Picture this

You’ve chosen your professional photographer and come up with a list of must-have shots and group poses. You’ve done your homework and know exactly the style of photography you want for your wedding and have given the photographer a long brief to that effect. You’ve even bought your wedding photo albums. You may have decided to hand out disposable cameras for your guests to take snaps throughout the reception. You’ve bought a nice guest book for friends and family to sign and a special pen to go with it.

STOP!

What about…

Wedding Photo Booth

A photo booth that produces strips of passport photos, unlimited and free of charge to your guests! It’s set up and managed for you. Most companies will provide props.

Needed: Try to get a recommendation for the company you use.

Pro:

  • You can leave the professionals to it, totally hassle free
  • Tremendous fun for your guests, particularly i) squeezing multiple people into the booth ii) time pressure between snaps iii) taking loads of snaps and getting creative with poses
  • The booths produce a copy for the guest and a copy for the guest book
  • Booth prints look cool on your fridge as well as in albums
  • Quality print outs
  • Great if you and your guests like dressing up/getting creative

Con:

  • Close up shots only
  • Limited number of people per shot
  • Crazy rush to change wig/specs/mask in between shots can result in lots of blurred ‘fail’ shots
  • You’re reliant on the props provided – not tailored to your theme
  • More expensive than the DIY option, extra expense if you choose to have a professional photographer aswell

DIY Wedding Photo Booth

The homespun version of the above.

Needed: A backdrop of sorts, picture frames in various sizes, cut out boards, props, chalk and blackboards, a camera, tables, chairs, instructions for guests

Pro:

  • Complete control – you can tailor it to your theme and your guests, you can personalise it
  • A relatively cheap alternative
  • You can set up your booth outside!
  • Flexibility – You could use a digital camera, a polaroid camera, or even disposable cameras
  • Polaroids look cool in frames or pinned to the fridge or kitchen noticeboard as well as in albums
  • You can fit as many people as you like in the shots
  • If you supply a chalk board for guest messages you won’t need a guest book at all

Con:

  • Someone has to take the photo (This could be a paid pro but it defeats the money-saving aspect. This could be whoever is free, but they might take bad photographs!)
  • Stress over/time spent buying props
  • Stress over/time spent setting the booth up
  • Stress over the camera going missing/breaking
  • While digital snaps can produce multiple printouts, you only get one polaroid so you’d have to stop your guests from taking them home!
  • If you don’t use a polaroid, you might wish you had spent a bit extra and got more professional looking pics

Caricature Artist

An artist who will mill around your guests informally and draw funny pictures of them. The drawings can form a photo/guest book of sorts.

Needed: Phone or internet and credit card to book with. Try to get a recommendation for the artist you use.

Pro:

  • Captures your guests personalities as well as their looks
  • A very different type of guest book to flick through in years to come
  • Could be right up your street and your guests could love it
  • Drawings can feel more personal than photographs
  • Doubles up as entertainment for your guests
  • Drawings can be framed and displayed on walls
  • No risk of expensive equipment breaking or going missing

Con:

  • Drawings take longer than photographs
  • The artist probably won’t get round all your guests
  • Single portraits only, no group shots
  • Only produces one copy and your guests are likely to want to take drawings home with them
  • Caricatures are not very flattering
  • It’s not everyone’s cup of tea

Picture Frame Decorating

An activity for younger guests. They can make their own frames for you to use with photos of them from your day.

Needed: Cardboard, scissors, glue, glitter, other craft supplies, on a table covered with an oil cloth (for spills)

Pro:

  • Keeps younger guests entertained
  • A lovely gift from them to you
  • Saves you having to buy lots of frames
  • Cheap and easy
  • Personal

Con:

  • Could be messy
  • You might want someone to ‘supervise’

If I could plan my wedding all over again

My wedding day felt truly magical. It was powerfully romantic and emotional, and reflected our tastes and styles to a tee. But there are still things I would’ve done a little differently if I could do it all over again. I hope Brides and Husbands to Be will find these reflections useful but my final word on wedding planning is that whatever your choices for the day, perfection is to be found in your lovely new spouse, the occaision itself, and the love and happiness you will feel coming off everybody that special day. So don’t be hung up on perfection in the details, quite often the things that go wrong are what we remember most fondly.I’ll pretend I’m granted three wishes like Wedding SOS in reverse.

Change number 1: I know I have a tendency to run late. I should have planned better so that we had less to do the morning of the wedding. I ended up not paying any attention to my fingernails whatsoever! No nail varnish, certainly no manicure :S although it was lovely that my sister painted them for me before the evening meal, mmmm pampered! I had no breakfast to speak of even though I took pastries to the hairdressers with me. I tend not to eat when I’m in business mode. We (mom, bridesmaids, etc.) had to rush exchanging our little gifts to each other at the hotel, so I wish we’d done that the night before too. The rush of the night before was really enjoyable though. Highlights included the best pizza ever (because we were knackered and starving), touching gifts from my mom, and hilarity in the bath involving fake tan and hair bleach. As I prepared to go to bed, in our lovely hotel room, set out my jewellery, perfume, and card from H2B to opened as soon as I woke up, I felt like a princess already.

Change number 2: You can’t control the weather 🙂 but there were things I could’ve controlled that day which I didn’t. I didn’t think I’d have to maker certain things clear but it turns out you can’t be too clear setting out your expectations. We hired a wonderful vintage car, imagining a slow drive down country lanes from the hotel to the village hall. I was running late, but the driver had already decided he’d take the dual carriageway (it felt like it took forever) instead of the country lanes. He was concerened about traffic. As we raced up the A38 with the rain sheeting down, my heart sank. This was not what I wanted 😦 So, make sure you tell your driver the route you want to take! We did have a laugh about the vintage window that wouldn’t close. My sister bless her held the wind up handle all the way to prevent too much rain coming in onto my dress.

Change number 3: Think twice before using a friend or family member as one of your suppliers. Not least because you might really miss them being part of the day as a guest, and feel bad that they are working so hard instead of having a lovely time. I will treasure the few photos other guests took that have our photographer in them! With the photographer you might think you’ve been crystal clear with what you want and don’t want, but again, you can’t be too explicit. Think about which things might appear in the background of your pics unless they’re taken at a certain angle. Our wedding was at a village hall, it was great, but still a village hall. It’s hard to cover up things like strip lights, bins, and exit signs so it’s in your photographer’s hands to make them ‘vanish’ from your photo album 😉

I was relieved that my ideas for an eclectic vintage/country garden/English rose wedding came together so well. A final tip for all you wedding dreamers out there would be choose something quite specific for your theme. My idea of the theme kept evolving. I understood what I wanted but I was about the only one. It was really difficult to describe to the guests what they should wear to fit in with the theme. I stressed about the dress, make up and hair coming together properly and about the colours, oh the colours. I wanted dusky pink, we couldn’t get dusky pink roses so we ended up with slightly peachy roses. I wanted sage green, but what’s the difference between sage and olive green? And then the patterns. Would the lace on my dress match OK with the damask on my mom’s dress and the groom’s Liberty print hankerchief? Breathe. If you’re unsure, keep things simple. If you’re game, go for it. The details make up the overall image of your wedding in your guests eyes. They won’t be judging things item by item. Just have fun. Happy planning!