Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hung out to Dry - Unique Photo Display

At my wedding, I wanted a way to show photos of my husband and I growing up, as well as our first years together.  I've been to many other weddings that had slideshows, which were a lot of fun.  However, I already had a lot of other entertainment going on at my wedding, and around 250 guests, all in an outdoor location, so I thought it would be hard to get everyone to focus on a presentation like that.  I came up with this idea instead:

Photo Clothesline

Here's how I did it:
1. I sorted through a million photos from my childhood, and photos from my Mother-in-law.  This was a really fun part of the process, and my Mom and MIL enjoyed it too.  But, it was so hard to narrow down the choices!  I had the Mom's tell me a little background on the pictures I chose so I could write captions.
2. I ended up with about 150 photos, scanned them to the computer, then uploaded them and had them printed by a regular photo printing service.  I could have just printed them out myself, but since most photo places only charge 9 cents for a print, it's really economical to have them do it.
3. I cut the pictures how I wanted them, making some smaller and some bigger, and then pasted them onto cardstock that I had leftover from making my programs and invitations.
Note: This cutting tool from Fiskars is invaluable to anyone who does any kind of papercrafting.  I use it ALL the time.  It does only cut straight lines, but it's still a huge lifesaver for measuring and trimming.  Expect to replace the blades often though (once they get dull they don't make very clean cuts), and they're kind of spendy.  Use your 40% off coupons! (You can get these weekly from Michael's by signing up for their email newsletter)  :)
4. I left some room on the cardstock to write a caption at the bottom, top or side of the photo with the date, who was in the photo, and some kind of funny line about what was happening.
5. I bought a whole bunch of plain clothespins and tied little ribbon bows around the tops.  I thought about spray painting them, but I was going for kind of natural wood theme, so I kept them plain.
6. I used rustic looking twine to string my photos on, again going with my natural theme.  You could use pretty ribbon (maybe even velvet ribbon or rope spray painted gold) if you wanted a more formal look.
7. I made 3 strings - one for his childhood, one for mine, and one for us together, up until the wedding.
TIP: Try to include a variety of pictures and family members.  Also, I attempted to include about the same number of photos of each of us at comparable ages.

(More pictures by my friend and professional photographer, Josh Benson - click to email)
8. You'll need a good place to hang them.  I used the side of my barn.  Just make sure there's plenty of room for people to walk around and look at them, and have some lighting if it will get dark in that area.  People really seemed to enjoy this at the wedding - someone even took down one photo and chased down my brother in law to ask if the 80's mullet picture was really him!
9. After the wedding, I took down the photos and pasted them in the back of my guestbook.  (Side note: My guestbook was paired with a photobooth where guests could paste in a photo from the booth and write a note.  So, after all the photobooth pictures, then I have pages with the clothesline pictures, the book is great fun to look at!)

I used this for my wedding, but it could be a very useful and entertaining tool at any party, particularly celebrating a milestone of some sort.  1st birthday, 40th birthday, Retirement, 50th Anniversary... Possibilities are endless!


  1. Have to tell you I'm in LOVE with your new blog! You think like me, but you actually follow through with your projects! Thanks for sharing all your great ideas and tips!

  2. I loved this photo display at your wedding. I thought it was such a creative alternative to a slideshow!