Editing weddings: “Can I choose my own music?”

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In nearly a decade of shooting wedding films, I don’t remember a single couple who didn’t ask at some point if they could choose the song we edit their film to.

On it’s face, this seems like an easy one to answer. The couple is hiring me to make a film about them, it only makes sense they should be able to choose a song they love.

You gotta have a license.

Years ago, using a mainstream track would have been no problem. I used to just fire up iTunes, buy a song for 99 cents, and dropped it into my video editor.

As video on the internet has matured, the legal restrictions around digital music have tightened and been more heavily enforced.

These days, I am legally only able to use tracks which have been licensed individually and specifically for each film. Licenses for mainstream music start in the four-figure range. Thankfully, we now have incredible choices with marketplaces like The Music Bed and Art List.

Popular music gets old.

You can’t shake it off if Taylor Swift is the soundtrack to your wedding film.

Hit tracks have this incredible ability to bring back memories from certain parts of our lives. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick and choose these memories.

Something mainstream only serves to date your film.

Because of the sheer quantity of quality licensed tracks available, it is quite likely the soundtrack of your highlight film might be the only place you will ever hear yours.

Song choice heavily impacts creativity.

There are several components to a wedding film.

The shots (visuals) are what everyone thinks of first.

The words said on a day (audio) comes next.

The music brings it all together.

A backing track:

  • Sets the pacing of the film
  • Allows for space to breathe between vows, toasts, etc.
  • Enhances emotional moments and brings energy to joyful ones

For obvious reasons, I take the track choice for your film extremely seriously. The song we use influences the editing heavily, and it has taken nearly a decade of experience to get these choices right.

A part of my booking process involves interviewing a couple about their musical likes and dislikes. I also take note what types of music are played on the wedding day, and end up listening to hundreds of potential tracks with a couple in mind.

I still usually end up changing the song 3 or 4 times before finding the one which supports the story best.

That all makes sense…but I still want to choose.

I believe your film should be as close to perfect for you as it can be.

For some couples, the perfect song isn’t the one which fits their film best. They want what they want, and that is okay.

Should someone insist on choosing a specific song for their highlight film, I will happily do my best to edit to it.

Ultimately, I am offering a creative service, and the less creative options available, the less I have to offer.