After you get back your gorgeous wedding photos from your wedding photographer, chances are that you will want to have them printed and presented in a wedding album.
The picture selection process is super fun, too. Not only do you get to comb through all the gorgeous photos from your big day, but you also get to decide which photos deserve a permanent home. Let’s be real: Even with the best wedding photography, there are some photos we could all live without.
Once you get your photos back, it’s time to think of wedding albums. There’s plenty of wedding album styles to choose from, depending on your aesthetic and your budget. Whether you want classic or more deluxe designs, here at Zola, we have no shortage of wedding album designs that we love. We also have ideas for couples who prefer a wedding album alternative.
To that end, here are seven wedding album designs, as well as everything you need to know about those gorgeous pics.
Let’s get into it!
In short, if you want physical copies of your wedding photos—which we highly recommend—yes. After months of wedding planning and shopping for a wedding photographer, you want to preserve your special memories in a physical form. While social media and online are great for sharing photos with loved ones, it’s not the same as a printed wedding album.
Plus, having a wedding album gives you and your new spouse something really beautiful to look forward to together. Because the album comes weeks after you say your “I dos,” sitting down as newlyweds and looking at your memories is a way to make the wedding day bliss last even longer. We’re all for keeping the celebrations going.
Before you decide on what type of wedding album you’d like to order, it’s important that you understand the basics of wedding albums. From cost to shot list, and everything in between, there are considerations to factor in. To that end, here is the scoop on wedding albums and everything you need to know.
Many of us share photos online these days, which is great, but it doesn’t mean that there’s no need for old-school picture albums.
The point of a wedding album is to have a physical keepsake of your wedding photos so that guests, family, and, of course, you and your spouse can look through pictures of your special day. Think about it like this: If you’ve ever gone through your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding albums, even decades later, chances are that you’ve combed through the photos with great interest and awe. Printed and physical wedding albums help keep memories alive throughout time and allow people who were not at your wedding to celebrate with you.
Another benefit of a wedding album is that you can pass down the album to your kids and grandkids in the future. Because we are so accustomed to storing images on our phones and on social media, we often overlook the importance of physical photographs for keeping family history alive.
Let’s make one thing clear off the bat: There is a difference between wedding photo albums and wedding photo books. The biggest difference is the type of paper that the photos are printed on. Wedding albums are often created with thick paper that lays flat when opened, whereas books are designed with thinner paper.
Because wedding books typically use thinner paper, you may be able to hold more photos in your keepsake than you would with an album. Albums also are often a bit more durable and elaborate, meaning that they can cost more than a book.
Again, this comes down to what type of wedding album you choose and where you order from. The cost of a wedding album ranges from anywhere from $150 to $1,000, depending on the material, size, page count, and paper quality.
Zola’s classic wedding albums start at $149, and the entire design process is completely customizable. This means that you can pick your wedding album color, paper weight, page count, and even design your own layout with super user-friendly tools. It’s a fun process, trust us!
If you and your spouse are opting to get a wedding album created by your wedding photographer (if they offer this service), then whoever pays for the wedding photos typically covers this cost, too, (if it’s baked into your package). However, there may be instances where a family member can’t cover the entire photographer fee, but wants to give you a gift by covering the prints.
In other instances, some family members or close friends will pay for a wedding album as a gift to the couple. Because there are no firm rules around weddings anymore, this choice is often a personal one.
There are plenty of places that create wedding albums, including right here at Zola. In fact, you can create your wedding album in minutes with our easy-to-use site! We have endless options and styles at varying price points, making the process easy and fun.
Wedding albums can also be found on Etsy, through your wedding photographer, photo printers, and other online vendors.
This is a personal choice as it largely depends on the budget. Depending on how much money you can afford to spend on wedding albums, you, of course, want at least one copy for yourself. Some couples like to order a duplicate for safekeeping. Then, if your parents and spouse’s parents would love one, it’s often nice for them to have a copy, too. They might offer to pay for these keepsakes themselves, or you might choose to give them an album as a thank-you.
The amount of time that it takes to order and receive a wedding album all depends on the type of album you end up getting. As we said, there are many different types of wedding albums, all with varying costs and levels of detail.
If you’re opting for a wedding album from your wedding photographer, it will depend on their individual turnaround time. Often wedding photographers send select shots as soon as possible after the wedding day, just to give the couple something to smile about and share instantly with loved ones or on social media.
Once a couple gets all their photos back in a digital format from their wedding photographer, then they can start the wedding album ordering process.
The timeline from picking your wedding photos and designing your wedding album to getting it in the mail takes at least two weeks. Of course, you can rush orders in most instances, while some vendors may take longer, too.
It can be hard to decide on what photos go into your wedding album, because chances are that you’ll love nearly all of them. But, there are certain wedding photos that make for fantastic keepsakes in your wedding album. To that end, here are some photos that you definitely want in your album. (This is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add additional shots! Depending on how many pages your wedding album is, you’ll likely have room for more fun. Check out this guide on how to choose wedding album photos.)
This is a must shot for your wedding album. Include photos of the outfits worn on the big day as they hang on hangers or are laid out artfully. These outfit shots are part of all wedding photographers’ shot lists as they document the getting ready process.
You want your wedding album to include the wedding venue or ceremony location. These “set-up” shots can be taken before guests arrive to document the aesthetics of the big day, or as guests trickle in, too.
The first-look shot is one of the most memorable photographs from your wedding day. This photograph is when the couple first see each other in their wedding outfits before heading to their marriage ceremony. It’s often an emotional time, which makes for a memorable moment.
Let’s not forget about all the loved ones who helped you celebrate. Be sure to include a few photographs of your wedding party (we love group shots!) in your album.
Your first kiss as a married couple is an awe-worthy moment. This picture should be included in your wedding album as it signals a milestone together as a couple. Plus, who doesn’t love a reminder of how adorable you looked smooching on your big day.
After you’re officially named a married couple, the photographer will gather you, your family members, and your wedding party for some adorable photographs. These photos are often filled with emotion and joy, so it will be hard to pick a few shots of you and your spouse.
As we said above, the photographer will gather the family members of the couple and pose everyone together for some photos. You may want to include a family shot of both sides of the family, or select two photos: one with one spouse and their family, and another with the other spouse and their family.
Once the wedding speeches begin, it’s time for the photographer to get snapping. Including a shot of some of the wedding speeches helps to keep the memories of the kind words shared about you and your spouse alive.
Dancing and celebration shots are a must in a wedding photo album. Some couples have creative outdoor activities like late-night sparklers, while others have a fun band that gets everyone up grooving. Whatever moment you want to hold onto, put it in your wedding album.
Classic wedding albums come in various sizes and materials, including linen. This design is a perfect wedding photo album option for couples who want something elegant and timeless without breaking the bank. The beauty of a traditional wedding photo album is that they can be customizable, meaning that you can choose the color you’d like so that it fits in with your wedding color scheme or aesthetic.
If you want to get a wedding album with a bit more detail, a premier wedding album is a fantastic option that comes in different sizes, as well as material options, including vegan leather. It’s available in various colors and two sizes, and the album cover can be customized to include your wedding date.
Zola’s deluxe wedding albums come in soft, Italian leather, in a variety of colors. The best part is that you can customize the album cover with foil text. The number of pages is, of course, also customizable, as is the size of the wedding album, meaning that you can pick a design that holds more photos on each page.
If you want to invest in a high-quality and durable option, deluxe products will stand the test of time. They also make for great displays on your bookshelf or coffee table for when guests come over.
For couples who are having a rustic-themed wedding or want to lean into their love of nature, a wood-covered wedding album is a creative design for couples. The wood cover and backing gives the album durability, and allows for a customized front that can be engraved or painted. Using leather to bind the album makes for an added touch.
There are plenty of artisans who take great pride in handmade wedding albums—a skill in and of itself! You can order a handmade wedding album that can be customized to your liking and wedding theme. Options include a hand-painted cover, cursive script, and hand-tied binding.
One wedding album design we love is unique fabrics. These can include velvet, silk, leather, and even burlap. By choosing a material that you love to cover your wedding album, you’re creating a special and original piece of art. You can have the fabric stitched with design, and even have beads, shells, or lace.
If you’re having a hard time limiting the number of photos you want to include in your wedding album, consider going with an oversized option.
A large wedding photo album is ideal for events that span over several days, or for destination weddings. They’re also ideal for couples who want to include some engagement or honeymoon shots, too.
If you want to thank your closest friends, such as a maid of honor or best man, or even siblings, for their role in your wedding, consider ordering a mini wedding album for them. This wedding album can be a small-scale album or a mini wedding photo book—the point is to create and gift a loved one a thank-you keepsake.
These mini photo gifts can include photos of you together on your special day, and should be more focused on your friendship, rather than the relationship of you and your spouse.
If you know that a printed wedding album is just not for you, or you don’t have the budget for one at the moment, don’t worry—we got you. Maybe you want to revisit ordering a wedding album down the road, or would rather savor your photo memories in another way.
Whatever the reason, here are some wedding album alternatives that may better suit your needs.
Pretty much all of our lives are online these days. If it makes the most sense for you to host your wedding photos online, you can create a digital wedding album. This option is ideal if you want to send links to family members and wedding guests so that they can view and print photos themselves, if they wish. (Check out this article for more contemporary wedding photo ideas.)
Another modern option, a digital photo frame that allows you to upload and alternate wedding photos is an easy and cost-effective option. Digital wedding frames also make for great gifts for members of your wedding party, or as an item to include on your own wedding registry.
Choosing to print high-quality copies of your favorite wedding photos, and then having them enlarged for wall frames is a great way to display physical copies of your wedding photographs. You can have as many photos as you like throughout your house, or create a gallery wall with your favorite picks.
Wall prints are also great gifts for members of your family who want to have a nice photo from your special day. If it’s within your budget, a framed photograph makes for a thoughtful thank-you gift.
For crafty couples, a scrapbook option is a fun way to put your creative wedding album ideas together and create a one-of-a-kind keepsake. Once you print out your photos on high-quality paper, you can assemble them in the order you like, adding in stickers, decals, scripts, and embellishments, per your personal style. Making your own wedding scrapbook is also a fun post-wedding couple activity. Because this process takes time, it’s perfectly okay if you’re not done with your scrapbook in one go.
For couples who want to still have physical prints, but not go the album route, a photo box is a happy medium. You can print your wedding photos on high-quality paper and have them loose in a decorative box. A photo box can be customized and engraved, and they come in a variety of styles and colors. This option allows for couples to sift through the photos in any order, giving the experience a more laid-back and casual feel. It also means that select photos can be taken out of the box at any time for display in frames, too.
As we've discussed, there is a difference between a wedding album and a wedding photo book. That said, it’s perfectly okay if you’d like to go down the wedding photo route. We love those, too. A wedding photo book is a great option for couples who want to customize the layout of their wedding photos in print, and have a book that looks sleek and can hold more images. If sticking to a tight budget is the priority, it can often be a more cost-effective option, too.
A wedding photographer may capture your special day, but wedding albums store those memories in physical form. Whether you want to go with a more classic or elaborate design, wedding albums can be easily customized and curated to sort your individual needs.
The point of a wedding photo album is to keep your favorite photos together in one secure place. It’s also a way to share your wedding with loved ones after the fact, or with those who come over to visit your home if they couldn’t make the actual wedding day.
Here at Zola, we aim to be the destination for all your wedding needs—from the planning process all the way to post-wedding support. In other words, if it’s wedding-related, we have resources to help you. We want your special day to be everything you dreamed of and more.