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Old bus creates new memories
Valley Vintage Van
Marcela and Jairo Aguilar turned a 1973 Volkswagen transporter van into a photo booth that creates lasting and unique mementos for event hosts and their guests (Photo contributed).

Name of business: Valley Vintage Van

Type of business: Photo booth

Location: Central Valley; Turlock-based

Contact information: 209-417-0025;

Specialty: Booth and photo prop in one


History of business:

Turlockers Marcela and Jairo Aguilar describe themselves as “old souls,” finding joy in all things vintage and truly understanding the sentimental value a photograph can hold. Given their personalities, it’s no surprise the couple owns and operates one of the most unique photo booths in the Central Valley — a 1973 Volkswagen transporter van known as the Valley Vintage Van.

The search for a photo booth-worthy van began four years ago when the Aguilars were planning their wedding, Marcela Aguilar explained. She couldn’t find a photo booth to her liking and soon after her special day decided she didn’t want that to be the case for other brides.

“After that day, I always thought to myself that there needed to be something out there for someone like me who was looking for not only a photo booth, but for a statement piece that would be talked about and remembered for years to come,” she said.

While scrolling through posts on Pinterest, Marcela saw an idea for a VW van photo booth and the rest is history. She and her husband found the perfect van in Los Angeles and picked it up the next weekend, fondly naming the vehicle Fern.

Now, Fern the VW van has been transformed into a mobile photo booth, with the Aguilars installing new floors, a tech console and backdrop bar into the space to provide a modern, comfortable place to pose for pictures.

“When we first got Fern, we had to do a lot of research on the best way to modify it without losing the authenticity of it. We knew we didn't want to modify it too much being that we still wanted to be able to drive it on our free time without it being a permanent photobooth,” Marcela said. “You wouldn't know it was a photobooth from the outside if you saw us driving down the road.”

Valley Vintage Van travels to weddings, quinceaneras, fundraisers and other events within an 80-mile radius of Turlock, serving not only as a way for guests to take photos, but as a fun visual in photos for wedding parties and other party throwers. The center seat in the van has been removed, meaning plenty can fit into the space for truly memorable pictures.

“So far, our record is 13 ladies at once,” Marcela said. “It can get a little wild in there at times, but we wouldn't have it any other way! We love to hear all the laughs and see all the smiles as everyone gets out.”

The Aguilars decorate Fern to match the theme of each event, and the pair also offers a memory book where guests can add their photo strip accompanied by a special note. Some people use the memory book as the guest book for their weddings, Marcela added, making for the perfect visual memento.

“Having a photo booth at your event makes for another element of fun. It gives your guests something to do while you are out taking pictures with your photographer, and also gives your guests something to be able to take home with them to remember how much fun they had on your special day,” Marcela said.

While the Aguilars have certainly helped many create new memories with the Valley Vintage Van, they’ve helped stir up old ones, too — one of their favorite parts about the job.

“Our favorite part about what we do is that we make people smile and laugh. There is no way you can be upset after leaving our photobooth,” Marcela said. “We also bring back a lot of memories from people who used to own a VW bus or grew up with one. We love to hear their stories that makes them remember another happy time in their life.”