Wedding Walls: A Designer Tells Us How to Display Wedding Photos Like a Pro
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Here’s some stats for you… on average, wedding photography accounts for 8-10 percent of a total wedding budget. Some estimates put this number closer to 15%. And yet, despite spending thousands of dollars having wedding photos taken and edited, many couples never quite get around to displaying those gorgeous images! Why not, you may ask?
Because putting together a wedding wall is daunting! How many photos is too many? How few is too few? Should wedding pictures be in a public space in your home, or do wedding photos belong in more intimate quarters? You’ve got these amazing photos but figuring out how to display them artfully in the home can feel like a job for a professional. Well, you’re in luck!
This week, FACET interviewed Lifestyle Design Mentor, Kelly Karwoski-Reykdal, for her advice on how to make a stunning, professional-looking wedding wall in your home.
FACET: How do you start? Should it be with a photo for inspiration? Or by picking your wall, or start with something else?
Kelly: Start with your favorite wedding picture of you and your partner. This is where the story begins.
Then work your way out with family and wedding party photos.
Then add in details from the day—the photos that best tell your story.
You can always print a few extra photos and swap them around if you can’t decide. Keep them behind your other photos in the same frame. This keeps the wall fresh and can bring up other memories from a special day filled with countless memories.
FACET: You mentioned “the details that best tell your story.” Is there a proper balance between pictures of people and pictures of places or things from your wedding day?
Kelly: In decorating, odd numbers tend to be your friend.
For example, if you have three photos with people, mix it up with two images of meaningful details from your wedding day. Those might be photos of your rings, the venue, your bouquet, etc. so that you end up with a total of five photos.
The photos you choose should spark joy and feelings, tell a story of the day, and bring you right back into that moment in time.
I do think the number of pictures is dependent on the size of the space you are filling, so increase the number of framed photos—with the odd number rule in mind—until you’ve filled the space with your story.
FACET: Let’s talk about frames. How do you choose frames? Should they all match or just be complementary to each other? And does the style of the frame need to match the style of the photograph, so opulent weddings go into opulent frames, etc.?
Kelly: The key to a successful collage is to make it look organized, but also like you didn’t try too hard. Easy right? This can be an intimidating process, which is why so many newlyweds do not hang their wedding photos for months.
FACET: Right. Frames can be overwhelming.
Kelly: There are countless possibilities! Size, color, material, etcetera… but you must start somewhere, and that is with a single frame.
Choose one frame you like, and from there, you can decide if you want to stick with one style or add in a few styles.
If you are looking for a crisp clean look, I would recommend going with the same color. If you are going for more of an eclectic style, I recommend bringing in 3 different styles total. Again, odd numbers—the unwritten rule.
Pro Tip: when making a collage, lay your frames out on the floor in front of the space and arrange them in many ways until your frames makes as close to a symmetrical design as possible. Keep an open mind to the possibilities. It is easy to get hung up—pun intended—on using all your frames, or not having enough frames to make a symmetrical design. If you do not want to go with a collage, your wedding photos can also take a more traditional shape, like a straight line across a wall. Both make for a great look!
FACET: How do you know what sizes to print?
Kelly: First start with the space where you want to hang your wedding photos. Then find a frame (or frames!) to fit the intended space.
Whether your collage is to be hung above a bed, over a table, down a hallway, of somewhere else, take the time to study the space and pre-plan and imagine how many frames it would take to fill the space proportionately, while telling your wedding day story.
The size of the space and how many frames can appropriately fit will determine the size of the prints or canvases.
I would also recommend framing your photos with a border inside the frame.
Pro Tip: if you prefer to go with canvas prints instead of frames, tape paper up on the wall to see what would look best, and then order your canvas sizes based on your paper arrangement.
FACET: Should a wedding wall incorporate actual items with it? Or just wedding photos?
Kelly: I am a big advocate of meaningful spaces with items that bring you joy.
Weddings have many items that would fit in a frame and help build your story. Great examples of this would be to frame your first dance lyrics, or your wedding invitation or program. You can even have people on Etsy recreate items like song lyrics in ways that will make them look more decorative.
Pro Tip: If the items you want to showcase are not frameable, like the sand or rocks from your ceremony, or a piece of jewelry, shoes, or even a cake topper, I would recommend setting these items on a table or a shelf within the room, and leaving the collage as photos or other two-dimensional, frameable artifacts of your special day. Floating shelves can work, but they make curating a photo display significantly more challenging.
FACET: Can or should you mix color photos with black and whites?
Kelly: Yes! Mixing black and white photos and color photos is a great option. It will give the photo wall some dimension.
Take a moment to take in your surrounding space. What would look best? For example, in a formal room I tend to lean towards bold black and white photos, while a family room is a great space for full-color prints.
FACET: How do you keep it from looking messy?
Kelly: Here’s a few tricks to make it look like a professional curated your photo wall collage:
The center of your art should be about 57 inches off the ground. Hanging a collection of pictures too high or too low is a common mistake that can make the whole display look less polished.
Purchase frames with a mat or boarder. This keeps your wall looking like a gallery.
Print your photos in a matte finish, not glossy.
Center the collage over your space. Whether it is centered on a wall, centered over the couch, or centered behind a table, it needs to look harmonious with its surroundings.
Have an even amount of wall space between pictures.
Use wire to hang items instead of the hooks on the back of the frame. Hooks on frames are often not parallel, causing your art to look crooked.
Always map out the items on the floor below the space prior to hanging them. This way you can picture how the finished arrangement will look once it is hanging on the wall!
A wedding wall is a fantastic way to celebrate a moment in time, to relive the butterflies and joy of that day, and to continue to share your big day with friends and family old and new.
People who you didn’t know then, or who couldn’t come to your wedding, will love to see those images now. And people who were there will feel extra special knowing that you continue to look back regularly on that special day.
Wedding photos are entirely unique works of art, and they only become more special with time and age. So what are you waiting for? If you’re like us, you probably have some pictures you need to go print…