Wedding Post - Post One

by Alex

It's time to update my blog again. This time, I wanted to write about my wedding, or at least, the tech in the wedding! Many of you know that Jalysa and I have been consumed by our wedding the last few months - I have to admit - I never want to have another wedding. It wasn't bad, it was just stressful. I'm glad our friends and family had an excellent time, and I loved building out the tech for our wedding, but the overall stress was too high. The good news is that we're back to normal now!

I wanted to use this post to do three things:

  • Give a shoutout to Chris Moxley and John at Southeastern Events and Sound. You guys really know how to make a party go from good to great. Thank you for working with us and keeping our wedding awesome.
  • Thank everyone for coming to our wedding! I know some of my friends and family read my development blog for fun, so thank you all for coming :)
  • Talk about the tech at my wedding.

The Boxes

Many of you have heard about "the boxes" if we've talked in the last 6 months. For those who haven't heard or seen them, here they are:

But what are the boxes? Excellent question. They are custom wired boxes with Arduino Nano Chips soldered to a NRF24L01 chip, battery, battery charger, power switch, and four happ arcade buttons. Inside the box, the chip was programmed to send the pressed button to the master node and provide feedback about quiz questions I was asking our guests. While I'll give a more detailed explanation in a future post, this post is to share the tech temporarily. To give an idea as to what that looked like, here's a picture:

Given our Halloween Themed wedding, we wanted people to be able to use spell books to cast their answers (spells) for our quiz. There was a small prize given to the winning table (custom fidget spinners), but I can't even begin to describe how much fun I had doing this. In the picture above, the question was "How many blankets do we have on our bed at all times?" The correct answer was 3, and you can see that Witch got it correct whereas Ghost got it wrong. I wrote my own custom library to take the responses, tally the scores, and display the questions. I also did the design with the help of my wife (so yes, we intentionally picked comic sans... We wanted a fun and casual font that is still professional :troll_face:). I will make the source code public for the quiz, the hardware, and the interaction with the hardware public at some point in the near future.

In the picture above, you'll also notice some other things in the background - a white umbrella, a monitor, a computer, and a backdrop. This brings me to a wonderful segue of the next tech I built at my wedding.

The Photobooth

The intent was to have a photobooth at our wedding where guests could come up and take pictures of them doing silly things. I also gave the ability to record a three second gif of them doing really silly things. This post is going to stick to the "what" - I'll write another around how I built the photobooth (along with snags, gotcha's and accomplishments along the way).

Keeping along the theme of having an interactive wedding, Jalysa and I added some unique touches to the photobooth. Guests were able to put their faces in holes of our photos (see below), or interact with animations / text / stickers on the screen. The entire experience was done in the web browser and processed on the backend via a custom web server that spun up ffmpeg instances. With that, it's easier to show you how this turned out, so see the photos below:

While the picture above was taken using a cell phone, you can see a few cool things - the first is my wife and her friends right before they start taking a gif (the gif is below). The second is the logitech webcam in the right on a tripod. This was the camera that we used to get the shots and do the feedback. You can also see the monitor that was facing the photobooth, and how people are using it to line up in the shots. From the side, it's pretty neat; however, it was way more useful in practice: You can see it here (18 megs)

Some of our friends really loved this. In fact, here's a fun one of our friend Brett being a bear with Jalysa in Alaska.

As you can guess, this is one of the many shots we got from our wedding - nearly 500 to be exact. I'm in the process of converting my site to a full golang implementation, so I'm holding off on uploading all the images until that's complete.

The wrap up.

Over the next few weeks, I'll continue to write about the tech in our wedding and how I built various things to do this. I'll open source my code and share with all to use in the future. Thanks for reading this post! Feel free to subscribe to my site by clicking Login and Sign Up. This will help me create a mailing list for future posts.

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