A Photographer’s Guide to Picking the Perfect Venue
Have you wasted hours upon hours on wedding websites...
Are your eyes completely glazed over from googling Maryland, DC, & Virginia wedding venues…
Do you feel like you’ve wasted so many weekend hours driving from venue to venue and just not finding what you are looking for?
Today I am going to give you some advice from a past bride and a photographer who has been in the wedding industry for 15 years.
First, Breathe… If it helps this is one of the most stressful parts of your wedding. It really is true once you find your venue everything falls into place.
How to find your perfect venue
I have some helpful hints including a link for all of my favorite venues in the Maryland, DC, & Virginia for you. (The link is to a word document that will download straight to your computer).
1- Create a list of venues. Google them individually and click on google images. When you click on the image it typically links back to a photographer’s blog which will show you what a full day looks like at that venue. Then based on the photos pick your top 5 venues to visit.
2- Have a few wedding dates in mind. If you want a Fall wedding the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November are usually perfect for leaves in Maryland, DC, & Virginia.
3- Check reviews… Weddingwire, the Knot, and Google are all places where past brides list reviews.
What to ask the venue’s before signing the contract
Now a days a lot of venues are charge a rental fee. Make sure you are clear on what that rental fee covers.
These are the questions you should ask.
Do they have a day of planner that will set up your centerpieces?
Do they have someone that will help take everything down after the wedding?
If the answer is yes to either of these questions, what is the fee?
What does the Day of Planner/Coordinator do?
What are you responsible for in regards to set-up/take down?
How much time after the reception do you have to take everything down?
What does your rental include?
Does it include tables & chairs?
Can you supply your own alcohol?
Do you need to get your own separate liquor license?
What is the latest you can have your reception to?
What are the rain locations?
What are your Hurricane/Blizzard policies?
Do they have a list of caterers that you can use or can you find someone outside the list?
If your venue is a public location…
Will the venue/winery be open to the public while our wedding is going on?
How far away is the closest hotel/air B& B to get ready?
A good photographer can shoot a wedding in a cardboard box and make it look amazing. My advice to you is to pin 15-20 photos wedding day photos that you love. If you find that your photos are all in a field then look for a wedding venue that has a more outdoor vibe. If you are pinning more city style weddings look for a industrial venue in the city.
Keep in mind that sometimes these venues don’t fit the amount of guests that you are inviting. If that is the case you pick a hotel just consider what is within a 5-10 minute drive from the venue.
Most photographers do a walkthrough with their couples to figure out where the best spots to create amazing wedding photos will be on their wedding day.
In the long run a venue is just a background. With the proper planner or event designer you can create any space you dream of.
If all else fails… Have a Destination Wedding! It brings your guest list down and you get to have your guests join you for an epic weekend !
Coming up next… Creating an Epic Engagement Session !