Photo by Leila Brewster Photography; courtesy of Marissa Mitchell | The VW Picture Bus
The VW Picture Bus pulls double duty as chic wedding attraction and your own private outdoor movie night.
When Marissa Mitchell and her husband Mike bought “Skye,” a baby blue 1972 Volkswagen Bus, it was mostly just an excuse to get Marissa the VW she’d always wanted.
“Growing up, my dad had a Volkswagen bus that he tinkered and worked on when I was in high school and college, and my first car was a Volkswagen Jetta,” she says. “I’ve always just been really into Volkswagens and follow a lot of Volkswagen people on Instagram. I came across this VW bus photo booth concept. There are a bunch in California and there’s one in New Jersey, and now they’re starting to pop up here in New York too, but when we were beginning there weren’t any within Westchester, so we were like, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
“I can conduct this little business on the side and work on it while my kids are napping. On the weekends we can go to beautiful places for weddings, Mitchell says, “because if not now, then when?”
VW Picture Bus was an instant hit. Its mix of vintage, boho looks and high-end photo services make the bus an ideal addition to the Hudson Valley’s taste for elegant, pastoral wedding parties. Rustic and kitschy props (like a vintage Woodstock LP) complement the bus’ history, while combining with a Canon DSLR and top-of-the-line photo printer and lighting setups to create the perfect photo booth and video confessional.
“When you go in you get really good, crisp photos and the lighting just makes everything pop,” Mitchell says. “I’m really grateful for my husband who has a good grasp on that stuff.”
Purchased in the spring of 2018, the couple was booked by fall, before even getting Skye its namesake paint job. The summer of 2020 was going to be the family’s second full season, with events booked every weekend.
“It was going to be a crazy but really good summer. Then COVID happened and weddings got postponed or cancelled.” The Mitchells found themselves with quite a bit of extra family time and, coming full circle, Mike really wanted an excuse to buy a digital projector for the family’s backyard.
“If we wanted to do it in our backyard, other people might want to do it too,” Mitchell says. “Most people aren’t doing much this summer. Bringing the experience to you and your house is what we’re all looking for.”
The Westchester couple brings over Skye, packed with string lights, projection and sound equipment, a 100-inch movie screen, and even a classic marquee. Guests provide their own seating and snacks, and can hook up their Netflix or streaming sticks or even pop in a DVD to watch whatever they’re into.
Unsurprisingly, this new service has also proven a tremendous success. Originally planning movie nights from June through August, but are already booking clients through October. “The response has been out of this world,” says Mitchell. “We were not expecting the amount of interest that was received, but it’s really exciting!”
For now, the couple is keeping this new service limited to just their home area, about a 30-mile radius encompassing Westchester County and perhaps a little bit further as circumstances warrant. Contact The VW Picture Bus for event details and pricing.