With image mapping and augmented reality photo booths, 2018's wedding season will get more tech

Key Points
  • Drones are upping the ante in wedding photos, and couples are using digital image mapping for event spaces and cakes.
  • Tech is making wedding costs reach celebrity-like levels.
Image Mapping Technology at the Temple House courtesy of The Knot

As a professional bridesmaid for hire, Jen Glantz has witnessed firsthand the extremes wedding parties often indulge for their big day.

But shelling out $25,000 just for photos and videos, like Glantz said one couple recently did? (For context, the average total cost of a wedding in the U.S. is above $30,000.)

"The photographer and videographers had a whole suitcase of gear that included multiple drones, a 360-degree virtual reality camera, and a GoPro to stick in the bride's bouquet," Glantz told CNBC recently.

"The bride and groom wanted to make sure that no moment of their wedding was missed, no reaction went uncaptured, and no new technology wasn't present," said the author of "Always a Bridesmaid."

It's part of a high-tech trend that's sure to drive up the already dizzying costs of getting hitched. Drones, Snapchat geofilters and image mapping technology — all of which have featured prominently in recent ceremonies — are just a few of the things you could see at a growing number of weddings next year.

With drone photography, videography, and tailor-made social media becoming a bigger part of the package, experts say that the money couples are spending on technology for their weddings is eclipsing what they might have once shelled out for decorations.

According to wedding hub The Knot, the trends include image mapping technology, which uses projection technology to transform cakes or even spaces.

"Cakes is one place we're seeing it a lot of. Maybe the cake is something more simple with a lot of tiers and they're working with a projection or lighting specialist to have photos and videos digitally mapped onto to the cake," said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, The Knot's editor in chief.

Flying drones come with their own considerations — cost being one of them. Local and federal laws sometimes restrict where and when unmanned aerial vehicles can fly. Glantz recounted another wedding in Washington, D.C., where the photographer got upset because drone restrictions prevented him from capturing the full essence of a wedding.

'That's where we're headed now'

An Interactive Entertainment Group augmented reality climbing wall

Cooper said custom social media hashtags have been a smash hit during nuptials, with about 64 percent of couples still creating a wedding hashtag. Snapchat geofilters take it a step further, by matching stationary or even cake prints.

Even the usually staid tradition of wedding photos is taking on a more 21st century feel. Additional options that are picking up popularity are booths that generate holograms, gifs and augmented reality photos.

According to David Trottier, an event director Interactive Entertainment Group, the majority of its wedding clients opt for something like the "Infinite Booth," an open-air photo booth that takes traditional photos with prints, captures animated gifs and offers slow motion video.

"We're making 360 photo booths, that's where we're headed now," said Trottier, adding that technology like "live photos" is popular at corporate events. For weddings, couples could prerecord a video message that could be overlaid on physical photos using AR.

With virtual reality offerings ranging from virtual skydiving to two player virtual hang gliding, Cooper told CNBC that VR is one of the most sought-after wedding accouterments, and is getting more futuristic.

"Something we'll see in the future are maybe robot bartenders or something along those lines," she said. "There are already some offerings out there that are not robots in the traditional way that we think of robots, but ... a bartender that you can speak to and they can create a cocktail."