How to Make a Photo Album for an Intimate Wedding

A small wedding still deserves a beautiful album.

couple kissing

Photo by Harwell Photography

Weddings set for 2020 may not have gone as planned, and the trend is continuing into 2021. But as we’ve learned over the past year, nothing can stop love. Couples have pivoted to everything from Zoom weddings and at-home ceremonies to elopements, all while keeping their eye on the prize—to marry the love of their life.

Meet the Expert

Lyndee James is the Senior Program Manager for Design Services at Artifact Uprising, a custom photo book and gifts service dedicated to high-quality, beautifully designed wedding albums.

As weddings have looked a bit different, and couples have gotten incredibly creative, capturing the big day is still top of mind. Having photos to look back on continues to be as important as ever—there’s just a few additional considerations involved.

Curious how couples are navigating wedding photography and photo albums during the pandemic? Read on for tips and tricks on how to capture the special moments of your day and the best ways to feature those memories in a stunning wedding album to cherish for years to come.

Lean Into Meaningful Moments

The shot list for a traditional wedding typically focuses on major moments. Everything from getting ready, the first look, the ceremony, and the reception are captured. But often, it’s from a bird’s eye view to tell the wedding’s story as a whole. Smaller weddings with varying structures, especially elopements or Zoom weddings, may not have all of the same traditional moments to capture, and that’s okay!

Talk to your photographer about focusing on intimate parts of the day, such as sharing a day-of gift with your partner or reading a note from your parents, so you can include those meaningful moments in your wedding album.

Focus on the Small Details

As with meaningful moments, there may be the opportunity to really focus on the smaller details that you’ve planned to make your big day special. “With smaller weddings, you have more opportunity and time to catch some of the smaller, more intimate moments,” says Lyndee James, senior program manager for design services at Artifact Uprising. “When it comes time to build your wedding album, you don’t have to fit in as many traditional moments, giving you more room to feature panoramic spreads or beautiful detail shots that really set the scene for your wedding.”

Your alternatively planned wedding may be incredibly simple, but there’s no reason not to capture the small things you’ve incorporated to truly make it special.

Include Scene-Setting Shots

Eloping to a dreamy destination? Even if it’s just the two of you, home in on that momentous location. After all, you chose it for a reason. Capture plenty of photos of the landscape and views, and use those beautiful photos to speak for themselves and fill in the gaps while putting together a wedding album.

Don’t Skip the Getting Ready Photos

While a traditional wedding may have a large bridal party and plenty of space to get ready in a bridal room, pivoting to an at-home ceremony or an elopement might not offer quite the same option. But don’t forgo this moment. Getting ready to walk down the aisle on your wedding day is an occasion that’s as special as can be, and it should still be captured and commemorated no matter how simple or small.

If you’re getting ready on your own, or with a sibling or parent, ask your photographer to focus on intricate details and moments. Detailed photos of your jewelry, makeup, shoes, and veil can make beautiful additions to a wedding album.

To Include: Masks or No Masks?

As you think about photos for your wedding and the ways to display them in an album, you may be considering whether to ditch all of the photos with people wearing masks. But don’t be too quick to toss those out.

“We say, ‘why not?’” says James. “Albums are meant to be passed down and shared, and masks, while cumbersome and not ‘picture perfect’, are an authentic marker of the times. Having these very real moments documented will better tell your story and will prove that love still reigned even during a global pandemic.”

Don’t Forget Zoom Guests

Think that a wedding album doesn’t make much sense for a Zoom wedding? Think again. There are plenty of creative ways to still commemorate your guests’ attendance, even if it’s from their screen at home.

James suggests creating a shared album on a platform such as Google Photos for photo sharing and sending the link to your guests prior to the ceremony. “Ask them to get dressed up in cocktail attire and take a selfie to contribute to the album’s guest page,” says James. “Save some room in your album for screenshots of your Zoom guests as well. While they’re not always perfect photos, you’ll be happy you have a record of everyone that attended your virtual ceremony.”

Be sure to delegate tasks such as capturing Zoom memories to a trusted
friend or family member or your planner so you’re not having to worry about
taking a screenshot mid-ceremony.

Build screenshots and guest photos into your wedding album, paired with professional photos, or separate the two concepts into one professional album and another including the more casual photos such as screenshots. Either way you choose to display them, you’ll still want to have these memories to flip through as you look back on your big day.

Go Beyond Photos

You may not end your big day with a ton of photos, especially if it’s a smaller gathering. And that’s totally okay. There are plenty of other items that can be incorporated into an album that will tell the story of your wedding day.

“With fewer traditional sections in your album, you have more room to include other visuals that can help preserve the details of your day,” says James. “We love when customers scan in handwritten wedding vows and speeches or the lyrics to their first dance song. We even had one virtual wedding customer include a screenshot of their Spotify playlist from their very short and sweet virtual reception.”

Incorporate Advice

To fill the final pages of your wedding album, why not add in handwritten mementos? Asking your guests to submit marriage advice or well-wishes on a handwritten note is a beautiful way to celebrate your wedding day. Then, those notes can be scanned and preserved in your book to look back on and cherish for years to come.

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