When you’re planning a wedding, you want to ensure that your wedding guests have the night of their lives, which is why you’re spending all those tireless nights and weekends planning away to curate the perfect celebration. But after you’ve secured all of the arrangements for the food, the DJ, the drinks, and the cake, you should start to think about ways to keep your guests entertained and having fun throughout the evening.
One really fun and on-trend way to keep them entertained is by renting the 21st century version of the photo booth called a Selfie Station.
“A Selfie Station is a photo booth without walls in essence. What it allows is for couples to have more of a visible area for their guests to take pictures of themselves,” says Frank DiCianni, owner of the award-winning Celebrations Wedding Venue in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
A Selfie Station, as opposed to a photo booth, is front and center at your reception venue and is a great way for guests who aren’t into dancing to get up, mingle, and document the evening. Couples can personalize the background of all the photos with their last name, a quote, a hashtag, or any other creative way to commemorate the event.
Depending on the package you create, a Selfie Station can be endlessly customizable. Similar to a photo booth setup, couples can choose from a variety of props and signs for their guests to take pictures with such as sombreros, sunglasses, fedoras, or even a cutout of the bride or groom if they’re too busy talking with other guests to take a photo.
In addition to printing the photos afterwards, the Selfie Station also has the capability to text, e-mail, and share the photos on a guest’s social media platforms. Guests also have the ability to record a short message to the happy couple, which would be a great way to preserve the memory of the day. Also, unlike many traditional photo booths, a Selfie Station comes with an attendant who is there to capture the pictures and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
“I’ve been in the wedding industry and owned a venue for the past 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of trends, but one thing that can happen at a wedding that has almost always happened throughout the years is that there can be a time in the wedding reception where some guests may not want to dance. They may not like the song. This gives them something to go out and do and they’re still part of the wedding. Downtime at a wedding reception is a great thing to occupy that time,” says DiCianni.
Selfie Stations are rented out from different companies, so brides and grooms need to make sure that they ask what’s included in the price and if there will be extra charges for add-ons or if they will need to provide anything themselves, such as a printer or props.
Though there’s endless combinations of creating your perfect Selfie Station package, it’s sure to be a hit with your guests.
“The exposure of the fun guests are having is broadcasted throughout the entire wedding reception. It shows activity, which is interesting and which generates more activity,” says DiCianni.
Create Your Own Selfie Station
Those who are trying to stick to a tight budget but who still want the fun of an open-air photo booth could easily DIY one using just a few supplies. All you’ll need to create your DIY photo booth is a backdrop, some props, great lighting, and a camera to capture all the fun.
The backdrop can be as simple or as creative as you want to get. The easiest thing to do would be to get a large printed piece of fabric to hang up in your venue—or if your location has a spot that lends itself to a great backdrop (like an exposed brick wall), you could also use that. Hang up a banner with a wedding hashtag, the bride and groom’s last name, or decorate the backdrop with gold streamers or faux floral garlands hanging down to create a glamorous vibe.
Consult your venue manager for solutions on how to hang this backdrop. Odds are, the rules that apply to other hanging decor will also apply here, but check with them just in case. If they don’t allow hanging decorations, or you just can’t find a good location, consider building a cheap frame from PVC pipe to drape it over.
When it comes to the props, start searching in thrift stores for hats, glasses, sunglasses, and inexpensive costume jewelry. Does your wedding have a theme like The Great Gatsby, a masquerade, or even Harry Potter? Themed props in your DIY photo booth are a great way to tie all of the décor together. Buy a few wands, a Quidditch broom, and a Gryffindor scarf for a Harry Potter wedding or have a few martini glasses and flapper accessories for a Roaring 20s affair. The options are really endless and it’s a great opportunity to get creative.
For lighting, see if you know anyone who might do photography as a hobby for a basic light kit. Have them help you set them up properly and the pictures from your booth will turn out amazing! If you’re not so lucky with your friends’ hobbies, you can consider renting a kit or just doing a DIY solution with a couple floor lamps and extension cords. Perform some tests during set-up to make sure the lamps are positioned in the best way possible.
The last thing that you’ll need of course is a camera to take the pictures of your guests. You could ask your photographer if they could hire an assistant with an extra camera for your DIY photo booth or you could simply prop a point and shoot camera up on a tripod. Additionally, just have your guests snap a photo with their cell phones and a selfie stick so they can have the photos instantaneously to share on Facebook and Instagram or via text.