Vermont Wedding Venue Considerations (through the photographer’s lens)
Planning a wedding is 1% looking up information and 99% looking up inspiration. There are endless wedding ideas and information online. (Yes, here too.) You may find ideas and styles that you love, but when it comes down to making decisions about your own wedding, it’s important to ask yourself: Does this feel authentic to who we are as a couple? It may seem obvious, but if you don’t like the style of your wedding venue, you will be unhappy with your wedding photos.
For me, wedding photography is all about showcasing the connection within the couple. Which venues can you customize to your personal style or which venues have a built-in style that reflects you well already? I want you to be your most authentic selves on your wedding day. Choosing the right venue for you can help you do that.
Your wedding will be more enjoyable and the photography piece will run more smoothly if you choose a venue that fits your style and minimizes noise, distractions, and stressors.
Here are 6 venue considerations through your photographer’s lens:
Check to see if your wedding venue hosts multiple events on the same day and aim to be the only wedding at your venue on your wedding day. We don’t want to have to compete with another couple for the best portrait locations and we don’t want to be distracted by a loud cocktail reception while the ceremony is taking place.
A ceremony site is not ideal if it is near a parking lot or busy street (you will hear cars and people) or in a space crowded with people other than your wedding guests. If you are getting married on a beach or in a public place, there will likely be lookie loos or hangers on at the edges of your ceremony site who don’t realize or care that they are in all of the photos.
It’s also important that your guests have someplace to gather before the ceremony begins if they can’t be at the ceremony site until a certain time. This is particularly necessary if you are planning on doing a first look. A first look needs double the amount of privacy (not only do you not want strangers around, you don’t want your guests around) because it is designed to be an intimate moment between the couple.
This goes hand-in-hand with privacy. I want to be sure that my equipment is safe at your venue. A secure reception site is ideal because there is specific equipment I use at the reception that I don’t need for other portions of the day. If there are other events going on without proper security or people who are not wedding guests hanging around the reception site, I won’t feel comfortable leaving equipment at the reception site during the ceremony. This will limit my time because I will have to go back to my car whenever I need a new piece of equipment.
Transportation/Location of Events
There are three major locations you will need on your wedding day: somewhere to get ready, your ceremony site, and a place for the reception. The best case scenario is that all three of these locations are at your venue. If they aren’t, try to get places that are as close together as possible.
Transportation is expensive and, at times, unreliable. Limiting the vehicles involved will help your wedding day run more smoothly. Consider that time spent in cars and buses is time spent away from your photographer.
Aesthetics of the Venue
Every wedding venue has a perfect ceremony site, but the bulk of your wedding photography will not be during the ceremony. Consider the aesthetics of the reception site as well as the rooms you will be getting ready in. Often, photos of the groom and groomsmen are taken at the venue’s bar. Do all of these places match the look you desire for your wedding photography? Think about the color palette as well as the views and scenery, and make sure the green grass doesn’t clash with your bridesmaids’ dresses.
If your venue only has a few options for portrait locations, you had better love all of them. If there are lots of options, look at them ahead of time and have an idea about which places feel authentic to you. This is something we can collaborate on. If I have shot at the venue before, I will likely have favorite spots.
The best getting ready rooms have big windows and allow for lots of natural light. I love to do pre-ceremony shots on porches and balconies. Consider the lighting of your ceremony site. If your ceremony is going to be outside, that means considering when to have your ceremony and whether or not to have it under a tent so that you and your guests aren’t squinting in direct sunlight. (Trust me, you will like your wedding photos a lot more if your eyes are open.)
Backup Plan for Inclement Weather
I love overcast and rainy wedding days (the lighting is incredible!) but there has to be a place for your guests to go in case it rains. Venues that are accustomed to hosting weddings will have these plans in place, but if you are getting married at a private home, make sure you can accomodate everyone inside or under a tent. It’s not enough to just have somewhere where everyone can stand and wait out the rain; there needs to be a covered ceremony location just in case.
We can still get awesome portraits outside in the rain as long as we have some combination of umbrellas, porches, and overhangs to stand under so that we can make sure you stay dry.
Part of being a wedding photographer is going to a ton of weddings and picking up lots of helpful wedding planning information.
Here are some additional venue considerations:
Creative Freedom Level
Decide how much creative freedom you want to have. Wedding venues exist on a spectrum of creative freedom: On one end, there is the venue that aims to eliminate stress by doing pretty much everything for you. On the other, a field or private home around which you and/or your events coordinator will design your wedding. There are dozens of options in between, of course, but when you’re choosing your venue, it’s crucial to consider how much customization and creativity you want.
Your Venue Must-haves
Is a big dance floor the most important thing for you? Are you having a religious ceremony that requires you to be in your regular place of worship or somewhere with other specifications? Is your personal connection to the town paramount? Do you need a venue that has on-site catering or bartending? Things like this are not difficult to find, but you don’t want to choose your venue and then realize you forgot to ask about them!
Think about the Timeline
Of course the minute-by-minute of your wedding day doesn’t have to be set in stone before you choose your venue, but think about your must-have timeline elements. If you are doing a first look, you need a venue with a private space for that. If you are doing a cocktail reception after your ceremony, will that be in the same place as the sit-down dinner or will it be outside on the lawn? Are you moving from one location to another or from one side of a large venue to the other? Think about the way the venue is set up and how that will influence the flow of events.
Don’t Forget the Guest List
Again, you don’t have to know whether or not your mom wants to invite her best friend from college or if your Uncle Pete is getting a plus-one, but it’s necessary to have a general idea of the size of your guest list when choosing a venue. Inviting more people doesn’t limit your venue options, but you don’t want to have a small, intimate reception in a place designed to fit 300 people and you don’t want your guests to have to take turns waiting in the parking lot because the reception hall can only fit two-thirds of them. Also, if your primary love language is quality time, remember that having a bigger guest list limits the amount of time you can spend with each person.
Top Vermont Wedding Venues
1824 House Events & Accommodations, All Souls Interfaith Gathering , Amee Farm, Arlington Inn, The Barn at Boyden Farm, Basin Harbor Club ,Brandon Inn, Burlington Country Club, Crisanver House, Davis Center at the University of Vermont, Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Echo Lake Inn, Edson Hill Manor, The Equinox Resort, The Inn at Essex, Gedney Farm, Grafton Inn, Grand Isle Lake House, Green Mountain Inn, Hawk Inn & Mountain Resort, Hermitage Inn, Hildene – The Lincoln Family Home, Honora Winery and Vineyard, Inn at Mountain View Farm, Inn at the Round Barn Farm, Jay Peak Resort, Killington Grand Resort Hotel
, Lake Morey Resort, Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid Resorts, The Lilac Inn, Middlebury Inn, Monitor Barn, Mountain Top Inn, Okemo Mountain Resort, Pitcher Inn, Ponds at Bolton Valley, Quechee Club, Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm, Red Clover Inn and Restaurant, Riverside Farm, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Vineyard, Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe Mountain Resort, Stoweflake Resort, Stowehof Inn, Stratton Mountain Resort, Sugarbush Resort, Topnotch Resort, Tourterelle Restaurant and Inn, Vermont National Country Club, Wilburton Inn, Woodstock Inn, The Whiteface Inn