How to collect up all the photos taken at a wedding

In Weddings by Joni2 Comments

How to collect up all the photos taken at the wedding

If there’s one aspect of a wedding that everyone wants to get right, it is the images.

You just have those few hours to experience the event but for years afterwards you will want to return to those special moments and relive them again.  And that’s where photography is so important.  Getting excellent photos is just as vital as having a beautiful dress or a fabulous location.

But how to be sure you have all the best photos from the event, not just the posed ones?

Does it mean emailing or phoning all the guests to ask if they have photos they would be willing to send you?  This used to be a thankless task after the wedding.  Not everyone could be bothered to reply – after all the wedding might have been weeks ago and young people today go to numerous weddings once the season sets in.  Well, here’s the good news, it can all be done and dusted on the big day itself.

Collecting guests’ wedding photos is very simple today.  No need to put out throw-away cameras or trawl Facebook after the event.  Get guests to use a wedding photo sharing app on their phone. They are simple to use and can generate hundreds or even thousands more images of the big day.

Using a professional photographer

There’s really no substitute for booking a professional photographer to document the day.  He or she will have it as their sole objective to obtain every image the bride and groom want.  They won’t miss shots because they were at the buffet table or chatting to an old friend.  They will also have agreed when the couple will be available for posed photo sessions on the day and when relatives and friends will be asked to get into the group too.  In this way the photographer has every possible opportunity to come up with a superb album.

The photographer will work from a list that your daughter and fiancé have agreed before the wedding day.  They will also have looked through the portfolio to find the style they prefer.  So the finished album or collection of photos will be exactly what they wish.  It is a precious resource and they will likely return to it time and again over the coming years.

Once the photos are ready after the wedding, the couple will send some out to the guests and to anyone else invited but who hadn’t been able to attend so that they can get copies of images especially relevant to themselves as well as getting a reminder of the main moments of the day.  Photographers will charge guests for copies of their photographs.

Add the informal shots

Today just about everyone carries a phone with them.  So all the guests will be snapping away at the wedding, and of course at all the lead-up events such as the bridal shower and the hen do. So what about all these other shots taken by guests?  They can be highly amusing and frank.  Guests bring their personality and background knowledge of other guests to their wedding photography.  How would the wedding photographer know that those two men chatting at the entrance to the venue are cousins who live thousands of miles apart and are meeting for the first time in ten years, for example? So you definitely want to gather up some or all of these informal shots to extend the range of the wedding photo album.  That’s where photo sharing comes in.  And today the best photo sharing is done through apps on your phone.

5 recommended photo-sharing apps for weddings

I’ve done hours of research around this topic and come up with the following shortlist of the best apps available in 2019.  The area of event photo sharing is booming right now so new apps are appearing all the time.  But sometimes the latest apps haven’t had time to be tested by users for long enough to get all the bugs fixed. 

On the other hand several apps that appear in lists of recommendations elsewhere on the web seem to have disappeared.  Free apps sound great but start-ups that go all out for building users by offering their app for free are often the ones that disappear fast.  So in the list below don’t be put off by apps that charge a small fee.  It means they probably have enough income to refine their software and to keep it up to date for years to come.  Compared to the other costs involved in a wedding photo-sharing app fees are minimal.

  • Ceremony. This is my favourite.  This app is simple to use and has some great features.  There’s the basic app which is free and thankfully has no ads on it to clutter the space.  Then there are inexpensive upgrades depending on whether you want high quality photos you can share and print.

First off, it’s useful for a guest list with a variety of ages as your daughter can invite guests to join the app by email or via Facebook, or whatever other social media site her guest uses.  Then she can share the full schedule of the wedding – dates, locations, RSVP’s, maps and more. 

Once at the wedding the guests can snap away happily with their phone, then select which photos they want to upload to your Ceremony list. Or they can use the Ceremony camera feature to share their snaps instantly without the bother of selecting and uploading. 

Photos can be shared straight onto most social media sites, or the whole lot can be kept private.

Once all the photos are uploaded you and your daughter can spend a lovely afternoon sifting through them then ordering professional-quality prints from Ceremony of the very best.  Remember some of the older guests really appreciate actual photos that they can frame and keep.  The older you get the more important memories are.  So even if they don’t have a mobile phone or get to grips with the app, they aren’t left out of the action.  That’s why it’s nice for you both to look at which photos should be retained.  You’ll have a better idea of what older relatives will like than she will.

  • The Guest (formerly Veri) There’s no lengthy photo uploading required with this great app offered by the American wedding planning site The Knot.  The app automatically shares photos and videos in real time.

Here’s what to do.  Enter your wedding info then add your list of guests.  Reckon ten minutes to do this set up.  All these guests receive a message telling them to download the app.  Once the wedding starts the app reminds guests to start snapping.  It shares all these images to everyone on the list, as they are taken.  Anyone leaving early can shut off the sharing feature which automatically shuts down anyway at the time set for the end of the event.  The full set of guests’ photos is now available for you to check out any time you want.

  • WedSocial Find out about this app from The Wedding Wire, the international wedding planning site.  Give guests the wedding date, time and location through the app.  On the day guests use the app to share their photos.  Images can be cropped, sharpened, framed and focused.  There’s even a wedding meme creation feature. (Wedding meme?  Wow!  Er, no, honestly, you really don’t want to add this term to your vocabulary if you’re over 25!)

Guests download the app to their phone, find your wedding, then start taking pictures.  They share their photos by uploading them into a live photo feed for all to see.  You are notified when anyone likes or comments on a photo.  Select the best photos then download and share them after the wedding.

  • Wedbox In this app, already downloaded half a million times, photos aren’t immediately shared.  There’s an access code.  After all there may be shots the guest has made simply for their own interest which could be inappropriate, even upsetting, if everyone on the guest list could see them in real time.  A useful feature is that all photos are sorted into categories such as wedding, hen party, wedding shower etc.  So your daughter can build a timeline for her nuptials.  You can use the app to share videos, not just still photography.  Essential these days.

Developed in Denmark the app comes in many languages so ideal if your guests are mainly non-English speakers.  It’s said to be easy to use. (I admit I haven’t used this app yet but website review comments are positive.)

  • Update 2021 – PicPack. A reader contacted me re this free app which works for photos and videos. Guests enter a six digit code onto the app then upload their images. It’s fast, fuss-free and you can send out the code with the wedding invite or advertise it at the event. The images can be enjoyed by all guests as they are uploaded during the wedding or your daughter can preview them for approval. Once the couple are back from their honeymoon they can download the images in their original resolution to use as they wish.

Here’s an alternative way to get the job done:

Using Instagram to collect wedding pics

Your daughter may be a fan of Instagram and want to use this social media platform to collect and share photos from her wedding.  So how does that work?

To use Instagram for this purpose she starts by creating a simple hashtag and checking that nobody else is using it.  A hashtag looks like this #CRWed.  Then she’ll share the hashtag with guests and when they take photos they will share their photos via their Instagram accounts mentioning the hashtag.  Then anyone can look for all photos linked to that hashtag across everyone’s accounts.

As most young people have Instagram on their phones this can be a simple way to collect up all those candid snaps taken by friends of the bride and groom.  But it’s not ideal for older relatives.  Whilst many of us are aware of Instagram, frankly most of us can’t be bothered to install it on our phone or use it. 

Picture quality is not great so even if your daughter uses special software to download the pictures from Instagram and store them on her laptop she will likely be disappointed if she tries to print from them or make large images for an album.  You can’t download directly from Instagram, which is a nuisance.

Perhaps the most important reason people are moving away from social media such as Facebook and Instagram for sharing wedding photos is that they are fully public, for ever.  As noted above privacy can be a bonus.

Two alternatives that don’t use an app

(non-tech savvy grannies will like these!)

This newish service gets you to set up one account then share a link with guests.  Guests upload their photos to your gallery from any device or email.  You then select which images to keep and they are all there, carefully stored, to use as you wish for as long as you have an account.  You can style an album, make prints or share some or all of your images with guests after the event.

The pros are that it is easy to use and explain.  Most people get how to send photos with email even if other methods are not their thing.

There’s no app to install.  So privacy and no marketing emails pushed at guests.

The photo quality is good.

The cons are that there is a subscription.  But as it can be used for any event or get together, your daughter and her new husband might want to keep using it for quite a while. The first level subscription lasts for 6 months which is usually enough for the pre-parties and main event

You’ll see in a comment on this post that one of our readers has developed a new FREE extremely simple system for photo sharing. So let me give him a shoutout here.

How it works: basically you connect WedUploader to your Google Drive. Using a unique url guests upload their images which then get stored in your Drive. Top quality images use storage allowance within a Google account so most people keep a few special images for printing etc and store the others at a quality level ideal for sharing and social media. Google doesn’t have any limit on the number of images saved at this quality level.

I haven’t had the time to trial but it sounds easy and free and you never lose the images.

However you plan to put together the images of the big day don’t let the technology overwhelm you.  Ask your daughter or her fiancé to help you step by step to get the hang of it so that at the event you can relax and enjoy.  Get the app installed or practise with the social media site a week or two before so that everything is ready.  Then, most important of all, remember to put you phone into your clutch bag or purse and carry it with you all day.  Oh yes, and to take it out and use it occasionally too!

This information is essential if you are hosting the wedding reception. You won’t have time on the day to ask guests to send you their snaps so put all the info they need in with the invitations. Here are other tasks related to being a parent of the bride or groom

Duties of the Mother of the Bride

or organizing a home wedding:

Get the cutest informal photos from guests

We’d all love to get a peek at one or two of your photos.  Send a couple in to this site by using the following email (hopefully this way of spelling out the address will not get me deluged with spam) hello at im mother of the bride dot com.

Happy snapping!


  1. Great article with very thorough research! I experimented with all the services you mentioned and created my own webapp for my wedding that simplified and made private receiving all those moments from guests.

    I was hoping you could check it out and provide feedback… thanks in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi Derick. This sounds nice and simple so I’ve added it to my list. Best of luck with it.

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