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Wedding Photo Booths: Silly or Seductive?

A photo booth, from dazadi.com. As far as I know, this one comes clean.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect this week on an issue that has been brought to my attention via my bridesmaids. It was a plea for advice (and its subsequent response) on maybe one of the best advice columns ever, Dear Prudence. It goes something like this:

Q. Photo Booth Reveals an Affair: My husband and I hired a photo booth for our friends to use at our wedding. Last Saturday we received a CD with all of our guests’ pictures on it. Much to our surprise, we found three strips’ worth of pictures showing two people engaged in a sex act. (Think Bill and Monica.) What makes things even more awkward is that these people are both married but not to each other. The two couples are good friends of my

A photo booth, from dazadi.com. As far as I know, this one comes clean.

husband’s, and now he feels like he’s been placed in this horrifically awkward position. We think we should destroy the pictures, but do we have any obligations after that?


Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe)’s response basically says to tear those pictures up and never speak of this again, though that’s moderately unrelated to our story here (not to mention, if I were the new bride, I would have probably let the world know of how unbelievably disgusting and inconsiderate those guests were. But I digress). My bridesmaids, however, were kind enough to tell me that, even though I was planning on pursuing a photo booth for my own wedding, they would never, ever, ever have sex in it. And even if they did have sex, it would surely, and very ethically, be with their own respective dates. So really, I have nothing to worry about.

I guess you could say my bridesmaids are the best ever.

Naturally, I suppose the thing you’d wonder first is what this (hopefully, for their own defense, very, very drunk) couple was even thinking while cheating on their spouses. But the next question is, why on earth are you doing it at your friend’s wedding? Could you not have ducked out to a crusty motel room, or a car, or a million of other less-gross-and-public places? Not only are you selfishly indulging in what is very much not your day, but you are also putting your friends in a tight situation that begs to be revealed. I mean, really? A photo booth? You might as well have videotaped it and thrown it on YouTube. That way, the rest of the world would be able to share in your evidence. And Lord only knows how you cleaned up in there.

Condom favors (not for a wedding) courtesy of amplifyyourvoice.org

The point of the matter is that this seems to be a huge violation of the “bro code”, and by “bro” I mean “human”. And while some of us Go Girls may wander the world, forever enchanted by the 1,200 varieties of banana, there are also a good number of us who are going to find a good ol’ ball and chain to hunker down with. Let’s try not to scare those promising women away.

In an effort to be of assistance, I’ve compiled some key tips on how to prohibit your guests from sexual encounters in your photo booth during your wedding:

1. Remove all prophylactics from your photo booth and, though it hurts to say it, favor bags. I know, I know, they make for great-shaped balloons, and if you’re anything like my maid of honor, you want to promote safe sex everywhere. That being said, I would make an effort to lay off the rubbers, Benedict-style. Maybe it’ll encourage them to lay off all together.

2. Tactically place small children in front of the photo booth. If there’s a taboo in American culture, it’s getting it on in front of a toddler (can I say “getting it on in front of a toddler out loud?). If you position especially cute, cheery children right next to the photo booth, you are more likely to ensure Christian conduct inside.

3. Fill the photo booth with Furbies. Seriously, nothing gets a person out of the mood faster than a small furry electronic gremlin singing in the corner. If you don’t believe me, watch this:

4. Take a wall off. Many brides and grooms are opting for open-air photo booths now. It’s cheaper because you don’t have to rent one, but could also be less work. Important note: Though this may prevent furtive sexual encounters, it may encourage an orgy.

5. Just elope. Seriously, those 1,200 varieties of banana are looking pretty good right now. And at the end of the day, there is nothing that you can do to really prevent your guests from doing what they want. You can only hope they act like reasonable, responsible adults. And if not, I guess that’s what the honeymoon is for.

Regardless of what you plan to do at your own wedding, good luck. Dear Prudence did get something right about her advice: it’s best to just forget about it as quickly as possible.

Beth Santos
Founder and CEO of Wanderful, creator of the Women in Travel Summit, enthusiastic lover of ice cream, picnics and art.

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