How to Stage a Holiday Card Photo at Your Wedding

Get ready for the holidays while you celebrate your wedding. Here's how to stage a holiday card photo at your wedding or engagement photoshoot.

By Lindsay Dolak

zola holiday cards
Photo by Zola

If you’ve never struggled with what pictures to put on your holiday card, have you ever really even sent a holiday card? It’s a seasonal struggle many of us know all too well. The holiday card photo is an annual to-do that we should think about ahead of time but rarely do. Don’t waste time scanning your social timelines and photostreams for holiday card photos. Instead, stage a seasonal shot at your wedding (or engagement shoot). Here’s how to do it.

Plan it out.

Before you take any photo, be sure to come with a plan. What’s your holiday card vibe? Do you sway more elegant and timeless or would you prefer to take a more humorous approach? Whatever your desired impact may be, map out what you’ll need for your photo. That may just be the backdrop of your already planned photos or it may involve bringing along a few extra items to really get the shot you want. Either way, make sure you and your partner on the same page.

Zola Holiday Invitations PDP13072 Photo Credit // Zola

Pack your props.

If your holiday card photo requires a bit of staging with props, acquire and gather those items in advance so they’re ready to go. Here are some holiday card photo prop ideas:

  • Traditional decor. No matter what holiday you celebrate (and even if you don’t), add touches of the season to your photos. What trinkets, ornaments, or other items do you associate with your personal seasonal celebrations?
  • Lights. String lights are a classic way to add a holiday vibe to any photo and they’re incredibly versatile. Bring a few rows of lights to set up a quick twinkling shot.
  • Fake snow. If you really want to go for it and you don’t live in a region with snow (or you refuse to go outside in it), a few tufts of fake snow will add a comic touch to pictures.
  • Holiday colors. Again, these will depend on what holiday (if any) you celebrate during this season. Bring a few items of clothing or accessories to slip on for a quick picture. For example, grooms can change their ties to something festive and brides could put on a fun headband or slip on fuzzy boots.

Talk to your photographer.

Whether your holiday card photo plan is simple or downright elaborate, be sure to loop in your photographer. He or she will most likely be happy to take a few pictures with holiday elements. Your photographer will also be able to better direct these images if he or she is privy to what you’re trying to accomplish. They may even have some tips—it’s probably not the first holiday picture they’ve taken.

Use your space.

Take some time to scout out locations within your venue location to find something that has the holiday card feel you want. You can also ask your photographer for help with this, too. Romantic outdoor venues are perfect for this. If your venue is mainly indoors, though, just lap the property to find a charming area to take a quick picture. If your goal is to find a backdrop that looks more seasonal and less wedding, look for spots that have a vintage element like exposed brick or even a cool piece of old furniture.

As long as it’s well lit, your photographer can probably make it work. Oh, and if it’s snowing, you need to take advantage and get that winter wonderland shot. Bundle up!

Zola Holiday Invitations PDP12975 Photo Credit // Zola

Consider other use cases.

If you’re going to shoot a quick holiday card picture at your wedding, you may also want to think about other times you need a (staged) picture. For example, if you’d like to include a special shot on your thank you cards, create or buy a banner that says “Thank You.” Awe your loved ones with a custom image weeks after the wedding.

If you’re someone who regularly scrambles for holiday card photos or you just want something unique to stand out from all of the wedding photos you’ll be sharing, stage your picture. Get your photographer involved, grab a few props, and send holiday cheer like never before.