As an international destination wedding videographer in Switzerland, almost every wedding I film consists of crossing borders, a spot of lingustic fun and discovering the most amazing venues.
My last wedding of the 2017 summer season was typical of that and so I kept a diary along the way.
‘Left for France’…. a far cry from turn ‘Left for Manchester’
Honestly, that’s what the sign said on the autobahn earlier today as I headed out of Switzerland and towards Dijon for a wedding this weekend.
I’m a well-travelled videographer. And now I am well-versed in crossing borders. Today’s drive across the Swiss and French countryside was a lot simpler than the train journey I made last week to Tuscany though…
Wengen – Lauterbrunnen – Interlaken – Speiz – Brig – Milano Centrale – Firenze S.M.N – Arezzo
All of those changes made with two heavy kit bags and a much smaller lighter bag with clothes and essentials in.
And today I drove more than 250 miles but let’s be European here, that’s 400 km, to another new city, one I fell in love with in an instant. I always travel at least one day ahead of the wedding so I can do some pre-filming and also recce the venues – which is essential when solo shooting.
After checking into my hotel I grabbed my camera and headed straight to Dijon Cathedral – the weather forecast wasn’t looking too good for Saturday so I thought I’d grab a few establishing shots of the venue just in case. I also decided to take a look inside to see if I could get ahead of the game and work out camera positions for the ceremony.
There were a few comical if not a little frustrating moments as I tried to use my GCSE (just scraped a C grade) French but that didn’t get me very far. Then a helpful city guide turned translator so I could work out with the priest where I’d be able to film the next day. It was a valuable ‘conversation’ to aid my planning the following day.
Next stop, I headed out towards the reception venue. Chateau De Thenissey was a good 45 minute drive away. I knew that the following day I’d be doing that same road, twice, back and forth and making the trip out there the day before the wedding meant I could not only establish that I knew where I was going but also I could gather some footage of the chateau in the evening sunshine (what there was of it between the showers).
After that, my day was complete, apart from a gorgeous crêpe in a lovely traditional French restaurant in the centre of Dijon.
An early night was in order before my 0800 start at the hair salon where Alice, the bride would be getting ready.
Early awake to start filming with Alice and her bridesmaids at a hair salon in the centre of Dijon.
After capturing the excitement between her and her bridesmaids the photographer and I walked a few blocks to film the groom and his friends in the final throes of getting ready.
Alice is American and Quentin French. Suffice to say I didn’t understand much that was said in his apartment but I didn’t need to because they were generally having lots of fun.
Alice had decided to have a First Look on the morning of her wedding – at the Chateau – which meant the first 45 minute drive of the day to film her getting her dress on and then set-up and film for the moment Quentin first sees his bride in her beautiful gown.
It had been a very busy morning …
Then it was right back to the centre of Dijon to prepare for a very French catholic ceremony in the cathedral… Every wedding I film is different and this one no less so.
Due to the sheer size of the Cathedral and the fact that it was open to the public, therefore tourists, during the ceremony itself meant capturing the essence of this ceremony was a challenge.
All in all I had four cameras set up in various locations but again because of the size of the cathedral both myself and the photographers were free to move around without disturbing the service itself.
At this point of the day, at the end of the ceremony, there was a mad rush to gather up and put all my kit away, making sure I didn’t leave anything behind.
I then headed back to the Chateau once again. Luckily the sun came out for a while giving us time to gather some gorgeous ‘couple shots’ of the Alice and Quentin before the evening meal and the toasts.
Many of the traditions I was used to didn’t apply on this weekend, with it being a French-American wedding but it was a really fun weekend packed full of surprises and lots of joy.
At about 1am it was finally time to head back to the hotel and get some sleep ahead of my four hour drive home to Switzerland the following morning.
But it was all very worth it. I so love my job!