6 Creative Ways to Incorporate Photos Into Your Wedding

Congratulations! You’re getting married!

You and your fiancé will be gathering all your closest friends and family members together in one place for the day. Very few people at your ceremony and reception will know everyone else in the room, so using photos in your wedding can be a fun way to let your guests get to know one another. You can also snag photos of informal magical moments from the day that won’t necessarily be captured by your professional photographer.

Here are some ideas for incorporating photos into your ceremony and reception:

1. Include older photos to showcase your families’ histories.

Featuring photos of your parents or grandparents on their respective wedding days is a lovely and meaningful way to acknowledge your closest relatives and convey the importance of family in your relationship.

Everyone loves going down memory lane and seeing the fashions (and hairstyles) of older generations, so this can be really fun for your guests! You can showcase photos of your parents and grandparents on your reception entry table or cake table.

If you’d like to acknowledge loved ones who are no longer with you, you can also include their photos on your “Family History” table. I recommend choosing photos that help you recall a happy memory or moment with your relative.

2. Reveal special moments from your and your fiance’s childhoods.

You can showcase photos of you and your fiancé as children by making customized photo signs for your guest tables. Table nine can feature photos of you when you’re nine, table ten when you’re ten years old, and so on.

Check out this example on Pinterest for further inspiration! 

3. Share images of your courtship and partnership when you’re communicating the logistics of your big day.

Wedding websites are a popular and practical way to share the details and logistics of your big day, and “Save the Date” cards are a great way to give your guests a heads-up about the wedding date (so they can reserve the time in their calendars in advance). 

You can personalize both your wedding website and your “Save Date” cards by including photos your relationship with your fiancé.

Consider including photos of how you met, your first date, your favorite places to go, and things you like to do together. You can also include your formal (or informal) engagement photos, too!

Your proposal could even be part of the engagement photo shoot!  Some couples stage a proposal with a photographer ready to capture the big moment. If you’ve got those photos, you can include them in your website or “Save the Date” cards, too.

4. Create a personalized guest book using photos of your friends and family.

You can create a beautiful and memorable guest book that includes photos of your guests! For more information on creating a photo guest book, check our upcoming post, “3 Steps to Creating a Meaningful Guestbook,” (which will be published soon, or get inspiration from our Picture This Organized Pinterest boards, specifically our “Wedding Guestbook” board.

5. Create an entertaining way for your guests to snap one-of-a-kind photos at the reception.

6 Creative Ways to Incorporate Photos Into Your Wedding

You can capture fun and memorable pictures of your guests by setting up a designated photo area or a photo booth at your reception.

I recently attended a wedding reception where they set up a camera in a little “photo area,” where guests could have fun taking impromptu pictures of one another. You can supply a regular camera at the photo station, or use a Polaroid camera (so your guests can watch as the photos develop instantly). Here’s an affordable little Polaroid you can buy for this purpose.

You can provide a giant frame with your name and your fiancé’s name written on it, to use as a backdrop – your guests can pose inside the frame and snap photos of each other. Or you can try one of these backdrop ideas. 

Supplying fun props like party hats, feather boas, and giant sunglasses will inspire your guests to get creative with their photos, too! Take a look at this fun example from Pinterest

You could rent a photo booth to accomplish the same thing — rental costs are usually between $350 and $900. When your friends and family take pictures in the photo booth, two photo strips are printed right after the picture is taken: one for the you (the bride and groom) and the other as a memento for the guests.

To find a photo booth rental company near you, check out the Photo Booth Rental Directory which includes questions you should ask before you rent from a booth company.

6. Share photos your guests take during the ceremony and reception.

These days, everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and many of your guests will be snapping photos during your special day.

It’s such fun to see photos of your magical day right away (without having to wait weeks or months to get pictures back from your professional photographer) and your friends and family will love sharing their informal pictures with you.  

Here are a few tips for sharing photos of your ceremony and reception:

  • Social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram are the quickest ways for guests to share photos. However, there are limitations for getting photos from these social sharing sites. Facebook typically compresses the heck out of photos, so if you try to download the pictures, the image quality will be very low. Instagram doesn’t allow you to save someone else’s photo directly from the app, so all you can do is view the photos from your guests’ Instagram profiles.
  • The best way for your guests to share photos with you (and the rest of the group) is by setting up an online group album that all your photo-taking friends can upload to. I recommend using Flickr or iCloud to do this. With Flickr, you can set up a wedding album and give your guests the log in code. Using iCloud, you can set up a Shared Album for folks to share photos with you. With both of these options, the photos will be high quality, so you can download the images and add them to your albums or frames later on.
  • If you want to share your professional photos, always, ALWAYS make sure you have permission from your photographer to do so. Most photographers will have a clause in their agreements that addresses this topic. Even when you have your professional photographer’s permission, be sure to give them a photo credit by adding a caption or other acknowledgement next to the photo. If you’ve paid your photographer to capture your big day, it’s a wonderful gesture to thank them by sharing their amazing work with your social media community — just make sure you ask before you share (or address this ahead of time, in your contract).

Photos Can Add Richness, Laughter and Light to Your Big Day

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of all the most important people in your lives, and adding photos to your day is a wonderful way to honor your ancestors, personalize your event, and gather memories that you and your new spouse will treasure for many years to come.

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for including photos in your big day. If you incorporated photos in your wedding in a unique way in your wedding (or if you’re planning on using some special photo-related ideas in your upcoming wedding) tell us about it in the comments below.

How Photos Help Us in Times of Grief and Loss

How Photos Can Help Us in Times of Grief and Loss

In May, we lost our family dog, Otto. His death was very sudden, and it has been a big loss for me, my husband, and our three kids.

Grief and Loss - Pet Dog

Otto was a huge presence in our lives. He was a typical goldendoodle – big, happy, and overly friendly in the most lovable way.

Otto was my husband Tom’s daily companion — his shadow who followed him throughout the house. He sensed Tom’s gentle personality, and Otto would often nudge his arm off the desk to get some extra attention while Tom was working.

To me, Otto was a gentle soul who came to comfort me when I was tired or anxious. He’d accompany me on long walks or runs, and was a calming companion and buddy.

Although my oldest son Ben was not living at home for most of Otto’s life, his visits were always greeted with the same enthusiastic greeting that Otto gave the rest of the family. When Ben would throw a lacrosse ball or a frisbee to him, Otto enjoyed the chase – yet he was completely uninterested in returning them!

Anytime my daughter Molly came home from college, Otto always slept near her. He would lay his head on her bed as a way of asking permission to jump up on the bed for some cuddle time.

Otto also helped my son Sam through some tough teenage years, when he was having a hard time in high school and was struggling with health problems. Otto kept Sam company during many sleepless nights.

Since Otto died, our photos of him have helped our whole family grieve. When we look at pictures of him, his joyful life and personality comes back to us. We can remember all the things we did together, we can recall wonderful happy memories, and we can tell stories and laugh as we remember Otto’s amusing antics.

I’m so glad we have a big collection of photos of Otto, so we can remember him as he was in the prime of his life – happy, attentive, and loving.

And as my family looked at old photos of Otto after he died, it got me thinking about the part photos play in our grieving process.

How Our Photos Help Us Grieve

When we lose important people in our lives, our photos can bring back memories of them, and help us remember everything that made them special and unique. They help us keep that person alive in our minds, through stories and memories — and that’s an important part of making sure our loved ones’ legacies live on.

When we lose people (and pets!) who are special to us, we often tend to dwell on how they died. If the person was sick for a long time with a terminal illness, the memories of the person’s health struggles often stay first and foremost in our minds when we think of that person. Or if we feel any guilt about the person’s passing, we often focus on that.

We can get a kind of tunnel vision for the end of a loved one’s life — which is a totally normal and common experience.

But this is where our photos can help. Photos bring our loved ones’ whole, complete lives back to us – not just their passing.

Our photos can remind us of:

  • The unique way they lived.
  • Their personalities, passions and hobbies.
  • How they impacted our lives, and why they were so important to us.
  • The memories (and moments) we most want to remember when we think of them

3 Ways Photos Can Help You After You’ve Experienced a Loss

1. Looking through photos after you’ve lost a friend or family member.
It can be healing and helpful to look at pictures of the loved one you’ve lost – whether it’s one day, one month, or one year after he or she has died. It’s healthy to hold on to old memories — you don’t need to cast them off in a forced effort to “move on.” Spend time going through old photo albums or image files, and reflect on the happy and memorable times you had with your loved one. Reminiscing can make you feel better when you are missing your loved one, and sharing stories and photos with your family and friends can help keep memories of your loved one alive. That sharing process can also help you work through your grief. Don’t forget to tell the funny stories, too – laughter can be healing!

2. Displaying your loved one’s photos.
Our clients often ask, “Is it okay for me to display photos of my deceased friends or family members?” People often shy away from putting photos of people who have died into their albums or frames, but sometimes it’s far more painful to rid your house of all photographic evidence of these loved ones. It can be healing and comforting to have photos of people you miss around your home. When you’re trying to choose photos to display, the key question you should ask yourself is, “Does this image bring to mind a happy or sweet memory, or does it just make me feel sad?” If the photo makes you feel happy or eases your grief, think about displaying it in one of your albums or frames. If not, it’s okay to keep the photo in storage for now.

3. Memorial tribute videos
A slideshow tribute video, made up of photos of a loved one, is a lovely and meaningful way to say goodbye to a friend or family member during a funeral or memorial service. As part of our services for Picture This Organized, we often work with clients to create tribute videos. If you’re creating your own tribute video, remember that the main purpose of your video is to illustrate how the person lived. Select photos that share the person’s hobbies, passions, and interests, and showcase the friends and family members who were most important to him or her. You don’t need to represent every person in the deceased person’s life (or every moment they lived) – you just need to show the highlights. We typically arrange the tribute photos chronologically, starting with baby photos and moving up through the present day. Need to know how long to make your tribute video? If the video will be shown during the service, then 6 to 8 minutes is plenty. If you will be showing the tribute in the background during a reception or other gathering, then you can make it longer.

The Healing Power of Photos

When we’ve experienced a significant loss, our photos are more than just snapshots of the past – they can be a powerful tool for helping us grieve, memorializing our family members and friends, and reconnecting us with meaningful moments.

Of course, you should always be gentle with yourself during a time of grief. Losing a loved one is incredibly hard, and the healing process can look very different for different people.

Do you have a story of how photos have helped you deal with a loss in your family or community? We would love to help you preserve and share those memories. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Vacation – Remembering the Stories

A vacation is like love – anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.” -Author Unknown

Going on a vacation is an opportunity to experience new places and bond with your fellow travelers. The stories that keep those memories alive risk getting lost without a system for saving them. It doesn’t have to be complicated.  All you need to remember is Who, What, Where and When. 

IMG_3110Document the details!
Most smartphones have a Notes feature where you can record each day’s events. I’m old fashioned and prefer to use a journal. Get creative! One year we didn’t have pen and paper handy so we used the closest option – a dinner napkin and a crayon!


Who is in your group?
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but write down the names of the travelers in your group.
You’ll be thanking yourself when it’s time to share your photos with everyone!


IMG_1285Where did you go? If this was a destination trip, then the location is easy to document. But if you make lots of stops along the way, you might need some help recalling each place. Enlist the help of your travel friends if you don’t have an itinerary.

When did you travel? Check the clock on your camera or smartphone so that the time is in sync with where you vacation – when you arrive.

Choir Mission Trip_09 06 06_0332

What did you do each day? Did you try something new to eat? Making note of the funny experiences and stories are high priority. Write them down as soon as you can. Anything that falls into the category of “We will laugh about this someday” is a great story to share.

English plaque of Mark 1: 9-11 (had these in every language throughout entrance)

What you photograph can help to jog your memory.  So take a picture of yourself next to a sign, the front of the restaurant or even the menu.

So for your next vacation, bring a journal, check your camera clock and enjoy each moment! After you get home, if you want some help organizing your photos, contact us, we can help you find your favorites!