Party Essentials: DIY Photo Booth!

A fabulous party requires great planning.

Ok that’s not entirely true. It really depends on the feel you are going for. If you are shooting for laid back, hang with your friends, it requires everyone to pitch in a dish, a six pack and allowing the kids to run around in someone’s backyard with their blow up slide. Sometimes, those impromptu get togethers create the best memories – I know this from personal experience and quite frankly, those are actually the parties I attend most often with kids running amuck while the parents squeeze in a quick conversation while cutting up a hot dog or changing a diaper.

But every once in a while, it feels good to throw a big, fancy get together where we all clean up a bit. Every once in a while, it feels good to have a reason to shop for a pretty dress, throw on some heels and act silly with friends while the kids are being cared for by someone else…or in my case, sleeping upstairs (while being observed on monitor) because we were hosting.

My husband and I have taken to having one big event-like party each year on New Year’s Eve. We invite close friends, new friends, and neighbors to enjoy the festivities because we are of the age where going out somewhere is just not our thing, but we definitely aren’t ready to ring in the new year sitting in our jammies.

Not just yet.

We happen to be living in a house right now (we’re military, so the transient life is how we roll) that allows us to host this event in a pretty fantastic way. We clear out all the furniture in favor of cocktail tables and a dance floor and really dress up the place. This year, I added a new element to the event, a photo booth.

I’ve enjoyed these at various conferences and when I attended my first Bat Mitvah this fall, I realized that this would be a fantastic addition to this year’s party…but you know, not so budget friendly when you rent one for the evening – so DIY was the way to go.

So here’s what I came up with….

I happen to have two tall book cases in our front sitting room. So, I took a large black table cloth, one that when placed on a regular table would touch the ground, and draped it over the book case. We then took some New Year decor items and hung them with black ribbon so they looked as if they were floating. My friend Chrissy was the master designer with these. She created the design so those in the “photo booth” could center themselves and be surrounded by the New Year decor making for a fun picture even without the props.

But, we had to have props!

I picked up several that were generally themed for New Year so I can use them for years to come (outside of the 2013 glasses), a cheap bag of glasses and mustaches and also dug out some old boas from another party and voila! a complete prop table!

Everyone took turns taking photos and we had a fantastic mix of the silly as well as the classic “prom” photo of couples and individuals which everyone loved because all too often we moms and dads are caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to preserve those moments where we are out of yoga pants or work-wear. We forget to remind ourselves we still “clean up nice”.

What I can tell you is that this booth didn’t cost me a lot simply because I had the table cloths from a party I planned years ago.

If you enjoy throwing 1-2 adult parties a year where you dress up and have a little adult time, I highly recommend investing in a few black and white tablecloths, chair covers and ties because they make for a great base for most themes. I have used chair covers and ties for more than just their intended purpose (I feel another post coming on…) and have gotten more than my money’s worth. You can find them reasonably priced at CVLinens and they hold up wash after wash.

Events are a lot of fun and worth the time put in for me because of the memories they create and the quality time you get with friends and family that you might otherwise miss out on. Granted, it’s a once (maybe twice) a year thing because this Mama ain’t made of money or extra time, but for me, it’s a creative outlet as well as a fantastic way to look forward to fun with friends and the time investment is something I prioritize – even if it’s only once a year.

Do you enjoy planning big events on occasion?

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8 thoughts on “Party Essentials: DIY Photo Booth!

  1. Andrea

    Hi Nicole (hope thats right :/,

    How did you print your photos from your booth?? Im looking to do a DIY booth for my sons first communion to give the kids and also the adults a fun and unexcepted thing to do and a little token as a memory of the day. But Im just curious as to how Im going to print them. And with it being at a fire hall Im 100% sure I wont have wifi or any internet but then again I dont know for sure yet. So any suggestions????

    1. Nicole
      Twitter: MTDLBlog
      Post author

      Hi Andrea! I actually didn’t print them. But, there are small 4×6 printers that can do instant printing from a camera, so that might be a good way to handle the on-demand print need. Another option would be to get one of the new polaroid cameras – but they can be pricey – so if it’s a camera you’ll use again, then it may be worth it. :-) I hope this helps! Sorry for my delay responding – it’s been a nutty month.

  2. Niki

    Hi Nicole,
    Your pix came out great!
    Did you have lights set up? Or just use an external or pop up flash?

    I’m making a photobooth for wedding that I need to ferry to the location and can’t bring car. I never use flash but, the fewer technical tools I take the better! Need to reserve carry on room for the fun stuff, props!
    Hoping I can get away with not bringing a light set up.
    any thoughts you havd would be great!
    :) niki

    1. Nicole
      Twitter: MTDLBlog
      Post author

      Hey! Actually, I just use a speedlight on my DSLR camera. I have a Nikon. It works pretty well when you are shooting close and with a lower ceiling that you can bounce the light off of.

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