Ingrid + Josh Proposal: Life With You Is an Incredible, Never-Ending Karaoke Party

A couple months ago a dear friend of mine called me up and asked Ezra and I to film his upcoming proposal. These are the calls we wait for - not only because Josh is a close friend, but because we LOVE proposals. Filming them are a rush of nerves, excitement, joy, sneaking around, tears, laughter, and this one would happen to include dogs which we personally could not turn down. 

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I met Josh in 2013 when we both started teaching at the same school in Fort Worth, TX. We quickly became friends, both teaching math and enduring our first year of Teach for America together. He mentioned on multiple occasions his girlfriend, Ingrid, who he had met while attending the University of Texas, which we'll forgive them for (Boomer Sooner). He and Ingrid were long distance because she was finishing school, so when I met her a few months later I was in awe of her spirit. She's radiant and her joy permeates throughout every room she enters. It was clear to me they were the perfect match - Ingrid keeps Josh organized and together, while Josh keeps Ingrid centered. 

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Josh wanted this proposal to be perfect for many reasons. Their relationship has gone through long distance, moving cross country to the Bay Area, and co-parenting their adorable pup, Stewie. He also really wanted this proposal to be amazing because he made a minor mistake just a few months before and wanted to make up for it; in all the excitement of finally buying the perfect engagement ring, he went to pick it up and immediately took a picture to send to his sister. Without thinking he accidentally clicked Ingrid's name on his phone and before he knew it, she was texting back thinking he was proposing in a text message! He really wanted to make up for this small error and make this proposal not only grand but a huge surprise. 

He decided to surprise Ingrid on a Friday afternoon just before they were leaving for a weekend in Texas. She was assuming he would propose in Texas with family, so she was clueless to his scheming. Ingrid goes to Lake Merritt with their dog every Friday - Josh decided he wanted to surprise her along the walk back home to her apartment. We set up across the bridge from where she takes Stewie to play. This setup included a group of their closest friends, signs with photos from their relationship and a projector slideshow including an outdoor karaoke session with one of their favorite songs. 

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As Ingrid started crossing the bridge to walk home, the generator went out! This would ruin everything because the slideshow and microphone would have no power. Josh was panicked that this perfect proposal would fall a part. I'd love to write about the ending, but I think it's best we just watch the rest of from here. Enjoy this beautiful proposal and maybe grab some tissue before you watch. 

Jack And Maggie's Fiesta Where They Happen To Get Married

“You are more special to me today than yesterday. You will be more cherished tomorrow. Please wear this ring and see it as a symbol of my love for you. Love that transcends all of our yesterdays, all of our today, and all of our tomorrow.” These vows are quite poetic. Probably because a Bachelor writer actually wrote them for Jade and Tanner a few years ago, but my dear friend Maggie jacked them for her wedding. In fact after she and Jack exchanged their vows, she turned to the audience to let us in on the secret to which Jack replied, “I thought you wrote them?!”

This anecdote hopefully gives you a glimpse at the corky, beautiful couple of Maggie + Jack. I knew the moment I walked into their wedding that It would be one of the most memorable events, not because of extravagance or the traditional details. It was memorable because it was perfectly Maggie and Jack.  

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

I’ve noticed in the past few years that people worry a lot about the details rather than guest experience or the overall “wedding vibes.” The latter two can be accomplished by putting together a wedding that’s true to the couple’s personalities. Maggie and Jack opted for less tradition and focused on what was important to them. Before the wedding they made a list of non-negotiables which included a badass band, a quick and personal ceremony, and an open bar with of course margaritas.

I wanted to interview Maggie so I could share more about this rad wedding and the chillest couple. I hope this interview gives you some ideas on how to make your day perfectly you.                                                                                                                           

What was your overall theme?

We didn't have a designated theme; we just picked things we liked and hoped it went together - tacos, margaritas, queso, temporary tats, dancing, and ice cream sandwiches instead of cake. So I guess judging by the list our theme was “Jack And Maggie's Fiesta Where They Happen To Get Married.”

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

Your wedding guests seemed to feel comfortable all night. Why do you think that was?

We wanted to make sure we set expectations from the moment the guests walked in. We wanted people to know that this was a party, a celebration, and to not take it too seriously. So we offered champagne as soon as they walked into the ceremony. I remember peeking out prior and instead of everyone sitting quietly in their seats, people were walking around, chatting and hugging. I think that sense of comfort lasted throughout the night.

What do you think it takes to be a laid back bride?

It takes enough planning to be able to say "fuck it!" when the time comes.

You need to be confident in the people you've chosen to pull your wedding together. Planning a wedding is the funniest thing, because you do all this planning but you aren’t even the one making it all come together the day of. My biggest advice is trust the people you put in charge and have fun.

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

One thing to note is that Jack and I live in NYC but got married in Oklahoma City.  

Planning a wedding from another state is basically like going on a blind date. We never heard our band play. Never tasted our food. Never saw our flowers. Had only visited the venue a couple of times. All of our decor was shipped to Oklahoma, so I either saw it in pieces or not at all.  We really took a leap of faith, and luckily it all worked out.  

Did Jack have an opinion on anything? If so, what?

If he wasn't already taken, I would recommend everyone plans a wedding with Jack. About a week after our engagement, I woke up one morning and Jack had created an entire budget spreadsheet. (He's in finance). He also was very excited about the band. He talked to about 15 band leaders (GASP) to narrow down the options.

Once we got to the details, I took the lead. Plus, he's color blind and that doesn't quite lend it's set to picking out table settings.

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

What was your favorite part of the day?

Our ceremony - we kept as much of it a surprise for each other from our vows to the readings we chose for each other.

Were there any funny moments the guests saw or didn’t see?

After our "exchange of rings" vows, I spontaneously turned to our guests and admitted I had taken the language straight from The Bachelor. Jack then responded: "I thought you wrote that!" It was more memorable that I HAD copied it word for word from The Bachelor than it would have been if I had written it myself.

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

 Also, in the middle of dinner, our band (which was set up outside) came and showed us a giant storm headed our way and said we would need to pivot and move everything inside. What can you do with Oklahoma weather?! I started analyzing where everyone should go, but then -  A miracle happened! Before the band started moving, the storm turned to miss us. We danced all night without a drop of rain!

Is there anything you now realize wasn't worth it?

Nothing comes to mind besides the PTSD of knowing how much you over-ordered certain items (like programs, or napkins, or plates, or mixers).

 

THE TEAM:

Venue: Plenty Mercantile | Planner: Day-Of: Forever Cole | Engagement Photography: Ayenia Nour (NYC) | Wedding Photography: Rachel Photographs | Videography: Choate House | Catering: Picasso Cafe | Florals: New Leaf OKC | Invitations: Basic Invite | Wedding Gown: Sarah Seven | Favorite Wedding Detail: Margaritas with chili rimmed salt

 Rachel Photographs

Rachel Photographs

Amanda + Ezra

The spring and summer of 2015 it seemed to rain almost every day, and my dream since being a little girl was to have an outdoor wedding. We married in a small town south of Oklahoma City, and on one side of us we could see a rainstorm rolling in while on the other side, beautiful sun. We prayed a lot this day, and thankfully by 6:00pm the sun was shining. We ended up with a dreamy sunset - it was perfect. 

There are so many parts of this day that we love, but something that always sticks out in my memory is the first look. I never wanted to do a first look because I had built up this romantic idea of Ezra seeing me for the first time when I walk down the aisle. Logistically I knew it made sense to take photos before, so I went with it. 

This first look was magical. For that moment it was like time was standing still — we were the only two people in the world. The intimacy of the first look gave us time to bask in one another’s presence, pray together, share our nerves, excitement, and love. Whether you do a first look or not, I highly recommend taking some times with just the two of you, it is your day after all. 

Amanda & Ezra | Rustic Oklahoma Wedding Film from Daniel Daily and edited by Ezra & Amanda Gentle. {Thumbnail by Josh McCullock Photography}

THE TEAM:

Filmmaker, Daniel Daily & Gently Crafted Films | Photographer, Josh McCullock Photography | Wedding Venue & Catering, Southwind Hills | Coordinator, Elaine Tabor | Florals, Southwind Hills Design Team | Cakes, Sugar Plum Shoppe | DJ/MC, M&M Productions | Makeup, Ali Harrington (Bridesmaids) + Kelly Metheny (Bride) +  | Bride’s Gown, Stella York, Beloved Bridal 

Sara + Justin

Sara is one of my very best friends and we’d been waiting for her wedding day like giddy school girls. A couple years ago Sara was gushing over this boy from Pharmacy School who was too shy to ask her out. Once he finally did we all knew they were a perfect match. Justin loves Sara intentionally and passionately. He treats her like his princess and his equal. The way they speak of one another reminds us all of that authentic love we pray for. To say we were excited for this day is an understatement, and the day lived up to our expectations ten fold. 

Sara & Justin | Charming Oklahoma wedding film from Ezra Gentle on Vimeo. {Thumbnail by Peyton Rainey Photography}

THE TEAM:

Filmmaker, Gently Crafted Films | Photographer, Peyton Rainey Photography | Rehearsal Dinner Venue, Remington Park Clubhouse | Wedding Venue & Catering, Southwind Hills | Coordinator, Elaine Tabor | Florals, Poppy Lane Design | Cakes, RoundHouse Bakery | Drapery, All About Weddings | DJ/MC, DJ Connections | Hair & Makeup, Ali Harrington + Aspen Saldana of Textured Salon | Bride’s Gown, Meg Guess Couture | Donuts, Gourmet Donut

 

 

Four Reasons to Hire a Wedding Videographer

Weddings are expensive. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on all the hoopla. When I look back on my wedding day, even as absolutely perfect as it was, there were some things I imagine I could have gone without - a wedding video is not one of them.

I love speaking with new brides, each with their own differences. Some have had their big day planned since they were two while others are hoping it all comes together in time. What I am most surprised about is that many brides decide to go without a wedding video to cut costs. I know I’m biased considering my profession, but let me tell you why I think that’s not a great idea from the perspective of having once been a bride.

Before I go into my reasoning, I want to preface that you can obviously make whatever choice is best for you and your partner. If you’re on the fence though or just unsure, then take these points into consideration.

ONE: YOU CAN SAVE MONEY IN OTHER WAYS

As mentioned above, weddings are expensive, but in the grand scheme of things wedding films don’t take up the largest chunk of the budget. Here are some things that seem small but add up.

  • Think of alternative catering options. If someone had Chick-Fil-A at their wedding, I would always remember it as the best wedding ever.
  • Find a cheaper venue
  • A friend helped design our invitations and programs and we printed them at FedEx. You can also nix programs altogether… they just get thrown away.
  • Borrow wedding jewelry, veil, etc. I know most people want their own dress- trust me I did too- but these other items aren’t remembered nearly as much and are practically brand new.
  • Have a friend or family member DJ the reception and ceremony music.
  • Don’t get married on a Saturday, my hubby and I married on a Sunday in the summer and no one felt the difference - at least we didn’t.
  • Flowers. Flowers are expensive. I set a hard budget and my florist did an incredible job making things work. Flowers are absolutely stunning and I love them, but they do not make the entire day. Your bouquet is important but beyond that choose less expensive centerpiece options with flowers spread throughout.
  • Get a venue that doesn’t need much decor, thus reinforcing the fact you won’t need as many flowers.
  • Honeyfund that Honeymoon. Honeyfund allows people to give money specifically for your honeymoon. After using credit card miles for our flights, our week in Maui was completely paid for.

TWO: AFFORDABLE VIDEOS

  • Use someone who’s just breaking onto the scene. They will do it often for very cheap. When my husband and I were starting out we did a few for free because we were trying to build our reel.
  • Pay someone the money to shoot it and give you the footage, unedited. You can find someone to edit it once you have more money down the road. Editing is the time consuming and expensive part but the day can be captured with a readily available DSLR.
  • Reach out to a local college film club. Students are always looking to make money and learn.

THREE: IT IS THE DIGITAL AGE

We share our lives through video: Instagram stories, shared videos on Facebook, Facetiming friends far away. With the amazing advancements in technology, we can see exactly what’s happening somewhere around the world right now. Having a video of your day is the best way to share the experience of your celebration of love. There are always friends and family who can’t make the wedding but would love to share in the excitement. Only bridal party members get to see the getting ready process but a video gives everyone a window into those nervous hours before, “I do.” And unlike the flowers, the music, or the food, your video will last forever. Film lasts forever. 

FOUR: MEMORIES

Our wedding day was a blur.  A video to look back on helps you relive moments you forgot, catch things you missed, and see it from a different perspective. Watch your hubby getting ready before he was your hubby. See the big smiles of guests arriving. Remember that swirly first look. Now you can relive those crazy butterflies again and again. A video shows you what really did come together, the greatest of which, is the two of you.

Cheers, 

Amanda + Ezra 

 

Kellen + Colton

Oklahoma City Wedding Film

Kellen and Colton love to have a good time. The couple has known each other since high school, so all of their family and friends have been able to see them grow from friends, to boyfriend and girlfriend, finances, and soulmates. We love shooting weddings when the bride and groom have known each other for so long because many of the guests have been invested in both lives for years; there’s just something really sweet and special about it.

We knew this would be a big celebration for their families and friends, and we were overjoyed when they asked us  to capture this day for them. The DJ did not disappoint as family and friends danced the night away with a view of downtown Oklahoma City. We look back on this day as one of our most memorable receptions- the energy was through the roof. No one wanted the party to end, though the ending was simply a fairytale with a ride in a twinkling carriage.

The Team:                                                                                                                               

Month of Planner: Sarah Grove- Southern Charm Events                                             

Photography: Kristen Edwards Photography                                                                    

Wedding Video: Gently Crafted Films                                                                             

Flowers: Tony Foss Flowers                                                                                              

Ceremony: Crossings Community Church                                                                        

Reception: Meinders Hall of Mirrors                                                                                  

Catering: Johnny Carino’s                                                                                                  

Cake: Mishelle Handy                                                                                                        

String Quartet: Oklahoma Strings                                                                                     

Hair: Shelby Hoffman                                                                                                          

Make-Up: Tara Diffee                                                                                                          

Koozie Art: Laynie Pritchard Mint Lane Creative Design Studios                                   

Koozies: Minuteman Press 

Wedding Videos and Movie Magic

The forecast for the day was rain. Everyone was dreading it. We managed to get through the first look and the ceremony, but on our way to the reception, the heavens opened up and dumped rain on The Club, their beautiful reception venue. The Club is one of the most classic venues in Birmingham. Built in the 1950s it was originally a restaurant that featured a bar, live band, and dancing. Although it's had many facelifts over the decades it has remained the pinnacle of southern charm and elegance for the iron city. I wanted the reception to uphold this quality and also wanted Katie and Luke’s wedding day to be remembered rain free. How could I do that with puddles and grey skies everywhere?

That’s where visual effects come in. VFX isn’t just explosions and monsters. Visual effects is changing the image, usually in After Effects, and can be as simple as taking out a green screen or masking out objects that are in a shot (like wires if someone is flying in a movie). My goal was to tell the story the way we all wanted to remember it.

The first thing I wanted to do was show The Club, that everyone knows and loves, was going to house this warm, fun, and inviting party. That meant replacing this ominous grey sky with the radiant “La La Land” sky that popped out hours later at sunset. I did this simply by feathering a Luma Key and masking out the tree. The result perfectly captured the loving atmosphere we experienced the whole night.

Step two was this wonderful moment I got lucky enough to capture between Katie and Luke. As the camera pushed in, they looked at each other and laughed naturally and softly. The problem was, this adorable moment was lost because the background was entirely white. The sky was, as we say, “blown out”. I’d exposed their faces so I could actually see them but in doing so lost the sky. Later on that night we re-created this same shot when we had that magical sky backdrop but their faces were too dark.  After trying a couple different options, I was left with one choice: remove them both and all the umbrellas and chairs manually. This process took about twenty hours total but the result was so worth it.

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Finally, I was trying to figure out what their name and date end card would look like. I was tired of doing the typical after effects template with a cute animated floral design. I wanted to really give her something special and classic in alignment with their landmark venue. After having setup that we were at The Club, it just made sense to replace the venue’s old school neon sign with the bride and groom’s name. This was the one thing I didn’t know how to do.  A great YouTube tutorial walked me through the process in After Effects. He even provided the font! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-36U3feGtuE)

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I share all this because it’s remarkable that we’re finally at a point where these tools are accessible and learning them is quicker and cheaper than ever. The tools are never what matter most though, it’s how we use them. We can harness the power of technology to make it seem as though another rainy day in Alabama was actually a perfectly dry evening under a swirly, cotton candy sky.

My Best,                                                                                                                                                               Ezra 

Important Things to Consider When Hiring A Wedding Filmmaker

Hi Friends!

For those of you planning a real wedding or dream wedding, this post is for you. Some brides and grooms know right away who they want to hire to make their wedding film, while others have no idea where to start or if they even want one. Most couples choose based on budget, which is understandable, but there are other factors to consider without going over your budget.

Number One: Personality

Pick someone you like and want to be friends with, because you’ll end up with a better video and a better experience overall. This team is with you each moment of the day. They are there during times of stress and the most intimate first look. For you to have the best experience possible, you need to feel comfortable. We always suggest meeting with our couples for a coffee or Skype date before they hire us. We want to make sure we’re a good match; we can tell the most authentic story if you feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable.

Number Two: Budget

Let’s face the fact that a majority of us do not have endless amounts of money for our weddings. Most of us actually need to stick to a budget, so we often look for the least expensive choice when hiring a wedding video company. Here are a couple guidelines to consider in regard to budget:

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  • Set a range you’re willing to spend, then do your research. It’s like going into the dress shop and trying on the gown that’s beyond what you can spend. It’s heartbreaking.

  • Don’t solely look at the price; look at what comes with the price. You may want to choose the cheapest option but fail to notice that it’s only a 3 minute cut or you can’t get the drone footage you want. Look at what you get for the price options available, because it makes a difference.

  • This might not be popular advice, but if you meet with a pro who you’re obsessed with and find out they are beyond your budget, try asking if they will work with you. There's no harm in asking, and sometimes they can cut their hours or figure out a package that will work for you.

Number Three: Product & Style                                                                     

Find the wedding video you wish was yours. Look for brides you identify with, venues that feel like yours, and a style you love.  You can’t hire someone and ask them to do things you haven’t seen in any of their work. Know what they're capable of and what you want. Do you want a short highlight trailer? Or are you passionate about bride and groom interviews? What about voiceover? Or rehearsal dinner speeches? Are the vows significant? Do you want something really unique or traditional? Think about what you are looking for and then go find that. In the same way you’ll book a photographer because you love their photos, you need to love your videographer’s videos. And not just one, but a few. Your video will look, feel, sound, and move like the rest of their pieces and if you’re not in love with their work, you’ll be disappointed.

Number Four: Will The Filmmaker and Photographer Work Well Together?

Photographers and wedding filmmakers work side-by-side on your big day. Ask yourself while booking each professional if you think they would work well together. Consider asking your photographer for a recommendation of wedding videographers they enjoyed working with in the past. If you have someone you like already, connect them over email before the big day. It’s important you have team players on the line-up. Of course they each have individual creativity, but the more they work together the better results you’ll get. Two heads are better than one. They both have creative elements they can bring to the table, but just make sure they’re in sync.

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We hope this helps. Please comment or message if you have specific questions.

Our Best,                                                                                                                                                         Amanda & Ezra

Our Origin Story

Gently Crafted was a tiny desire I didn’t know lived deep in my soul until my loving, encouraging husband pulled it out of me. Driving down the 405 one day, Ezra was sharing his stress regarding all the editing projects he had going on. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help. Sarcastically he said, “Not unless you can edit a wedding video.” That’s when I had my lightbulb moment. I naively said I would love to edit wedding videos if he’d teach me the craft, and that was his lightbulb moment.

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See for me, someone who randomly stalks weddings of people I don’t know, this seemed like a dream come true. On a nightly basis,  I cuddle up with my Golden Retriever, Scout, and I scroll through Instagram, Facebook, and Vimeo looking for the latest and greatest in bridal inspiration, which always leads me down a rabbit hole of wedding videos. The chance to actually be a part of shaping one of these pieces was exhilarating. Somehow the thought had never crossed my mind even though the answer was always right in front of me. Ezra was thrilled to have someone to share the workload with in pulling selects from hours of footage and whittling it down to a few minutes. He needed a helper and was excited to share his process with me. My husband is a natural teacher, and he genuinely enjoyed teaching me his custom keyboard shortcuts, all the technical lingo, and watching me learn a new skill.

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By the time I handed the cut back to him to take over, I was sold. I absolutely loved each second of editing the wedding video! I knew I wanted to work with brides and grooms on their wedding days to make beautiful short films. I believe wedding films are living proof of the promises we made, the love we declared, and moments we shared. A good wedding film captures the goals and essence of a couple. In mine and Ezra’s video, you can see from our secret handshake that we’re both pretty weird, but you you can also hear from the pastor’s words that we love Jesus and vow to put Him first. We want to make wedding videos that embody the spirit of each couple and shares their unique story.

The last two years have been sweet and wonderful but they’ve also been full of challenges and trials neither of us expected to face. This world is screwed up and we know the toughest challenges are still ahead, but  we stood there, in front of everyone, and said we wanted to withstand the good, the bad and the ugly. A wedding video captures the hope we held walking down the aisle and reminds us of the sweet naivety that allows us to think we can do anything. We want to harness this hope because sometimes we all need a little reminder to choose love.

With Love,                                                                                                                                                       Amanda