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by Scott Johnson

Wow! Time sure does fly by fast when you’re having a good time! Wedding videography is a year-round job, with its spikes during the spring and summer for obvious reasons (at least here in the Pacific Northwest) and we get to see a few just about every week of the year! One of the best things about our job is being able to see so much of our state. From stunning hotels, to accommodating athletic clubs, out to the fields and meadows and a few new locations that surely surprised us, 2018 has been a wonderful year so far.

Let’s break down our five favorite weddings of 2018 thus far!

Van Cise Wedding, 3/10, Trinity Tree Farm

Who would’ve thought that getting married at a Christmas Tree farm on the verge of Spring, with just little sproutlings popping up, would be such a wonderful idea? The Van Cise wedding took us out to Trinity Tree Farm near Issaquah for a day of fresh starts, new beginnings, and the decade-in-the-making marriage between Angelina and Taylor. What stands out most from the day, however, are the tear-inducing vows they share for each other that will surely make you cry, too.

Wurtz Wedding, 05/05, Ballard Locks

A new venue for us–and also one we never would’ve thought of–was the Ballard Locks. For those of you unfamiliar with Seattle, these water gates allow transportation to and from the ocean from Lake Union. For the Wurtz it was a gorgeous day, accented with our drone footage, that saw everyone looking spiffy in grey suits and lilac dresses. With a balloon arch in a little clearing, Jazmyn and Josh tied to knot in front of their friends and family in the most adorable fashion.

McGee Wedding, 01/28, Sentinel Hotel

Taking a road trip down to our southerly neighbor, Portland, is always a grand time, this time even more so. The so-called “Most Storied Hotel” and National Historic Landmark,The Sentinel, played host to the McGee’s truly spectacular wedding; a day of celebration, dancing and near-royalty decorations. After the satisfying crush of the ceremonial glass (and most importantly the kiss), Greg and Allie were officially married. All in all, it was one of the most unforgettable weddings we’ve been to in quite some time!

Foster Wedding, 02/17, Washington Athletic Club

The Fosters really lucked out with their February wedding, held at the Washington Athletic Club, as there was sun shining bright in the sky. Opting for drone footage, the beautiful Seattle waterfront was truly a marvel. Sipping mimosas, posing in front of the utterly sophisticated hallways and bookshelves of the Club, and looking dapper while doing so, occupied us for most of the morning. Failing to hold back his tears, Cory happily watched his wife-to-be walk down the aisle for a touching ceremony. However, it was the hilarious garter dance and the s’more bar, that really make this one stand out for us.

May Wedding, 05/06, Hidden Meadows

The May’s got married in May, which is certainly the easiest way to remember your anniversary, but their wedding as a whole already proved to be unforgettable. With perfectly warm weather, the outdoor ceremony which featured the bridesmaids and groomsmen rocking beige dresses and grey suits, was a lovely spectacle. With their union sealed, they officially kissed and become husband and wife. What we loved most were the photoshoots with the guys on the train tracks as they puffed on cigars like true gents.

And there you have it! Our Top 5 Weddings of 2018 (So Far!) Do you agree? If not, let us know which ones really deserved to be up here!

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by Scott Johnson

Welcome back to our series of Favorite Wedding Portraits! Ever since we got into the business, we have had the privilege of capturing some truly elegant, romantic, and sincere moments throughout your wedding day. Most importantly–aside from the wedding itself–are the wedding portraits you take following the ceremony. This is the first time you pose for photos as newlyweds and as such it is one of the most special times in your life–so you gotta make it memorable!

As we discussed yesterday, some couples have opted out of scenic venues and breathtaking landscapes in favor of more personal locales. Walmart and Target have already played host to weddings and portraits, but did you know that one couple just got married inside the iconic White Castle? Though many of us up in the Pacific Northwest haven’t had the opportunity to try some of those legendary sliders, the restaurant chain held a contest that would let one happy couple get married at the Las Vegas branch. Adam and Whitney were said happy couple as they discovered the contest while celebrating their engagement in Tennessee.

Considered a “Royal Wedding,” the couple received a lavish wedding provided by the restaurant and even were treated to music, floral arrangements, and one monster of a wedding cake made out to look like a cheeseburger. It’s also important to note that in the last ten years, over 75 couples have been married inside a White Castle. So, you know, that’s always and option–and we’d be glad to shoot it!

Anyway, I’m getting hungry now so here’s the rest of our countdown for our Favorite Wedding Portraits!

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Losic Wedding, 03/31/17, The Golf Club at Newcastle

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love going to the Golf Club at Newcacstle. You don’t need to know the difference between your irons, nor do you need to be Tiger Woods in order to enjoy the sweeping views of King County and beyond. Though we’ve shot a number of weddings (and a proposal) at the venue, the Losic Wedding is our favorite example of the majesty bestowed upon you once you reach the the viewing platforms. Following a storybook wedding, we wandered around the area with Danijela and Fedja as they planted kisses on one another in front of the staggering clubhouse. Shortly after, the newly weds wandered out onto the mounds overlooking Seattle, and though it was slightly overcast, the city peered out from behind the mist. Sure it’s great to see Seattle soaked with sun instead of rain, but that’s not really Seattle, now is it?

Vega Wedding, 10/29/16, Huber’s Gasthaus

Aside from already making our Best Themed Weddings, the Vega Halloween Wedding is simply one of the coolest ones we’ve had the pleasure of shooting. Just two days shy of the spookiest day of the year, the couple (dressed in all black) met down in Olympia for a seriously freaky wedding featuring a gruesome cake, terrifying decorations and an all around ghoul time. Anybody raised in the Pacific Northwest knows October is already creepy enough, especially with the sun setting so early (or never even coming out at all). When it was time to do the wedding portraits, we followed the newly weds out to a fittingly abandoned field that felt ripped out of a horror movie. Posing underneath grey skies, with a little bit of mist rolling in, and the trees dotted with reds and oranges, even Morticia and Gomez would be filled with jealousy upon the sight of these photos. Not all wedding photos need to be drenched in sunlight.

Berry-Reich Wedding, 08/10/17, Kitsap Memorial State Park

With an already sumptuous First Look that showed Kaylee and Conor posing underneath the towering trees of Kitsap Memorial State park, one would think there would be no way in topping the beauty. Yet, sure enough, there was. Following a fairytale wedding in the woods, the newlyweds made their way down to the waterfront right at sunset, the perfect golden hour. With the sun slowly descending behind the hills in the distance, the two were bubbly and smiling, planting kiss after kiss on one another as their big day came to an end. Walking up back into the woods with Conor holding Kaylee, nothing could have been more romantic.

Ainsley Wedding, 08/20/16, Axis Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square, especially during the summer, is a spectacular place to spend an afternoon. Free art galleries, century-old architecture and cobbled streets provide a significantly different vibe than the rest of the city. When the sun comes out, you may even see a wedding like the Ainsley’s that fills the streets with loving family members. On one of the many side-streets that criss-cross the neighborhood, the Ainsley’s tied the knot. Following their ceremony, we followed them around the area which was surprisingly empty for the weather that day–but that made it all the more special. Posing in front of the brick buildings and along roads under construction, it was the perfect meeting of old and new.

McDonald Wedding, 10/02/16, Monte Cristo Ballroom

Just a few blocks away from the waterfront in Everett, the Monte Cristo Ballroom offers up a regal venue for partners who want to get married indoors like a prince and princess. The marbled floors and dove white columns provide a touch of sophistication that one normally wouldn’t find in an outdoor venue. With their first look outside, Drew and Briannah posed against the buildings classical architecture before heading around to the more modern parts of the area. Following the ceremony, we headed outside once again to capture them in the street as the sun set perfectly down the road over the harbor. A splendid ending to a beautiful day.

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And there you have it! Ten of our favorite Wedding Portraits! Thanks again to all of the newly weds featured in the countdown for choosing us to film their weddings and letting us share their special day with everyone!  Be sure to check back later in the year when we will update our blog with even MORE of our favorite wedding portrait moments.

Have any questions or suggestions on what we should do next? Ask us below!

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by Scott Johnson

So it’s your big wedding day. You’re decked to the nines, you’ve been dieting and working out for weeks, and you’ve just married the partner of your dreams. Glowing with happiness and looking the best you probably will in your entire life, only one question remains: where do you wish to immortalize this momentous day? Most couples simply choose do it where the wedding was shot, as just about every wedding venue offers beautiful architecture or scenery in which to take your portraits as a married couple.

But then there are those like the Sablan’s, who are such huge Target shoppers that they wanted their wedding portraits to be taken inside their favorite stomping ground! Unlike the couple who got married inside a Walmart, which is an entirely different story, the Sablan’s held their ceremony elsewhere before heading on over to the superstore for some romantic, adorable photos throughout the frozen-foods section and elsewhere. It just goes to show that sometimes the most resonant moments in a relationship, like a weekly trip to Target, often start without much thought at all—until you realize the depth of the love and connection they share.

Believe it or not, but we unfortunately have not had the honor of being able to shoot such iconic photos in any superstore. Boring, right?

Despite the massive disappointment, we have still seen our fair share of wedding portraits that hopefully make up for the legendary photos of the Sablan’s. Ultimately, we got to thinking about what are our own favorites, so we scoured our archives and picked out the best ten that we’ve shot! Without further ado, here is the first part of our Best Wedding Portraits video series.

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Reilly Wedding, 09/16/17, Bellaflora Farms

A gorgeous wedding down in Walla Walla led us to the discovery of Bellaflora Farms–an enchanting landscape that certainly looks like it’s right out of a fairytale. Drooping leaves, a romantic manor, and the last lights of summer creeping in through the leaves makes this place absolutely spellbinding. For the Reilly’s wedding portraits, we followed them out to the fields down the road following their ceremony. With the wheat fields stretching out in the background, and the rolling hills slowly rising up, the two danced in an almost barren landscape. It’s just them, the world and the setting summer sun illuminating the approaching grey clouds. The pure isolation out here was spectacular, seldom do we get this few of interruptions–nor the views!

Moriarty Wedding, 08/19/17, The Four Seasons Hotel

You may recognize the opening footage of the Moriarty’s wedding from our Favorite Drone Footage weddings. The camera swoops in over the Sound and enters the city from up high. Anybody who has ever visited Seattle will undoubtedly recognize the waterfront and skyline that makes Seattle so iconic, especially now with the Ferris Wheel perched on the pier. Following their ceremony, Sasha and Shane made their way up to the famous Four Seasons pool deck for an awe-inspiring view of Puget Sound. With ferries dotting the water and the sun glistening as it dipped below the Olympics, there’s really no beating a sight like this.

Chan-Hayashi Wedding, 07/29/17, The Seattle Tennis Club

You’d probably never think that an athletic club would be the premium location to shoot your wedding portraits—but you also probably haven’t seen the Seattle Tennis Club. Situation right at the edge of Lake Washington near Madison Park, the stunning facility offers breathtaking views of the water as well as Bellevue to the east. While it might seem more romantic—and certainly more popular—to pose for photos looking across the Sound towards the Olympics, many forget (except Rebecca and Justin) that towering far to the south behind Lake Washington is none other than Mt. Rainier. As the two posed with the water gently lapping up on shore, they peered off into the distance and to the mountain that is so symbolic of everything Washington.

Nelson Wedding, 07/01/17, Chihuly Garden and Glass

Perhaps the most renowned and recognizable Seattle artist that is still living, simply hearing the name Dale Chihuly instantly brings to mind dazzling glass sculptures featuring pretty much every color of the rainbow in mind-melding shapes and designs. Almost directly underneath the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is a hotspot for art lovers and tourists alike—and also those who are seeking a gorgeous spot for their wedding ceremony, something not nearly enough people are aware of. Which is exactly what makes the Nelson’s so far ahead of the curve. On the first day of July, the two met to be married surrounded by the ones they love and breathtaking artwork. Following the ceremony, the newly weds met underneath warping lights of every hue before taking a stroll through the museum proper. With almost alien-like designs, Chihuly’s sculptures proved to be the perfect backdrop for the bride and groom, inspiring both fascination and love.

Pearman Wedding, 04/22/17, The Landing at Tyee

Out of all of Seattle’s waters, Lake Union is often the most unrecognized. Sure there’s Lake Washington, the Sound, and some consider Lake Stevens up there, but Lake Union (despite getting prime attention in Sleepless in Seattle) is the forgotten one of the bunch. The Pearman’s wedding, held at the Landing at Tyee, reminded all of us of its breathtaking beauty, especially at sunset. Following an unforgettable ceremony, the bride and groom headed on down to the waterfront. Posing on the docks with Rachel’s massive veil billowing in the wind, the sun streaked through the clouds and reflected off the water, creating a golden aura that highlighted the newly weds from behind.

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That concludes part one of our Favorite Wedding Portraits! We hope you enjoyed all of the beautiful footage of newly weds sharing their first few moments together in pure happiness. Check back in later for part two of the series as we count down some of our favorite portraits of the last few years!

Have any questions or comments? Want tips and tricks to capture your own footage? Drop us a comment below and we’d be happy to help!

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by Scott Johnson

Most of us don’t want to admit it, but we can all be lazy when it comes to planning things. So when something like a wedding needs to be planned–often with an absurdly daunting list of a hundred different things that need to be ordered and organized–it’s not a surprise that a lot of people shut down and hire a wedding planner in order to take on the weight of planning a decadent affair.

Of course, there’s also the option of not planning much at all. You could just boogie on down to the courthouse and get married like Richard and Stacey.

These two proved you can still have a ton of fun getting married and taking pictures around downtown Seattle with just a small bridal party in tow and the sense of carefree joy you get when you do something on a whim, rather than wait months and months for an event to happen.

The other option, as movies like What If and shows like Parks and Recreation have inspired a number of people in recent years, is throwing a surprise wedding. Take Ashleigh Banfield (CNN host) for example who, upon not wanting to get bogged down in “a million details,” threw a surprise wedding for all those in attendance at what they presumed would be her 50th birthday party.

So, essentially, the couple just had to plan for a birthday party and that was pretty much it! Check out the article from People to learn more about their day!

We don’t get too many offers to shoot surprise weddings—mostly because we’re often booked months in advance and the idea of a surprise wedding is pretty much the exact opposite of that—but we have indeed had two that were truly special events full of love and excitement. Also, they just so happened to take place at the same venue. Weird. But that’s just the way we like it! Let’s find out more about them, shall we?

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Alford Wedding

One of our most emotional weddings, the Alford’s was a truly spectacular day. About a month in the works, the surprise wedding was staged as your typical Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone is dressed up, ready to eat some good food, excited to see family and friends—but they’re in for just a little bit more than that!

What makes this day so special is the love these two have for each other and the sheer impact their children have in their decision. Feeling like it was a “good idea” but still “non-traditional,” the couple very quickly established the plans within a month—which by our standards is pretty darn impressive. The wedding, to be held at the place they had their first kiss, is amazingly touching.

Raising a kid on her own, it was always Desiree’s hope that Hartley would find a father figure. “I cared more about her having a father figure more than a mate for myself.” It seemed like she found the best of both worlds with Ron!

Even more special, Ron didn’t know his father which makes his connection with Hartley almost kismet. The bond these two have with their respective kids is something else, but merging the two amazing families is one of those things you only see in movies—until now.

Part of the planning also had to involve including his son who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, which had shaken things up a bit, but the ability to have everyone be there is what makes it even more fantastic for these two.

The day went off without a hitch, as everyone was welcomed to the wedding right away—with many doubting Ron’s words! As soon as they all saw the chairs and the officiant, it all became clear—this wasn’t just Thanksgiving dinner.

Cofield Wedding

One of the most thrilling aspects of a surprise wedding is that it feels almost like you’re pulling off a big heist. Only a few select people are in on the operation—lest certain family members feel betrayed—in order to make it run smoothly. It is done under utmost secrecy, because then that destroys the whole “surprise” aspect of it. But most importantly, the rewards are key—the excitement and shock on everyone’s face is utterly priceless.

So the Cofield wedding kicked off as a “engagement dinner,” planned for about two months. They both wanted small weddings, Mallory was lacking the “wedding gene,” and simply didn’t want to have all the bells and whistles—but they still wanted to make it special. Only close family and friends were invited, essentially the “wedding party,” as well as his boss who happens to be a preacher.

Once everyone was sat down in Mama Stortini’s, Mike got up on stage with his preacher boss and asked her directly, in front of everyone, if she wanted to officiate their wedding. Being in on the plan, she responds with, “well I’m honored. I don’t even know what to say, but why not just do it now? You have all your family and friends here.” Then it clicked with everyone. The tears, applause and cheers were everything you expect them to be. Everyone got duped! But at least it was the good kind!

Earlier this year, the Cofield’s surprise wedding was actually featured on Offbeat Bride! The article, written by Catherine Clark, discusses the diverse background of the parents of both of the bride and groom. After a more-or-less “traditional” ceremony, the two changed garbs to perform the traditional Korean Pyebaek bowing ceremony, in honor of Mike’s heritage, who is also African-American while the bride is Chinese, Greek, Italian and German!

Surprise weddings can be a lot of fun if pulled off correctly, though for some it might upset some of the more traditional family members. There’s not much more that can be the look on everyone’s face, however, so just that alone might be enough to convince you to throw your own!

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Did you have a surprise wedding? Ever been to one and have pics and videos to share? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to feature you!

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by Scott Johnson

Look, we get it—there’s a lot that goes into planning a wedding. Venue, flowers, dress, shoes, suits, seating arrangements, vows—you name it. It’s a tough, tough job having to plan all of this out—which is why wedding planners exist—but what about the maid of honor, best man or parent of the bride or groom who has to dig deep into their souls and find something that speaks to the character of their friend. That is a tough job—believe me, I had to give the toast for the founder of Best Made Videos.

I mean, if only they knew how hard it was to write a speech that somehow captured both heart and humor, then maybe just maybe, they’d understand the sheer amount of pressure we face in the months leading up to the wedding. What if it isn’t funny? What if it’s too mean-spirited? What if they cry too much? What if I cry too much?

Well, we can’t write your speech for you, but we can give you some tips we just picked up from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bridesand Wedding Crashers for good measure. First of all, this one is from Wedding Crashers—always, always, always come from the heart. Don’t try to be too funny—humor is absolutely important—but you don’t want to be too harsh. If in doubt, simply tell a story you have of the couple and how it showed they were meant to be. Other helpful hints include acknowledging the guests, talking about your connection, being positive and staying away from alcohol for your own sake and that of who you’re toasting.

You wouldn’t believe how many toasts we’ve heard, but we’ve somehow managed to whittle down our huge backlog to just three. So let’s check them out—oh, and prep the tissues.

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Veldee Wedding, 07/31/17, DeLille Cellars

You probably wouldn’t ever expect one of your parents to absolutely kill it with their toasts—that job is often left up to your best man or maid of honor who know the even more embarrassing details you wouldn’t want your parents to know about—but the Veldee wedding is something entirely unique for us. Not only is it absolutely wonderful in that it is the bride’s mom getting to “roast” the groom, but it is honestly one of the sweetest and most touching speeches we’ve witnessed.

As Kat’s mom starts off, explaining she and her daughter were digging through some old “love letters,” they found one written by the groom himself—check Kat apologizing to him for the ambush—which she most certainly brought to be read aloud. But before digging into the juicy letter, her mom describes how the two met—with Kat coming home everyday in 7th grade saying “there’s this annoying boy that sits behind me in class.” But, as her mom noticed, she would always be smiling when she was “complaining.”

As the years went by, he would invite her to school dances, prom (where they ended up being queen and king) only to be distanced by college…which is where this letter comes in. After a year of being apart, the letter was sent, and in it he writes, “Dear my beautiful, loving girlfriend,” before being cut off by he who wrote it saying, “let’s just end it there.” Alas, her mom continued, “Only a few weeks left until I shall depart this land they call Oregon in search of pastures anew for the summer time. My likely destination, your heart.”

There’s tons more to it, but you probably get the picture!

Sanchez Wedding, 08/28/16, Historic 1625

If ever there was a tear-jerking toast, this would be up there with some of the best. Sometimes a sibling is the best friend you’ve always had, and they stand up there with you knowing not only yourself, but also your significant other. So often times they have not only a great insight on your character, but also your fiancé. As is the case with our next vows.

“This is really difficult,” the bride’s sister begins, “she is the baby of the family. We have eleven years between us. I’ve watched her, I’ve babysat her from diapers to now. I’ve been protective of her through the many years. I’ve watched her blossom from a young lady to this beautiful woman right here.”

She then starts in on her time with the groom, “Then she met Jesus, who worked his way to our hearts through our stomachs. I mean, the guy can cook, you know, and we love him. He fed us,” which was met with a huge applause. Who can blame her for mentioning that—it’s the easiest way to anybody’s hearts.

Briggs Wedding, 08/15/16, Historic 1625

There’s a running joke amongst most best friends that they—without any doubt whatsoever—wish for their future children to be married and then they’d be in-laws. Very rarely does this actually happen—but we happened to be so lucky as to film the wedding of such an occasion. As the two moms start out their speech, they announce that this has actually been “25 years in the making, and we did it!” They then joke about how they think their kids thought this was simply their own natural chemistry, but they take all the credit for themselves.”

The father of the bride comes up next, joking about how he didn’t want to be surprised by any of his daughter’s suitors, so he “started the vetting process early. Basically, about birth, ok. There’s things you need to know: background checks, credit reports, internet search history, text messages. That’s not the important stuff, I wanted to know how long for Joey to be potty trained, ok. I needed to know if he shared his toys well with others. Did he talk back to his mom? He passed with flying colors.”

I mean, what are the odds. Take back what I said earlier about parents not knowing everything. They know somethings.

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Was your toast at the wedding particularly special? Did it reduce the room to tears or make the double over laughing? Let us know below!

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by Scott Johnson

Technology is getting pretty wild these days, especially drones. For a while, they were commonly associated with people doing stupid things with them—like the guy who flew one into the Space Needle—but now they’re being incorporated by cinematographers and videographers (like Best Made Videos) to add even more ways to shoot your wedding day. Though it isn’t cheap—some services charge several thousand dollars per wedding due to tech costs, the need for a trained pilot, and all the FAA regulations—it is becoming increasingly more accessible for a lower fee.

CNBC published an article in October digging into these new high tech weddings which include digital mapping, augmented reality photo booths, and other cutting edge technology to add an extra-geeky flair to your ceremony. And to think, all of this has become a reality within this century alone. What a time to be alive.

We here at Best Made Videos like to be with the times and have on staff our very own drone pilot, so here are some of our favorite drone-shot weddings!

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Salama Wedding, 05/29/17, Fairmont Olympic Hotel

From the opening minutes of the video it’s easy to tell the amazing benefits of drone photography as ours soars across the Sound towards the Ferris Wheel down on the piers. Before drones, you’d have to hire a helicopter to do this sort of thing, but with the advancements in technology, it’s so easy and adds such a cinematic feel to just about any video. Later on, a bird’s eye view of the the breathtaking St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Seattle, will leave you stunned as it rises over its towering domes.

Moriarty Wedding, 08/19/17, Four Seasons Hotel

Just like the Salama wedding, the Moriarty’s video opens with a stunning shot of the city with the drone flying in over the water. For those who call Seattle home, this is an iconic shot. For those who love their home, this might just be the best way to open the video, especially if it’s the city where the bride and groom met. Using drones in the city is tricky, but here it shows the beauty and size of the city before it settles in on something a little more intimate.

Apigo Wedding, 08/27/16, Des Moines Yacht Club

Sweeping shots of beaches filled with driftwood and choppy water on a typical grey Pacific Northwest day opens up the Apigo Wedding out in Des Moines. Like the other videos, and in movies themselves, it helps serve as an establishing shot. You know exactly where it is, and it’s so beautiful to watch. Later on, as the wedding party poses for photos, the drone soars over for a high angle shot that wouldn’t have been possible with something like a helicopter. Drone shots like this are excellent reminders of ways to get massive wedding parties all into one shot while still looking sleek and formal.

Get Hitched, Give Hope – Highlight Video

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As drones become more accessible to more people, instead of just a rich techie’s hobby, it’s important to weigh the benefits of using one to enhance your wedding day. Here at Best Made Videos, we offer a drone package with a minimum of 2 hours at a rate of $200 per. For more information, please contact us directly for inquiries, if not let us know if and how you used drones to upgrade your own wedding!

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by Scott Johnson

Favorite Wedding Venues Part 1:

One of the best things about getting to film dozens of weddings per year is being able to visit the far corners of the beautiful state of Washington–as well as others–and witness all of the many kinds of wedding venues clients have chosen for their big day.

From lavish hotels to tranquil forests and idyllic orchards to ritzy golf courses, there is an almost overwhelming amount of venues we have shot at. Ultimately, the site of your wedding is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make in the wedding planning process. After all, venues can book up years in advance, so be sure to double and triple check right now if you already have places and dates in mind!

A recent article from Weddingwire does offer some helpful advice on why choosing a hotel is one of the best decisions you can make for your venue. For example, depending on the hotels in question, most will have different event spaces to hold your ceremony and reception. In addition, most hotels that offer wedding accommodations will also have a wedding planner on staff and you’ll be able to take care of just about everything all at once on-site. Most importantly–it provides convenience. You, your guests, and the wedding will all be located within the same building, preventing the need to worry about transportation to and from the ceremony.

You also don’t have to worry about your guests getting home safely

As always, this got us thinking: what have been our favorite venues over the past few years? Well we’ve boiled them down to our seven favorites and are splitting them up into a double feature!! The first set is below–and be sure to check out the rest tomorrow!

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The Edgewater House, Olalla WA

Just north of Gig Harbor, The Edgewater House is an absolute delight. Right on the waterfront, with the altar peaking across the bay, there simply is no beating this venue for a summer wedding. Providing staff and service that always exceeds expectations, the venue will do just about anything in its power to ensure your perfect day. From a greeting service, parking attendants, a shuttle service to the parking lot, and enough tables and chairs for over 200 people, there’s simply no way you can be disappointed by the amenities and customer service.

For those with money they’re just aching to get rid of, you can even arrive by seaplane, helicopter or boat and be greeted by champaign! Bonfires, s’mores packages and more are also available, though showing up to your wedding by seaplane sounds pretty freaking rad. Depending on the weather, you can even request your own firework show for your guests to view from the beach below!

We’ve shot several weddings there, but the Duprel and Staggs weddings both highlight just how gorgeous the venue really is. Both weddings, which were massive in size, had more than enough space to dance and party into the golden hours of the evening. The scenic location also offers endless spots to do stunning photoshoots and poses against a variety of backdrops. There’s just so much to love about this place!

The Golf Club at Newcastle, Newcastle WA

You don’t need to be Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to enjoy getting married at the utterly scenic and undeniably breathtaking Golf Club at Newcastle. Sure it might be all the way up on a hill, but one look at the view and you’ll realize it was all worth it. With a panoramic view that sweeps all across the region, encompassing Seattle, Lake Washington, and the majestic Olympics way out in the distance, it’s worth it alone just to drive up to see it for yourself.

But for your big day, the staff is ready to…caddy…to your needs with multiple settings for the ceremony, outdoor patios (with heaters for those chilly evenings) and even a Scottish bagpiper! Bridal suites are also available to those who want to get ready on site–and they even provide a Bridal Attendant to guarantee your complete satisfaction.

While the Schroder wedding is one of the most stunning weddings we’ve shot, the proposal of Connor and Addie also showcases much of what makes the Golf Club so darn spectacular. We just love the views so much, and even the interiors are as formidably beautiful. It’s certainly a hole-in-one in our books!

The Arctic Club, Seattle WA

Don’t be fooled by the name, you won’t be taking any polar bear plunges or chilling out on blocks of ice as this venue. Rather, the Arctic Club is one of Seattle’s finest hotels and boasts an exceptionally gorgeous event space called the Northern Lights Dome Room with an unforgettable ceiling that rivals ones you’d find in Europe. Formally a social club for men returning from the Yukon Gold Rush, the building is now part of the National Register of Historic Places!

Able to host up to 320 guests, the Arctic Club comes ready with a full china service, dance floors, silver service, and you even get a complimentary night’s stay if you book your wedding there! Also available is valet parking, custom decorations, floral arrangements and more. Plus, you get to pick from a prepared list of vendors and musicians to perform! To top it all off, their catering team is prepared to serve anything from a traditional dinner with menus to a buffet. Just one look at their menu–which includes such mouthwatering options as Scallops Nage, roasted pork, chicken, or sirloin, and even a “late night snack” of kobe beef sliders–will make your stomach growl.

The Cone wedding, back in September of 2016, showcases the immenseness of the dome and the sheer size of the event space. Speckled with gold and white, nothing says “royalty” like the literally-dazzling wallpaper seen during the photoshoots. If you want a luxurious wedding, you really can’t go wrong with the Arctic Club.

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That’s it for today! Do check back in later this week to find out even more of our favorite venues including a church and a winery!

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by Scott Johnson

Favorite Wedding Vows Part 5 of 5:

Welcome back to the grand finale of our Favorite Wedding Vows series! Throughout this week, you have seen twenty of our favorite vows from weddings we have shot over the years—and now it’s time for the final five. Be ready with your hanky, things are going to be getting real emotional! Let’s wrap this thing up!:

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Soni Wedding, 08/31/17, The Golf Club at Newcastle

“I have so many things to say I don’t know where to begin,” is either the sign of someone woefully unprepared—or someone truly in love who simply cannot decide what is most important about the person in front of them.

Naturally, at weddings, its almost always the latter, as is easily proven by Christina who segues into tears and a heartfelt speech declaring “You’re the best, most unexpected thing that’s ever happened to me. And I am so thankful to have found such a selfless, caring and charismatic person like you. I’ve always wanted to be with someone as ambitious as I am. Hands down, I found my match.” She continues on with fawning affection, “I don’t know how you do the things you do and keep your sanity,” and compliments his big heart and how he always cares about everyone else—before losing it to tears and requesting tissues.

Tanuj begins his vows by going against what Christina said in writing a letter when she didn’t want to, because he wants to frame it for later on! He’s already off to a good start here, but once he gets going you can really tell he lives his bride, “just being with you makes my life complete. I feel like I’ve peaked in my life just to call you my wife now. Your sincerity is incomparable. I feel like the luckiest guy.”

But these aren’t even his vows! Watch the video to hear all of the epicness!

Mortega Wedding, 08/26/17, Kitsap Conference Center

Jessica’s vows for EJ highlight years of their relationship, “I love the life that we have built together, and though I can’t wait to see the world with you, it’s the everyday things I cherish the most.” She then lists off an endearing amount of favorite things they do—such as making dinner, grocery shopping, holding hands and drinking coffee, and many more. “With you, things haven’t always been easy. At times we have fought fiercely just to stay together, but because of what we’ve been through I know that what we have is real.” Her vows end with a crescendo of tears and emotion as EJ holds it all back while trying his hardest to not shed a tear.

EJ responds with the utmost of flattery: “Looking at you today, it’s easy to see why I fell in love with you. Your beauty is breathtaking. There are still times when you smile at me and I lose my words like when we first met. But more than what’s on the surface, it’s the depth and breadth of who you are that makes you the woman I love and me the luckiest man in the world.” It’s sincere and sweet, and that’s all you can really ask for.

Kent Wedding, 08/27/17, The Kiana Lodge

Rob’s vows for Lisa start off with that famous Jerry Maguire line, “you complete me,” but Rob takes it a step further and essentially makes us want him to do the remake. “With you, I know love has finally found me. Being with you makes me a better person. Your love, caring and understanding nurtures me, guides me, allows me to be who I am and encourages me to be better every day. 357 days ago I said I wanted to share all your future birthdays with you, and today I repeat that commitment.” Maybe it’s the accent, maybe it’s just the words, but Rob makes all of us swoon.

Lisa fires back with a strong, straight-faced recitation by declaring he is her best friend right off the bat. “While I don’t for certain what our future will bring, I am excited to discover life with you. You are my teacher, my accomplice, my teammate and my role model. You have shown me what love is.” Sounds like these two are like peas in a pod!

Stephens Wedding, 09/17/17, Sorrento Hotel

At the dazzling Stephen Wedding with the meeting of worlds, Ashley’s vows are seriously powerful and inspire a whole slew of emotions. “I see you in every romance movie, every epic love story and every glimpse of my future. You are my ultimate dream in life and my biggest inspiration. My life would not be complete without you.” These are some of our favorites, especially the movie line.

Rajeev’s return is a little hasty at first—with obvious forgiveness for the nervousness—but he simmers it down to an emotional slugfest as he recites his love for his bride. “We’ve grown up and grown together for the last six years, I wouldn’t trade for anything.” Later on he says, “Thank you for always standing by me and making the sacrifices that you do, because I can’t picture life without you. I promise to buy you flowers and chocolate when you’re upset.” That, right there, is love in a nutshell!

Ko Wedding, 08/20/17, Novelty Hill/Januik Winery

Before even beginning the vows, the sniffling tells you all you need to know. Nick, clearing his throat, is greeted with giggles from Sally. We don’t hear too many poems here—it seems poets are a rare breed anymore, at least at weddings—so that’s what makes Nick’s vows so special. “Sally,” he begins, “you are the person that makes me dream of the future. You are the person that makes me feel strong.” But as he keeps reciting these, it makes the heart swell. “Your heart, your face, you are my home. I love you, and now you are my wife,” it’s so sweet! “We’ll live our lives, and time will pass, but in this moment I read you my vows. I won’t need to look back to know that the good ol’ days are now.”

After taking a moment to prepare herself, Sally tearfully tells Nick that meeting him is the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Continuing on through the sniffles, “Thank you for always making the effort, for pushing me to grow and for reminding me to pick up all the hair that I shed.” That’s a big one, for us, “I promise to love you for who you are at any given moment. I promise to always have your back. I can’t wait to dream with you.”

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And there you have it! Our 25 favorite wedding vows! Thank you for sticking through it with us, and if you have any suggestions or would like to share your own, please throw us a comment or message! We are always looking to improve, so please don’t be shy. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

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by Scott Johnson

Favorite Wedding Vows Part 4 of 5:

And we are back for part 4 of our Favorite Wedding Vows series. As we reach the final stages of these articles and the year itself, we want to thank all of our readers and visitors for checking out our content and witnessing all of these spectacular weddings. Without you all, we wouldn’t be able to do this—so thank you.

Let’s start tackling the final ten!:

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Fincher Wedding, 09/03/16, Chambers Bay Golf Course

For many people, early September is associated with going back to school and the last legs of summer. The days start to dwindle, the air gets a little crisper, and the leaves start to match the golden skies. The Fincher wedding is a gorgeous example of late summer weddings done right as the beautiful sunset videography inspires romance and new beginnings.

While the officiant delivers some hilarious remarks to introduce the two, recounting the storied history of the bride and groom with jokes and anecdotes, Ina’s vows cut straight to the heartstrings. “Offering me the very best of you, filling my world with a love more beautiful than I ever dreamed of. I love you today, and I will love you for all days for the rest of my life.” Short, sweet, and to the point—even Ronnie has to agree because he tries to steal hers!

But he delivers in kind, “The first day I met you, I knew there was something special about you. As the years went by, and as I got to know you, I knew you were special. For the 2,716 days from our first date to today, I’ve learned from you, I’ve grown to love you more and more every single day.” That’s really all you can ask for, isn’t it?

Sanchez Wedding, 08/28/16, Historic 1625

An exuberant and tearful Jesus immediately declares that he has to do his vows in Spanish before saying “I love you,” in English, followed by, “It’s not coming out.” But the two are bashful as they hold each other’s hands. My Spanish is a little choppy, but he promises to help Erika accomplish her dreams, on good days and bad, and some other sincerely heartfelt things. It may have been short and sweet—but in his own language it adds all the more emphasis to his feelings.

In English, Erika responds—through tears—“You are my best friend, I couldn’t have asked for anyone else.” Chuckles emerge from underneath the sobs; they really do love each other and say so at the altar time and again. But she keeps going, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together,” which really makes him sob.

Anita and Enoch’s Wedding, 09/03/16, Within Sodo

Anita’s vows for Enoch sound like a legal briefing, but you can’t deny how well organized she is about her feelings. Separating her vows into different sections titled “Important moments,” “Promises I make,” and “Comparisons to famous couples,” she starts with the former, “I knew I loved you when I challenged you to Saved by the Bell trivia and you stumped me.” Most importantly, however, she promises to give him space to play his video games and to eat as much pizza as he wants—and really, that’s what I think most guys want. Well, maybe just me…and Enoch.

Enoch’s vows are a little less organized—which really isn’t saying much since most vows don’t have subsections—but he immediately teases her for being able to get through it with such a straight face and not crying—“that kinda kills my opening jokes.”

“I’m gonna assume you cried anyway. I’ve written more than I should be saying mainly because the more I talk the more you are going to cry. I don’t know if your water-proof makeup is going to win this battle. I should skip some parts.” Jokes aside, he starts delivering a heartfelt response, “Anita, you are my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter. I have loved you because of and in spite of your ability to follow societal norms. You told my coworkers not to tickle my feet for some reason, you’ve stolen peanut butter M&Ms from my roommate.” It keeps going from there, but Enoch’s words both make us laugh and smile, and that’s pretty special.

Manheim Wedding, 10/28/17, AXIS Pioneer Square

Danica and Phil’s late October wedding— with Thriller and allmight make you think they’re into spooky stuff. While they might just be, this isn’t another Halloween Wedding. Instead their vows are about teamwork, working together, and completing each other.

Danica, who announces she was once called “Danica Panica,” for her high levels of anxiety, loves Phil deeply, “while luckily the name didn’t stick, the tendency occasionally persists. With you, however, I am naturally at ease. I have never felt more comfortable, loved, or accepted as I am with you. We are not two halves of a whole, but instead two parts of a whole. Whatever life throws at us, we tackle it together as a unit.” This is sure some great chemistry—after all, you are partnering with this person for life—and the two really seem made for each other.

Phil, on the other hand, admits he probably isn’t the one to tell you how marriage works—he is just getting married—but he feels, “that in addition to loyalty and honesty, and all the other things we can just assume, a good marriage for us will include at least these things. A strong partnership, people and interests outside of ourselves, and a desire to be better as individuals and as a couple.” These two seem to be pretty in sync with the teamwork thing—they have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Mead Wedding, 10/21/17, Melrose Market Studios

An elegant wedding at the Melrose Market Studios sees groom Taylor reading his vows first. Sniffling as he starts, “I was just blown away. I didn’t know back then that this was the girl I was going to marry. I was just concerned with getting to know this amazing person in front of me. And got to know her he did, so much so that he has to “vow to get better at stifling my contempt for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New Jersey, Atlanta, the NBA, the NFL, and the rappers as you sit next to me.”

Dakota reciprocates with vows a little less laugh-inducing, but equally as emotional as she recounts memories of football and their early years. “I can still remember the feeling of brisk, cold nights under Friday night lights with you. I’d bundle up under a hoodie tucked under your jersey and stand proudly on the sidelines as I cheered my heart out for the boy wearing #13. In a sea full of fans and players, I only had eyes for you.” Come on!

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And that does it for today! Check back tomorrow for our final installment of favorite wedding vows! As always, thank you for keeping with us. We truly appreciate it. See you tomorrow!

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by Scott Johnson

Favorite Wedding Vows Part 3 of 5:

Welcome back to part 3 of our Favorite Wedding Vows series. We’ve worked hard to bring you these videos, but the true appreciation should go to the brides and grooms who came up with such beautiful words of love and affection. As it has been stated multiple times—it isn’t always easy sharing such personal feelings for the public, so we are truly thankful that we can share their words with all of you. So let’s keep on trucking!

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Morrison Wedding, 12/31/16, Embassy Suites

The Morrison Wedding is pretty special in that their big day took place on New Year’s Eve. But even more special than celebrating a wedding day that spans into two different years are the words of love spoken by Gus and Andrew when they tied the knot. Up against a gorgeous, snow-white altar, Gus begins his vows by stating the obvious—“Andrea, you look very beautiful”—before flipping the pages back to the very first time they met.

“We had no idea who one another was,” he starts, “when I saw you I felt a strong sense about you. I could feel your warmth, loyalty, genuine nature and cheerful soul. I somehow knew in that moment we would be together some day. Over eight years later from that day, my heart is bursting to know that I was right, and that we’ll be together forever.” Who is this guy? He should hire his services out! He continues with another gut punch, “Over all things, my happiness is tied to yours” and at this point we have to move onto Andrea because he’s just too good.

Holding back tears, Andrea declares, “Today, I am marrying my best friend, my soulmate, my prince charming. You know me better than anyone else in this world, and somehow still manage to love me. You’re my best friend and one true love.” Talk about openings! But wait, there’s more; later on, Andrea says, “Love is saying ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘you’re wrong.’ And some day, if the stars align, I might even let you win an argument.” Well that right there says it all—true love.

McDonald Wedding, 10/2/16, The Monte Cristo Ballroom

Drew and Briannah’s early October wedding is one of our favorite fall weddings—with unseasonably nice weather to boot! Kicking things off, Briannah stares lovingly at Drew, issuing an awkward laugh from the audience, before really diving into the feels (and fighting back tears) with the line, “you’re my dream come true, you’re a man I didn’t know existed.” You know it’s real when they can’t even get through the first line without losing it, but Briannah musters her strength and charges forward, “you’re my world, the joy in my heart and the air that I breathe. Today I take you as my partner in life, and my one and only true love.”

While there was nary a dry eye in the audience after that one, Drew has to somehow follow that emotional cry-fest. The audience realizes this too as they let out a collective laugh as he’s about to start, “Briannah, my love, thank god we found each other. You know I never thought I would get married, I never thought I would be so lucky, I just had no idea there was someone in the world as incredible as you. Someone I could love with my whole heart, someone I could trust with my full confidence.” He then proceeds to shower her with compliments and affection, surely coming to common ground with the sheer emotionality of her speech. They both take the prize with this one.

Ainsley Wedding, 08/20/16, AXIS Pioneer Square

Elise and Alex’s wedding was replete with words of love and promises of devotion, like Alex promising to “support your dreams and to grow with you. I vow to tell you what I am thinking and feeling. I vow to be your food-taster, sous chef, and your dishwasher.” But he even vows to put her before Seahawks and guitars! Now that’s dedication—but he further underlines it by promising to only make “inappropriate jokes at appropriate times,” and by promising to kiss her every single morning, even if she’s sick.

Elise starts to lose it almost immediately after she begins her vows, even declaring it’s tough to follow. She begins by saying he’s the love of her life and brings out the best in her. Through sobs, Elise delivers some really poignant vows, “I want to uphold this union, to fight for this union whenever necessary. I look forward to spending my life living out the vows I make to you today.”

Donoso Wedding, 09/04/16, College Club of Seattle

When you have something that connects you, never be afraid to use it. While it may sound corny, Erin and Alex’s nautical-inspired wedding is all the proof you need to see they’re ready to set sail on a new voyage in life. But Alex took it a bit further and infused his vows with rowing references (the bride and groom are both rowers) that easily calls back to that one scene in Wedding Crashers, though his are far less cheesy and much more sincere.

Erin reciprocates without any mention of rowing, through when they’re perched on a dock it is pretty easy to accept their love for spending time on the water. Fighting back tears, Erin says “you’re everything I could’ve imagined and more. We’ve laughed together, cried together, and dreamed together. I promise to always be by your side and share your happiness and success. I promise to support you as you strive to reach your goals.”

Bukowski Wedding, 08/20/16, Private Residence

Starting out with thanking her husband-to-be, Laura says “I am grateful for this day, but I am most thankful that I get to stand up here with you—my best friend—and promise to love you forever.” Cue the tears.

“Thank you for choosing me, I love you so completely.” Oh man, stop it Laura, you’re going to make us all cry. “I love when you look at me with sparkling eyes and mischievous smile.” Hers are some of our all-time favorite vows, and if you can watch the video and deny that—we wouldn’t believe you.

Augustus responds with a confident, mature, profanity infused message promising to listen and allowing her to call him on his *expletive,* but it is nonetheless sweet and meaningful. He may not have cried, but that didn’t mean nobody else did.

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Thank you for checking out #10-15! With the final ten approaching, we hope we haven’t caused too much emotional trauma–but if we have, wasn’t it worth it? Check back tomorrow as we begin the final countdown!

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