With the first sight of snow on the hills, we thought it would be the perfect time to preview an amazing wedding we filmed and photographed during the summer at South Farm.

We can often get an idea of the tone of a wedding film before the day even happens. With Joanna and Adrian, we knew the day was going to be cool and quirky, with some spectacular entertainment lined up; we knew it would also be an awesome party!

So we already had a “vibe” in mind for the film we wanted to make, the music ideas and how we wanted to shoot the day.

But then the day happened and that changed everything!

It was all we were expecting but a lot more that we weren’t. The venue was spectacular, made even more so by all the personal touches, but having met Jo and Adrian we knew it would be. The wedding featured two of the best and most original musical acts we’ve ever seen, but from checking out their stuff online before, we guessed we’d be blown away by them . What we weren’t expecting was it also being one of the most deeply personal and emotional weddings we’ve ever witnessed.

So the trailer below is nothing like the film we were expecting to make and driving home and knowing exactly how we wanted it to end, we think it’s the first trailer we’ve edited completely in reverse.

This is a wedding that had everything, but most of all a couple that are perfect together.

enjoy,

The photos

The trailer

Carrie and Matt were married at the beautiful Roundthorn country house in Penrith, Cumbria. From our first meeting to talk about their plans we knew they were going to be an amazing couple to work with and we certainly weren’t wrong.

They were so up for anything and open to all our suggestions. Carrie was cool enough to let us run around the hotel with her dress to find the best place to show it off in all its glory, Matt and his grooms-men were not on the shy side, they had their naked room, where they were getting ready. Suffice to say most of that didn’t make the final edit(no offence boys!). They were even open to the idea of driving down the road from the venue to an old stone quarry forest we found the week before, which just happened to be home to about a million mosquitoes but that still didn’t put them off. It was a wonderful day for an amazing couple and we were just so pleased to be able to capture it for you.

A special mention for Matt’s dad who so far this year holds the title of best dancer at a wedding hands down.

I think you can clearly see from the trailer what this day really meant to them and more importantly how totally devoted to each other they truly are.

enjoy,

P.S Well done to Mike for winning the inaugural Matty Cannon golf day, a bandit off 18 if I ever saw one!! and Chris for never giving up, keep that wooden spoon for Matt next year.

We were actually second shooting stills for our good friend Adam (Lake District Wedding Photography) at Morland house Cumbria and had discussed shooting some film as the venue, and the couple, were too good an opportunity to miss. Helen and Steve kindly agreed, so this is the first trailer shot by Simon alone; without his wingman,tutor and all round film guru Warren!

Helen and Steve (Ste, Steven, Stevo, Keogh, half pint or the milky bar kid as he is known!) were a wonderful couple and we could see how much thought and effort they had put into their day from the outset. Friends and family spent the previous days helping them too, decking out the marque with all manner of personal touches from photos to an amazing fudge favour and Helen’s dad ensured no health and safety violations had occurred.

Morland house holds a very special place in their hearts, they actually met at the Morland Chorister camp at the tender ages of 11 and 12. Steve, being the elder, went about gaining Helen’s affections (as you would expect at that age) by writing to her brother Matthew and asking him to say hello to his sister for him!

Romance did finally blossom between the two and Morland house and Church was the only venue for them to celebrate their wedding with family and friends.

It was a beautiful day and an absolute delight to be there, and I hope this little surprise goes some way to thanking them for allowing us to be part of it.

come back soon for the stills of the day.

enjoy,

I just stumbled upon this by chance but was pleased to see that one of our trailers was up on love 24fps. It was refreshing to read that they applauded the approach we take to making wedding films. Here’s what they had to say;

Wedding filmmakers can fall into the trap of putting lots of pretty but pointless moments into their trailers. Not so with Courting Whale Pictures. You can tell that each and every shot in this film was deliberately chosen to advance the story of the couple and the day. The result is a trailer that had me completely gripped and carried me along on an emotional journey. What’s especially powerful is that the filmmaker takes a non-linear approach, matching different parts of the day together because they share the same emotional notes. I especially loved how the intensity of the ceremony was heightened by cutting it with the drama of the couple’s first dance. This is the work of a very accomplished artist.

I have to say I agree completely with their sentiment. It is tempting to use your favourite visual shots but as film-makers we should remind ourselves we’re not trying to create the prettiest selection of images (that’s what the photographs are for), but the most engaging and emotional story.

If you missed the trailer first time round, here is the trailer they are referring to;

If you’re a bride or groom to be and are still uncertain about having a wedding film, I really recommend taking a look at the article on the Love 24fps blog “Why a wedding film is the best investment you’ll make”. Here is a little film they have put together on this subject. Do check out their site for other great examples of wedding film.

I’ve been meaning to update the homepage reel for a long time and now that the end of the year is almost upon us, I decided it needed to be done. Featuring some of the weddings we’ve been part of this year, it is a tiny tale of time, love, celebration, memories and ever after.

To all our couples past and future, thank you for putting your faith and trust in us, thank you for letting us be a part of your day and have a fantastic festive period and a prosperous new year filled with love and happiness.

Merry Christmas y’all

- team courting whale.

This is the trailer for the wedding of lana and raphael which took place at the breathtaking Syon Park in London. The civil ceremony took place in Syon House with the reception in the great conservatory. A glass building is a photographer and videographers dream and this has to be one of my all-time favourite venues to work in. Our jaws were dropping through every stage of the day.

As if the venue wasn't beautiful enough, cherry blossom trees were added in to line the ceremony room and to act as the basis of the table plan at the reception.

Lana and Raphael also laid on some incredible entertainment; an awesome indie-rock band, an original mini converted into a photo booth (and still road legal!), an amazing magician that despite being shot from every angle is still unfathomable. It was very British wedding but with some subtle Lebanese and German touches. It was lovely to hear the personal vows that Lana and Raphael had written for each other and also witness one of the best first dance routines I've seen for a while (notice the dress change!).

This trailer has a long build up to the crescendo and I've adopted a “less is more” approach as with most of our trailers, trying not to divert focus away from the story of the couple.

It took me a long time to find the perfect song for this particular trailer and I believe I've also beaten all the cool American TV shows in licencing this little gem for commercial use. The title, “this ain't how we planned it” didn't immediately jump out as be

How to win your girlfriend back

ing appropriate for a wedding, but the more i thought about it, the more I realised just how incredibly apt it is. First and as is the essence of the trailer, love comes from the most unexpected places at times we are least expecting it. Second for all the planning and preparation goes into a wedding day and even if we perfectly execute it, there are some things we simply cannot plan for; our reaction to seeing your bride walking down the isle at her most radiant, speaking the vows to last a lifetime, entering a room to all your friends and family cheering you. You cannot plan, anticipate or even imagine how you will feel or react. And that’s what makes a wedding so utterly special.

Lana wanted the “look” of her wedding film to be like “Midnight in Paris” which has a very warm tone with heavy saturation in the greens and magenta’s and a heavy film grain. I tried to stick to that brief with the trailer.

Suppliers we digged;
Syon Park – Spectacular London Wedding Venue
Aljosa Videtic – Superstar Picture Taker
Richard Birtchnell – Top of the Toastmasters
Megabooth – Proprieters of an amazing original Austin Mini photo booth.

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Lauren and David got married on what I think must have been the hottest Saturday of the year. They had a very personal church service at the grand and ancient St Mary the Virgin Church in Westerham followed by a reception at the Grasshopper Inn just down the road. In a sweaty and emotional state, just after the ceremony. I cut up my hand on some equipment. So with all that said, I can honestly say Lauren and Davids wedding film is a product of blood, sweat and tears!

Having not previously been there, we instantly fell in love with their venue, the morning light through the windows creating some amazing dramatic effects in this beautiful tudor building. The Church was also an absolute dream to shoot in.

This trailer nearly went in another direction entirely with more focus on the beautiful church service which was very important to the couple, but it’s something so personal to them, i felt it better to save this element for the full film.

Lauren and David are a sweet and gorgeous couple (as you can see!) and their wedding was an absolutely perfect day of love and celebration

Suppliers we digged
The Grasshopper Inn – Stunning beautifully restored boutique Hotel and Wedding Venue
Short Film Company – Wedding video company with an awesome Big-brother style video booth hire which is available separate of or along side their wedding video packages
Miki Photography – Master of light, composition and the universe

We first met Jana in February and it was clear that this was a man with a grand vision for a wedding. I am always over-using words like “epic” and “awesome” but this truly was a wedding on a scale bigger than anything we’ve done before.

It took place in The Brewery in Central London, veritable tardis of a venue bang in the middle of the city. Honestly, we would never have known that a venue so large and grand as this would have existed in the middle of the city.

Creating trailers are often the most challenging but ultimately most rewarding edits. Some themes can be developed whilst others sadly have to be thrown away. One thing that we touch on here but don’t develop too much is how involved the groom was in the organisation of the wedding. I love it when grooms are as excited about the day as their brides but Jana took this to a whole new level and this certainly gave the best men some ammunition for their speech!

The wedding was full of colour, energy and emotion. This trailer hopefully captures some of the anticipation, euphoria and general craziness of Mithila and Jana’s day!

We were made to feel so welcome by the entire wedding party and had a great (albeit very exhausting!) day shooting this.

Suppliers we digged;
M&R photography – Brilliant and lovely specialist asian wedding photographers who were amazing to work with helped us understand some of the cultural and ceremonial subtleties of our first hindu wedding.
The Brewery – If you are in search big (and I mean big) venue in the city of London, this is it.
Say Fromage – We are seeing that photo booths are more popular now than ever. These guys are cool because you can instantly tweet your photos from the booth.
Premier Rouge – The Asian wedding catering specialists. Food sooo gooood.

An awesome celebration that we’ll never forget.

This is the trailer for the wedding of Sunita and Chris who were married at Great Fosters on on the of few dry weekends this British summer gifted us. Sunita and Chris really wanted to have the ceremony outside but wouldn’t know until the morning of the wedding if the weather would permit. Great Fosters is a stunning venue wherever you have your ceremony but Sunita and Chris had their fingers crossed all week for it to happen outside. About 9am, things were looking good and Sunita and Chris got the ceremony they dreamed of!

This was a gorgeous venue, couple and wedding.

I used a different colour process for this trailer to give it a darker more dramatic look. I think this is probably also the first time we’ve included shots using our micro jib in a trailer.

Suppliers we digged;
Great Fosters – Stunning Surrey Wedding venue for all seasons
Jay Tough – Awesome Surrey based toastmaster
Roger Brown – Takes stunning pictures. Very nice chap too!

We were privileged enough to be invited to produce the wedding film for Lois and Richard which took place at Crabb’s Barn in Essex. I was particularly excited about this wedding as I have always wanted to be able to shoot here but never had the opportunity.

It felt like we lived all four seasons on this day; we had sun, rain and everything in between. Lois’ brother in his speech likened the changing weather to the emotions of the day and he was spot on.

Lois and Richard are an amazing couple with such love for each other. It was for a number of reasons, a very emotional wedding. It was also an incredibly fun wedding with the absolutely awesome “52 Skidoo” providing the entertainment for the first part of the evening with some authentic 1920′s swing. It was an awesome sight to behold with the wedding party showcasing some incredible Lindy Hop dance moves. We really really loved this wedding and this couple.

Suppliers we digged;
Crabbs Barn – Fantastic Essex Wedding Venue
Kerrie Mitchell – Very lovely and very talented fashion inspired Photographer
52 Skidoo – Amazing authentically styled 1920s harlem swing band