Projector for Wedding Reception
Nowadays, it’s almost a given that couples will be showing engagement photos, baby photos, and/or a video during their wedding reception. It’s a really fun way to engage with the guests and share your memories. What some people don’t think about (myself included), however, is if they will have a projector for wedding reception use. Some venues provide a screen and projector to help couples present the slideshows or video, but some do not. If you have a venue that does not provide the projector, you can either rent or buy one. In either case, you will need to look at certain criteria including lumen, resolution, and value.
Lumen and Resolution
In my research to find a projector for the wedding, I realized that lumen AKA brightness and resolution are probably the two most important specifications to analyze. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor wedding, if adjusting the lighting to show your media is not a viable option, you will want a projector with 3,000 lumens or higher.
As for resolution, that will depend on the quality of your pictures and videos. For just pictures, you should be fine with SVGA resolution (800 x 600). If you have a HD video, however, you may want to get a projector with WXGA resolution (1280 x 800 and equivalent to 720p) or true HD (1920 x 1080 and equivalent to 1080p).
Projectors can be very pricy (but can also be much more affordable than people think), so renting a projector for one day might make sense. Adorama offers 3 projectors for renting, and they range from $50 a day to $80 a day. What’s interesting is that they are closed on Saturdays so if you have a Saturday wedding, you will need to pick it up Friday and return it Sunday or Monday, making it a weekend rental.
The Epson PowerLite 8350 offers true HD resolution but only has 2,000 lumens. The Epson PowerLite 1775W does offer 3,000 lumens, but the resolution is WXGA (1280 x 800). The InFocus 3200 AKA InFocus IN2126 offers similar WXGA resolution, but it boasts 3,200 lumens. You will have to decide which projector best fits your needs and as you can see, renting a projector for wedding reception use is cheapER than buying but not cheap so it would be good to compare the prices to buying a projector.
Considering the cost of renting a projector for a wedding may be in the range of 10% to 20% of the cost of buying a projector, it may make sense for some to buy one, especially if you need to rent the projector for more than one day. You can always lend it out to friends in the future or use it as your new TV or home theater after you get married.
While I have not used any of the following projectors yet or seen them in action, I read a lot of reviews on them and scoured multiple sites to compare the prices of these projectors to others in the same category to determine which projectors were the best value in my opinion. Also, I only looked at projectors with 3,000 lumens or higher. Newegg is the best site to search for a projector since they have a huge inventory, and you can filter by a lot of criteria, including lumen, resolution, etc. They are not necessarily the best site, however, to actually buy the projector, since it is often the same price or cheaper on Amazon.
A great projector for weddings if you only need SVGA resolution (800 x 600) and 3,000 lumens is the ViewSonic PJD5134 for just $349.99.
A great projector for weddings if you only need WXGA resolution (1280 x 800) and 3,200 lumens is the Optoma DW312 for just $482.99.
A great projector for weddings if you want true HD (1920 x 1080) and 3,000 lumens is the Acer H6510BD for just $699.99 normally. It is a super popular item, however, since it’s a top-rated home theater projector for cheap so it is often sold out at the $699.99 price level.
The Main Point
You put a lot of effort into shooting engagement photos, making a video, and putting together a slideshow. As a result, you will want to display it properly on your wedding day using the right projector. At the same time, you don’t want to break the bank. If you absolutely cannot envision using the projector even once after the wedding, then renting will be the best choice. If you can see yourself setting up a home theater or have lots of friends who will want to borrow a projector for their own weddings, however, then maybe buying is a better option. The cost isn’t that much higher than one might imagine, especially if you go for a lower-end (but still superb) projector and you can probably save quite a bit using the right cash back portal!
[Update 11/1/13] Unfortunately, the Citi Forward no longer offers new cardholders 5 Thank You Points per $ spent on dining and bookstores, such as Amazon. I no longer recommend opening this credit card.
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