The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Creating a Rehearsal Dinner or Special Event Slideshow

Tips for making a great rehearsal dinner slideshow
Intro by SCU President and founder of Marketing Essentials International, Skip Cohen.

If slideshows aren’t in your skill set and part of the services you offer as a photographer you’re missing an incredible opportunity. A slideshow is far more than just another service helping to build your income stream. A well-done presentation is about exceeding client expectations and it’s so easy to do! While the concept might not be new to you, it’s always exciting for the recipients and a key ingredient to making yourself habit-forming.

Photodex Fridays are about ideas to help you build a stronger business. I’m sharing these posts at the end of the week, because many of you are event photographers, and your busiest schedule is over the weekend, especially for weddings. I’m hoping to keep these ideas fresh in your mind with events you have coming up in the next couple of days.

The post below is from the Photodex blog archives, and it’s a perfect reminder for this weekend. While the theme is the rehearsal dinner, as you watch it, think about any family event you’ve been hired to cover. Being a great storyteller might just be the most important part of your career as a photographer. Today’s technology helps you enhance every important aspect of telling a client’s story.

You’ll find lots more helpful content and tips on The ProShow Blog.

Photodex isn’t just a company making terrific software, they’re about education and helping you raise the bar on your business!


The rehearsal dinner is a family-focused event traditionally held the day before the wedding. They come in many forms and range from semi-formal dinners at a restaurant or banquet space, to casual and intimate gatherings at someone’s home. It’s a great opportunity for the wedding couple’s family members to get to know each other (and in some cases – the bride and groom). What better way to add personality & humor to the occasion than a photo slideshow of the bride and groom?

ProShow’s automatic slideshow tools make it easy to create your own photo slideshow for a special event, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Start by adding photos (you can add video clips too). Next — add some music, pick a theme, then click ‘Create’ to automatically start building your video. It’s that simple.

Need to customize? No problem – make changes anytime. In a few minutes, you’ll have a finished slideshow ready to output to DVD, Blu-ray, HD video file or share online. For rehearsal dinner slideshow tips and an example video, read below.

Watch ‘Kelley & Alan’s Rehearsal Dinner Video’

What types of photos are best for rehearsal dinner slideshows?

There are a few ‘standard’ approaches for selecting what to put in a rehearsal dinner slideshow. The context in which you plan to show the slideshow and also the amount & variety of photos you have to work with will help you decide which approach is the best fit:

1) Childhood / Growing Up – Focus on showing baby & childhood photos of the bride & groom. This type of slideshow requires having a decent selection of photos representing both people. Showing 15-25 photos per bride/groom is a good range to shoot for. If you want, you can personalize the show with captions (dates, etc.), or keep it simple and focused on visuals.

(Note: If you have 20 baby photos of the bride and only 5 baby photos of the groom, we recommend taking one of the alternate approaches below.)

rehearsal dinner image blog

2) Couples Montage / Boy Meets Girl – Focus on showing photos of the couple together, leading up to when they got engaged. This type of slideshow doesn’t have to show the photos in chronological order, although it can be. Some variations of this approach will tell how the couple met each other, or how the proposal took place (if there is a funny or dramatic story to it). Generally, the point here is to show the experiences the couple have shared together.

rehearsal dinner blog image (3)

(Note: If you have beautiful professional engagement portraits you want to show off, by all means – include them. However, we find it’s best to mix them in with other personal / candid photos that were NOT professionally shot so the slideshow still feels ‘real’, and less like a fashion shoot.)

3) Mixture of Old & New (from Childhood to the Present) – This last approach is probably the most popular one for rehearsal dinner slideshows. Like the example video above, the story starts with childhood photos (first the bride, then the groom), then it transitions to showing photo memories of the couple together. The transition point between each section is often distinguished by a song change during the slideshow.

Re-touch your photos for best results.

If you’re working with old family photos, especially scanned files (or, if you’re in a desperate hurry – digital photos taken of printed photos), chances are good that the edges aren’t going to be straight. It’s common to see parts of the white photo print edge creeping in on some corners, and also dust specks, scratches and overly dark, underexposed images. While we’re sure your audience will be forgiving about these charming imperfections, the overall results will be better if you run those photos through an app or photo editing program ahead of time to correct any major flaws. In a pinch, you can even use ProShow’s built-in editing tools to auto-correct, crop, sharpen and remove red-eye.

(Note: ProShow Web now offers built-in editing tools powered by Adobe Creative Cloud. These new tools are easy to use and helpful to have at your fingertips.)

Retouch old photos for best results.

Display options for your rehearsal dinner slideshow.

The options for displaying your slideshow will depend a lot on the venue for your rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. The most common display method for playing slideshows at events is to project the video onto a large screen or wall at the venue. If you’re in a smaller setting, you may have a TV at your disposal, in which case you can either play your slideshow via DVD, Blu-ray or even Airplay (using your iPhone / iPad – if you have the right setup). Unless you’re planning to watch the slideshow with a captive audience, all eyes on the screen at a specific time during the rehearsal dinner, it’s best to loop the slideshow to play continuously in the background. Get tips on all the best practices below:

Ready to make a slideshow for your event?

With ProShow, it takes just a few minutes to create a beautiful slideshow video using the automatic wizard and instant effects. Create shows on your desktop using ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer, or online with ProShow Web.

Try it free or upgrade today!

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Skip Cohen is President of SCU, founder of Marketing Essentials International and past president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI. He’s been an active participant in the photographic industry since joining Hasselblad USA in 1987 as president. He has co-authored six books on photography and actively supports dozens of projects each year involving photographic education.

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