How to Design the Ultimate Wedding Photo Book

We’ll walk you through the wedding album design process from start to finish with tips that will help you make all the right design decisions.

By The Zola Team

design a wedding photo book
Photo by Tori Mercedes Photography

While social media and phones that can hold thousands of photos make it easy to access your wedding photos any time anywhere, they don’t provide the same viewing experience as a well-designed wedding album.

A physical representation of your wedding day is so important. Not only will it protect your memories by having them in more than one place, but it will also allow you to revisit the day in a way that’s well-curated and beautifully put together.

There are a lot of ways to go about creating your wedding memory book—and there’s a lot of pressure to make it perfect. We’ll walk you through the wedding album design process from start to finish with tips that will help you decide which photos to pick, what cover to choose, and everything in between.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin

Before you jump into wedding album design mode, there are a few things you should consider that will greatly affect the style and type of album you create. Ask yourself these questions before you begin crafting your wedding book:

Who’s It For?

Is this your own wedding album, or is it a gift for your parents or in-laws? You will treat an album for you much differently than you will treat an album you’re giving to someone else. From the photos you include to the amount you spend, knowing who the album is for is essential to making those decisions.

How Much Time and Energy Do You Have for This Project?

Creating a wedding album often falls by the wayside, because it requires time and energy to collect the right images, lay out every page, and make design choices. Post-wedding, you’re probably well over making decisions and in need of a break. Thankfully, there are a lot of wedding book design sites that make creating the perfect wedding album pretty painless.

With all of the wedding albums to choose from and platforms to create them on, you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want. For the burnt-out bride, there are services that completely create the album for you, providing final revision privileges. Or, for the couple who wants more control, there are also plenty of services that allow you to lay out every page and personalize every detail.

Tip: The more hands-off you are, the more expensive your album will be. However, there are plenty of online tools—like Zola’s wedding album generator—that make creating your album easy and enjoyable.

What’s Your Budget?

Wedding albums can range from $50 to over $1,000. With a wide range like that, it’s important to know your budget before you start designing your album. Otherwise, you may max out your budget before you’re even halfway done by choosing an expensive album from the start.

Elements such as materials, personalization, and the number and style of pages all affect the overall cost of your album, and upgraded options can add up quickly. If you know your budget from the beginning, you can make choices that fit within it, instead of being hit with a big bill when you're finished with the product.

How to Design Your Wedding Album

Step 1: Pick Your Photos

The first step in the wedding album design process is picking the photos you want to include. The album should tell the story of your wedding day from you getting ready in the morning to the grand exit. When the album follows the order of events, people who couldn’t make it to your wedding or future friends and family will be able to experience it as it actually occurred. Arrange the photos in chronological order so you can pan through them and make sure you include the most important moments. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Details (stationery, personal floral arrangements, rings, dress)
  • The wedding party
  • The first look/couple portraits
  • Family
  • The ceremony
  • First Kiss
  • Cocktail hour (food and drinks, decor, guests)
  • Reception (first dance, dancing, place settings)
  • Exit

Tip: Be careful not to repeat photos. Even putting two or three of the same image from different angles can be redundant. You’ll have dozens of shots of your wedding party and you and your new husband or wife exiting the ceremony, but you only need one to tell the story.

You may not want every moment hanging above your mantle, but you do want to remember them all. Your wedding album is the perfect place to include all of the details of your wedding day, both big and small, from your bouquet to your best friends dancing.

Tip: Be sure to include all members of your immediate family and wedding party in your album. You’ll want to remember the people who stood by your side on this very important day, and they will appreciate seeing themselves represented in your wedding album. If you’re giving the album as a gift, it is especially important to include a few photos that feature the recipient, if you have them.

How to Design the Ultimate Wedding Photo Book Photo Credit // Unsplash

Step 2: The Construction

If you use an online service, like Zola, to generate your wedding album design, the actual construction will be done for you, but you do have a say in key visual elements, such as the cover, page style, layout, and more. Pay special attention to these choices, so your album shows up on your doorstep exactly as you imagined it.

Pick the Materials

You will likely have a choice of cover materials and page materials to choose from when designing your wedding album. Album covers come in every material you can imagine, from leather to canvas to wood. Think about the overall style you want yours to emulate, and consider the vibe of your home to choose a cover material that will match. As far as pages go, you can often choose glossy, which will look similar to traditional photo paper, or matte, which will look more flat and modern.

Pick the Color

You will also be able to select from a variety of colors for the cover, and sometimes even for the pages. Opt for a color that matches your wedding color scheme, or choose a timeless shade that looks great in the material you chose. For the pages, we recommend choosing white to let your photos truly pop, or black if your style is more modern and moody.

Pick the Layout

When you page through a wedding album, most designs will open to reveal photos on both pages. As such, it’s important to view your layout in terms of two-page spreads, not individual pages. The pages should go together like peanut butter and jelly—they don’t have to be the same, but they should flow seamlessly. For example, don’t pair a page full of family photos with a page full of your wedding dress, unless the family photos are of you stepping into your dress with the help of your mom. Get the picture?

Tip: Give photos of extra special moments their own page. The photo of the shoes you wore and the first kiss shouldn’t hold the same weight in your wedding album (unless they were really great shoes). Honor your favorite portraits, the best image of your wedding party, the first dance, etc. by setting them apart from other photos. Most wedding book designs even allow edge-to-edge or panoramic layouts that will highlight these moments best.

Step 3: Personalize the Wedding Album Design

While your photos will be the most personal part of your wedding book design, there are other ways to tie in your personalities and favorite parts of your wedding day that didn’t show up in photos.

The Cover

The cover of your wedding album should feature your names and wedding date, without a question. However, there are different ways you can go about adding text. Consider some of these options:

  • Mr. & Mrs. Zander
  • The Zanders
  • Our Wedding Day
  • Our Love Story
  • The Wedding Of… William & Kate
  • Our Best Day
  • This Day Forward

You can choose to place only text on the cover of your album, or on its spine, or add your favorite photo from the day as well.

Tip: When choosing a photo for the cover, pick one that isn’t too busy or distracting and leaves enough open space for text over it. The most important thing is that it’s a photo you love and want to look at, so you will be excited to open your album.

How to Design the Ultimate Wedding Photo Book Photo Credit // Unsplash

Captions

While we are big proponents of letting your photos speak for themselves, there are a few exceptions. For instance, your photos can’t share the meaningful vows you made or the sentimental lyrics from your first dance. Here are a few words you may want to include as captions:

  • Love quotes
  • Scripture
  • Vows or parts of vows
  • Song lyrics
  • Segments from a speech

Tip: Don’t include captions on every page, and don’t include them if they feel forced. Your pictures will do your day justice, so use words only as needed.

With these simple steps and expert tips, you can create a wedding album design that you will love and generations to come will cherish.

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