Victoria Wedding Video | Rad and Rob | Dobosala Cantina and Fortune Gallery Wedding, Victoria, BC

October 12, 2019

The bride’s family walked into the restaurant first, followed by the groom’s family. I’d already been there about twenty minutes in order to get a table close to where they would be sitting. I tried to look inconspicuous. None of them knew what was about to happen – nobody, that is, except for Sam, the groom’s brother, who would be officiating the surprise ceremony about to take place. I’d never met Sam, but I recognized him immediately, and he recognized me. We made eye contact briefly as though we were spies. “Ready?” he seemed to ask me with a subtle movement of his eyebrows. “Absolutely!” I answered back with mine. At least, I think that’s what I said. I’m pretty new to speaking eyebrow.

Moments later, the bride and groom walked in. To the surprise of their family and the rest of the public in the restaurant, they were dressed and ready for a ceremony. I pulled my camera out of the bag where I’d been hiding it. Chelsea followed behind the couple with her camera ready to go. The game was afoot!

Rad and Rob had an absolutely stunning wedding day far from the norm. When they told us they were planning on having a surprise wedding, we were totally on board, especially when they explained the details of how the surprise would unfold. First, they’d get ready at their apartment and have some portraits done in the afternoon, hopefully without running into anyone they knew. Then, they’d meet their immediate families for dinner; the families would think it was a get-together before an evening out, but in reality, Rad and Rob would be getting married right then and there at the restaurant table. Finally, they’d walk to a gallery in Chinatown where their friends had been assembled on the pretense of a surprise engagement party planned by Rob’s brother. They’d walk in and everyone would yell “surprise!”, but Rad and Rob had a counter-surprise up their sleeve – they just got married, and this was their reception!

We had several meetings with Rad and Rob before the wedding to ensure all the details were planned out ahead of time. We wanted to make sure that we captured everything, but also that our presence wouldn’t give away the big surprise. Each angle and shot was planned meticulously – there wouldn’t be time to make these decisions on the day, so every bit of gear was selected specifically and sparingly, ensuring that we only had our backpacks with us. Walking in with big tripods and a suitcase of gear not only wasn’t feasible for the locations of this wedding, it would have given away the whole surprise.

As we got to know Rad and Rob, we came to understand what was most important to them about their wedding. Personal details like the pineapples incorporated into the décor were significant, but what was most important were the friends and family who were there. They wanted the wedding to be FUN! We learned quickly that Rad and Rob wanted to make this day all about having a great time with their family, friends, and of course their two best friends – their cats. Their only regret about the surprise wedding format was that not everyone could be there; Rad’s grandmother, whose photo sits on the wall of their apartment, and Rob’s grandmother, who was skyped-in during the reception, couldn’t be with them that day. Thankfully, that didn’t stop us getting them in the film!

We didn’t just have pre-meetings with the couple, though. Because of the intricacy of the surprise and the unconventional locations, we spent time in the weeks leading up to the wedding visiting both the restaurant for the ceremony and the gallery where the reception was being held. We got to know the owner and staff at the restaurant and made a plan for the ceremony, including the table locations and even some secret hand signals for when the restaurant music should be turned off. We always consider ourselves part of the broader team on a wedding day; we aren’t doing our job independently of others, and that mindset was especially important for this shoot.

That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges, though! Logistically, with an open kitchen, noise levels at the restaurant were still high. The small space was also a challenge, especially ensuring we weren’t in the photographers’ shots and vice-versa. And, keeping gear hidden but ready at all times posed an interesting challenge, especially in the crowded reception location as we tried to pull our cameras out quickly and subtly to capture the surprise both ways. Conceptually, because the wedding was a surprise, nobody had planned a speech. While a couple brave people gave impromptu speeches, we were unable to rely on the content that we’d usually draw from to build a story in the edit.

Altogether, Rad and Rob’s day was filled with laughter, love, joy, fun, family, and friends. We could feel their nervous excitement throughout the day – it was infectious, and we couldn’t help but feel it ourselves. When it came to editing, we knew we wanted to recreate that feeling while telling both their love story and the surprise-counter-surprise story of their day. We purposefully left the sound of excited breath and hurried footsteps in the soundscape of the film while creating a soundtrack that bounces between the upbeat, nervous energy of the day and the heartfelt romance of their love for each other. Our highlight films are delivered within 4 weeks, usually sooner; it hadn’t even been 7 minutes before we heard back from both Rad and Rob, both confessing to crying at their desks at work.

We feel great about a film that we can watch again and again, even months later, and still get all the feels. This film brings us back to the day each time, and we get to relive a moment of authentic joy with our clients who have become our friends.

Videographer: Paper Heart Films

Photographer: Summer Rayne Photography

Ceremony Venue: DoboSala Cantina

Reception Venue: Fortune Gallery

Dress: Watters by Willow

Alterations: The Russian Tailor

Suit: RW & Co

Catering: Toque Catering

Makeup and Hair: Erin Bradley

Rentals: Bash Specialty and Designer Weddings

Reception Music: Nic Whitehouse

Florist: Poppies Floral Art

Desserts: La Roux