‘We put everything on social media these days,’ says Gemma Mullin, 31. ‘So why would your wedding – the best day of your life – be any different?’
The mum-of-one from Essex is a wedding content creator, or as she explains it, ‘the bride’s personal paparazzi.’
‘I’m there to take behind the scenes content, specifically designed to go on Instagram and TikTok.
‘It’s not about formal ‘stand and pose’ photos. These are fun viral trend videos and behind the scenes candid content, that couples can upload within hours of getting married,’ she says.
From champagne towers to live illustrators and day-after pool parties, TikTok has a lot to answer for when it comes to how we throw a wedding in 2023.
Brides and grooms now want content that they can post on social media, almost as it happens – rather than waiting weeks, if not months, for their professional photos and video to arrive. Think TikTok ‘transition’ videos, dances and lip syncing to popular songs and a 60-second highlight reel of the big day.
Gemma, who runs The Wedit, and is also a freelance journalist, heard about wedding content creators after her sister got engaged, and thought she’d give it a go.
She says: ‘The more I learnt about them, the more I thought, “I could do this”. I’d just had a baby, so I could make it work around being a new mum. All I needed was a phone.’
Gemma offers different packages. Her cheapest, ‘Basic AF’ package includes four hours of coverage for £300, and includes two edited reels or TikToks, as well as all the raw footage and pictures she takes on the day.
While her top of the range ‘All Out Influencer’ package includes 10 hours of coverage for £720. This includes five edited reels or TikToks, plus a highlight reel of the day.
‘My most common request is for bridal transition videos,’ says Gemma. ‘You’ll have the bridal party in their pjs, and then with some camera trickery, it cuts to them in their gowns looking fabulous.
‘Another popular one is giving everyone heart shaped sunglasses with the wedding date written on to wear and pose in. Almost every guest gets involved – even the older generations who aren’t quite sure what I’m all about!’
Gemma says that working weddings themselves can be stressful. ‘I’m constantly on the go,’ she says. ‘I have to advise the bride to allow for extra time, and liaise with the photographer too to make sure we can all get everything we need.
‘I always have to keep an ear to the ground – I have to know what’s trending online, and how I can make it work in a wedding context.’
The delicate balance between photographer and videographer, and the new content creators, is something that is raising eyebrows amongst wedding industry experts.
Georgie Davis is a wedding planner based in Essex, and founder of Georgina Rose Events. She says she first heard of couples enquiring about content creators back in December 2022 – but they haven’t been totally embraced by the industry.
‘It’s a bit of a grey area,’ she says. ‘I worked one wedding recently where things got a bit tense between the photographer and content creator.
‘From the photographer’s view, they’d set up the shot, got the lighting and poses perfectly, and then the content creator was standing in the background with their iPhone and taking a photo.
‘The content creator sends the images to the bride and groom first, and takes all the credit.
‘There’s an element of the photographer being a trained individual with years of experience, and someone new is walking in who hasn’t paid their dues.’
But, even with that in mind, Georgie, who got married last year, says she can see the appeal of a content creator.
She says: ‘If I got married now, I’d have one. It’s one less job for a bridesmaid, and it’s a bit of fun – some of the content they capture is fantastic too.’
Erin McBride is another wedding content creator from Glasgow. Like Gemma, she launched her business after someone close to her got married.
She says: ‘I have an interiors account on Instagram with about 40,000 followers, so when my friend got married in July this year, she asked if I could be in charge of taking pictures and videos for her Instagram. I realised it was something I could try and do as a business.’
With an already healthy following online, Erin posted about her new business, Your Day Unplugged, and was inundated with enquiries.
She says: ‘I’ve already got 50 bookings for next year, and into 2025. I offer various packages: a three hour morning package is £150, for half day I charge £300, and a full day, which is 10 hours, is £500. So it’s about £50 per hour.
‘But it’s not just pointing and pressing record. There’s a lot of work and creativity that goes into it, and it takes about three to four hours the next day to edit everything together.’
Both Gemma and Erin were clear to point out that their clients are not influencers with huge followings online.
Fatima Chapman, 42, married her husband, Jason, in August this year. She hired Gemma after her budget didn’t allow for a videographer.
She says: ‘I’m on social media, but I’m more of an observer – I’m not generous with my likes! I love following celebs like Victoria Beckham and Naomi Campbell, or comedy accounts. For me, social media is just a bit of fun.’
Fatima says that while she might not be the typical Gen Z you might imagine would get a content creator, it worked for her.
‘When I told my now step-daughters, who are 18 and 21, that we’d hired a creator, they thought it was so cool!
‘I’ve never made this kind of content before, but I loved it. The best thing is that the videos are so easy to share. You can quickly send them to friends or family, and when I got back to work after the wedding, I could show my colleagues the highlight reel. No one wants to sit and watch a long, boring video.’
So while it looks like content creators could soon become the norm at weddings, what does this say about our relationship with social media?
Latasha Blackmond is a communications and social media expert, and author of Be You, No Filter: How to Love Yourself and Stay #SocialMediaStrong. She says we don’t have look at this role quite so critically.
‘Of course, people are doing this for likes,’ she says, ‘but it’s interesting that the people that are hiring these content creators are not influencers, they just want bite size vignettes of their special day. We must understand they serve a purpose: content creators are capturing certain angle and transitions that others aren’t.’
But Latasha says we can’t pretend there isn’t an element of showing off. ‘Behind the veil, it is to show the perfect picture to our friends and family to compare.
‘In social media we are in a constant state of comparison, you can be whoever you want to be and on Instagram and TikTok, that’s even more heightened.’
She says it’s important that everyone – not just brides and grooms-are aware of this. ‘Comparison can rob us of our true unique value,’ she warns. ‘You must be able to separate real and online life.’
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