Add a Personal Touch to Your Wedding with a Slideshow

PC via Mark Alison on IG: @markalison

Planning on your reception being memorable and special? Of course you are!  But, the details and planning of how the guests will experience it brings up many questions and is vital to the overall success of the day. If they arrive before cocktail hour, what will they do?  What will they do during the down time before the arrival of the wedding party? How can you share memories of yourselves with new family members? A slideshow can be your solution to entertaining and connecting family members and friends with you and your spouse through funny and meaningful photos of you two throughout your lives.

What You’ll Need

When you are searching for wedding venues, ask the venue if they have a projector and screen you can use for a slideshow. Most do have a projector that either comes with the venue rental or requires a rental fee. However, knowing if there are extra costs will help you plan out when and where the show will be displayed. This will also help you figure out what other materials (extension cords, table, screen, etc.) you will need. You will also need a laptop to run the slideshow, so make sure you have access to one and definitely make sure you have the right adapter—no one wants to be running to the nearest Best Buy at the last minute to buy an adapter!   

Once you have the projector, computer, and screen ready to go, it’s now time for the fun part—getting together all of those photos of you and your future spouse! You can put this task on a few people since going through pictures may require legwork, but your family and friends will be happy to help you. You could set up an evening with some family members and family members-to-be and have a picture party. Grab some pizza and wine and you have an instant bonding sesh! Involving family and friends in this process will give them the opportunity to contribute!  PLUS – it will be a good conversation starter at the wedding when they see the photos that they picked up on the screen.

What Kind of Photos

As far as what photos to choose for the slideshow, side-by-side baby photos, school/graduation photos, prom photos, etc. are a fun way to show you two growing up and changing. You can also use candid photos, awkward pre-teen photos, family photos, engagement photos, photos of you and people in the bridal party, and basically anything that would connect to family members and friends. Bonus points if you include photos of you and people who will attend your wedding!

How will you arrange your slideshow? You can use iMovie to arrange the photos and layer music in the background, and be sure not to use funky transitions that could be overwhelming! Choose a couple songs to play in the background—make sure the songs aren’t too slow or too fast, because that could be distracting as well. Aim for 5-7 minutes (which won’t be too short or so long that it starts to drag.

How to Get It Right

On the technical side, don’t forget to make a backup file in case one gets damaged. Store these on a flash drive or a cloud storage system like Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. Test-drive the slideshow while you’re setting up the day before if you have access to the projector then. Designate someone to run the slideshow—often DJs take this responsibility because they will be playing the music/making announcements at that time. Do not put the responsibility on anyone in the wedding party or yourself—you won’t have time!

After you have done the legwork in getting the slideshow put together, then you can rest easy knowing that your reception will have one personal touch. Guests will love to see photos old and new on your wedding day.  After all, the day is about connecting with new family and friends and old.  Slideshows are also a great way to start that union with bonding over memories! You and your guests will remember it for years to come.


Looking for other fun ideas?  Check out our post on fog screens!

Fabulous Wedding Cakes by Bella Sera Cakes

From simple to stunning, our cake designers can create the most delicious and beautiful wedding cake for your wedding. Whether it’s a grand cake we spotlight for you on our hanging cake table, or a simple 3 tier cake beautifully displayed on a 4 foot table, we believe your cake should always be a focal point of your reception.

Check out a few of our cake photos from the gallery below.

More Bella Wedding Cakes photos to come!




An Adult Only Wedding

Deciding to have an adult only wedding or wedding reception can be a sensitive topic, and for some couples there are advantages and disadvantages to each choice. Whether the decision not to have children at your wedding ceremony and/or reception is made based on budgetary reasons or simply a personal preference, either choice is perfectly acceptable. The trick is how you communicate this to family and friends, and how you deal with some of the consequences!

A great place to start is by talking to your immediate family members and wedding party first. By letting bridesmaids, groomsmen and immediate family in on your choice for an adult only wedding, it allows them to spread the word in a thoughtful and informal way to all of your guests.  They can also help you weigh out the pros and cons to this decision. Once you’ve made a decision to stick with an adult only wedding, the next step to informing your guests will be on your invitations.  While printing the phrase “No Kids Allowed” on your invitations is generally frowned upon, less negative alternatives include the wording “Adults Only” or “Adult Only Ceremony & Reception”.  You can also specify the names of the people that are invited to the wedding for example,  “Mr. & Mrs. Jack Smith” as opposed to “The Smith Family”. Another option is notifying the guests on their invitation that a certain number of places have been reserved for them at the wedding.

Once you have decided, be sure to stick with your decision. Consistency is a key element when making sure that all of your guests gracefully accept your decision not to invite children to your wedding. Don’t feel upset because you made some exceptions for certain guests who may have their child as the flower girl or ring bearer.  If your adult only wedding stirs up too many concerns with a large number of your guests, look into helping arrange a babysitter or two that can care for many of the children during the wedding. Offering a possible solution for your guests might allow you to maintain the adult only wedding that you wished for. It is our experience, that sometimes couples have been disappointed by several friends opting out of attending their wedding because they wanted to bring their children and don’t want to hire a babysitter for 8 – 10 hours while they take off and attend your wedding. This can be one negative side to choosing an adult only wedding.

No matter what your decision is about inviting or not inviting children to your wedding, be sure to think it through.  Your vision of an adult only wedding might include you and your fiancé as the stars of the day with an elegant seamless transition between each element of the day, without distractions. Kids can be messy, they can be demanding and they can cry right during the middle of your wedding vows. However, they have also been known to be the creators of some of the cutest moments at weddings, and lets face it weddings really are about family, young and old alike!

A Sand Ceremony

In a previous blog post we gave The Unity Candle Ceremony its time in the spotlight, now we want to share some details on another type of unity ceremony, “The Sand Ceremony”.  An equally beautiful element to incorporate into your wedding ceremony timeline, the Sand Ceremony offers thoughtful and meaningful symbolism.

The Sand Ceremony consists of a unity vessel and two or more bottles of colored sand. Sometime after the formal vows, the bride and groom take turns pouring their chosen color of sand into the vessel.  When couples are blending families, they will have several bottles of different colored sand for each child also. The flowing sands and blending colors of the Unity Sand Ceremony symbolize the bringing together of two lives into one or two families into one. The separate sands symbolize everything that the bride and groom have been in the past and by combining them, it symbolizes their future together. Once the two sand colors are poured into the unity vase, they can never be put back into their separate vases. They are forever entwined and interconnected just as the lives of the bride and groom are joined, and their children are joined. Many officiants beautifully communicate to the guests how the separate sands once poured into the unity vase can never be put back into their separate vases. They are forever entwined just as the lives and love of the bride and groom.

The Sand Ceremony is one of the many different types of symbolic unity ceremonies that can be incorporated into your wedding ceremony; and at the Bella Sera it is truly important to us to share the meanings and significance behind each one so our couples can choose one that is the perfect fit!

An Unplugged Wedding

An unplugged wedding, what a simplistic, charming and novel concept. But in the day and age of guests armed with cell phones and iPads that can’t wait to share your special moments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat almost simultaneously as you are saying your ‘I do’s’, an unplugged wedding is a very rare occurrence.  However, the rarity of unplugged weddings doesn’t take away from the importance of the idea. Taking the time to unplug, be present and actually connect with the wedding experience is important and as a couple, it is ok to ask your guests to do so.  Not to mention that occasionally  “guest photographers” can inadvertently compromise your professional pictures. The Bella Sera experts are always making our couples aware of the “pros and cons” of certain decisions. We have seen entire ceremony photo galleries ruined by smartphone screens in every professional photo and the occasional guest who stands up right at the “wrong” time to get their own shot, and up right in the middle of what would have been a magical shot for the wedding photographer.

There are countless ways to politely ask your guests to keep their devices tucked away during your wedding celebration.  Cute and clever signs are just one option, with a simple message asking guests to please keep their phones and cameras put away during the ceremony.  An officiant can also start the ceremony with a gentle request for all guests to put their phones and cameras aside for the ceremony. There are many ways to ask this of your guests, but one of our favorite announcements was a simple and thoughtful greeting. “Welcome, friends and family! Good evening, everyone. Please be seated. The couple invites you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. If the groom can do it, then so can you.” The guests all happily obliged, and even after the ceremony, many decided to remain unplugged, keep their arms down and their hearts open and enjoyed the day, instead of being an observer from behind their cameras.

But if an unplugged wedding just isn’t your style, embrace your tech savvy guests and have fun with it! Use an app that will allow all of your guests to post pictures in one location so everyone can share them or even create your own unique wedding hashtag!


Personalizing Your Wedding

There are no two alike, not snowflakes, not fingerprints and certainly not weddings! Every year there are more than 2.2 million weddings across the United States and after being in business for more than ten years and hosting countless celebrations, we can confirm that there have never been two weddings that were the same. Personalizing your wedding is something we have become experts at!

Every person, every couple and every family has its own unique story to tell and we feel so privileged to be a part of the tale. One of the things that we are so proud of at the Bella Sera is our endless effort to get to know our couples and their story. It’s important to us because it guides everything that we do. Walking couples through the process of finding those special characteristics that are unique to them and then helping them use those things to transform their wedding celebration into a truly unique and tailor fit event is what makes coming to work everyday so exciting!


We have helped couples incorporate the way that they met into their décor, into favors that they have given to their guests, and even games that have been played during the wedding reception. We have helped groomsmen and bridesmaids with a special surprise for the couple and we have even helped the bride and groom with surprises for each other!

We encourage every couple to really think about what things are special to them, to think about their story leading up to their engagement and to let us help them create an event that reflects that in every way possible! Personalizing your wedding with special detailed touches is truly what we love the most! Check out more ideas on our weddings page.

Created by The Following Wedding Professionals:
Wedding Photography: Mark Alison Photography / Wedding Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center / Packages: Bellissimo /  Wedding Designer: Elisabeth Montoya-Bella Sera/ Catering: Bella Sera Catering /  Décor: Bella Sera Event Center /

Giving Back

Since 2006 Elisabeth Montoya and The Bella Sera Event Center have been the driving force behind the annual Foster Children’s Bike Event. The event raises funds so Elisabeth’s organization can get brand new bikes, helmets, and locks for foster kids every summer. To date, this event has put over 500 bikes in the hands of foster children in the Brighton, Colorado area. The 5th Annual Foster Children’s Bike Event, held on Saturday, September 17th, helped put smiles on dozens of kids faces.

“I would love for more people to know about all the kids in foster care and what an amazing difference it has made to these kids to have something that is “brand new” and something they can call “theirs.” It’s incredible to see the reactions you get from these kids.  They are so grateful and it gives them so much freedom…especially if they are teenagers.” said Elisabeth Montoya.

In 2012, Elisabeth will be hosting the 6th Annual Foster Children’s Bike Event which is always looking for donations or groups of people who might want to pitch in and sponsor one child with a new bike and accessories.

For more information please visit The Bella Sera Event Center or contact Elisabeth via email at:

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