We spend so much time these days trying to make our weddings feel more personal. The quirky welcome sign. The hand-lettered escort cards. The gold foil napkins with your wedding hashtag on them. And of course, every Pinterest project you have pinned to your decor board. It’s frankly unrealistic, and can consume hours and sanity you just don’t… have.
But sometimes I think we forget that the most personal aspect of a wedding is… well… you. There’s nothing more meaningful to your wedding than you and your partner, your history together, and all the tiny moments of your relationship that have accumulated to become your wedding. Which is why one of my favorite (and affordable) personalization hacks is using photos that tell the story of your relationship as wedding decor. As a guest (and especially if I only know one half of the couple) I love an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and get nostalgic while sipping on champagne and basking in the post-reception glow. It makes a great ice breaker, requires zero crafting skills, and minimal time. So today we’re partnering up with the indie printing company Social Print Studio to share some of our favorite ways to do just that. (Plus, they’re offering APW readers 20% off a purchase of $100 or more with code APRACTICALWEDDING through the end of September!)
Digital Prints, But Make it Cool
You might recognize Social Print Studio as the people behind of one of our favorite print products of all time—the giant photo booth strip (which we’ve featured in a bunch of roundups over the year, and I would personally use as a wedding backdrop in a heartbeat.) Social Print Studio combines really high quality keepsakes like photo albums and prints with quirky products like tiny photo books and giant photo strips. Which means that if you’re looking for a creative way to incorporate photos into your wedding (and beyond), then Social Print Studio has ways to do it that you haven’t even thought of yet (yes, even if you’ve looked at a hundred different photo printing sites already.) And as an added bonus, they are a small woman-run team, which gets them extra points in our book.
So to get you inspired for your own wedding, here are seven ways to use photos in your wedding that will make your guests all kinds of weepy:
Creative ways to use photos before, during and after your wedding
Photo Strips as Place Cards: I’m a sucker for an old school photo booth, but actual photo booth prints can get expensive fast. I wasn’t sure how this faux version from Social Print Studio was going to look, but I ordered them for our anniversary party, as a way to display our ten-years-old wedding photos, and they were as close to the real thing as you can imagine. The quality was so, so impressive. Making them was super easy. You just upload your photos, drag and drop, duplicate to as many photos strips as you want, and then boom, order. For sentimental reasons. ($10 for 9.)
Mini Prints as Escort Cards: This one is actually about your guests. I love the idea of making a mini yearbook out of your seating chart or escort cards and using it as an ice breaker while guests try to find their image (bonus points if the photos are funny or nostalgic). Just snag some pictures of your attendees (pro tip: Facebook and Instagram are good for this), and print them out on Social Print Studio’s mini prints, which are like trading cards but of your friends instead of athletes or Pokemon. ($15 for 48)
Giant Photo Strips as Decor: At the last minute, I decided we really should display our wedding photos at this ten year anniversary party thing. Ideally, like, big. But I didn’t have time or money for some complex display or big frames. I ordered Social Print Studio’s giant photo booth strips and they were perfect. You could easily use these to show off the history of your relationship together, or your engagement photos, or family wedding photos. I also want to do large black and white strips of my kids… I just need some extra wall space. ($20 for 2)
Tiny Photo Albums as Favors: Ok, so favors are obviously totally optional. But these tiny books are just so cute (and so teeny tiny). The print quality is remarkably good for how small they are (less than two inches!). You can customize your tiny books so that each one is different or batch print them all the same, so they would make a really cool (and admittedly totally absurd, but in a good way) addition to your wedding party gifts or even a small wedding. Also, perhaps I’ll make these for my kids’ dolls. Totally normal, right? ($18 for 3)
Mini Stickers For… Everything: What spices up an envelope better than a wax seal? Your face. What takes a basic favor box and makes it special? Your face. What is your wedding party secretly hoping arrives along with your mailed correspondence? Your face. These mini stickers (also available in regular sticker size) are a quick and easy way to add some fun to your wedding accouterments without adding a full scale DIY project to your to-do list. ($18 for two books)
PostCards as Guest Book: There’s no shortage of guest book ideas floating around the internet, but when it came down to it I didn’t have time for… any of them. So for our anniversary party I quickly printed a bunch of Social Print Studio postcards. A lot of people wrote us sweet notes, but my MIL kicked it up a notch, and took hers home and mailed it back to us. ($14 for 12)
Metal Print as Guest Book: The engagement photo as guest book is not exactly a new idea, but taking it out of the cheesy 90’s giant matte space can be tricky. And these metal prints are a cool alternative to the traditional framed print. They’re exactly what they sound like: your photo printed on a metal sheet, delivered ready to hang. You can write directly on the print with Sharpie (though if you’d rather keep those messages private, the benefit of a metal print is that you can also write directly on the back.) They’re so cool that we plan on ordering a bunch of these for our new office space, so if you’re looking for a larger scale way to print your wedding photos, look no further. Also: consider finding a cool image on a sharing site like Unsplash and then turning your guest book into a piece of wall art. ($12 – $260, depending on size)
For Before and AFter the Wedding
Double Sided Squares for Save-the-Dates: While I’m here for showing off photos of you and your partner at your wedding, there are always ways to incorporate pictures before and after your wedding too. (I mean, you got that free engagement session, you might as well use it, right?) And for that, Social Print Studio also has you covered. In addition to their postcards and film strips, they’ve got a whole bunch of other card printing options—like these double sided square cards—perfect for a low key save the date. ($16 for 24)
Greeting Cards for All Your Snail Mail: Or if you want something you can write inside or on the back of (say, for thank-you cards) Social Print Studio also has a bunch of greeting card options including folded cards and flat cards. And if you download the Social Print Studio’s card app (Greetings) you can even design something custom like the save-the-date above. (Starting at $5)
Layflat Albums That You Won’t Procrastinate On: When it comes time to print out your actual wedding photos, Social Print Studio’s layflat albums start at the super affordable $65, and the quality is shockingly good for the price (honestly, we might have to add them to our album review lineup, they were that good). And for being so affordable, you still get all the fun add-ons like foil stamping, custom dust jackets, and eleven different linen hardcover selections to choose from. (Starting at $65)
So if you’re a little bit sentimental, and also having a small meltdown over what to do with your day-of decor, look at what you already have in front of you: a whole history with your partner that (hopefully) exists in visual form.
This post was sponsored by Social Print Studio. Social Print Studio is a small woman-run team based out of San Francisco that makes high quality, affordable, stylish print products (including our longtime fave, the giant photo strip.) Click here to explore all of Social Print Studio’s wedding decor, paper goods, and photo albums and more. They have an app too, called Print Studio.