UPDATE: You may also want to check out this page on choosing the best music, duration and photos for your wedding slideshows and video montages.
If you’ve been to a wedding in the 21st century, you’ve probably seen the photo slideshow, most often running in PowerPoint. In theory, this is actually a great way to add a personalized new dimension to the occasion. In practice, though, I often find them about four times too long and kind of dull.
While at Coby and Margo’s wedding this weekend in Kamloops (here they are receiving guests), I did some thinking about wedding slideshows. As usual, my thinking resulted in some bad charts (click for larger, readable version):
I arrived at some basic guidelines for building a wedding slideshow:
- Brevity is the soul of wit. Ideally, the show shouldn’t be more than two songs, or about 8 minutes, in length.
- Every photo should elicit an emotional response. Whether it’s the groom’s mullet in grade 8, or grandma who’s no longer with us, or the bride all kitted out during her hen night (er, bachlorette party), they should each make us laugh or tear up. They all don’t have to be gut-busting or heart-wrenching, but they shouldn’t leave you cold.
- Keep in mind that most guests will fail to recognize most people in most of the photos.
- Avoid artistic conceits or complicated narrative structures. From birth to present seems to work fine.
- Don’t use too much text. Dates and places are fine, but eschew silly captions.
Coby actually did a clever thing with his slideshow. He was a little nervous about 200 people watching him dance the first dance, so he ran the show during the dance, as a sort of weapon of mass distraction.