State-of-the-art technologies like Snapchat geofilters, drones, and projectors have taken the weddings world by storm, and they're only expected to become even more popular in 2018. That last one might come as a surprise—the word "projector" usually brings to mind taking notes in a classroom or watching a film unfold on the big screen. However, wedding vendors are utilizing this decades-old device in groundbreaking new ways.
We got the scoop on creative ideas for bringing your big-day vision to life with a projector. Whether you go all-out with a customizable fantasy venue setting or use it to broadcast your love story, the following ideas will leave guests in awe.
The biggest development is projection mapping, which has early roots inside Disneyland and General Electric. High-resolution imagery and videos are seamlessly projected onto the walls and ceiling of virtually any event space, transforming it into an entirely different and unique environment (no 3-D glasses necessary). You can transport guests to any city or landscape in the world without ever leaving the room.
"Projection mapping provides a visual journey that no static wedding décor could ever achieve," says Ariel Glassman from The Temple House, an award-winning venue located in Miami Beach that specializes in this technology. She recommends starting the evening without it so that guests can enjoy the natural architecture of the space. For maximum impact, time the projection mapping with a pivotal moment in your wedding (e.g. right before you walk down the aisle or during the first dance).
Here are a few different examples of creating an immersive environment through video:
1. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on flowers that will get thrown away the next day, you can achieve a similar effect for less by projecting floral décor onto the wall. This wedding at The Temple House featured a stunning forest scene for the ceremony. As the bride walked down the aisle, rose petals appeared to "fall" from the sky, thanks to the magic of motion graphics.
After the flip of the room for the reception, this couple chose to continue some gorgeous floral scenes before the dancing really got started, and then the visuals became more abstract and fun.
2. This bride used Monet paintings as the inspiration behind her reception décor at the Waldorf Astoria New York. "Even on the stillest of days, there is motion and life all around us," says Bentley Meeker from Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging, Inc. "We created a magical environment by having the willows and water lilies move very, very slowly to create the sensation of a light afternoon breeze."
3. "If you're hosting your cocktail hour and reception in the same room, you can incorporate video mapping so that the surrounding scenery and mood transforms as you make your way from one part of the celebration to another," says Kevin Dennis from Fantasy Sound Event Services. For example, this wedding planned by Sandy Espinosa from Twenty7 Events at The Temple House transitioned from a gold textured background for dinner to a glistening starry curtain for the mother-son dance.
Accent Projection Mapping
Draw attention to specific wedding details such as your plates, dress, cake, or more using accent projection mapping, where content for specific objects plays from low-profile projectors. Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons offers cakes utilizing this technology so that couples can use their confection to tell an animated story, serving as a fantastic focal point for the reception.
4. Choose from an extensive library of classic Disney films for your cake animation.
5. Couples also have the option of creating a custom projection using their own personal images or videos. For example, this couple's wedding inspiration was "best day ever," a quote from the movie Tangled. They not only incorporated the phrase on their cake, but also on their aisle runner, reception décor, dance floor, and as a custom Snapchat filter.
6. Draw attention to the highlights of your wedding celebration with an interactive aisle or audio-reactive programming that responds to vows. "During the ceremony pictured below, motion sensor cameras were trained to the aisle and programmed to trail flowers at the bride's feet, adding a sense of mystery and wonder," says Ira Levy from Levy NYC Design & Production. "Pair interactive projection seamlessly with the environment of the wedding using graceful, subtle movements. Slow motion is key to not distracting from event programming and design," he adds.
7. Make a dazzling statement as guests enter the reception by projecting an interactive seating chart or guest book. "Guests can touch their names, and it shows them where to sit on a decorative floor plan. You could even take it one step further so that it redirects them to a digital guest book to sign or allows them to record a quick video message," says DJ Jacob from DJ Jacob Towe.
More Crowd-Pleasing Projector Ideas
8. Play a same-day slideshow or video depicting the major highlights leading up to the first dance. "Emotion will resonate throughout the room because the bride and groom are seeing the first professional images or video footage of themselves on their big day. Often, guests' jaws will drop and they wonder how the shooter managed to load up these images so quickly," says Jimmy Chan from Pixelicious Wedding Photography. Unlike a collage of family photos, the quality of the content is much higher, and guests get to watch something new and unexpected.
You can coordinate with your DJ/videographer to incorporate your favorite song.
9. "We've heard from many filmmakers that love story videos are growing in popularity. They include the couple speaking directly to the camera about their relationship, including how they met, fell in love, and got engaged," says Rachel Jo Silver from lovestoriestv.com. Talk to your videographer about the possibility of filming this type of video in the months leading up to your wedding, in addition to the traditional documentation of your wedding day. Check out Alyssa + Ethan's love story video by Capstone Films on lovestoriestv.com, the place to watch and share wedding videos.
Or, project a classic black and white movie featuring your favorite fictional love story (think Casablanca or Roman Holiday) on a large white wall to immerse your guests in the mood.
10. Get your guests involved! "Create an Instagram hashtag for the wedding and use that to collect photos to be displayed on the projector," says Claire Kiamie from One Fine Day Event. Other fun alternatives include projecting footage from a GoPro that's passed around throughout the festivities or marriage advice from guests that's collected either before the event or during it. If you plan on having a photo booth, you could also connect the projector to it so that all of the partygoers can see the snapshots right away.