To honor your photos, and therefore the memory of your big day, you must take your photos out of the box or off the memory card and make them presentable. "It's a great thing to do as a couple," says Julia Geffner, director of Marketing at MyPublisher.com in New York. "You get to relive the experience whether it's for your wedding or honeymoon."
Here's what you can do to turn your wedding photos into a keepsake:
Work with your photographer to create an album.
If you hired a professional photographer for your wedding, you likely paid for at least one photo album for which you'll choose your favorite images of the day. The photographer will print or create the album for you. When choosing the album, you should make the photographer verify that it will be archival quality, so it does not damage your photos and can hold up over the years.
Nowadays, couples often get the digital files of all the photos taken at the wedding as part of their deal with the photographer. This is an ideal situation for couples because you can always print out and use images that you like and share them with family and friends for years to come. Right after the wedding, you can use these images to have prints made for thank you cards or to create a portrait as a gift for your parents or grandparents.
When choosing photos for your album, you should look for a good mix of photojournalism (candid shots) and portraits. You should enjoy looking at the images you choose, and they should include those closest to you.
Your pictures should tell the story of your day from beginning to end. "It's ultimately your album, your story, your day, and it should reflect how you remember it," says Hayden Perry, brand manager of Bella Pictures in San Francisco. "You should be choosing photos that you absolutely love." (This guide booked Bella Pictures in October 2007 for her November 2008 nuptials.)
The images should include those of the bride getting ready, portraits of the bridal party, the ceremony, portraits of the couple and their families, the reception, details (cake, bouquets, menu or place cards, centerpieces, etc.), the couple leaving the wedding, and traditions (jumping the broom, an Asian tea ceremony, etc.), suggests Perry. Prices for albums from professional wedding photographers run the gamut from $900 to $10,000, depending on where you live, who you hire, and what package you want.
More Help with Wedding Photography: How to Find a Wedding Photographer
Create a handmade scrapbook.
If you're a creative couple, you can create a scrapbook that puts your photos and the details of your wedding on display in an old-fashioned way. Using fancy paper, rubber stamps, archival stickers, photo tabs and the like, you can create individual pieces of art that put your photos on a unique and personalized stage.
Truly, a scrapbook can be as simple or complicated as you'd like. It's limited only by your imagination and the time you have to dedicate to it. You'll also need to get the right materials (archival tape and adhesives, paper cutters, fancy-edged scissors to create trim, etc.) to achieve the look you want. These products can be found at most crafts and paper stores, and scrapbooks can be as expensive or as cheap as you'd like, too. Generally, they range in price from $20 to hundreds of dollars.
More Help with Wedding Scrapbooks: Wedding Scrapbook Samples from Around the World
Use an online publisher to create a printed album.
Online publishers exist to help you organize the digital photo files you have already taken. If your photographer gives you full rights and access to the digital photos he or she took and your friends and family send you their digital photos from the wedding, you can download the images at an online publisher's Web site.