More couples opt for creative ‘save the date’ videos

Jane Choi and Tim Chung of Chapel Hill, N.C., were looking for a fun and unique way of announcing their 2010 wedding date. Despite not having any videography or graphic design experience, the two decided to try their hand at an increasingly popular “save the date” trend: an Internet video.The couple made a cake with “save the date” written on it and filmed themselves eating it. Tim then used his MacBook to edit. The result, which they sent to family and friends, was a two-minute video beginning with the couple covered in cake, running backward, and ending with the cake and its message. (See Tim and Jane’s video here.) The total price for the video?“The only things we bought were cake mix and frosting!” Choi said. Not bad, considering traditional mailings can cost upward of $200.Because of the cost-efficiency, as well as the utter charm factor of a homemade video, many couples are choosing to forgo traditional “save the dates” for something a little more creative. After all, filming a video with your fiancee is a heck of a lot more fun than picking out fonts.Hayden Geller and Sean Duffy were looking for a practical and cost-effective way to spread the word about their 2010 wedding in Austin, Texas. But not just any old “save the date” would do.“Sean and I are both fairly creative people (or so we like to think) and we knew our wedding was going to be pretty nontraditional, so it was important that our ‘save the date’ reflect that,” said Geller.They decided to make a video inspired by their favorite filmmaker, Wes Anderson. Geller and Duffy ride scooters, skateboard and even stargaze in an Anderson-esque video that ends with the wedding date and location.“For the most part, we shot the video ourselves," said Geller. “A couple of close friends of ours helped film the scenes we were both in.” (See Hayden and Sean’s video here.)The video took 18 hours to complete and cost under $30. It even became a bit of an Internet sensation, landing on as “The Hippest Save The Date You’ll Ever See.”Ryan Turri of Turri Productions in Los Angeles started getting requests to help film “save the date” videos after his own 2008 announcement on YouTube.“My wife thought of telling our story through a comic strip, but I wanted to take it a step farther," said Turri.The result is a sweet two-minute animation that follows the couple from infancy to engagement, and ends with the upcoming wedding information. (See Ryan and Rochelle’s video here.) “I would definitely encourage couples who want to make their own video to go for it ... Your video will come out being a great reflection of you as a couple,” he said.If you’re thinking of making your own “save the date” video, here are some tips on how to keep it fast, easy and affordable:Skip the fancy equipmentContrary to what you might think, you don’t need expensive equipment to make a high-quality video — and you can do most of the filming yourselves.“We didn’t have the funds for a videographer, so we set up a tripod and camcorder,” said Choi.

If you don’t have a camcorder, use the movie setting on a regular digital camera. You can set up a tripod, or get a friend to help. Then, use software that’s already on your computer, such as iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker, to edit your footage and add subtitles and music.Keep it short“I usually have to work with them to try to find the best way to tell the story in an appropriate amount of time. You don’t want Grandma sitting through a half-hour video,” advises Turri. You can always show the “director’s cut” at the reception.Set up a personalized domainFor as little as $12 on domain hosting site GoDaddy, you can set up a personalized URL for a quick and easy-to-remember way of linking your video. (Example: As an added bonus, these sites can be used to host all of your wedding information for easy access.Make an exception for less tech-savvy guests“The trend tends to be geared toward younger friends,” warns Amber Gustafson, director of Amber Events in Los Angeles, Calif. So you’ll want to print out a few cards for your older or less tech-savvy friends — but be sure to show them the video at some point!Be careful of posting too soonOn the Internet, it’s difficult to control who sees your “save the date” video. Not everyone who does will actually be invited.“You can’t un-invite someone, so be incredibly careful who you send the ‘save the date’ to,” advises Gustafson.Email the video only to the finalized guest list, and wait until after the wedding to share on Facebook or YouTube, where uninvited friends will see it.