By Anna Sachse
8:42 AM EST, January 25, 2013
If you've been to a wedding in the last few years, you know that including some variation of a photo booth has become almost as ubiquitous as having flowers and the cake. This trend makes sense — the booth adds to the entertainment, serves as an icebreaker and often leads to the most natural and fun photos of the night.
Prop It Up
While goofy hats, wigs and mustaches-on-sticks are cute, it's even better if the props reflect something about the couple and/or the location of the wedding, says Brooke Sheldon, owner of Lilybrooke Events in Kennebunkport, Maine. For example, if you are big tennis players, then have racquets, balls, visors and old-fashioned sports costumes; if you love country music, provide an assortment of cowboy hats, western garb, guitars or banjos and hobbyhorses; or if you're hosting a seaside celebration, feature towels, sunglasses, beach balls, parasols and stuffed sharks. "All kinds of props become funnier as the night goes on and your guests get creative," Sheldon says.
Go Back & Foreground
Another way to make your booth feel personal is to set the stage, says Jennifer Cody, co-founder of Egomedia Photography in Washington, DC. "I had a client whose dad does work on museum exhibits — he created three custom backdrops that were switched out throughout the night to reflect different portions of the evening. They were all themed for the couple's love of the Chesapeake Bay."
Love sci-fi? Go for a backdrop of the moon. Known for your silliness? Go for a '70s action film scene.
You can also create a customized foreground to frame the subject, such as a fairy-tale window or vintage picture frames.
Guests will enjoy your booth more (and be more likely to use it) if the pictures are printed instantly, Sheldon says. "It's great to have two copies so that guests can keep one as a favor, and then paste the other in a photo/guest book with a message." If your photographer doesn't have that capability, Cody advises sending a copy to guests later with a thank you card. You might also be able to live-stream photos on a large screen in the room.
Make It Work
It doesn't matter how amazing your booth is if no one uses it. The key is "location, location, location," Cody says. "Placing it near the dance floor or the bar where guests circulate all night will attract much more attention." Sheldon also recommends setting up a small table for cocktail glasses, purses, etc.
Ask a few bridesmaids or friends to get the party started by taking a few pre-planned group photos, suggests Sheldon. Or just get in there yourself, says Cody. You're obviously the star attraction, so guests will likely gravitate wherever you go.
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