Choosing The Perfect Wedding Ceremony Venue
Weddings can often require a lot of planning, time and money. One of the first major steps in planning your big day is choosing the perfect wedding ceremony venue. Depending on whether or not you are having a religious ceremony, you may need to find a venue or location for your wedding ceremony as well as a separate venue or location for your reception.
The information below deals strictly with venues that are not places of worship. We also focus on the three most important factors that we have found couples discuss when choosing a ceremony venue; Size, Location and Feel. There are many other factors – least of which is budget – but we will not be discussing those here.
If you are choosing a ceremony location separate from your reception venue, please also check out our information on picking the perfect wedding reception venue!
Some couples plan their weddings two or even three years in advance to make sure they can book all their #1 choice vendors – including venues. The size of the venue can be taken in two ways:
A) You know how big your wedding will be and you need a venue that can hold that many people.
B) You know you love a specific venue and it forces you to contain your guest list to its maximum occupancy.
Whichever boat you happen to be in, make sure that you pay very close attention to the size and layout of the venues you are looking at. Being wedding photographers, we are always very conscious of both light and size when photographing ceremonies. You want to make sure you don’t have people packed in like sardines, and you also don’t want your wedding ceremony location to look empty.
Our advise: Whatever the maximum capacity of the venue is – stay between 5% and 10% UNDER that maximum. And remember, if you invite 300 guests only 250 will likely show up to the ceremony, so don’t look for a venue that can hold more than 300 because it could look very empty!
Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony? All of our destination wedding ceremony locations have been outdoors, while 75% of our local weddings tend to be indoors. This, for obvious reasons is related to weather. In Edmonton you never know what kind of weather you are going to get on a given day, so most couples opt for the security of an indoor wedding ceremony location. There are some excellent outdoor ceremony locations with great backup options in case of rain, so don’t completely rule out an outdoor ceremony!
In addition to whether you want an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony, you must also think about location relative to the location of your reception venue. Do you want guests to have to drive across the city? Do you have many older guests or out of town guests who may get lost easily? Having the ceremony and reception close together can often alleviate these concerns.
Another major consideration for the location of the ceremony is parking. Everybody hates having to hunt for parking. Does your ceremony venue provide parking? Is parking easily accessible? If you are having 300 guests, is there room for 150 vehicles?
This is one of the biggest considerations from a photography viewpoint. How do you want your pictures to feel when you are looking at your wedding album in 10, 15, 30 years? Pictures from a wedding inside a dimly lit church are going to have a much different feel than pictures from a wedding taking place in a rustic barn or a wheat field at sunset.
What are the decorations going to look like? Most venues charge extra for decor – or ask that you bring your own in. We personally love beautifully decorated ceremony venues – it can make a world of difference when looking through your pictures. Hanging icicle lights, fresh flowers, chair covers, aisle runners – all can add to the feel of your day. Does your venue offer them? Do they charge extra? These are all things to keep in mind when choosing your perfect wedding ceremony venue.