Dos + Don'ts of Tabletop Camcorders

by The Knot

Whether it's your dad's toast or your friends getting down on the dance floor, you'll see these moments from more angles than ever with a new idea for tabletop accessories -- the one-time-use digital camcorder from

How They Work

Each package, worth $100, comes with five camcorders, each able to shoot up to 10 minutes of video. After the wedding, return the camcorders with prepaid shipping labels, and the video is copied onto a personalized DVD.

How to Incorporate Them

Here are some dos and don'ts to ensure that your homemade videos become a valuable keepsake:

Do pass a few around at the ceremony.
Ask an usher to distribute several camcorders to guests sitting in the front row and in aisle seats (but make sure the recipients are comfortable filming).

Do give good camcorder instructions.
Even easy-to-use technology can sometimes intimidate -- let guests know how to use the camcorder so they'll feel comfortable filming. This can be as simple as placing a card beneath each camera on the reception tables (you don't need anything too fancy, just a discrete note printed from your computer), or as elaborate as framed instructions doubling as a decoration.

Don't put them on the kids' table.
Cameras are great for children (you're sure to get some shots from a different perspective), but camcorders are a more difficult undertaking. To ensure that your adult guests get to leave messages, and to avoid a 10-minute montage of the walls and linens, skip the kids' table when you're setting out the camcorders.

Do give your guests some face time.
Speaking with each guest at the reception is important, but with so many friends and family and so little time, you might not get a chance to have a heart-to-heart with everyone. Ask your DJ or band leader to instruct guests to leave their warm wishes in brief, personal messages on the camcorders.

Don't put too many on each table.
Leaving a camcorder for each guest is probably too much (you're liable to be left with unused cams) -- try two cameras at tables of six and three at tables of ten so guests can share and you'll get the most out of each camcorder.

Do save one for yourselves.
Take a few moments to film a video for your fiancé before the ceremony, and then have one of your attendants film a message from him. Keep your words a secret until the DVD arrives -- you'll both be touched, and you'll always have a record of your feelings right just before you exchanged vows.

Don't wait too long to hand them out.
If you wait until a few minutes before you walk down the aisle or right before the cake cutting, your guests might not have enough time to learn how to use the camcorders or to position themselves for a good view of the action. Try to allow at least 20 minutes of practice time for everyone to get the hang of it and to find a good spot from which to film.

Don't forget to smile!
With amateur videographers all around, you never know what moments will be caught on tape -- not that you need any more motivation to grin.

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