Cinematic vs Documentary Wedding Videos: Which is Right for You?

When hiring a videographer, a key decision is whether you prefer a cinema-style wedding video or a documentary style. While both capture your milestone moments, the approaches differ. Read on as the team at Grace & Motion Wedding Films explains the distinction between cinematic and documentary wedding films.

Cinematic Style: A Visual Storybook

Cinema style wedding videos focus on delivering an emotive, cinematic viewing experience through artful imagery and deliberate editing choices. Videographers act as “directors” styling shots, guiding couples, and setting scenes through lighting and locations. The goal is to visually convey your love story through a refined film almost like a movie trailer.

Documentary Style: An Authentic Account

In contrast, documentary wedding videos emphasise candidly, capturing your day as it unfolds, with minimal intervention. The videographer blends discreetly into the background, observing poignant moments as they happen naturally. You typically do not notice the camera. The result is an authentic, unscripted time capsule of cherished memories.

Cinematic: Crafted Like a Feature Film

Cinematic edits are sequenced to artistically build your unique love narrative from start to finish. Every decision is intentional – music choices to evoke emotion, flattering slow motion in poignant scenes like your first look, incorporating drone footage for drama. High priority is given to aesthetic details. Laborious editing yields a refined cinematic masterpiece. 

Documentary: A Day in the Life

Documentary style follows the organic flow of your wedding day as you experienced it. The focus is capturing authentic moments just as they happened, rather than manipulating pace or mood through edits. You will relive laughter, tears, spontaneous dance moments, and more. The result is a treasured glimpse into your once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Cinematic: Directed Like Hollywood  

Videographers direct couples for ideal imagery such as perfect lighting on faces, positioning for most flattering angles, repeating emotional exchanges, and posing amidst scenic backdrops. Couples should be comfortable with creative direction. The payoff is a stylistic film, with dreamy visuals.

Documentary: Drawn to Realness

Documentarians avoid overly posing or directing events since authenticity is key. They fade into the background and observe tender exchanges, letting scenes unfold naturally, based on real emotions. You get lost in the moment rather than worrying about shots. Capturing authenticity takes priority over poses. 

Cinematic: Elevated Beauty

These films celebrate the entire visual aesthetic of weddings. Videographers linger on details like flowers, decor, rings, dresses, and venue architecture, using glamorising techniques like slow motion and light flares. Editing enhances colours and audio. The goal is to create an alluring viewing experience.  

Documentary: In the Raw

Documentary style focuses less on beautifying scenes. Edits jump straight into the action and are left more raw, including ambient audio such as applause or laughs. The priority is transparently conveying the moments and sensations of the live event without unnecessary overlayed effects.

Determining your ideal wedding video style comes down to personal preference. The team at Grace & Motion Wedding Films will collaborate to bring your perfect vision to life as your  York wedding videographer!


Introducing Julia, the dedicated point of contact for your special day, ensuring the videographers can focus on their craft while she handles the intricacies. As a skilled second shooter, Julia leaves no moment uncaptured, preserving the delicate details that make your wedding truly one-of-a-kind. Her keen eye and expertise ensure that both of you look absolutely flawless on camera, with adjustments to your dress, suit, or hair for that picture-perfect appearance. When it comes to posing, she’s a pro at directing and bringing out those natural, radiant smiles. Beyond her shooting talents, Julia is always ready to be your reliable ally, offering assistance with makeup, dresses, or any other last-minute needs. Whatever you require, she’s there with a helping hand. Above all, Julia is your go-to resource for any questions or concerns you may have, whether it’s before the wedding or after. Her friendly and accommodating nature ensures that your wedding day is stress-free and filled with precious moments, beautifully captured for you to cherish forever. Trust Julia to be an essential part of making your wedding memories truly extraordinary.