Wednesday, December 3

Planning Our Wedding: Finding a Venue

How to Pick a Wedding Venue

There are few things I enjoy less than looking for places on the internet. Apartment hunting, scouting for shoot locations, and wedding venues. I don't like to trust what I see on the internet- I want to go see it and experience it for myself.

It took me several weeks to narrow down a list of over 100 venues to the 6 or 7 I felt were worth visiting. I narrowed our choices down by location (we wanted to get married in Columbus), by function (we wanted to get married and hold our reception in the same place), by price (we're not made of money), and, of course, aesthetics.

Although I listed it last, the way a venue looked- in person and in pictures- was definitely the most important aspect to me. I knew, from weddings I've attended and had the pleasure of shooting, that the location could make or break the feeling and emotions of the day. A great location means less work. Fewer decorations means less money. And that's always a plus.

So after weeks of searching and visiting venues around the city, Blake and I ended up booking Via Vecchia Winery for our wedding. It's gorgeous- large brick arches, exposed wooden ceilings, and filled with natural light. It's unconventional- Blake and I will be married in a brick alley beside the winery. We couldn't be more pleased with our choice. We found a place that met all of our requirements and reflects our personalities.

So here are some tips to keep in mind for any one out there looking for a venue for their big day:

1. The venue effects more than you'd think.
Booking Via Vecchia was actually the first thing Blake and I did when planning a wedding and all of our decisions since then have been centered around it. A venue really dictates the feeling of a wedding day and making other decisions with the venue in mind helps tie the whole day together. Our venue is a little unconventional and so is my dress. The urban setting of the ceremony and the age of the building helped us pick (and rule out) what decorations we'd want to use. Make sure that your venue gives off a vibe that you love and reflects you - you don't want to spend time (or money) trying to morph a venue into something it's naturally not.

2. Write down your deal breakers.
As I mentioned, Blake and I really wanted to have the ceremony and reception in one location to avoid guests having to navigate through Downtown Columbus. I really wanted an outdoor ceremony so we needed a venue that allowed outdoor ceremonies but had acceptable indoor options in case of inclement weather. This might sound silly, but a venue not having flushable toilets was also a deal breaker. If I was looking at a venue that didn't meet those three requirements, I crossed it off the list.

3. Go see it in person!
Like I said, I hate scouting out things online. Pictures can easily exclude aspects of a venue that might not be ideal and, in the same way, unflattering iPhone pictures can make a venue look worse than it really is. Narrow down your choices based on your deal breakers (and what's in your budget) and go visit the rest! 

As the wedding season comes to an end I'll be writing a lot more about my experiences as a bride planning my own wedding. If you have any questions or suggestions for other topics please leave them in the comments below!

Keep smiling,



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