Detroit Startup Takes a 2.0 Approach to Capturing, Sharing Wedding Memories
Brett deMarrais had only been to one wedding in his life—his cousin’s—before he launched his company in 2010.
“I saw that they didn’t have a videographer, and I found out the reason why was because of the price,” deMarrais says. “My cousin always regretted that decision.”
Like so many entrepreneurs before him, deMarrais had a “there must be a better way” moment, and the idea for Detroit startup Wedit began to gel.
DeMarrais’ company offers a DIY wedding videography service that, for $199, sends couples a package containing five HD video cameras at least three days before their wedding. The bride and groom then pass the cameras out to guests with the idea that the footage they capture will be full of those candid, heartfelt moments that loved ones may have a better ability to recognize. (While your videographer, a stranger hired out of the Yellow Pages, might not understand the significance of your estranged father pulling you to the side for an emotional hug and pep talk, your best friend would, and she would presumably dive for the camera to capture it on film.)
Once the happy couple has captured their wedding on film, they send the cameras back to deMarrais in pre-paid boxes. The $199 fee includes hosting, five DVDs of the raw footage, and tools to share the footage on social networks. For an additional $200 to $500, the site’s professional editors will pare the raw footage down into a cohesive video and highlight reel. He says the national average price for a wedding videographer’s services runs roughly $1,500, but in metro Detroit (and especially wealthy Oakland County), the price jumps to double or triple that.
“My goal is to help brides and grooms share their memories in a fun, affordable, easy way,” deMarrais says.
And what if the footage that comes back is, well, crappy? He says that hasn’t happened so far, and 250 couples used Wedit in 2011 alone. He also says keeping the editing prices separate—when the company first launched, prices started at $499 for the whole package—helps mitigate risk.
“When we started, we had no idea how the footage would turn out,” deMarrais says. “I was shocked—we’ve never had footage come back that we can’t use. People at your wedding care about you, and the people in charge of filming it seem to take it very seriously. The other thing is that people are so used to using digital devices now, filming things on their phones, that this kind of comes naturally.”
DeMarrais, the company’s founder and CEO, describes himself as a huge film buff who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 without a clear idea of what he’d do next. He took a job working for the president of the Motion Picture Association in Los Angeles, but he didn’t like the city. It wasn’t long before he moved back to Michigan.
DeMarrais says he originally approached Bizdom U with an idea for a production company. Though Bizdom wasn’t interested in his first business idea, they were interested in him. They encouraged him to come in and flesh out a new business idea, and the rest is Wedit history.
On Monday, the company announced it has been recognized with two industry awards: a Best of Weddings 2012 award from the Knot and a Bride’s Choice 2012 award from Wedding Wire. DeMarrais says it’s a big honor to be recognized for awards based on bridal satisfaction with customer service, value, and quality.
“Brides have a reputation for wanting everything to be perfect,” he says. “I take great pride in four- and five-star reviews across the board from one of the most particular client bases out there.”