Together Journal Loves: Toast Wedding Films

We recently caught up with the talented team of filmakers behind Toast Wedding Films to chat all things wedding videography and pass over some of their best advice when it comes to choosing the right videographer for your special day.

We also hear how in a time where some guests may not be able to travel to your wedding, having a videographer can be the perfect solution to be able to share your celebration with guests from afar.

Continue reading below for the full interview…

What inspired you to get into the business of wedding videography?

Our first wedding was about seven years ago. It was a last minute call up for a ‘friend of a friend’ whose videographer cancelled the week before the big day. It was almost a desperate last act calling us in for a favour. 

At this point in time we were in the business of commercial filming and hadn’t considered wedding videography. Our collective notion of wedding films were drawing up all sorts of ‘dad on the handycam’ footage. But we did our research, a lot of research – we were nervous, and came out really inspired after finding some amazing wedding videographers that made incredibly creative short films, turning our idea of wedding films on its head. 

We agonised over the edit for about three weeks on an old laptop before finally sharing it with the couple and they were stoked with it! We learned so much from that experience. It showed us the opportunity to build on our experience, throw away preconceptions and lean into our creative instincts to start making wedding films that were a bit different. We set out to make films that focused on storytelling and capturing all the fun, romantic, weird and crazy moments that make up your wedding day. Before long we had a second booking then a third and things just kept snowballing from there… and here we are seven years, two offices and a whole rebrand later!

Can you tell us a little about your brand/team for those who don’t know you?

There’s four of us at Toast; Zyanya, Flo, Pete and James. We’re a small team that calls Queenstown, NZ home. Or our ‘new’ home. Fun fact, we’re all expats.

Pete and James were already in cahoots having started up Shotover Media together a while before they were called up for that first wedding film. They had both moved here from the UK around the same time – Pete from London and James from Cardiff.

They founded Toast together, and then found they needed some more staff to run it.

That’s when Zyanya (who’ll probably sign off as Zee in your emails) and Flo came on board. Zee is our weddings manager who coincidentally graduated from the same uni as Pete back in England (a little nugget uncovered during the interview rounds), and Flo moved here from France after completing her Masters in documentary filmmaking. 

The way we approach wedding filmmaking is all about having fun and celebrating you in whatever form your love takes. Over the years we’ve developed the Toast style together, which is great because it means we’ve got a whole team where everyone shoots and edits and works together as second nature. If you look closely you can catch us sending telepathic messages across a crowded reception.

We like to think we know how to add a touch of cinematic flare to the day as well. Alongside Toast, we also run Shotover Media, a boutique creative agency, so we bring the same high end equipment and expertise to our wedding film work.

Are there any standout love stories that you can share with us?

That’s a tough one when all we do is film love stories! But I think it would have to be Hannah and Carl. They are the epitome of the childhood sweetheart fairytale. They met as kids when their families used to come on holiday to Wanaka every summer. Growing up in different towns they had to make it through their teenage years by making calls on the home phone landline whenever they wanted to talk! (And honestly if you can make it through that embarrassment together you’re set for life). 

Fast forward, 2 beautiful kids later, and there we were filming Hannah and Carl’s wedding right on the shores of Glendhu Bay where they used to spend their summers together. We had so much fun with them that day, not to mention the impromptu performance to Marvin Gaye dancing through the gardens with the whole family, which is still a Toast highlight to this day – also a great reminder to always have a portable speaker handy on shoots!

What advice would you give to couples who are looking for a videographer but don’t know where to start?

Well, obviously things like the Together Journal directory are great places to start looking for your vendors, including your videographer. We think the most important thing is to find a videographer you really vibe with. So do some sleuthing online and watch as many different films as you can to get a feel for who’s going to capture your style the best, and who you think you’ll enjoy spending the day with. Because whether you’re having a short elopement or a full on party, your videographer will be right there with you the whole time.

We always encourage our couples to get in touch in person, phone calls can be a good starting point, but consider meeting us for a drink if you’re in town so we can get to know each other beforehand. This makes it a lot less awkward when we turn up and you’re still in your dressing gown the morning of the wedding. 

With wedding films becoming more and more popular it’s worth asking around as well. With our 2 degrees of separation you’re bound to know someone who had one for their own wedding and they’ll be a good source of research. As a small business we can’t put a price on word of mouth, as many of our weddings come from personal recommendations and that is worth its weight in gold. 

Can you tell us what inspired you to rebrand and where the new name came from?

Honestly, we’ve been wanting to do it for years! But one of the silver linings of the pandemic, and a few pesky lockdowns, was having the space to go ‘yep, now’s the time’ and really focus on creating a new brand that reflected who we are as a team. 

The name came about because we spend an inordinate amount of time covered in champagne on our wedding shoots! Our couples really go for it when it’s time to pop that bottle and to us that’s what it’s all about – the celebration! Whether it’s a mountain-top champagne spray at the end of an elopement or 150 people raising a glass after the last speech, Toast just seemed the best way to sum it all up for us.

The pandemic has changed the wedding industry for good. Have you noticed any new trends in what couples are looking for in a wedding film?

For sure. There’s been a notable shift toward more intimate set ups. We’ve had so many couples telling us that they’ve scaled back their original plans, from a big wedding to an elopement with maybe just a couple of friends present. And good for them you know, for some of them it’s a relief to be able to refocus the day on just the two of them and avoid the stress and expectations that can come with planning a big event. But sadly for others it’s more of an involuntary shift and it’s obviously heartbreaking that there will be some friends and family that can’t physically join them on the day. Either way we’ve found that many couples have now made having a wedding film one of their top priorities so they can share it with everyone, no matter where they are in the world.

Additionally, with travel restrictions being so tight recently, Live Streaming has become a really popular request – something I don’t think anyone really considered for a wedding pre-covid. But it’s an amazing way for couples to include absent friends and family in their big day and so we’ve been beaming the happy tears from vows in the ceremony and the rip snorting laughter of the best man’s speech at the reception right to people’s living rooms, in glorious real time. A spanner in the works, yes, but a glorious plan B.

In spite of the crazy world we’re in, it has been amazing, and a privilege, to be part of each and every one of our couple’s celebrations – no matter what shape it took. So here’s to all the weddings to come, and to getting soaked with champagne on regular basis again!

Visit the Toast Wedding Films Website HERE, or their Instagram HERE