we’re rushed and may not get as much of cocktail hour and the reception decor as we’d like. Many of our couples do not see each other before the ceremony so we always make it work and still deliver a great product IMO, but I do get a little crazy inside if the schedule is super tight. But forget my opinion as a filmmaker, how about my opinion as a bride? There was absolutely nothing wrong with our wedding photos… but we know they could have been better, and that falls on us. After the family/group photos at the alter we rushed to the reception because we knew guests were already waiting. Our photographer told us that around sunset he’d like to take us outside for some pictures and we thought that was a great idea! But when person after person wants to talk with you and shower you with love, and you want to eat, and you want to dance, you end up rushing through that moment too. Some couples who elect not to do a first look do set aside a good amount of time for photos of the two of them between their ceremony and reception and we love that, but that’s typically not the case.

Still don’t want to see your honey before your ceremony? That’s fine! It’s your day! No one can tell you you’re stupid for not doing a first look, just like the Huffington Post shouldn’t tell anyone they’re stupid for doing one.