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September 30, 2022

4 Important Venue Considerations

Now that you’re engaged, its time to start PLANNING (after you’ve come back to earth from Cloud 9)! At the top of your to do list is probably choosing and booking your vendors and venue. Even if you have a pretty good vision of what you want your wedding day to look like, there are important logistical considerations to take into account that you might have never thought of. As a wedding photographer with more than ten years and 100+ weddings worth of experience, I’m giving you my 4 Most Important Venue Considerations when shopping for your wedding location!

Flexibility

As much as we hope it won’t be a factor, the reality is weather is always a consideration for a wedding day. Regardless of season, inclement weather of some kind is a possibility. However, planning ahead is the best way to ensure that weather is not a stressor on wedding day. Any good photographer can make nearly anything work in any weather conditions (I’ve photographed in a tropical storm in Savannah, GA. Outside.) But it is important to discuss the following with each venue so that you can rest assured there is an adequate back up plan:

  • What are the options for covered outdoor photos? (I as the photographer can be in the rain, but what space is available to keep the bride/groom/wedding party dry?)
  • What are the options for indoor ceremony/reception if needed? Is there adequate space? Do you need to consider renting a tent?
  • Who makes the final call on moving indoors? Sometimes the venue takes full control of this, sometimes they let the couple make this choice (and many couples are ok with a little rain!)
  • How much time is needed before making that call? (Do you need to decide the day before or can you wait it out that morning, in the case of 50/50 chances)
Megan and Corey’s reception space had a gorgeous tent option that they ended up using!
Paige and Tanner’s morning started off drizzly; this covered space at the hotel entry worked great for portraits until the rain cleared!

Getting Ready Space

This is more important than many couples think! On tours, the Bridal Suite or Grooms Lounge usually look plenty big…while empty! But when you factor in the amount of STUFF that will come with your wedding party- dresses, suits, bags, hair/make up, shoes, beer, mimosa station, etc- it adds up quickly! You do not want a small, cramped space, it gets really hot and uncomfortable quickly!

Also, from a photography standpoint…windows and access to natural light is HUGE! Your “Getting Ready” and detail images in your bridal suite and grooms lounge will be next level if you have access to windows compared to a room with no windows and only indoor lighting. Not to say that Bridal Suites without natural light aren’t fine, any good photographer can make any room look lovely, but you simply can’t get that beautiful window look without true access to windows and natural light.

Footing

I absolutely love a “garden” wedding, in which the ceremony takes place on grass. It is just so intimate and lovely. However, if you are choosing this option, be sure that you as the bride, as well as family and wedding party, take this into account when choosing footwear! I’ve seen many a bride, bridesmaid, or mother of the bride or groom struggle down the aisle with stiletto heels sinking into grass with every step! No fun. Check out the footing at your chosen ceremony site and give everyone a heads up!

Nontraditional Choices

A formal church or wedding venue may not be your preference or in your budget, that’s fine, thats awesome! I’ve photographed weddings at gorgeous family homes, small backyards, rental pavilions, country farms, and even AirBnB’s! If you’re considering a smaller, more intimate wedding, this is a great choice! You can have all the gorgeous details and tradition in a more relaxed, creative setting. My tips based one experience with these weddings:

  • Recruit family and friends to help with the decorations and details (thank them with a favorite bottle of liquor, a spa service, gift cards to their favorite restaurant, etc!)
  • Get a bunch of bottles of wine from Costco and a great keg of beer from your local brewery
  • Find a friend willing to “DJ” just by being in charge of a decent speaker and iPhone playlist
  • Pro Tip – if it’s in your budget, hire a food truck to come by for reception food or late night snacks!

Featured Venues (Central Minnesota):

Crooked Willow
Bold North Cellars
Gathered Oaks
Quarterdeck Resort
AirBnB

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