How to choose a wedding venue

5 Tips for Selecting Your Wedding Venue

There is nothing more exciting than shopping for your wedding party venue, normally its the first thing you decide on and while emotions run high its worth just thinking ahead about how that venue will look in your pictures.

Also more importantly, how it will sit with your photographer.

Over the last year I have seen some great venues, some terrible ones. Yes, those brochure pictures look great but normally they are staged by someone (like me) who has lots of clever tricks to make the venue look super amazing for print. Self serving, yes.

To help all those brides’ to be – here is a short list of items you could look for (or not) in selecting a great venue for great pictures.

This might sound like I’m ranting a little, that’s because I totally am, now we have that cleared up ….

1 – Ceilings

Yes ceilings are important to us photographers, we love to bounce the flash from the ceiling (sometimes walls too) to create some lovely even light on our newlyweds and party. A black ceiling is very very BAD, why ? Because black is absorbent to flash light, used to kill off the exact thing we love, light.

Without it, a camera has to work harder, meaning low light performance now has a huge impact in your photographers camera. Harder working camera and flash, not so nice pictures. Faces can look over exposed and backgrounds or ambient light is compensated by direct flash – yuckie.

2 – Windows

For day weddings then windows are a blessing, lots of lovely light. I love to shoot a day wedding where I can turn my flash off for many shoots and create some beauty with ambient light.

On the flip side, if there are windows at night, then make sure the curtains are there to be closed. At least on some of the windows.

3- Table Layouts

Tempted to get a small venue and save a few dollars, or cram people round a table ? Don’t do it. Not only does it impact where us photographers can go, but its a horrific experience with many refusing to get up and dance. In turn less for us to shoot and coverage shots suffer, don’t complain !

Don’t be cheap on the venue size.

4- Mirrors

I’m going to use OMG now, OMG MIRRORS – I absolutely hate ceiling to floor mirrors, it means you’re very much limited to the kinda shots you are going to get – and the ones you do get need a lot of post work too. The same for chandeliers, they may look classy but in truth they create some horrific reflections when they room is over loaded with them.

Never get your head table or cake set up in front of a mirror either, maybe one of my biggest axes to grind with venues, yes your small space is small, a massive mirror might help but the shots look horrific.

Its not the 80’s any more, mirrors are not cool.

5 – Dance Floor

Simple tip here, nice to have one without poles in the way.


6 – Non Venue Tip (for free) Flowers

Just one last tip that’s not venue related but a pet hate of mine. Why select the biggest flowers known to man to sit on your tables ?

It looks ostentatious for a start, but for table shots they completely ruin the plan.

The flowers / triffids need to be moved and creates a complete kerfuffle, with the majority of guests unable or unwilling to help; not that I blame them either. Who wants triffid juice all down their tux or posh frock.

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