Slideshows can put a personal stamp on a wedding

November 7, 2011

By AMY LORENTZEN
For The Associated Press
Jennifer Cocchiara wants guests at her wedding next November to understand how she and her fiance fell in love, so she plans to present a slideshow with photos of them growing up and growing together as a couple.
It also will include shots of the people who are important to the couple — the people who will be viewing the photos.
“We want it to be more interactive for the guests and interactive for all of us — it’s a group celebration,” said Cocchiara, of Ewing, N.J.
Slideshows have become common at weddings. Experts say they must be done properly to succeed, but are generally a fun and simple way to personalize the day and help guests get to know the couple better.
“It’s an extra way to remind you, as a guest, where you are and how special it is you are there,” said Anja Winikka, editor of TheKnot.com, a wedding planning Web site.
A slideshow can be included in any part of the wedding weekend — rehearsal dinner, cocktail hour, post-wedding brunch or reception, she said. If a couple is uncomfortable stopping the festivities to show the slideshow, it can be played in the background, on a loop, for guests to view at their leisure. Some couples run a slideshow on digital photo frames near the guest book or even in the restroom area.
Winikka cautions that slideshows should be “crafted in a meaningful manner.” They should be organized chronologically or by theme, and should feature photos that don’t embarrass anyone and are appropriate for guests young and old. The equipment used to display them should be tested beforehand to avoid any glitches.
And, Winikka agrees, there should be photos of more people than just the bride and groom.
“It’s great to see pictures of the two of you, but (guests) really are there to enjoy themselves with your friends and family, not just the two of you,” she said.
Photo slideshows can be created through various Web sites, for free or a small fee, and on common computer software such as Microsoft PowerPoint. You can rent a projector or audio visual equipment to show it.
Couples may create the slideshow themselves, or let a family member or friend do it. For those who aren’t good with computers, professional photographers can craft a slideshow that features artfully edited photographs and video clips. Rates can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Phoenix videographer and disc jockey Cameron Carpenter, owner of Three Oceans Entertainment, says it can take a few days in the studio for him to put together a wedding slideshow. Some of his clients choose to tell only their love story, while others include photos of themselves growing up as well.
“It’s a neat way to watch somebody grow up right in front of your eyes, and that’s the big appeal for it,” he said. “For out-of-town relatives ... it kind of fills in those gaps.”
Some wedding planners are against the whole idea.
Cristina Verger, owner of Cristina Verger’s Tasty Thoughts, a high-end wedding planning and event design service in New York and the Hamptons, said she’s never done a photo slideshow at a wedding.
“I would discourage it actually because a slideshow, no matter how short, it really requires everyone’s attention, and you are interrupting,” she said. “... You have to stop to make everyone sit down and pay attention to the slideshow, which is kind of an imposition to your guests.”
If a couple feels strongly about including a slideshow, Verger said she would suggest it be shown with no sound during the cocktail hour.
Carpenter and Winikka agreed that slideshows should complement the wedding activities, not make everything come to a standstill or delay the dinner, dancing or speeches. Both said that a good time for viewing is during dinner. “Before the fast eaters are done and starting to mingle around again, there’s a nice window there,” Carpenter said.
Slideshows also should be no more than 10 or 15 minutes, he and Winikka said.
Cocchiara said she and her fiance, Damien Glonek, 37, are horror movie fans who attended horror movie conventions as youngsters and eventually met at one of them. Their slideshow, she said, will likely include pictures of them in Halloween costumes and posing with the actors from some of their favorite scary flicks.
Not only will the slideshow be personal and a little nontraditional, it also will help them avoid something they truly dread: dancing.

“We don’t like to dance, most of our friends don’t like to dance, and we were trying to think of what type of entertainment we could incorporate in the reception,” Cocchiara said.

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