An experience with the photo booth… by an anonymous wedding guest.
An essay on observation of an experience – posted to an internet forum that discusses photobooths.
The days of wedding cake smashing and the Electric slide being the highlight of wedding receptions are long gone. Stating that receptions have been taken to a new level would be an understatement. We now live in an era of celebrating marriage with candy and cupcake buffets, gourmet coffee bars, the wobble and most important of all – the photo booth.
There are professional photographers and more than one hundred guests with digital and iPhone cameras capturing the events of the evening, but that’s somehow still not enough.
Cue the photo booth – the old fashioned, newly hip camera in a box that can be rented for around $700 per night. If a bride and groom want insight to their guest’s real personalities, as well as the effects of an open bar, this trendy photo invention is the answer.
Not only does this six-foot tall, white box with a black curtain entertain and give guests an instant four-photo keepsake, it truly brings out the child in everyone.
Around 6p.m. guests tranquilly begin to arrive to the reception, dressed to the nines, contented with the new union formed by their loved ones. Few spot the booth and question what in the world that gawky machine is doing at the edge of the dance floor. Younger females, apparently up to date with the popular wedding trends, immediately recognize the booth and sprint over, totally disregarding the booth workers existence as she attempts to explain the basis of the booth. However, this is just the beginning of the night, the booth worker will definitely be seeing these girls again when they come back for twenty more rounds documenting their night.
“We didn’t know there were all these fun props, can we go in again?” ask the girls in desperation. Sombreros, cowboy, pimp and Uncle Sam hats, batman masks, luminous giant-sized glasses, sparkly feather boas, stick on mustaches, and plastic toy machetes are strewn across a table. The next dilemma for the girls is which costume will be the funniest and most flattering at the same time.
Eventually the overly excited girls relay to the uninformed adults that the big, awkward machine will indeed take your pictures automatically and it just so happens to be the BEST. THING. EVER.
Grandma and Grandpa wait in line confused and borderline overwhelmed by the fiasco of their grandchildren wrapping hot pink boas around their necks and coercing them to make silly faces. “Don’t I need to put a quarter in somewhere?” asks Grandpa. All dolled up in crazed attire, they make their way inside the curtain and shakily sit down on the chairs and smile big. A minute passes and they continue to pose nicely in front of a still screen that reads “Touch here to start.”
After the automated program guides the persons through a series of four photos, the physical strip prints out into a tray within thirty seconds. The tray, below the hidden printer is embellished by colorful flashing lights that quite possibly cast a secret spell on all of the children. The children dressed in their miniature black suits and puffy maroon dresses are awestruck by the foreign luminosity and instantly cling to the side of the booth where they will remain amazed all night. Arguments only break out every sixty seconds over who is privileged enough to grab the freshly printed picture and hand it to the owner.
The kid’s parents are delighted with their freedom to mingle the bar all thanks to the pseudo-daycare booth.
Not only do the guests take home a keepsake strip of their photos, but the bride and groom also get a copy. There is a guestbook to be filled with the photo booth pictures and signatures from the guests. The booth worker glues the duplicate photo strip into the book and instructs the guest to write in the scrapbook next to their photo. “Wait…What do I write? Um..What are other people writing? I don’t know what to put.” contemplates the matron of honor. A few minutes pass and the booth worker eventually suggests, “Perhaps ‘Congratulations’ would be relevant.”
As the night continues and the guests empty their drinks, the more creative the photo booth poses become. Even the most reserved appearing adult guests enter the booth and immediately feel liberated by the little black enclosed curtain. It’s just them alone with the camera, able to act however they desire. For 45 seconds they are hidden from all the commotion of the party to be silly and alone. And maybe a bit inappropriate.
A group of five groomsmen come running over, Bud Light in hand excitedly warning the worker “do not peek at us!” The worker nicely asks the children to step aside as she will grab this strip in order to prevent any confusion among the kids.
The groomsmen joyfully fill out the scrapbook with pride next to their gluteus maximus exposed shot. Scribbling along three pages expressing how delicious the beer was and how their buddies new wife will never compare to their bromance.
With an hour of the reception left, the busy bride and groom have still not made an appearance in the booth. The worker asks the chatty young girls, once again in front of the line, holding their eighteen strips, to please allow the bride and groom to cut for their first session. The bride’s massive white gown makes it difficult for her to fit on the seat. With her new husband awkwardly holding her up, they kiss for the first photo, make silly faces for the second and give each other bunny ears in the third. They pose sweetly for the final photo and as the flash goes, the bride’s mother and little brother, without invitation, whip open the curtain sticking their big heads in the back of the smitten couple’s photo. “PHOTOBOMB” shouts everyone standing around, laughing hysterically.
By the last song of the night, the guestbook for the bride and groom is full of photos and signed with notes and scribbles of love of luck. Dido’s song, Thank You, streams through the speakers as friends and family hug and talk about how perfect the day was. The worker disassembles the booth piece by piece. Shutting off the camera, folding up the curtain. All the pandemonium that occurred inside that little booth diffused for the night. Only to be discovered again by the evidence captured and pasted into that little guestbook. What a laugh that single book will give the bride and groom for years to come.
(Disclaimer: this was written by an anonymous person and posted to the internet, it was not an essay written directly about CTM Photo Booths, but it sums up the experience of most booth services very well!)
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