Florists, caterers...Tiktokers? Content creators are bringing in up to $150/hour filming weddings for social media
When Alejandra Hernandez got married in April 2022, she sat her 14 bridesmaids down the night before the wedding with one request: "Please capture as much of my wedding as possible. I want to be able to look back on this and have that behind-the-scenes content."
She knows it was a tall order, Hernandez tells CNBC Make It: "It's hard to ask someone who's supposed to be enjoying your day with you to say, 'Hey, can you also work for me?' You might as well just hire them then."
That's when a business idea hit. In April 2023, a year after her own wedding, Hernandez, 37, of Redwood City, Calif., launched a wedding content creation business, Always A Bride Events, where couples can hire her to get all the video content they want from their big day to post to TikTok and Instagram.
For anywhere between $800 to $1,800, Hernandez spends six to 12 hours with couples to capture all of their wedding moments. Standard packages include a set number of edited videos, with special attention on clips that use the platform's trending sounds and transitions, behind-the-scenes moments outside of the ceremony, or total recaps of the day.
There's plenty of room for customization. In May, Hernandez spent a week in Las Vegas to capture moments including the bride's spa day, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself, and a post-ceremony trip down the Fremont Street zipline. For about 21 hours of work, she charged $2,200 (that includes a discount for early clients).
Hernandez is one of many social media experts banking on an emerging wedding trend. As a new wedding season gets underway, you're bound to see lots of photos and videos from events on your feed — and there's a chance the newlyweds will have paid someone thousands of dollars to get that perfect TikTok or Instagram clip.
It wasn't a question that Kelsey Wilkins, the Las Vegas bride, would spring for a wedding content creator on top of hiring a wedding photographer and videographer.
Wilkins, 29, of Fayetteville, Ark., says social media plays a large role in her life as a small business owner. She decided to add "content creator" to her $50,000 wedding budget thinking it'd be a nice touch.
What she didn't expect was that, by hiring Hernandez, the couple was buying peace of mind. They didn't have to worry about having guests capture behind-the-scenes shots when they should be celebrating. "I couldn't take my best friend away from enjoying the moment with me, or make my mom do it," Wilkins says.
The newlyweds held an unplugged ceremony , so the footage from Hernandez's phone is all they have to relive the wedding immediately until edited photos and videos come in.
It can be a blur for newlyweds to remember everything that happened on their wedding day. If not for their professionally captured social content, Wilkins says, "I wouldn't have been able to see me in my dress and florals," or her husband's getting-ready process, or the whole ceremony from a guest's perspective.
To be able to relive those moments with her husband on their honeymoon was well worth the money: "It's so beautiful to look back on the footage coming off the high of the wedding itself," she says.
Lanise Harris was already good at making social-media clips when she attended weddings for friends and family. Then, during the pandemic, Harris says, "My sister messaged me and said, 'You need to charge people for this.'"
Harris, 33, of Houston, launched her business, Babe Events, by the summer of 2022 just as the wedding industry was rebounding after pandemic-related delays. She was a bridesmaid for a friend's wedding in September and was also hired to pull together social content throughout the day, from the time the bridal party was getting ready all the way to the couple's kiss as they departed the reception.
Harris now offers three packages for her services, ranging from $350 to $1,200, along with popular a la carte items like creating a wedding hashtag and strategizing an Instagram takeover, which can be another $300 a pop.
She thinks hiring wedding content creators makes sense in addition to hiring traditional wedding photographers and videographers. For one, she says, "No matter what media you use to take the pictures, they're going to end up on social media." Might as well hire an expert in what looks good on social platforms.
Plus, "There's something special about being able to provide candid beautiful opportunities to see your guests in their element, without the pressure of a big DSLR camera in their face."
Harris, who works in nonprofit project management for her day job, already has two weddings booked for July and expects to pocket $5,000 from her side hustle within the month. Buzz is building as the wedding season picks up and stretches into fall, too: "Come September, things will be picking up."
Working as a wedding content creator isn't just about crashing a good party. Hernandez says she draws from a 15-year career working in event planning, as well as knowledge of how to film lifestyle content for TikTok. In the last year, she built an audience on #WeddingTok, a section of TikTok that has 7.2 billion views, through videos giving advice to other brides.
A Twitter user recently reposted one of Hernandez's videos, writing, "Literally just made this job up to wedding crash, party, and film tiktoks. I have to stan!"
"I thought I was going to get hosed in the comments," Hernandez says when she learned the tweet had gone viral, "so I was surprised at how supportive everyone was."
There seems to be a growing understanding that couples are entitled to tailor their weddings as they see fit, she says: "If a couple wants to spend $100,000 or $10,00 on their wedding, that's their prerogative. The same goes for the vendors. If they want a wedding content creator, that's their choice. So people just need to start accepting that the industry is changing."
All told, Hernandez works on her business for about 25 hours in a week when she has a wedding, which includes going through a detailed questionnaire about the shots and styles the couple wants captured, gathering footage, editing clips together, then sending the whole package within 24 hours after the wedding, and posting to her own social media handles to promote her business.
She also likes to keep good relationships with photographers and videographers at the wedding, oftentimes capturing them at work so they can promote themselves online.
So far, Hernandez has worked weddings with a week's notice, and on the other end, she has bookings all the way in 2025. She recently hired an associate to help film weddings in Texas, and she plans to scale in different regions of the U.S. Her goal is to turn her content creating side hustle into a full-time job.
As more people talk on social media about what really goes into gathering wedding-day content, Hernandez points out, brides are realizing they can't just give their phones to their friends and expect the best. With wedding content creator services, she says, "it's just nice to have a way to relive the day."
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