Does your venue suit your photography choice ?

14th July 2015
It's quite common knowledge that during the wedding planning stage one of the first things to get booked - usually it is number one - is the venue.
Everyone wants the perfect wedding day - that suits the couple in how the day will play out - and most importantly - suit the budget.

In our surveys one of the next things to get ticked off the list is photographer (yay!) , not forgetting that during the whole process, the bride-to-be is looking out for the perfect dress !

But sometimes you have to make sure that the venue you pick, and the photographer and the photography package you choose are compatible.

You might just think , a photographer will just do their job, regardless of the venue, and while that is true to a certain extent - there are things to consider.

Firstly, is the venue you are picking set in a location that suits the style of photos you would like to have. We have couples meet us and look through our sample albums and point out photos they love. Sometimes it's a beach wedding, or a lovely woodland photo, but they have maybe picked a city centre hotel with no views or surroundings like that.
Likewise some venues are actually Golf Clubs with fantastic surroundings, but you are not allowed access to some or any of the good spots.
Don't get me wrong, some Golf Club venues go out of their way to ensure you have the dream wedding, taking advantage of their beautiful surroundings, but always find that out before committing a lot of cash to them.

Secondly is timings and how many weddings the venue will have on during the day.
Some venues process weddings almost like a factory, moving wedding parties around from stage to stage like a finely tuned machine.
Great if you want a small efficient wedding with ceremony-meal-party and no frills in the photos, but not so good if you want a relaxed day with complete control of how your day will go.

Writing this as a wedding photographer, the emphasis is on my work, but not so I can make anyone's life more complicated, it's just that I've been to some weddings where the couple have paid a lot of money for a top photography package, and we just can't offer the style of photographs they dreamed of as we had nowhere to go and/or very limited time before being dragged in for the wedding breakfast as the next wedding was on their way in.

There are certain venues around the country that I wouldn't shoot a wedding at, not through any snobbery or financial choices, but purely because I know the service I want to give every couple - and I know I wouldn't be able to at those venues.
I would rather turn down a wedding than turn up and shoot what your Uncle Jim could do.
Some people might think I'm daft to say such a thing, but it's only because I genuinely want to put the quality of our product up front before the price.

So when you're planning your big day, take into account how important you think every part of the day is.
The location, can you get the photos that you want to see in your album there ?
Look around the inside and ask if there are nice rooms inside that can be used if it's wet outside.
Will you be rushed about - or will you be left to take in and enjoy your day ?
Ask how many weddings will be on that day, as if it's more than just your wedding it could get complicated. (There was a lovely registrars in Glasgow that would churn out about 20 a day! I think they've closed now.)

BUT.... we work a lot at venues that might not be set within the most fabulous grounds, but they are close to nice areas. So , so long as you build in time for photos properly (ask your photographer about this) you can nip away for 15-20 minutes to a nearby beauty spot to get some photos there.
We do this a lot, and always have the bride & groom back in time. You just have to build it into the plans for the day.

If you are in any doubt, before you book the venue, ask some photographers what they think of the venue.
Your photographer may be with you from early morning until into the night time reception, so he/she will know how a venue works and can advise how to best use each venue.
We offer free advice at anytime, whether you are booking us or not.
Don't be afraid to email a few photographers, see if they are available and ask if they have any experience of the venue you are thinking about.

We photographers have seen venues get prepared in the morning, we see how the staff treat the couples and their guests, we see florists come and set up, bands and DJ's coming in and setting their gear up, how staff handle meal times, the whole lot.
Not many other wedding suppliers except the venue staff themselves see as much of the day as the photographer - so please feel free to ask.

Any venue managers looking in on this will no doubt think I'm just trying to wind them up - but on the contrary, I've already wrote two blogs about two of our favourite venues and how great the staff are - and I plan to write more.
I only ever want to give out positive information, but will still honestly give an opinion if our photography style does or doesn't suit a venue.

I'm also aware that many couples don't want thorough photography packages - it is a luxury service after all - in that, a wedding can take place without it. But for couples that DO want good photography, and a good venue, the 2 have to be able to match up.


Thanks for looking in.


G.x

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