7 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

One of the first decisions you make after getting engaged is choosing your wedding venue. There are many things to consider when deciding where you want to host your wedding and the venue is honestly SUCH a big deal because it determines things like how your photos will look and feel and sets the tone for the whole event.

Do you want an environment that feels whimsical like a fairytale? Or maybe your looking for something chic and modern? As someone who has photographed over 50+ weddings, here are 7 things that you should consider from a professional wedding photographer’s perspective when choosing your wedding venue.

  1. Does the venue fit with your wedding day vision? While themed weddings aren’t all the rage in today’s age, venues still do have an aesthetic and it’s good to know what your preference is before touring and deciding on one! For example, if you want rustic and vintage vibes, you probably shouldn’t waste any time touring an industrial brick venue in heart of downtown or a hip new brewery.

A few different venue styles to consider are:

Industrial/brick buildings or breweries

Rustic Barn

Vineyard

Spanish Ranch

Forest/Nature Setting

Beachfront

Castle/Mansion/Historical Venue

City rooftop

Garden

Resort/Golf Course/Ballroom

2. The next thing to consider about your venue is the backdrop. Can you envision photos of you on your wedding day in the ceremony space. Do they have a beautiful backdrop for the ceremony?

Be wary of venues that have a large window as the backdrop to your ceremony space. Windows behind the subject being photographed are extremely difficult to capture because cameras can’t expose for both the subjects (couple getting married) and the window backdrop – bright, blown-out lighting – at the same time and you’ll end up with grainy or hazy photos as a result.

3. Will the venue you’re looking at appear different on your actual wedding date as a result of seasonal changes or time of day? I’ve photographed at dozens of locations including a gorgeous garden wedding venue in Temecula – it was stunning but the bride and groom confided that it had looked even better when they had toured it in the spring when the plants were green and in full bloom versus late summer when some of the greenery was looking brown, parched and withered from the heat.

4. Check the ceremony space! Will it be in a shaded spot or will it be in full sunlight? Is there dappled lighting? Are there any poles or items that might block the view of guests or photographers? Is it a narrow space that will be tightly packed with chairs?

You may be wondering why would these things matter. Narrow spaces can limit your ceremony photos at times because your photographer can’t squeeze in between the sides of chairs and the walls to get multiple perspectives. If the space is not shaded, you might end of with very harsh lighting and photos of you or your bridal party and guests squinting into the sun. Lighting has a huge impact on your *expectation vs. reality* of how your photos turn out! But that’s a whole nother blog post.

5. Deciding between an outdoor vs. an indoor venue – natural lighting is 🤌 chef’s kiss – all of my favorite photos ever are taken outdoors with natural lighting. Depending on your location, an outdoor venue may have it’s downfalls if you risk natural elements like rain or snow. If you are considering an indoor venue here’s a few things to consider.

  • Does it have plenty of natural window light?
  • Are there large windows directly behind you during the ceremony 😬 (refer to point 4 above)
  • If it’s not well lit, do they allow flash? Flash restrictions tend to be specific to chuch ceremony weddings which have multiple restrictions that can impact your photography – I’m not a big fan of church ceremonies or ballroom receptions but that’s just my personal preferences!
  • Are there additional outdoor spaces you can use to capture flattering photos?

6. What time restraints come with your selected venue? Some venues require a 10 PM end time, but you may find the party is just getting started at 10 PM or your venue may not allow you to arrive on the property early and you’ll start getting ready somewhere else and find moving to the venue is a stressful, time consuming process that doesn’t go as smoothly as you anticipated – especially if you have a large wedding party or hair and makeup is running behind and before you know it, you’re trying to catch up on getting ready photos and rushing to make it to the ceremony while your guests are waiting in anticipation

7. What’s included in your venue booking? Some venues are a one-stop shop while others are simply a location and you need to bring in EVERYTHING else.

Be sure to ask what’s included and that means things like chairs, tables, arches, etc do they provide anything? Can you bring in your own vendors?

Do they have required vendors that you must work with? Do they help with setup or do you hire your own set up crew? Do you have a preference? Do you want them to handle everything or would you like to curate your day to a T and bring in all of your chosen vendors yourself?

Curious about the next step to take after you’ve chosen your dream wedding venue? Hire your wedding photographer! Use the button below to reach out and see if I’m available for your wedding date. 🙂

SHARE ON: