Victoria Wedding Video | Shangar + Darian | Fairmont Empress Hotel Wedding, Victoria, BC

June 29, 2019

WINNER! Best Short Form Film, the 2019 Vancouver Island Wedding Industry Awards

“We’d like the highlight film to share our romance and our passion, for each other and for our families. But there won’t be any kissing,” Shangar explained to us at our meeting a couple of months before the wedding.

Darian, who’d just started to enjoy his coffee, nearly spat it back out into the mug.

“I can’t kiss you!?” he finally choked.

“No, no. You can kiss me,” Shangar replied, “but we can’t show any kissing in the film.” She explained that the film was going to be sent to her family back in Iran who wouldn’t be able to make it to the wedding, and she wanted to make sure that the PDA was kept at a culturally-appropriate minimum.

“So, just to clarify,” I asked, “you’re looking for a romantic, passionate wedding film without any kissing?”

“Exactly,” Shangar agreed. Darian sighed.

Challenge accepted.

Shangar and Darian’s wedding day was a beautiful acknowledgement and celebration of the formal melding of two families who had clearly become one family a long time ago. Darian had three kids from his first marriage, and Shangar had three younger siblings whom she views as children, having looked after them since she and her family made the difficult move from Iran. We learned quickly in our meetings and through our questionnaire that Shangar and Darian felt it was just as important that their families be featured throughout their film as it was that they were in it.

But Shangar and Darian both had an eye for personal and meaningful details as well. The poetry of Rumi was close by at all times, and the Alchemist, the book that brought them together, was woven throughout their day. The couple became poetic themselves when they described their wedding to us months before. Something about the door handles at the Empress’ Bengal Lounge made them certain it was the venue for them, they told us – it was a feeling they got. And when we asked them to describe what they were excited about on the wedding day to come, Shangar replied: “I can already feel my parents’ hands supporting me; guiding me. I’m looking forward to holding their hands on the day.” Well, once we’d wiped the tears from our eyes, we made a note: make sure to include shots of all these details in the film.

Because Shangar and Darian live in Portland and only visited Victoria a couple of times during their wedding planning, we worked to make their lives easier by teaming up with the photographer and doing joint meetings. Not only did this help the couple make the most of their time, it also meant that we could plan with the photographer well in advance of the day. We were a united team with a game plan, and all of us had a great rapport and comfort level going into the day, and it paid off. We felt like part of the family coming into the day, and we were able to capture intimate moments between Shangar and her mother and Darian and his son in the morning. Everything was going to plan.

Until the ceremony. That’s when the challenges began.

If you’ve been to Victoria, you’ll know that the Empress is conveniently situated in the middle of town on the main tourist route. We had anticipated some road and crowd noise; boats come and go from the harbor across the street, and airplanes fly in and out. What we couldn’t control, however, was the polka band that started busking down the street just as the ceremony began. Then, as the couple began their vows, a bagpiper began wandering the causeway, screeching Amazing Grace as inopportunely as possible. Shangar and Darian carried on with their vows, impervious to distraction and totally caught up in the moment. Thankfully, with well-placed mics and an extremely thorough edit of the ceremony audio, plus a few strategically placed natural audio pieces from the day, all trace of the polka-bagpipe soundtrack has been removed, allowing this couple’s amazing vows to stand on their own and shine.

In the edit, we knew we wanted to capture the essence of this family, not just the couple. We wanted to tell the story of these two families uniting and incorporate each of the family members who were most important – all twelve of them on the list that Shangar and Darian gave us. In fact, to ensure that everyone was featured equally, we went through this film several times with a stopwatch, timing each appearance carefully. Small looks between father and son replaced shots of flowers and details; a family dance was given as much priority as the first dance. These decisions weren’t easy to make, but we know that they paid off. The couple, their families, and their friends have all contacted us to tell us that this was the perfect film for Shangar and Darian. We delivered the film within 4 weeks; 20 minutes later, we’d heard back from Shangar and Darian – they’d stopped at a coffee shop in the mall and were still crying after watching the film twice.

We feel fortunate that we were able to capture this love-filled day. Sometimes wedding days are filled with a passionate love between the couple; sometimes you can feel the familial love as families come together. Other times there’s a love for a place, a setting, or an aesthetic. This wedding had all those types of love, and we got swept up in it all. We left the Empress that day tired but fulfilled, and we tried to capture that overwhelming passion in their film. Did you notice there wasn’t any kissing? Turns out, we discovered, you don’t need to show anybody kissing in order to show love – it’s there anyway.

Videographer: Paper Heart Films

Photographer: Chelsea Warren Photography

Venue: The Fairmont Empress

Rentals: Wise Co.

Rentals: Party Mood

Rentals: Scene About Town

Planner: Borrowed and Blue

Florist: Bespoke Blossoms

String Quartet: Cascadia Quartet

Photo Booth: Four Frames Photo Booth