Meggan & Joe | Minneapolis Events Center | Wedding Trailer Film

Meggan & Joe | Minneapolis Events Center | Wedding Trailer Film

When I sat down with Meggan & Joe for the first time, I asked them to tell me about two things, in addition to their wedding day:

  1. The story of their relationship- their love story
  2. The elements of their dream wedding video

I quickly learned that Meggan and Joe are "sappy people", in their own words. Their passion for one another was apparent right away.  I could see they were two best friends who enjoyed spending time together doing whatever- cooking food (they are definitely foodies), hiking in beautiful places, or curling up on the couch to watch a good romantic-comedy.

When I asked them what they considered important in regards to their wedding video, they expressed to me a vision that was sweet and simple.

They first mentioned how important having a wedding film was for them, because they wanted the candid moments to be captured- the sweet little moments of raw emotion experienced throughout the day that go by so quickly. They wanted a film that truly captured their love and passion for one another, to relive the best day of their life for the rest of their lives.

Just chatting with them, you can feel the care and affection they have for one another- from the way they speak about each other to the twinkle in their eyes. And I think that translated perfectly into their wedding film. The true emotions they share for one another shined through, and made for a wedding film that would allow them to relive their beautiful March wedding all over again.

I think the Bride's father put it best in his speech, "Meggan & Joe's love is the true Minneapolis Miracle."

We had such a blast sharing in this special day and couldn't be more happy for them! 


Wedding Videographer: Dan West Films

Photographer: Ester Knowlen Photography

Wedding Venue: Minneapolis Events Center

Floral Design: Simply Stated Elegance

Desserts: Sammy's Sweets

Catering: Minneapolis Events Center

DJ: Bellagala

Makeup & Hair: SM Hair & Makeup

Bride's Dress: Che Bella

Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade Keds

Groom's Suit: Macy's

I've Found My Fantasy | Jen & Thiago | A Modern Minneapolis Wedding

I've Found My Fantasy | Jen & Thiago | A Modern Minneapolis Wedding

Jen & Thiago were one of those couples that really brought me back to the WHY of getting into the wedding business. Why I love building relationships with random strangers and sharing in such an intimate moment they’ll remember for a lifetime. Why I love being able to serve others in the gifts God has given me.

Here is a couple that have a passion for life and love, allowing it to permeate into every relationship they create– especially their own. They live a life of servitude for Christ and are intentional in all their actions. 

It was an honor being able to film their beautiful modern wedding in Minneapolis. 

We kicked off the morning at the Hewing Hotel which matched Jen and Thiago’s personality perfectly: detailed, authentic, intimate. The sounds of giggles and laughter filled the air of Room 403 as Jen and her bridesmaids got ready for the day. The men were downstairs enjoying a delicious breakfast and preparing themselves for the big day ahead.

A few hours later, Thiago waited on the roof nervously for his bride as she slipped into her elegant ballroom wedding dress, putting on the final pieces of jewelry. As Jen walked over to Thiago for the first time that day, her smile radiated with pure joy and excitement for this moment. Thiago couldn’t even speak when he turned around. He just embraced her and broke down in tears. It’s first looks like this that really pull at my heartstrings. They stood there embracing one another for what seemed like 10 minutes, savoring every second.

What really struck me was in their moment of joy and excitement for seeing each other for the first time, they remembered to take a moment to pray and thank God for the day and the love they shared for one another.

The first look set the tone for the rest of the day, leading towards a beautiful wedding at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis. The venue was gorgeous! It was a restored warehouse with rich wood floors, strong timber beams, and exposed brick to boot. It was a wonderful open space for both the ceremony and reception, and the food by Chowgirls was killer!

My favorite part of the whole day was towards the end of the ceremony. I’ve never seen this before but loved the idea. Rather than doing a unity candle or something similar, they decided to wash each other’s feet, just as the Lord did with his disciples. What a humbling and powerful moment!

The day was beautiful, fun, and full of laughter! Definitely a wedding I’ll never forget.

Wedding Vendors

Wedding Videographer: Dan West Films

Wedding Photographer: Jaimee Morse

Wedding Coordinator: MAVEN events / floral / styling

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Solar Arts Building

Hair & Makeup: Primped

Getting Ready Venue: Hewing Hotel

DJ: Bellagala

Catering: Solar Arts by Chowgirls

Floral: Luna Vinca

Musicians: MacPhail Center for Music

A Bohemian Dream Wedding | Taylor & Jacob | Minnesota Island Wedding

When Taylor & Jacob reached out to Dan West Films, I instantly knew this was going to be one of our most unique weddings. In the inquiry, they had put the wedding was going to be on their family island in Northern Minnesota. “This is going to be fun,” we thought!

To sum up the entire wedding day, it was a bohemian styled dream wedding. Seriously. Everything about the day was boho. The ladies were getting ready at the bride and grooms new house on the outskirts of a rural town. It had lush fields of wild flowers which is where the first look took place. All the bridesmaids wore flower crowns and had mismatched flowing dresses, while the bride wore a beautiful flowing white wedding dress. The groom was sporting a man bun and a maroon suit.

The wedding day was right in the heart of the island in wooded clearing, surrounded with mossy logs and flowers. Jacob was a woodworker, so he built custom archways and benches specifically for the wedding. Before the ceremony, the couple even had baby fawns brought to the site, a special surprise for Taylor.

And the décor! It was a vagabond delight.

This was the most unique, nature filled wedding we have been a part of and loved every second of it. There were baby deer, sparkler first dances, a forest ceremony, and so much more!

And the photographers we worked with, The Marions from Missouri, were fabulous. They specialized in bohemian style weddings and we were able to collaborate to create some beautiful art.

Overall this was just an amazing experiencing with an awesome couple!

A Father's Answered Prayer | Rural Minnesota Wedding

A Father's Answered Prayer | Rural Minnesota Wedding

It's always a pleasure working with couples that have this glow about them. A glimmer in their eye that communicates a deep passion and affection for one another. That's exactly the type of love that Lindsay and Derek share and it was so evident throughout their wedding.

The morning started out at Savvy Salon in Marshall where the ladies were sharing a glass of mimosa, getting hair done, and touching up makeup for the big day. Lindsay's lighthearted personality was coming out as she made jokes with her bridesmaids and danced around with her niece. After the hair was done and makeup was set, the wedding party made their way over to Cornerstone United Methodist Church, the church Lindsay grew up in. Derek and the other groomsmen were staged upstairs, putting on their charcoal suits from Men's Warehouse, playing foosball, and sharing laughs along the way.

Lindsay was below on the main level, anxiously waiting to put her dress on from David's Bridal. After slipping into the dress and a few excited screams and tears followed from the bridesmaids, Lindsay was ready for the first look and to see Derek all spiffied up. We drove over to Wayside Park where Derek waited patiently for his wife-to-be. He was nervous, but excited to see his bride. When he turned around and locked eyes with Lindsay, a wide grin stretched across his face and all he could do was stand and stare.

"Come here!" exclaimed Lindsay. Derek, lost in the moment, hurried over to Lindsay and embraced her, burying his face into her shoulder as they hugged. Derek was so overwhelmed with emotion he was at a loss for words as he cried in excitement. In that moment, you could feel the affection and energy they shared for one another. They are a true match made in heaven.

After the first look, Shay Photography MN spent the next few hours taking pictures with the wedding party and couple. Afterwards, we headed back to the church to say "I Do." The wedding was a beautiful ceremony as the pastor delivered a heartfelt and poetic message for the couple. A unique element of the ceremony happened at the beginning where people from the wedding party and audience were able to share a personal message with the couple. After the wedding bells rang and Lindsay and Derek shared their first kiss as a married couple, they burst through the church doors to be greeted by a bubble exit.

The reception took place at the Marshall Golf Club, a beautiful country club venue with amazing scenery. Guests were filing in and admiring the mouth watering donut wall the couple created for dessert rather than opting for the traditional cake or cupcakes. Lindsay has a love for donuts and was going to find a way to include them in her wedding. After a delicious buffet catered by the reception venue, speeches commenced and tears started flowing. Our favorite speech from the night came from Lindsay's father, where he shares a story about praying for his daughter's future husband. You'll need to watch the wedding video to hear the actual speech!

Once speeches were over, the dancing began and the fun continued. It was such a pleasure to share in Lindsay and Derek's day and Dan West Films couldn't be more happy to capture it on video.


Photographer: Shay Photography MN

Videographer: Dan West Films

Hair & Make-up: Savvy Salon

Florist: EcoFlowers and Hy-vee Floral

Dress: David's Bridal.

Suits: Men's Warehouse

Bus: Southwest Coaches

Catering: Hy-vee Bakery

Ceremony: Cornerstone United Methodist Church

Reception: Marshall Golf Club

DJ & Lighting: Envision DJ Services


5 Tips for Making Your Wedding Video Special

5 Tips for Making Your Wedding Video Special

A wedding video is a beautiful option for capturing the moments that matter most to you and preserving the wedding day in a way that photos just can't capture. So how can you make your wedding film stand out and make it more unique? Here are 5 great tips for making your video stand out!

  1. Exchange notes the morning of the wedding. Many wedding videos incorporate audio/speaking from different moments throughout the wedding day to help tell your story. Writing a special note for your fiancé(e) allows for you to share a few intimate words before the ceremony, letting them know how you're feeling and what excites you about the day ahead and your future together. Reading the note aloud creates a beautiful moment for your videographer to capture and include in your video. This is a great alternative if you aren't saying your own vows during the ceremony.
  2. Have a first look. The first look is one of our favorite moment from the wedding day. Watching a wide grin stretch across the groom's face followed by a loving exchange always makes us smile and creates a perfect moment to capture your love for each other. It's an intimate moment that translates beautifully into the wedding video and is sure to be a tear-jerker. Take a look at our favorite first look video that won us a few awards!
  3. Plan a fun activity before getting ready. The wedding day can be a bit stressful but it doesn't have to be. Consider doing something fun with your wedding party the morning of your wedding before getting ready. One of our couples really took this tip to heart when planning their wedding, going boogie boarding in the cold Pacific Ocean and relaxing with some aerial yoga in the morning. Check out the wedding film here. Other times, the groomsmen play a round of golf or go on a group hike. Whatever it is, do something that's special to you as a couple, creating a fun element in the video that helps us better portray your personalities.
  4. Plan some time for the sunset. The last hour before the sun sets is a time we call 'Golden Hour' and it's a photographer and videographers favorite time of day. Colors begin to glow, the sky radiates different hues of orange and magenta, and images take on a new look of beauty. Make sure to have a block of time scheduled in your day to capture some intimate couple shots during this small slot of perfect light. In addition to beautiful photos, it is the perfect time to capture romantic shots of you and your new spouse for the wedding video. It's also a moment for the both of you to escape the chaos of the ceremony and reception to share a moment of peace as a newlywed couple.
  5. Get ready in a room with plenty of natural light. This is one of our favorite tips, from a technical perspective, that can really change the look of your footage from dull to spectacularly beautiful. Most would likely not take that into consideration when planning their wedding, but ensuring there is plenty of natural light in the spots you choose to get ready and do your hair/make-up or get changed can go a long way in the final look of your video. Natural light produces the best images by creating soft shadows and making your skin tones pop. Overhead fluorescent or incandescent lighting changes the color of your skin to create an unnatural look. It creates unflattering shadows and inadequate, poor-quality light. Even if there isn't much natural light where you plan on getting ready, finding a solo window to get ready next to will achieve similar results.
natural light vs overhead light wedding video.jpg

Whatever you decide to include in your wedding day, just remember to align your plans with your personality. Don't try to force something that isn't you. Incorporating unique elements special to you and your fiancé(e) will help tell your story and make for the best wedding day and video. Best of luck!


Why I do What I do.

Why do you do what you do? That's kind of the big question when it comes to being passionate about something. And it's something that I've been thinking about lately so I thought I'd share it with all of you!

The simple answer might be, "It's a lot of fun." Sure, this may be a reason, but the truth of the matter is so much deeper than this. Yeah, I have an amazingly fun time with what I do, but what makes it so fun? What makes filming, directing, or acting so incredibly enjoyable? And I've done a lot of thinking about this and why I love filmmaking so much. When I first got started I didn't really know the reason, I just thought it was fun. I enjoyed getting together with my friends and making short little videos that were funny to us, and I liked seeing people laugh at our work. And as I grew more as a filmmaker, I began to realize why I love this so much. And then I got into the business side of things, which is where things became more blurred for me. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but initially I didn't.

You see, when I first started making money off my filming, I didn't know why I was doing what I was doing. I didn't have a clear understanding of what this meant to me, so I began to lose sight of why I loved what I did so much, and I became mainly focused on making money. I had a talent in my town that no one else had, and I was making money off of it.. what's not to love about that, right? And as I did more projects for businesses, I began to enjoy making videos less and less. And prior to this I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to go to film school, get connected with people, land an awesome job, and have the best time making films!" And after I started making videos for businesses, my thought process became, "Man, what am I thinking? This is boring and hard and not something I'd want to do all the time! Plus, it's super hard to get a job and the pay isn't the best. Maybe this will just be a hobby and it was never a passion." So I decided that I was going to go to school for science– ha! And I thought making films was boring. I can't imagine how boring being a scientist would be, but to each his own.

It wasn't until a little over half way through senior year in high school that I realized why I do what I do, and I realized that filmmaking really is my passion. I filmed my first wedding in January for some friends of mine, and that's when I realized why I love this so much. When I released their Highlight Video on Facebook, the comments started to flood in. People were saying they started crying during the video, that they loved it and that is was so fun. And the couple loved it just as much. And it was from this that I found the answer. I love what I do because of the people and seeing someone light up because of my videos. When people laugh and tell me how hilarious my video was or hearing that a video made them cry because it was so beautiful, these reactions– these genuine emotions– bring so much satisfaction that money couldn't bring. And I guess I kind of knew the reason in the back of my head, but I lost sight of it.

I think that it's really important to know why you know what you are doing so that you have a purpose. When my main purpose of creating videos was to make money, it wasn't enjoyable. But when I realized why I was doing what I was doing, it's made all the difference. Now I go into projects with the mentality of wanting to make something amazing that brings a smile to someones face and moves them in some way, rather than making money. Sure, there are times when things are stressful, and long, and tedious, and there are times when I don't want to work on a video because it's a struggle. But that's with everything in life. There's always going to be those times when things are like this. But when you know why you do what you do– the true reason– that's what makes it worth the while. 

So I want to thank everyone who has followed me on this journey and been there supporting me, and for all the people who helped me realize what my passion truly is. I can't wait to see where God leads me with this.

Lifewall Commercial

I just finished making a new video with a local business in Marshall called Lifewall. They've been close friends for a while and I've helped them produce multiple videos. This has been the funnest one yet! It was just a fun 50 second video showing that they were ready for the Christmas season.

You see! A commercial doesn't need to be all serious and business. It can be something fun like this one! If you're interested in wanting a commercial or promotional video done, click on the Start a Project tab and send me an email. I'd love to help with anything that you'd want!

It's Official!

It's official! Dan Man Productions is now Dan West Productions! And I finally have an official website! I've been wanting to make a website for a while now but have finally decided to pull the trigger as I begin to expand my business.

If you asked me two years ago what I thought I'd be doing with my videos, I would have never guessed that it would start into a small business. I started off by making fun little videos with my friends and then eventually making announcement videos for my youth group. Last spring is when I made my first promotional video for Lifewall. I never really had intentions of doing more business promotional videos, but after some people saw Lifewall's video I was offered a gig by Community Services. And from there it's grown and keeps grown. 

My biggest push is now in Wedding videography and hopefully some commercial/promo videos for businesses. So if you know anyone who is looking for a videographer, send them my way. I've got the skills, creativity, and talent to create them visually stunning videos and I do it at a reasonable price compared to others. 

Hopefully I'll keep blogging as new events come up! Until next time!

Dan West