Memory Maker: Love Gets Sweeter

Sarah Symonds

With a little nudge in the right direction from her husband, talented Charlene of UNVEILED Network Member Love Gets Sweeter is taking the local Lancashire wedding film industry by storm.

Capturing the magic of weddings is a little different to the filming of Mr Bean’s Holiday but that’s a career leap that our Charlene easily took in her stride! From filming anything and everything as a child, signing up to media studies at college by fluke and then nearly filming her own wedding, it might’ve been a meandering path but it all worked out in the end!

The relaxed and natural style of Love Gets Sweeter’s wedding footage and the relationships that are built in the process of planning and the lead up to the big day itself are what keeps her couples coming back for more, time and time again over the years, as their families grow.

We’ve caught up with Charlene to see how she uses her expertise to get to know her couples, take the lead to reduce their stress and manages to create those lasting memories of moments no one but a total pro could’ve seen coming…

Well hello there!

I’m Charlene! A 90’s music loving wedding videographer living in West Lancashire who loves capturing genuine, natural connections and moments that unfold in front of my camera. I went straight out of media college in Liverpool into the Film and TV production world but, it was my own wedding day that changed my career path! It was editing my own wedding video back in 2009 that turned my anti-wedding-video husband into the biggest advocate of wedding videos – so much so that he bought me a website domain named after our first dance song, Love Gets Sweeter. It was his nudge that started me on this path as a wedding videographer!

Where did your passion for film come from?

My mum did a speech at our wedding and I remember her telling everyone how much I loved to film things as a kid. From our 90’s dance routines to mini films with friends and my toys, I was always creating. Back then, it wasn’t obvious it could be a career choice! I then went to a local college to explore art courses (as media wasn’t a ‘thing’ in High School) but the lecturer had nipped to the loo so, I got chatting to the cool media lecturer instead. Before the poor art guy came back, I was all signed up for two years in Media Production!

This led me to Uni, to then quitting Uni, to going to another college and finding a love of post production. Being one of the only students who could drive, I bagged myself a ‘Runner’ role for Channel 4 filming in Liverpool. Sweet-talking the Editor and making him lots of cups of tea led to him calling me up to work with him on the filming of Mr Bean’s Holiday in London. But I missed my soon to be husband and the slower pace of Northern life and so I headed back up North to work for some independent film companies in Liverpool instead.

All the skills I learnt along the way meant I knew we had to have a wedding video. But Lee wasn’t so sure. I obviously couldn’t film myself walking down the aisle (though I did consider it!) so I called up a few work colleagues to help.

Editing took forever (I cried A LOT and it was hard to cut things out when everything felt important) but it opened up this world of weddings to me that I didn’t realise existed! Then I was made redundant from a local film company and it gave me the shove in to making the leap into full time wedding videography back in 2010/11 and it’s been my passion ever since.

What do you love about capturing a couple’s big day?

I love knowing how much it will grow in value for them. I don’t think anyone can really see the impact having a wedding video will have until they’ve seen their own and it’s possibly why it’s such a tough decision for lots of couples. It’s hard to ‘get’ that beforehand! I love knowing that I’ll capture moments that neither of us could’ve predicted. Moments they’ll love seeing back. Moments they may have missed but I’d anticipated and captured for them.

After filming weddings for 11 years now you’d think I’d know exactly what I’ll be filming. Well, yes there’s some ‘routine’ to a wedding. But the people, the stories and the relationships are all different and that’s what makes every wedding I film feel new and exciting.

I can’t predict what will happen in front of my camera but I can be ready for anything and my experience allows me that ability to anticipate the moments that I know will mean the most to each couple, even if they don’t know it yet!

How would you describe your style of videography?

My couples describe it as relaxed, natural and fun. Relaxed is my approach and how I am to make them feel. Natural is because when they watch the moments back they feel so real and natural. Fun because I capture the fun from the day. It’s not about being overly stylised or ‘cinematic’ for me, it’s about the people you’re sharing your day with and how much fun you all have celebrating together! It’s more of a ‘documentary’ videography style that allows me to capture things as they happen. For couples, it means it’s a more discreet style of wedding videography. No posing, no direction, simply enjoying the day and hopefully forgetting all about the cameras!

What’s your approach like on the wedding day?

Friendly, discreet and relaxed. I try to chat and catch up with my couples before the wedding day because I know it helps build trust and means they’ll feel relaxed around me on the morning of the wedding. It’s all about being approachable, chatty and friendly so you’re not that scary person with the camera in their face. No-one will feel relaxed if that’s the case! My couples tell me I blend in so well they forget all about the camera and it’s like having a really knowledgeable bridesmaid helping out and ensuring everyone is happy and relaxed. I like that, as I know I’ll be able to capture all the natural moments on a wedding day if everyone feels relaxed.

How do you build relationships with your couples?

I feel this is so important to get the best from everyone, don’t you think? If I can help the couple put their trust in me and have no worries on the day, then I feel I’ve succeeded! I offer all my couples catch ups before the wedding to go over the plans but also to find out more about them and they can ask me all the questions they have.

I encourage emails and calls if they need help or inspiration, as I have over 11 years of wedding knowledge I’m happy for them to take advantage of! I’m also active on Instagram so they can keep up to date with everything I’m up to, get lots of inspiration and chat weddings. It’s been a wonderful tool to help couples get to know me!

A lot of my lovely couples go on to start families and book me to capture family life and big family milestones and events, like Christenings and Naming Days. It’s so nice to know they loved their wedding experience enough to keep having me along to document their growing families too.

What sets you apart from other videographers?

Good question. At the beginning I used to say my approach was different. I stood out from all the cheesy, ‘trying too hard to be romantic’ (as one of my couples called it) slow-motion wedding films. I was more real, more fun and it was about the people not the details. Now, I’d say it’s me that sets me apart. There’s only one me. I’m the only one to have all the experience I’ve shared, to have the approach and personality that I do. I like that my couples can connect with me on a more personal level and put their trust in me. It becomes more than just a wedding video, I’m more than just a wedding videographer, I go above and beyond to ensure every couple feels looked after and enjoys the Love Gets Sweeter experience. I even limit the amount of weddings I film to ensure I can give every couple lots of fuss!

Do you have a favourite part of the day to capture?

I think it depends on the wedding and what we’ve chatted about before because that usually shapes which bits I’ll get excited about. For example, if the couple have an amazing group of friends and that’s all they’ve been talking about then I really look forward to capturing that energy in the morning when they’re getting ready. It’s always so fun! If the bride is a bit of a Daddy’s Girl, I love capturing that ‘first look’ and try not to get emotional myself! I think the most anticipated bit, and the bit I loved looking back on, was the walk down the aisle. The build up seems to be forever and then the moment passes in the blink of an eye. It’s impossible to take it in if you’re the couple. So I put a lot of pressure on myself and my assistant to capture as much of that moment as possible and, between us, we cover both ends of the aisle to see that first look and all the emotions that come with it. It happens in the space of seconds but it’s worth all the adrenaline to capture it for them to look back on. It really takes you right back to all those feelings again watching that moment back!

Where does your work take you?

Being a mum and wife, I like to stay in the UK and specialise in weddings in the North West. I’ve been lucky enough to travel up to the Scottish Highlands for a chapel wedding and down to Somerset for a Stately Home celebration. From city weddings to family farms, I love the variety that UK weddings bring and it’s as much an honour to be asked to stay local in Lancashire as it is to travel further afield.

What would be your top tips for couples searching for a videographer?

  1. Connection with the person and their work. Do you feel you’d relax in their company and could hang out with them all day? If you do then you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves and they’ll capture those natural moments you’ll love seeing back without worrying about the camera all day.
  2. Communication. Are they available and happy to chat when you have any questions? Are you waiting ages for replies or do they respond quickly? Do they check in with you or are you the one to chase things up? What is important to you is what matters really but I’ve been the bride waiting forever to hear from suppliers and I would hate to add any additional worry on to my couples, so communication throughout is key for me as a wedding videographer.
  3. And loving their work. Seems obvious really but with so much focus on what kit they use in magazines and blogs recently, I felt it was important to go back to matters of the heart. When you see their films, can you imagine your wedding and it gets you excited? Bonus points if one of their films gives you goosebumps, makes you cry or gets you giddy with excitement.

What options do you offer when couples are booking you?

I pride myself on the flexible and personal service that I offer. I have created ‘packages’ or collections of films based on what’s proven popular over the years but I encourage couples to make their final collection of wedding films/videos personal to them. As we film the full wedding day regardless, it gives you the flexibility to add things on after the day so there’s less pressure beforehand. Imagine paying for the full speeches and the Best Man’s wasn’t as great as he’s suggested! So, whether you’re unsure about what to have for your wedding video or you’re after something to squeeze into your budget, it’s a great way to be more flexible with your wedding videography.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?

I realise I’ve said quite a lot here so well done for even making it this far! I hope that it’s proved helpful and that there’s a chance I’ve persuaded you to consider having a wedding videographer for your own day. We nearly didn’t and I know it’s still one of the biggest regrets of couples after their wedding day so if you need help working out if it’s the right thing for you, I’d love to help and chat through ideas.

You can find me at lovegetssweeter.co.uk.


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