How to Make Your Own Wedding Album

The wedding album has long been the traditional way to showcase and preserve precious images from your big day. While it’s still in style to have an album, the wedding photo book has earned its place as the modern way for couples to capture the mood and story of their wedding day.

Sure, your photographer can make one for you, but with so many online wedding album templates and services available today, many couples are making their own wedding photo books that look just as beautiful and professional.

Spotlight on the Wedding Photo Book

What is the difference between a wedding photo book and a traditional wedding album?

The photo album: The traditional photo album features photographs that are printed on separate pieces of paper and placed into plastic sleeves or within frames on a page. Your baby pictures are likely organized in a traditional photo album.

The photo book: A wedding photo book, on the other hand, is a book that is carefully bound with photographs printed directly on the paper. While there are countless styles to choose from, typical photo books have room for custom text, unique backgrounds, different layouts, layflat pages, and your choice of genuine leather covers.

A wedding photo book.

Modern couples are choosing to make their own wedding photo books as a fun and creative way to tell the unique story of their big day.

“There are people who are extremely crafty and creative and enjoy making their own photo books,” says renowned event and wedding planner Colin Cowie, of Colin Cowie Celebrations.

Along with enjoying the creative process, there are many advantages to putting together your own wedding photo book.

“Making your own book allows you to be in control of telling your story and personally selecting your favorite images,” says Colin. “Plus, it saves you a lot of money.”

Whether you’re the creative type, on a budget, or simply love the idea of making your own wedding album photo book, this ultimate guide will show you how to make a wedding album photo book that will be cherished for years to come.

How to Make a Wedding Album in 7 Steps

It’s easy to make your own wedding photo book with online tools. With beautiful photos and gorgeous templates, follow seven simple steps.

  1. Choose a photo book style and size. Match your wedding style or theme with dozens of designer wedding photo book templates.
  2. Select a cover. You can never go wrong with a timeless leather-bound photo album cover.
  3. Upload your final wedding photographs. Receiving your photos from your photographer may take up to eight weeks, but it’s worth the wait to get your professionally polished images.
  4. Pick your favorite photos. Add variety with a mix of both candid and posed pics, plus pics of the decor.
  5. Pick a layout method that fits your design skills. Shutterfly® has three ways you can make a photo book the way you want: totally DIY, allowing a designer to make the book for you, or using a Storytelling Collection to automagically make professional-looking designs.
  6. Design your photo book.
  7. Add finishing touches. Elect special features such as layflat pages, satin-finish paper, a dust jacket or a gift box to customize your photo book.

The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photo Book Ideas

Now that you’ve got the basics, dive into the pro tips. With the expert help of Colin Cowie — whose talents have helped create memorable events for clients such as Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey — this guide reveals his top book-making tips and unveils our favorite online wedding album templates for making stunning wedding photo books.

Digest from start to finish or jump to the sections you want now:

A rustic-style wedding photo book.

Unlike the traditional wedding album, a photo book is a carefully bound book with images printed directly on the paper. Special features such as custom text, layflat pages, backgrounds, and unique layouts make it easy for couples to tell the story of their wedding day.

Expanded Guide to Creating the Modern Wedding Photo Book

Here, we describe our simple seven-step process for how to make your own wedding album photo book.

  1. Wait for your professional wedding photographs. It might take a couple months for the full selection.

Chances are you hired a professional wedding photographer to capture your wedding day. The good news is that you’ll end up with polished and edited images which will become the foundation of a great photo book. The bad news? You’ll have to wait up to eight weeks or more for the final images.

If you’re eager to get started, you can. Take this time to collect photographs from friends and family who were at your wedding, or those from the photo booth, if you had one. Colin even suggests creating a smaller more intimate book of these photos as a fun complement to the primary album.

  1. Choose your favorite images. It’s important to love every photo in your album.

Your primary photo book should feature photographs that you simply can’t live without, the ones that capture exactly how you felt or what you did on your wedding day. Colin refers to this process as “ruthless editing,” the key to creating the perfect wedding photo album.

  1. Pick the style of your photo book. “Always pick a style that complements the style of your wedding and is true to your personality,” says Colin.

Photo books come in a variety of styles, themes, and layout options, including classic, modern, vintage, rustic, and contemporary styles. Shutterfly® also offers Storytelling Collections, or guided styles based on the occasion.

  1. Select your cover. Today’s quality photo books come in a variety of covers.

Do you want a hard photo cover with a glossy finish, a premium leather cover, or a premium crushed silk cover? Shutterfly® makes it easy for you to find a cover that matches the formality and style of your wedding day. Want something easy and classic? “Stick to classic leather-bound books for a timeless look,” says Colin.

  1. Say yes to finishing touches. There are many ways you can enhance and customize your wedding photo book. Whether you want a gift box or a dust jacket, finishing touches complete your wedding album experience. Consider choosing extras that are practical and add beauty to your book. For example, if you plan to include mementos from your wedding, a memorabilia pocket placed inside of the album is worth the extra money so you can safely store the keepsakes along with the rest of the images.
stylized wedding photo book

Be selective about the style of your photo book template. Renowned wedding planner Colin Cowie tells clients to always select a photo book style that “complements the style of your wedding and is true to your personality.”

Tips for Creating the Perfect Wedding Photo Book

Wedding day décor.

To capture the whole story of your wedding day in your book, include photographs of the décor, such as table decorations and wedding favors.

  • Create sections. To design a book that flows chronologically and tells a story, arrange your photos in sections, such as ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and then dance party. For example, you don’t want to feature an image from the reception before one from the ceremony.
  • Capture the whole story. “Keep in mind the big ideas and don’t forget all the small details that make the difference,” says Colin. Photographers today know to capture everything from the surroundings of the location to the napkins on the dinner table. Include these images in your book to help you recall the beauty of your day. Also, don’t forget to include photographs of family members, even if they were not in your wedding party.
  • Include a variety of images. While it’s important to pick your favorites, make sure you get a nice mix of both posed and candid shots. Posed photographs can be creative and stunning, but candid shots are usually the ones that capture the raw emotions of the day. An equal mix of both should accurately reflect the mood and feeling of your wedding day.
  • Mix in a little fun. A photo wedding book can feature more than just gorgeous and touching photographs. In fact, the best books feature a combination of beautiful and comical moments, such as the moment your ring bearer refuses to walk down the aisle or when Aunt Patty kicks off her heels on the dance floor.
  • Select opening and closing shots. Every good story has a beginning and an end. While sifting through your photos for favorites, keep an eye out for the perfect opening image to your book as well as a final shot that will complete your story.
  • Think beyond pictures. Who says wedding photo books should only feature photographs? Today’s books have enough room for unique text, quotes, and details about your big day. Colin suggests, “Incorporating your invitation, mementoes, notes from loves ones, and other personal items such as petals from your bouquet.”

    A ccandid shot of the bride and groom laughing together.

    A candid image of the bride and groom laughing together captures an intimate moment between the couple and is a nice break from the traditional posed photographs in a wedding album.

  • Create your photo album now. “There is no magic timeframe to this, however I suggest making your album sooner rather than later. A year goes by and you are now looking for a new home or getting ready for baby number one! Don’t do tomorrow what you can do today. It’s also good to get it done so you can share it with your visiting family and friends.”

Classic and Contemporary Wedding Photo Book Ideas

With so many lovely styles and books to choose from, deciding on the perfect wedding photo book can be overwhelming. Get inspired by our favorite classic and contemporary wedding photo book ideas and styles that are stunning and easy to make on your own.

Classic Wedding Photo Book

This elegant wedding photo book template is a Shutterfly Storybook style, the perfect choice for any traditional, religious or formal wedding. Designed by Yours Truly, it features sophisticated black and white embellishments, classic backgrounds, and lovely page templates that tell a story of your big day.

Inside pages of the Classic Wedding photo book.

The Classic Wedding photo book features creative page layout templates, making it easy for couples to upload their favorite wedding photos and pick the embellishments they love most. The final look is stunning, polished and professional.

Choose Classic Wedding to create your personalized photo book, or check out some other classic choices from Shutterfly®:

Contemporary Wedding Photo Book

This creative and beautiful wedding photo book is ideal for modern and contemporary wedding themes and styles, offering lovely typography, unique embellishments, and sophisticated frames. Designed by Mirna Morphis, the Contemporary Wedding photo book might just be the perfect way to showcase your wedding day images.

storytelling contemporary photo book

With lovely script, modern embellishments and elegant layouts, the Contemporary Wedding photo book is a great choice for modern and contemporary weddings.

Watercolor Wedding Photo Book

This unique and beautiful wedding photo book template features watercolor bouquets and impressive calligraphy, perfect for the modern couple and wedding theme.

A contemporary photo book with watercolor images.

Watercolor bouquets and impressive calligraphy make this template a perfect fit for contemporary and elegant wedding themes.

Use the Watercolor Wedding photo book to display your most cherished wedding day images, or peruse Shutterfly’s selection of contemporary wedding photo book templates, including:

Shutterfly® Personalized Wedding Photo Books

Shutterfly has three ways you can make personalized wedding photo books:

  • Make My Book: Perfect for couples who need assistance with curating photos but want control over the size and style of the album.
  • Custom Path: This is the way to go for creative and crafty couples who want complete control over the creation process, including layouts, style, and the embellishments within the book.
  • Simple Path: This third option is the happy medium, a template that does the work for you but allows you to tweak with the final arrangements and add captions for that personal touch.

Looking back, you may remember your wedding as a day that went by in a blink of an eye. The perfect wedding photo book allows you to relive your magical day forever.