Here Comes the Bride, Followed by Her Content Creator

Life & Love

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I’ve witnessed plenty of weddings this past year. I’ve seen vows exchanged beneath sprawling live oaks and bridesmaids gliding down flower-strewn aisles under the twinkle of outdoor lights. I’ve witnessed one bride wearing Margiela, a soon-to-be husband in happy tears. I’ve even heard the chatter of reconnected families echo through grand corridors, laughter flowing just like the cocktail hour wine consumed.

Except I wasn’t present at any of these events. Instead, I found myself deeply immersed in a handful of strangers’ wedding days, all thanks to the work of wedding content creators. A fairly new addition to the wedding industrial complex, these vendors produce videos and photos often meant for the couple’s social feeds. One creator, Nina Franco, the visionary behind @thebridalgirly, says the goal is to make anyone—friends, family, strangers scrolling past—feel like they were there on the big day. For couples, it can also be a way to ensure they get the kind of content that Instagram and TikTok algorithms prioritize—and users crave.

Franco is a luxury destination wedding content creator who’s worked on dozens of ceremonies, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles’ wedding. But before she started sharing those behind-the-scenes moments from well-known nuptials, she began like any other excited bride: documenting her own engagement and wedding planning process on TikTok in March 2022. At that point, virtually no wedding content creators existed, and when Franco got married in December that same year, it was something she wished she had.

“There were specific TikToks or Instagram shots I wanted to get, and rather than making someone in my family take them, I did it myself by scheduling time on my wedding day to shoot iPhone content,” she explains. Franco’s wedding content quickly gained traction, racking up millions of views; in about half a year, she acquired more than 100,000 Instagram followers, including Biles, who reached out after seeing her on the platform. “People were DMing me like, ‘How did you do that?’ ‘Can I hire you for my wedding?’” She booked her first wedding in Fort Lauderdale in March 2023. Soon, it became her full-time gig, attending and capturing weddings across Italy, France, and the United States. “Every weekend since then has been booked,” Franco says. Along the way, she’s filmed the kinds of videos that feel native to her platforms and her chronically online customers: short-form, viral shots of pasta being cooked in a parmesan wheel at cocktail hour, a couple sharing their first dance, or bridesmaids lip-syncing a scene from Bring It On.

And Franco isn’t the only experiencing this shift in the industry. Emma Haggerty, a New York City-based wedding photographer, says she now feels pressure due to the rising demand for expedited photos and videos. She notes: “While the demand for traditional photography hasn’t necessarily decreased, many brides now desire both or anticipate creatives to work at a rapid pace.”

Nowadays, brides are also looking for something more traditional photographers or videographers might not provide: unedited and unprocessed content. As social media feeds become less curated, users are treating Instagram more casually, using their profiles to highlight small, messy moments, i.e. the kind that wedding content creators record. Think of it like this: While a photographer might snap something that goes on your mantel, a content creator shoots something that goes in your group chat.

“Photographers and videographers usually have a plan for what they’re capturing, and you end up with a set of specific shots,” says Lauren Ladouceur, a wedding and lifestyle creator based in New York City. “But some of the coolest stuff happens unexpectedly, and those are the moments I love to catch.”

Ladouceur also points out that this slice of the wedding industry has remained largely unchanged since the advent of videography, which gained popularity in the 1980s. In an era dominated by online interactions and instant updates, it’s no surprise the industry is finally catching up.

While traditional videographers and photographers can sometimes take up to 12 weeks to send the edited photos and videos, Ladouceur and Franco can serve up their content, which can be thousands of unedited photos and videos, within two days or less. Everything is just a text or an AirDrop away. Sometimes, they even provide content immediately by logging into a bride’s account and posting as them on their wedding day.

To achieve this, wedding content creators will bring their own equipment, including lighting, backdrops, and, Ladourceur jokes, plenty of portable chargers. And just as a caterer or a wedding planner may execute your vision, these creators also want couples to be involved behind the scenes. Ladouceur says some of her clients provide references or creative input, whether it’s asking her to grab candid, natural moments or filming choreographed dances for TikTok.

Pricing for a content creator is usually comparable to a standard wedding photographer, which costs, on average, $2,600; according to The Wall Street Journal, most couples are spending “just over $1,000 to north of $3,500” on a content creator. But, like the content, packages are typically flexible and customizable, tailored to each bride’s needs.

Kristina Rodulfo, a beauty and lifestyle influencer (and former ELLE.com editor), saw hiring a content creator as invaluable, because it granted her the ability to be “100 percent present” with her husband and their loved ones on their day. “As a content creator, I am typically the one always whipping out my phone to capture everything,” she says. “While it comes with the job, that also means I’m sometimes pulled out of special moments instead of fully experiencing them in real-time.”

Rodulfo brought up the idea of hiring a wedding content creator to her now-husband, who was completely on board: “He understood that I’d want to create wedding-focused content, sharing takeaways and favorite details afterward.”

When they got married in April 2023 at Kualoa Ranch (famously a filming site for Jurassic Park, Lost, Jumanji, and more), Rodulfo was able to get all the content she wanted via Stacey Moran of The BTS Bride—including clips of her lip-syncing to Beyoncé and her bridal party reenacting a scene from The Princess Diaries—while still enjoying time with her friends and family.

Those were also the types of videos Zoe Hoffman saw on #WeddingTikTok while she was planning her own party. She stumbled upon Franco’s page, @thebridalgirly, and loved her work’s romantic and natural feel. Though she’s not an influencer like Rodulfo, she admits that she wanted to feel like one—but assumed that kind of content would come with a hefty price tag.

Hoffman had a more intimate wedding with about 75 people in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She wanted to capture the closeness of having her family and friends together for the weekend, and she desired something organic—candids that felt authentic and expressed raw emotions and interactions, much like a friend snapping blurry and spontaneous photos during a night out. “But I didn’t want a family member or friend to have to do it,” she says, noting that she wanted her guests to enjoy the day and feel unplugged. So when she discovered Franco’s services cost $1,800-2,600 for wedding day content or $4,200-5,000 for a wedding weekend, she thought it seemed entirely reasonable.

To some, budgeting thousands of dollars for something that exists primarily on the internet or your device might seem outrageous. For Hoffman, who says she gets to now relive her wedding over and over again, it was priceless.

Because of Franco, Hoffman has photos—both on her phone and on her profile—of the grand estate where she got married this past October. There are snapshots from her rehearsal dinner, an intimate affair adorned with mirror balls and chandeliers. A toast was given, and a tear was shed. When I go to her page, I can feel the anticipation in the short, spliced videos she posts from the evening. “I couldn’t have been happier with how they turned out,” Hoffman says. “I’m just so grateful.” I give the post a “like” and keep scrolling for more.

Headshot of Morgan Sullivan

Morgan Sullivan is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer covering everything from health and relationships to fashion and beauty. Her work can also be seen in The Cut, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and more. She’s a big fan of these things (in no particular order): vintage silk slip dresses, giving unsolicited life advice, and Taylor Swift’s entire discography. 

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