It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. As a brand new bride, I spent the past year and a half planning my wedding and agonizing over every little detail. I was a budget bride dealing with the ideas, opinions and advice of a not-so-budget peanut gallery. It wasn’t until a few months before my wedding that I decided to stop letting all of the traditional ideas discourage my creativity and my fear of all things generic. So I decided to come up with aspects of the wedding where my husband and I could save money by doing things ourselves.
One incredible way that I found to save money was by making our own photobooth. Prices vary for professional photobooths depending on your location, but near Boston where I got married, prices were upward of $700 for four or five hours. By making our own, we saved about $650, after materials. If you want a photobooth at your wedding, but don’t think you have room in your budget, or perhaps you just want to add your own personal touch to your wedding, here are 6 easy steps you can follow to make it happen:
1) Decide on a vision.
It might seem a little cliché and overkill, but a photobooth adds a lot of character to a wedding. It acts as the meeting spot for guests; a place where guests go to let loose and pretend they’re someone else, even if only for the blink of an eye (or the flash of a camera). Decide what kind of photobooth you want. Do you want a standard square frame or would you rather one that is more rectangular? Do you want it to be flat-edged or have beveled edges? Or maybe, like I did, you want it to look like the frame of a Polaroid picture? This is your chance to make your wedding stand out!
2) Gather and buy your supplies.
Materials you will need:
- Skinny wooden dowels
- A few pieces of sturdy felt in any color
- Piece of plywood large enough to fit your frame
- Glue for glue gun
- Old tablecloth or bed sheet
- Spray paint
- Acrylic paint and small paintbrush
Tools you will need:
- Glue gun
- Skill saw
3) Make the frame for the photobooth.
With your supplies in hand, you are finally ready to make your vision a reality. Take a pencil and the straight-edge and draw the frame out on the plywood, so you have a line to follow when making plunge cuts with the skill saw (How To Make a Plunge Cut). Once you’re happy with it, cut the frame out (wearing your safety glasses of course). Sand down the edges to make them smooth and spray paint the entire frame. You will probably have to do a couple of coats to make it look just right. Once the frame is dry, take a small paintbrush and some paint (I used acrylic because I had it on hand, but most paints would do the trick) and write whatever you want on the frame. You could paint your names, wedding date or a meaningful love quote. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative with it!
4) Make the props.
When the frame is completed, you can begin to make the props for the photobooth. Decide what shapes you want to use. I chose mustaches, beards and lips. Fun, right? Cut the shapes out of the felt. Use the wooden dowels as handles for the props and glue the felt shapes onto them. There you have it, easy yet stylish props! Often times even dollar stores carry fun masks and hats, to add some variety.
5) Be sure to have a sign with directions for guests.
I found this to be super important. I decided to create a wedding hashtag on Instagram for my wedding. This allowed guests to take pictures at the photobooth with their own phone cameras and, using our unique wedding hashtag on Instagram, tag them online so that my guests and I are able to see their pictures in one location. This works in other areas of the wedding, too, not just the photobooth. It is worth noting that not everyone uses Instagram, but it is fun to see the pictures from the people that do! Once you decide on your hashtag, or another way to link guest pictures, make sure you have some signs to put out to let guests know how to share their pictures.
6) Set everything up and enjoy.
Finally, the photobooth is ready to be put together! Use the rope to tie the frame up to the ceiling, or whatever structure is available, and make sure that it’s secure. Next is the backdrop. Use an old tablecloth or bed sheet and hang it up behind the frame, leaving enough room for a group of people to stand behind the frame, but in front of the backdrop, for pictures. Set up a table for the props, put your signs up and take a couple of test shots to make sure that the lighting is good. Adjust if needed. Now you and your guests are finally ready to enjoy your very own DIY wedding photobooth!