Local wedding videographer Dave Tebbutt is trying to wrap his head around the number 10,000,000 — that’s how many views his wedding videos have received.
According to Google analytics data, his wedding videography YouTube channel has become the most-viewed in Canada.
“I think sometimes about the numbers of views in relation to the population of cities,” says Tebbutt.
“It’s fascinating to think there are more people who have watched one of my videos than there are in the city of St. Catharines,” he says, although with a humility evident as he talks about his success, he adds, “it’s pretty neat, but I remind myself it’s not about what’s online.”
It’s a tough, competitive business, he says, but at the age of 30, he has developed a credible business with an enormous audience, “and I’m making a living, I’m travelling for work and doing what I love full-time.”
In the last decade, he’s built a reputation that has taken him across Canada, to the U.S. and to many other locations, including Jamaica, Bahamas, and Guatemala, to video weddings.
The Queenston native — his parents Sharon and Bob are still villagers — is a graduate of Laura Secord Memorial School, St. Davids Public School, and Eden High School. Niagara-on-the-Lake, “the wedding capital of Canada,” he says, is one of the most beautiful locations for weddings, and there have been many locals, friends of his and their siblings, whose weddings he has recorded right here at home.
He also has local wedding planners and venues refer couples to him, he says, but his success has come mostly through word-of-mouth and social media. “YouTube’s my website,” and is where he now has more than 300 videos posted.
From the time he was about 10 years old, when he got his first camera, he hasn’t wanted to do anything else.
In high school, he was “the video guy,” and when he began doing wedding videos for friends, he started uploading them to YouTube, at a time when it wasn’t considered a place for professional content.
He didn’t want to pay for a website, he says, or learn how to create one.
He just wanted to produce high-quality wedding videos that would gain him enough attention to be able to work full-time, without having them look over-produced. He aims for a documentary style — he captures couples on their momentous day by going along on their journey with them, with their family, friends and even the family dog, the result leaving viewers reaching for a tissue as they would have had they been there.
He’s married himself now, to Lisa Spiering, whom he met at Eden.
She’s a nurse, working in the labour and delivery department at the St. Catharines hospital, and between the two of them, he says, “we have endless stories to share.”
One of his stories is having a video shown on both Good Morning America, a popular morning news show, and The Ellen Show.
It was a “wedding bouquet toss fail clip that went viral,” says Tebbutt. “A girl face-planted and smacked herself on the dance floor trying to catch the flowers.” Many news stations picked it up, he adds.
Tebbutt has also done music videos, produced videos as sales tools for real estate agents, and recorded humanitarian efforts in under-developed countries, but he considers weddings his bread and butter, and his favourite outlet for his creativity.
“I’m not a suit-and-tie kind of guy. I go to weddings and do what I do, and at the end of the day, I often stick around, relax and have a drink with the family. I’m getting paid to hang out with people on one of the best days of their lives,” he says.
“What could be better than that? I feel like I’m riding a wave, but I don’t know if it will die down, or if it will last. We’ll have to wait and see where it ends.”