Rachel Silver quickly decided against a professional video keepsake to capture her 2013 wedding in Charlevoix, but she recently found a way to make up for that regretful choice.
Silver has started a website that showcases videos from thousands of other weddings and hopes viewers will watch to either experience all kinds of romantic celebrations or get ideas for upcoming ceremonies and parties.
The videos, presented with indexes, lead the way to more information about planning details, including faith and interfaith approaches, venue and menu decisions, and dress and tress styles.
By going to lovestoriestv.com, wedding fanciers and brides-to-be can glimpse these events from the comfort of home. In the interest of privacy, only the first names of brides and grooms are used.
“The idea for showing wedding videos came from seeing videos of friends’ weddings and my work experience as head of social media at Birchbox, a beauty retailer with a subscription service,” says Silver, 33, who started the website last October and soon will be including advertising and sponsorship slots.
“I was blown away by what I saw and realized other publishers in the wedding space weren’t doing anything with personal videos,” she adds. “If people wanted to watch wedding videos, they had to go to Facebook pages, YouTube or Vimeo, which didn’t have any details.
“Because social media marketing is my expertise and data science is the expertise of my husband [Justin Boelio, who works for a book publisher], we were able to get going very quickly. After setting up a Facebook page and Instagram channels, we received videos from couples, party planners and videographers.”
Silver, who grew up in Huntington Woods, met her husband in kindergarten at Burton Elementary School. They became friends and dated on and off throughout high school and college. After completing studies in international affairs at Michigan State University and the American University in Paris, she moved to New York to be near him.
“I am a romantic, and I love weddings,” says Silver, who had her bat mitzvah service as a member of Congregation Shir Tikvah. “My wedding was the best day of my life. I wanted it in Charlevoix because I spent time there with my grandparents, Marilyn and the late Robert Silver.
“Because I was in New York, I left it to my mother, Beth Silver, and grandmother to plan everything except for picking out my dress. With scattered questions to me, they chose the venue, and they taste-tested all the food,” she adds.
“My mother, brother and best friend organized a surprise flash mob dance. They taught steps to family and friends, and everyone broke out into the choreography. Although I have it on my iPhone, I wish I had all that dramatically filmed by a videographer.”
An Unusual Wedding
A different kind of surprise was at the center of the most unusual wedding shown on the site. Because this couple traveled frequently to fulfill separate work responsibilities, they kept putting off their vows. When the groom told his fiancee that an engagement party had been arranged, she arrived to find the event was actually the wedding and gladly said “I do” without further delay.
“There’s an industry built around real wedding photographs as shown in magazines, and we are doing the same kind of thing for the Web — with an important advantage,” Silver says. “We’re able to record what is said as well as what is seen.
“Sometimes people lose touch with the most important parts of a wedding. It’s not the flowers or the tablescapes or the bridesmaids’ dresses. To me, the most important parts are the vows and the speeches, and the ways family and friends react as they see the couple walking down the aisle. Those are the things only video can capture.”
On the homepage of the site, Silver features new and favorite videos along with timely categories viewers might want to access. She has many Jewish weddings represented and says there are hundreds of thousands of visits every month, some from people who compare the drama to what is seen on TV’s The Bachelor and others from young women with wedding dreams.
“We have found that people are flattered when their videos are featured, and we have heard that family and friends can’t wait to see videos of their loved ones’ weddings,” she says. “Because couples want to share their videos on social media, our site has grown.”