Jen and Jeff ~ Choosing Life // Feature

Jen and Jeff ~ Choosing Life // Feature from Wendi Koble//Swoon Films on Vimeo.

Music used with permission by The Music Bed:
I Can Feel Your Heartbeat (feat. Jordan) – A New Normal
Love on My Arm – Matt Moberg
Run Run – The Rival

Music used with permission from Interscope/Geffen Records:
Edge of Glory (Acoustic Version) – Lady GaGa

Oh the magic that happens with Social Media. Over a month ago, I saw a post in my San Francisco Wedding Pros group on Facebook humbly asking for modest donations for a bride who is terminally ill. Having filmed weddings for over 11 years, and seeing so many amazing things I couldn’t stand the thought of this family not having a video keepsake. So I volunteered my services for free.

Jen and Jeff are such a special couple. Jeff is a yoga instructor and Jen is a hair stylist. Their positivity and outlook on life is simply amazing. I was so inspired by them and their story. The wedding reception was held at Jen’s childhood home and the ceremony was held at a park nearby. A next door neighbor graciously offered their backyard for the reception as well. So a fence was knocked down to accommodate the guests.

All I wanted was to make the best keepsake I can for them and their families.

What was supposed to be a simple, private wedding soon took on a life of its own. Local media soon got wind of their story.

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Bride-With-Terminal-Cancer-Gets-Amazing-Wedding-Gift-217037671.html

I was the only videographer to volunteer for this wedding in the group. It’s a smallish group and it was a prime Saturday in July, I just happened to have it available. I originally thought that I would film this wedding by myself. As this wedding got bigger and bigger and there was talk of the Today Show being there, yes THE Today Show, I realized…I’m going to need help…on a prime Saturday in July.

It takes a village to produce a film like this. We had some logistics to overcome. There was no way I was going to be able to pull this off by myself. Jim Snow gladly volunteered his time to help me as a main shooter. Then he suggested we get an assistant. He recruited Joe Oliverio to help out. Joe was great at getting different angles of the ceremony as a floater camera. He also filmed different angles of the 2nd Line and some of the cocktail hour. James LeDeau, a friend of the couple was already photographing the wedding but offered to film video for me as well since he was using a 6D. He grabbed groom prep and filmed Jeff at the ceremony. We had about six cameras covering the event. Overkill? Maybe. The ceremony was in the round and everyone was standing. Honestly, it was so perfect for them…like an embrace from loved ones. I also knew I would be competing with the Media for shots. I wasn’t going to leave anything up to chance. The recessional was going into a 2nd Line parade immediately. (Sidebar: we don’t get to film too many of these in California, in fact this was my first one! I was so excited!) I knew I wanted to film it on a camera stabilizer. I then recruited my aunt, Melanie Kuntz, to get my gear from the ceremony site to the reception. She even scrounged up an all black outfit! I can not thank my team enough.

The TV crew was absolutely wonderful to work with and were graciously unobtrusive. We were able to work around each other just fine.

Something happened to the Today Show camera during the ceremony so they used our ceremony footage for their story.

http://www.today.com/video/today/52609829#52609829

Jeff was such a good sport wearing three mics for the ceremony! Two of them for me!

I was able to keep it together for most of the day until the first dance. Now, I’ve never cried during a first dance, ever. This one was special. The song they chose, “Edge of Glory (Acoustic)” by Lady GaGa was beyond perfect. It was as if no one else existed in those four minutes. As I watched them melt into one another the tears flowed. I couldn’t help it. I was trying to wipe my tears and maintain focus but I could hear other sniffles in the group. I don’t think there was a dry eye during that moment.

When it came time to put it all together I had some nice songs picked out. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Edge of Glory,” and how beautiful that version was. How perfect it was. How it had to be in their film. How was this tiny little company going to get the rights to use a song from a mega pop star?

Ask and you shall receive.

It’s because of Emily Electra LeDeau we heard of Jen and Jeff. It’s because of Emily putting out the request on Facebook that I have a personal email from Interscope/Geffen Records saying that I had permission. Jamie Park, a classmate of Jen’s, had the connections we needed. They were touched by Jen and Jeff’s story. I would like to personally thank Emily Electra LeDeau and Jamie Park for getting this done and in less than 24 hours! I would also like to thank Erika Savage at Interscope/Geffen. This was icing just on the wedding cake for this film! At this point, I don’t think there isn’t anything Emily can’t accomplish!

Social media is magic. This whole wedding wouldn’t have happened unless someone just…asked.

It was nice to see such a positive story on the wedding industry for a change. I’m tired of hearing about people running off with deposits or price gouging. I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t have a heart. I know most of the people who volunteered their services and products would agree. Jen and Jeff’s story really touched us. We are forever changed for the better because we got to know them and we were able to do this for them.

One of the biggest hearts out there is Erica Ota, who pulled off the impossible to bring Jen’s Pinterest boards to life in a very short amount of time. Because of her, the vendor list GREW! She’s amazing and the wedding was seamless.

My favorite memory of this day is Jen’s smile. She never stopped smiling. She had great energy throughout the day and enjoyed every minute of it. She always kept us guessing with her wig and stylish outfit changes. She wore green instead of white. She’s a true original. Jeff is such a sweetheart. So kind and always making sure everyone was taken care of especially Jen. They are both gracious and thankful. I know they feel blessed but so do I. This is a wedding that I will hold in my heart forever.

If you would like to donate to help offset Jen’s medical costs please visit these sites:

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/love-karmic-kindness-for-jen/42375

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/25q2/jen-s-wedding-wish-cancer-fund

http://www.gofundme.com/3f8wds

If you would like to mail something to Jen, this is her fan mail address:
Jen Bulik-Lang
650 Castro Street, Suite 120-280
Mountain View CA 94041

Jen also has a Facebook fan page:

https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofJenB

Participating Wedding Vendors:

Retrospect Images
James LeDeau Photography
Captiv8 Imagery – Sly Vegas
Swoon Films
Benefit Cosmetics
Traveling Photobooth
Branch Out Flowers
Patricia Gibbons Floral Designs
The Petal Company
All Things Simple
Erica Ota Events
La Tavola Linen
Mari Norman
Carrie Dove Catering
Jane Hammond Events
Knights Catering
St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Jazz Band
Hartmann Studios
Classic Party Rentals
Sybella Rentals
Expressions Entertainment
Bert Javier
Chariti Soriano
Rowena Conlu
Artisan Productions
SF Candy Bar
The Makeup Dolls
Imagi By Fiona
Lisa Teller I Makeup Artist
Jennifer Hatcher – Jen the Hair Girl
Fortino Winery
Small Potatoes Catering
Dream A Little Dream Events
Siena Aline Events
San Francisco Ice Company
La Bonne Cuisine
Kalena Brose Event Planning & Design
Marizette Paperie
Snake & Butterfly
Nicole Verhalen
Polished Dental
Metro Mobile
Beacon Hill Candles
Jax- Rustic Chalkboard Display Signs
The Paper Walrus
Fresh Restorations
Home Sewn Studio
Charlie Chalk Designs
HeritageTreeSoapCo
Kate – Wooden Chalkboards
The Funky Shack
WhetYourPallet By Joe
Lane Love Design
The Succulent Source
Blue Moon Boutique NC
Lo Rustique
Craftupyourlife
Whatchawantdesign
Feather River Boutique
JJ Wonders & Workshop
Newlook Institute
Vogue Wigs
Passiflora Designs
Jessica and Tripp Johnson
Sullivan Botello Events

 

Update: On Thursday October 10th, 2013 Jen passed away in the morning surrounded by family and friends. Jen was an incredible person. She fought cancer with so much grace and courage. I was so profoundly touched by Jen and Jeff’s story and boundless love for each other. You will be missed, Jen. You are so loved. My heart goes out to Jeff, the families and friends during this difficult time. A memorial has been planned for October 19th. A memorial fund has been established. Please help if you can. You can access it here: http://tinyurl.com/kkugrpq. They have also asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to lungcancerfoundation.org.

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