Vendor Spotlight: Unreel Films Videography

Hello friends!

It’s been a busy winter - and feels like AGES since I’ve added to this series - but I’m back with a vendor spotlight you are sure to love! (Be sure to check out previous installments in this series if you’re looking for a classical guitarist or stylist for your big day).

This week, I bring to you an amazingly talented colleague of mine, Eric Mann, owner of Unreel Films. Eric and his team are a dream to work with, and he brings such an effervescent energy to the room! Read on - and view on - to learn more about how he can capture the essence of your wedding in stunning fashion.

Q: What led you to weddings, specifically, and how long have you been in the industry?

A: I first came to New York as an actor, performed on the National Tour of A Chorus Line, and worked both regionally and in New York. After about three years in between acting jobs, I had all this creative energy but nothing to put that energy into unless I was hired for a job, and so I picked up a camera one day, taught myself filming and editing, and found an incredible passion for telling stories through film. I also grew up painting and I always think of film/videography as a mesh between painting and acting/storytelling, so it truly is a perfect fit! After about a year of playing with a camera, I started my company Unreel Films, LLC in 2013, and have filmed, directed, editing, produced, and written over 300 individual promos, commercials, short films, documentaries, dance/music videos, and weddings. We also are so lucky to work with The Juilliard School on a regular basis for a lot of their promos. Within the first year of starting my own company, I filmed my first wedding (for a friend) and absolutely loved it!  

Q: Tell me a bit about the person behind the job and how you became a wedding videographer.

A: I adore telling stories through film, and to me weddings are extra special because it is such a beautiful moment in time where family, friends, and all loved ones come together to celebrate a union between two people. There is so much love there on that day, and to be able to capture that spirit not only between the couple, but also all the family and friends, is unbelievably moving and inspiring as a wedding videographer. It is always such a beautiful “story,” it’s just a real life story instead of a fictional story and that’s what makes it so much fun and why I love filming them.  

Q: What do you love most about being a wedding videographer?

A: I love capturing the feel like I mentioned above, but also I love getting to know the couple the day of because the photographer and videographer help to usher them throughout the day.  It’s amazing to be able to support them and create a trust with them since there is so many emotions abiding during the day.  

Q: Tell me about your most memorable and fun wedding.

A: I really have loved every wedding that I’ve filmed, but one time we got to use a drone to get some establishing B-Roll shots and that was really awesome! We were filming the wedding in Connecticut, and a police car drove by when we were getting drone shots outside of this awesome Victorian home, and the crew and I froze up like we were in big trouble, but the cop came over and was like: “What drone is that?” with a big smile on his face! That was pretty awesome!

Q: What does a typical wedding day look like for you?

A: Usually, it’s a packed event for me, especially in the morning, and I’m running between the two different parties getting ready. Once the couple comes together it’s slightly less running around, but we are always moving and that’s a lot of fun.  

Q: What is your favorite part of a wedding day? OR What is the best part of your job?

A: Mmm. I always love the food when we can eat it, but I don’t know if that is because when I film I forget that I’m hungry, and then by the time the food comes at the end I’m always like this is the BEST FOOD EVER! And it probably is, but it’s just heightened because I haven’t eaten! All kidding aside, I really love the ceremony, and even when I have just emailed the couple back and forth and only know them for a short while, I always get a little emotional. It’s just extremely powerful seeing all the love that is coming out of everyone at that moment and it’s really special.  

Q: From your experience, what should couples ask a potential videographer in the interview process?

A: I think it’s really important to be as clear as you can be in what you want the final product to look like. I always tell people we can scale it up or tone it down to what they would like. Obviously, a very cinematic wedding video will have more elements and cost a bit more, but if that is what you want and you have the budget, I say go for it. If you need to scale back, that’s totally doable and sometimes even gets to the heart of the day more than a big production wedding video, since you are not concerned with the shots, and more concerned with capturing the essence. I feel like I always first and foremost go with capturing the essence, but sometimes it’s fun to play with cool shots, too. It’s a balance. But again, I think it’s really what the couple wants and how they want the feel of their wedding to be. That definitely informs the role that I play that day. And I always try to listen to what the couple’s needs are.   

Q: On the day of the wedding, what are your exact roles?

A: The photographer runs the show in terms of logistics of shots. The videographer is there to capture the spirit of the day. Occasionally, I will ask for a specific shot, but mostly I am there to be a fly on the wall and get all the good moments!

Q: What are three main qualities that an excellent wedding videographer should have?

A: Listening (huge!), not being invasive (I’ve had many people say thank you that we weren’t up in people’s faces because it’s not my day - it’s the couple’s day and everyone who came), and having fun (guests always love the videographer and it’s important to feel like you are just there to have fun with them so they are loose around the camera and don’t tense up - although maybe not too loose!).  

Q: What makes you unique from other wedding videographers?

A: I think because I do a variety of different film projects and not solely weddings, I get to come in to a wedding with a fresh eye. Not to say those who film weddings on a regular basis aren’t amazing, because they totally are, but I feel that because I make short films and documentaries and dance videos I get the sense of how to tell a story really well, and that is what the wedding video is - a short documentary of the story of two people on a particular day where lots of dancing happens!  

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can give your potential clients?

A: Make the wedding the ideal wedding for you. It’s a beautiful celebration of who you are, individually and collectively, and if something doesn’t feel right to you in terms of the event, make it unique and make it work for you. Also, it’s a whirlwind of a day (which is partially why I’m there because it will fly by), but also enjoy the day as much as you can. It’s definitely a lot and a lot to take in, but if you have a chance to just create some space in the day in your head and appreciate all the love, it will feel so good!  

Q: Where do you draw your wedding inspiration from?

A: I really try and find the really touching moments throughout the day. No one is ever going to capture all of them, but I try to keep my eyes peeled for really touching moments.  

Q: Tell me one thing we might not otherwise know about you.

A: I love to laugh, tell stories, dance, and obviously film. And I have an extra vertebrae in my spine. It didn’t make me taller though!  

Q: Do you have any special discounts or offers for Unreel Films at this time that my readers should know about?

A:  I don’t really have special discounts because I ebb and flow the budget to what the couple needs exactly, but if you are having a wedding in the Galapagos Islands, I’ll figure out a way to cut back the pricing ;)  [Editor's Note: Eric and I both suffer from acute wanderlust, and I, too, would be more than happy to negotiate pricing/travel fees on destination weddings or those out of the tri-state market. Couples around the world, hit me up to learn more!]

Q: Any last piece of advice for newly-engaged couples?

A: Have fun and bask in the joy of the day. Much love!!  

Enough talk! Click below to view three of Eric’s favorite wedding videos that Unreel Films has produced. Ready to hire Unreel Films to document your big day? Reach out to him HERE and be sure to mention my name in your inquiry!



Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Make that trip to City Hall fun!

Hello friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Make going to get your marriage license a special event! Stop for lunch or bring flowers to commemorate the occasion. 

Here's What I Mean By This: Planning your wedding should be all about the fun, enjoyable aspects of the process. Creating a ceremony that uniquely encapsulates the essence of you and your partner or throwing a kick-ass party for all of your loves ones are no-brainers.

But, as every planner knows, there are tons of tedious tasks that go along with planning your big day. And often, one of them involves getting your marriage license. Whether your officiant is your family minister, rabbi, or priest, or you've asked a close friend to do the honors, or you've hired one (I highly recommend THIS fabulous lady!), everyone needs a marriage license (and thankfully, EVERYONE has the legal right to obtain one now across the country!).

Do yourselves - and your wedding coordinator - a favor and DON'T PUT THIS OFF! You don't want to wait until it's too late, only to realize you can't actually get married "officially" on your wedding day. (Though of course, spiritually and emotionally, you'll be totally in the moment, and I believe that's what matters most). 

So, consult the laws of the state or country you're getting hitched in (not the state or country you live in, if they're different), and make a day out of getting that license. Here in Manhattan, there are tons of great restaurants to grab lunch or brunch just a short subway ride from the building - invite your honor attendants (your best people - man or woman) or your parents (if that won't stress you out) to join you on the trip. Dress up, if you like - you do you! Take the tedium out of this errand, and make it a festive occasion - it's the start of your marriage adventure!





Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Get Those Gifts Organized!

Hello Friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Keep a detailed log of all the gifts you receive throughout your entire wedding journey so that you can write thank-you notes with ease.

Here’s what I mean by this: It’s all too easy to let those pre-wedding gifts pile up in a corner for months, only to forget which lovely person gave you what fantastic item when you get down to writing your thank-you notes. So, beginning with your first gift received, create a simple spreadsheet list (you know me, I love my lists!) to keep track of everything that is handed, gifted, or sent to you and your other half leading up to, on, and after your big day.

Record the giver's name, the store where the gift was purchased (if you know), the date it was received, a brief description of the gift, and finally, the date the thank-you note was sent. You can refer to this listing as you write (since proper etiquette dictates that you describe the gift in your note) and use it to keep track of which gifts you've acknowledged.

BTW, though etiquette dictates that your loved ones have up to one year after the wedding date to send you their wedding gift, the same window of time is not held for sending thank-you notes. As a rule, shower gift thank-you cards should be mailed within two or three weeks, and early wedding gifts should be acknowledged before the big day. All remaining thank-you notes should be sent within three months. Lastly, if the same person gets you a gift for multiple events (a shower gift and a wedding gift) you should write a separate note for each gift.

A little organization now will save you a LOT of headache and questions of “who got us this?” down the line.





Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Ceremony First!

Hello Friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Throughout the planning process, always remind yourselves that the ceremony is for you, the rest of the party is for everyone else.


Here’s what I mean by this: Weddings - no matter how well-intentioned - often have a way of ballooning into something bigger than the engaged couple originally anticipated. Struggling to be all things to all people, couples can succumb to the temptation to plan a wedding that will make everyone else happy. Well-meaning parents and friends can only add pressure to the feeling that you’re throwing a big party for everybody else.


photo courtesy of Jennifer Seay Photography


You may hear a different opinion from other people, but my firm belief is this: You absolutely ARE throwing a party for everybody else - never again in your entire life will you have this exact collection of people gathered together to celebrate and honor your union. It’s a pretty special day, and it’s only natural for a couple to want to thank their guest for joining them by throwing an amazing party, with delicious food and memorable experiences.

photo courtesy of Milestone Images

But I ask all of my couples to do something for themselves as well: When it comes to planning the ceremony, put yourselves first. The ceremony is the entire reason for everyone coming together on that date, at that time, in that location. There would be no party without the ceremony! I urge you to make no compromises - except between each other - when planning this portion of the day. If you don’t want to walk down an aisle, then don’t walk down an aisle. If you would prefer to have some traditions honored, but not others, then that is how it should be done. If you want your vows to one another to be intimate, acoustic, and unamplified for all to hear, then ultimately, that is what you should do. Everybody else can deal.  

It’s all too easy to get caught up in centerpieces, menu tastings, or DJ “do not play” lists, but remember not to gloss over what will happen or be said during your ceremony. Dedicate a similar amount of time to finding what works for you both, and I promise you, you’ll create a unique moment with your other half that will last a lifetime!



Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Conquering Indecision

Hello Friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: In the early stages of the planning process, set aside dedicated time specifically to research your options. But then also give yourself a deadline for when each decision should be made.

photo credit: iStock

photo credit: iStock

Here’s what I mean by this: I know, I know, you’re engaged, you’re planning an amazing wedding, which of course you want to be unique to you and your betrothed. Everybody - and I mean everybody - handles this process differently. Some people are born planners; others become paralyzed with indecision.

My absolute expert advice here is simple: Do your research. Maybe you’ll end up going with the first dress, photographer, caterer, or officiant that you speak with or website stalk. Still, you want to give yourself at least a few other options for comparison’s sake. But then, do yourself a favor and give yourself a time limit on how many minutes per day or hours per week you spend researching options. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of indecision! It’s incredibly easy - in the vast wedding industrial complex - to get so in the weeds with each and every choice facing you in the planning process. At some point, you just need to make a decision and move on - otherwise you’ll feel as if you’re drowning in too many options. Give yourself permission to shop around, and then make a choice.

photo courtesy of Steven Mastroianni

Or, you can also hire a professional - like me! - to guide you through the decision-making process. A good planner will never tell you who to hire - the choice is yours, and it will always be yours - but we can present you with an edited list of options, so you’re choosing between a handful of carefully curated vendors, as opposed to the entirety of the internet!

So, take deep breaths. Dive in. Make your choices, and trust your gut. You’ve got this!




Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Priorities!

Hello Friends!

Welcome to Week 2 of my “Planner Pro-Tip of the Week” series!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week:
Establish your priorities as a couple NOW, as they will become your guiding principles throughout the wedding planning process.

Here’s what I mean by this: By determining your priorities for your wedding, you’ll be in great shape to maintain a decision-making strategy with your budget, as well as keep all of your vendors and VIP helpers on the same page. Every couple is unique: whether it’s florals and decor, entertainment and throwing an amazing party, or gorgeous, timeless photography to last a lifetime, they’re all valid. It’s just a matter of what matters most to you!

Some key points to remember:

  • Understanding your priorities as a couple will help you to better manage your money and time.
  • You can rely on your priority list when hard decisions come to pass. If you’ve hired a wedding planner or coordinator (like me!), this will also be the blueprint he or she live by to make executive decisions on your behalf over the course of the wedding weekend.
  • Your priorities should relate to your budget allocations. In other words, if your priority is to give your guests an amazing culinary experience at dinner, but you could care less about augmenting your room ambiance with lighting, then your budget should naturally reflect more money allocated to the catering line item than a/v rentals. Simple, right?
  • You (and your family, if they are contributing financially) must present to all of your vendors a united front on your priorities for the wedding. Conflicting priorities will get you nowhere fast.

Follow these steps and have these conversations now, and you'll be in great shape come wedding day!