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Displaying photos at your wedding is not only a fun way to honor the past while celebrating your future, but it also makes for easy and affordable wedding décor. Plus, there are so many ways to display photos at your wedding, from the rustic route, where you pin the pictures up on twine, to the vintage approach of framing relatives' black-and-white wedding photos. Or, do something totally different, like wearing photos inside a locket or pocket watch, topping your cake with photo cutouts, or sending guests home with photo booklets as favors. Get started with these sensational—and sentimental—photo display ideas, whether you want to bring family photographs to the forefront of your fête or showcase a selection of snapshots of you and your soon-to-be spouse, friends, or even pets.
Cohesive Photo Display
Sure, it does the job for multiplying memos, but the humble Xerox machine is also capable of producing standout displays—just check out this gallery wall, which makes pictures from different eras look cohesive (and evocative) by rendering them all in black and white. To create it, scan family pictures in a high resolution, scale them to your preferred size, and bring them to a copy center. For that "misty memories" effect, have them printed in black and white on ultrathin plotter paper—normally used for architectural drawings—so that the quality will be a little grainy. Forgo frames and simply secure the images to a wall with metallic tape.
The Details: metallic tape, $9.25/roll, DickBlick.com.
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Something Blue Photo Display
Given variations in developing techniques, pictures snapped in a number of different eras can be jarring to the eye when grouped together. The remedy? BeFunky.com's downloadable photo editor, which lets you apply a colored filter (we used cyanotype) to old images you've scanned onto your computer. Print and hang in spray-painted frames, and you've got a carefully curated photo wall guaranteed to turn heads.
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Welcome Station Photo Display
A welcome station reinforced this couple's train station theme with a ledger-style guest book, a set of clocks showing the time in the three cities they've both inhabited (Colombia, Savannah, and Brooklyn—all EST, but a cute touch nonetheless), and family photos on a wire postcard holder. Later at the reception, the couple displayed even more family captures, with sepia and black-and-white filters, on a wire rack.
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Bookshelf Photo Display
Prior to the big day, this couple asked their parents for old photos of the couples in each family. At the wedding, the pictures were framed and placed onto a bookshelf. "It was important for us to share where we came from and the love that's existed in our families for generations," said the bride. "It was also really touching to watch our guests, including our family members, look through them and enjoy the history and memories they brought."
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Heirloom Photo Boutonniere
Honor or pay respect to family members by donning their photographs in a vintage locket or pocket watch on the big day. Wear the photos out and proud, as the groom (pictured here) and bride both did at their wedding, or showcase them more subtly, like wrapping the locket around your bouquet.
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Instagram Photo Escort Card Display
A combination of Martha's Vineyard images and snapshots from the bride and groom's Instagram feeds were printed via Print Studio and hung with clothespins on twine at the reception venue. Later, they doubled as escort cards.
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When displaying wedding photographs, both at the venue and in your home after, think outside the frame. Many companies will print images on stretched canvases (these are from Duggal) rather than photo paper. Mix posed and candid shots in various sizes and arrange on the wall for a modern vignette.
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Real Photo Escort Cards
These unique escort cards were printed by Moo (a company that specializes in business cards). Since you can customize them by varying one side of each card and keeping the other constant, this couple opted to use photos taken on a visit to the wedding venue the previous year (some of the same pics were used on their wedding website, too). They were held upright with little wood stands made by slicing into pieces of downed branches, and displayed in a vintage silver-plated platter.
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Personalized Playing Cards
Your guests will flip for playing cards depicting you and your partner as tykes. Order from Shutterfly, then leave a deck at each table for an icebreaker that will keep everyone entertained.
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Polaroid Table Assignments
This bride when above and beyond in designing her escort cards. She spent weeks digging up old photos of each guest—ideally with either the bride or the groom in the picture. After scanning, the pictures were digitally altered to look like old Polaroids using Poladroid, which runs any picture through a virtual Polaroid camera and "develops" the image to look like an actual Polaroid photo. Printed onto midweight card stock and labeled with table assignments, they were the same size as actual Polaroid prints. Mini hangers with clips from Etsy were used to display the escort cards along a clothesline that ran across the restaurant.
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For her bridal shower, the bride's sisters gathered a collection of photos of the bride and groom that were displayed for the day on a rented window frame.
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To honor family members who couldn't be at the wedding, this couple set out photos of their loved ones, adding flags to each noting who was shown in the picture. A custom pennant with the pair's names on it (made by Melting Plastic) anchored the display (and now hangs over the newlyweds' bed).
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Photo Banner Display
In the months before the wedding, the bride gathered photos of all of her and her now-husband's relatives on their wedding day and created a huge banner to hang near the bar at the reception. A small box on the corner of each image indicated the relation to the couple (such as cousins, parents, etc.) and was color-coded to note if they were on the bride's side or the groom's. Below the pictures, the wedding date and year were listed.
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Photo Cake Toppers
Cute, custom cutouts made from this couple's engagement photos topped their six wedding cakes—each one a different flavor.
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Accordion Photo Favors
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DIY Picture Frames
The bride and her mother-in-law arranged photos in hand-painted yellow and gray frames and set out yellow and white flowers in vintage vases to keep with the wedding's color scheme.
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Black and White Photo Display
Photo displays don't have to be complicated. This couple displayed black-and-white photos taken throughout their relationship among votive candles, small flower arrangements, and oversize letters from the bride and groom's first names.
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The bride hung family photos in vintage frames she had collected from thrift stores and yard sales on the wall of their reception space.
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This is one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that ideas: hang pictures on an old oak tree by the reception area to create a literal family tree.
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Programs and Photos
A natural place to display photos of you and your groom? On the same table that holds your ceremony programs.
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Vintage Photo Gallery
This couple used an open dresser to show off family wedding portraits. The frames were found at a local flea market and in the bride's grandparents' attic.
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Using an instant photo printer, this couple had guests take photos throughout the ceremony and reception and then clipped them to twine strung around a tree.
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Family Wedding Photos
Photos from past family weddings were displayed during the cocktail hour at this beach wedding.
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Hanging décor is so in. Why not hang photos of you and your groom's family on a clothesline?
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The bride gifted her sister and matron of honor this charm bracelet featuring photos of her wedding day, her kids, and of course photos of the two sisters together.
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Photos of the newlyweds throughout the years decorated the area behind the dessert table to ensure everyone would see them.
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Rustic Display of Photos
This couple hung photos on clothespins on the wall of the barn they used as their reception space.
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Photos of Friends and Family
For their New Year's Day wedding, this bride decided to put a twist on the traditional photo display, by going online and finding wedding photos of all of the guests in attendance, then displaying them in plexiglass frames.
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Hanging Family Photos With Captions
A photo display of the newlyweds' parents' and grandparents' weddings, and snaps of themselves in their younger years, complete with captions, were hung from twine using binder clips at this beach wedding in the Maldives.