Cost-cutting service puts wedding guests to work

July 25, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Wedding guests aren't usually put to work. But now a Chicago-area company is using the power of the crowd to capture some important moments and save the bride and groom some money.

"We didn't even budget for a videographer," said Brittany Strubbe.

Like many brides, Strubbe was looking for ways to trim her wedding budget. She still wanted a wedding video but thought wedding videographers were too impersonal and expensive.

"It's just another stranger in the room. When you're getting ready, when you're on the bus doing all these little intimate things that you want caught on tape, they don't know," she said.

Mike and Ariane Fisher run the Chicago company Storymix Media. They use help from the guests to capture a wedding.

"The wedding industry has kinda had the same formula for a long time and with technology now we can kinda get out of that mold," said Mike Fisher.

Storymix gives couples several small video cameras. Then the couple picks people from their guest list to shoot video throughout the night or guests can pass the cameras around.

"People nowadays are so used to taking video with their cell phones, with their point-and-shoot cameras, they're used to capturing little, short important moments," said Ariane Fisher. "You're getting the wedding video through the eyes of those who love you the most. So they really know what's important to you."

After the couple sends the cameras back, Storymix uploads the raw video to their website and lets the couple pick their favorite moments. Then the company edits it all together.

"If you have a pro videographer, which is still a great idea, they're going to be there maybe 4 to 6 hours and they're going to focus on the couple. While with this you've got 1,3,5 cameras, they're getting passed around. It's telling the whole story of your wedding that you can then share. It's not just the traditional couple of things you see on a normal video," said Mike Fisher.

From smartphone apps that help design a wedding dress to sites that help you replace traditional invitations with emailed options, technology is fueling a do-it-yourself - or DIY - wedding trend.

"It's a DIY in a sense of you get to make what you want of it, but then again I get to ship it off for them to do. You get the best of both worlds, I think," said Strubbe.

Strubbe says she loves the moments her guests captured.

"Some people took it so serious, and they were like, 'oh my gosh, I'm shooting the wedding video,' so they took it very seriously," said Strubbe.

The shoot-it-yourself video is priced by the number of cameras you want but runs anywhere from $99 to at most $500.

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