(Yes, this is what your coordinators look like after about 12 hours on site :-)! Image courtesy Evrim Icoz Photography)
The wedding photobooth used to be a fun novelty; now it seems like a wedding must-have, along with regular photography and mini-desserts. So common now, that we're often asked,
"What can I add to my wedding to entertain guests along with, or instead of, a photobooth?"
We are definitely still big fans of the photobooth because not only is it amusing, it serves as a different kind of wedding documentation and also as a party favor. But here are a few ideas if you want to supplement the wedding day with entertainment or amusements that are a little different and sure to be remembered:
GIFbooth: Do you love GIFs on tumblr? Or the fancy cinemagraphs that get passed around every Fashion Week? Animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Files) are made using a special videocamera setup that translates the captured video or still frames into a moving photo. These can be downloaded from a wedding website after the wedding, and make a fun momento, similar to a flipbook. Among others, GIFFF Booth and Limelight Photo can provide these services.
In the middle of #Snowlandia2014, why am I sitting inside thinking about weddng sparklers? Maybe because I am obsessed with making sure people don't make mistakes with their wedding, and sparklers are one place where it's really easy to screw up something that seems simple. Here are a few tips:
1. Order your sparklers really early. First, so you can get the benefits of super-low bulk pricing from the large favor sellers. Second, because in most places, sparklers are considered to be a type of firework, and thus cannot be shipped express air. So many people wait until the last minute/last couple of weeks before the wedding and then realize that they can't get the sparklers on time!
2. (Or maybe, #zero?) Check with your venue to make sure they will allow you to use sparklers on site! Just because you've seen a bunch of great pictures of people using wedding sparklers on Pinterest, doesn't mean your venue allows it. Also be prepared that, especially in the Gorge or Oregon's forested areas, where it can be very windy, a site that allows sparklers normally can all of a sudden ban them if there is a general burn ban in the area due to dry and windy weather.
3. Don't hand them out too early. Guests will get into them and start lighting them up on the dance floor or wherever, and all of a sudden, there aren't any left for the special getaway picture you were planning. Designate someone to pull them out of their safe storage place at the end of the night and hand them out as guests are leaving.
4. Organize your peeps. Those getaway pictures don't just happen. Guests are usually occupied getting one last drink at the bar or hanging out near the dance floor — they have no idea that you want them to gather out at the front of the venue to pose for a complicated photo composition. Again, designate your wedding coordinator or trusted friend who will have their wits about them at the end of the night, to round up guests a few minutes before you and your new spouse exit the venue. Or get the DJ/emcee to make an announcement.
5. Again, those getaway picture don't just happen!Make sure your photographer is well versed in taking nighttime photos with sparklers. Once more, your coordinator is key in making sure that the schedule will accommodate your photographer's package (you don't want them leaving before the getaway, right?).
6. Timing is everything. By the time the last guest lined up gets their sparkler lit, the first guest's sparkler could go out. That's why I recommend using 28" to 36" long sparklers – the really long kind – so they last a long time. As an alternative, you could give out two of the shorter (more commonly found) 12" sparklers per person so when their first one goes out they have a backup. It goes without saying that you should have plenty of lighters, matches, or a central large sparkler for everyone to light off of. And of course, pails of sand or water for guests to put them out.
I hope you found these tips helpful! In Portland, here are a couple of great Portland-local places where you can order your sparklers:
Say what you will about corporate event planning, but I am always amazed at how often corporate events stay one step ahead of wedding trends. Often, something I see at a corporate event I know will translate perfectly for a social one; and before long I see that trend start appearing at weddings.
The art wall is one of these trends. The party host puts up a large backdrop containing drawn frames, individual watercolor sheets, or even Lego(TM) baseplates and allows each guest to customize an area of the wall. Each guest installs their art piece in the display which then becomes a grand version of a guest book as well as part of the cocktail hour entertainment and a conversation piece.
Here, website design company Virb invited guests to draw what they loved, and to tag their photo on instagram in order to enter a contest. This same multi-frame backdrop could easily be used for individual wedding guest drawings or guest book entries.
At the Lego Kids' Fest in Portland, individual 5" x 5" base plates/"tiles" were provided with a wide selection of Lego shapes and colors. After each guest completed a tile, they were invited to add their tile to the larger display.
Are you incorporating any interactive components into your guests' experience? Or did you come up with a novel idea for cocktail hour entertainment? Please share in the comments!
Today's reblog comes from Bridal Guide Magazine. I happened across this blog post as I was working with a couple who, when asked about any themes that appealed to them for planning their Portland wedding, simply said they wanted a fun reception!
We talked about lawn games, photobooths, and the usual suspects, but I found this article from Bridal Guide to be helpful in reminding us to dig deeper into our own experiences and favorite things to find those activities that guests are going to make the reception really fun and not stuffy or overly formal.
More ideas: wedding Mad Libs, flip books, crafting tables, board games at cocktail hour, and just generally setting up the layout of the space to include comfort both guests who want to dance and imbibe and also those who want to have cozy conversations. Also important: working out a timeline of events that minimizes guests waiting for the bride and groom to arrive; and also keeps the flow of events moving along.