I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods. 

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Weddings

June 24, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Finding a Venue

A wedding Wednesday banner.

Things have been a little crazy around here, but that’s okay because Wedding Wednesday is back!

So, now that you’re engaged and you’ve picked a date, it’s time to find a venue. The first thing to think about is what kind of wedding you want. Do you want a traditional, church ceremony? Do you want to go the non-traditional route and have your ceremony outdoors? Do you want everything to be in the same location or do you want your ceremony at one location and your reception at another? Do you want alcohol at your reception? Some smaller, more community-minded or religious locations don’t allow for it. Also, how big is your wedding going to be? Are you having only close friends and family or are you likely to have guests numbering in the hundreds? It’s important to answer these questions first as they’ll help determine what type of venue you’ll need.

Personally, I knew I wanted an outdoor venue for my ceremony and I wanted something where I could have everything at one location. I didn’t want my guests to have to travel between two venues. I also knew I wanted beer and wine at the reception and due to the size of our families, I knew I would end up somewhere near the 200 mark on the guest list. I also knew, and maybe this is one of the biggest things, that I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on the venue. I wanted something nice and outdoors with enough space for both the ceremony and reception that allowed beer and wine and could accommodate 200 guests.

Virginia has amazing wedding venues, some that have even popped up in the (almost) five years since I’ve been married so there are lots of options in a variety of price points.

  • SP8Wineries: I love wineries as wedding venues and they range in size from the more intimate to the large, commercial operations. One thing they all tend to have in common is that they’re gorgeous. The vineyards make for amazing photos and guests are likely to have a wonderful time.
  • IMG_3352Farms: I love a good farm wedding. There’s just something about twinkling lights draped throughout a barn that does it for me. With a farm wedding, you’re likely to get beautiful backdrops with the fields and also could get end up with a horse or two in your photos. Guests will have a great time taking in the atmosphere and kicking up their heels, or boots, on the dance floor.
  • IMG_6972Plantation homes: Plantation homes make for wonderful wedding locations. The bridal party can usually make use of the home while they’re getting ready and the porches make for great photo spots, especially if it rains. There’s also something very Gone With the Wind about getting married with a plantation home in the background and many are surrounded by fields, so you also have a little of that farm atmosphere.
  • de426-beach10468The beach: Beach weddings are always a great choice. There’s something peaceful about the waves washing up on the shore as the couple says their vows. The whole wedding has a very relaxed, summer vibe to it. Guests are often barefoot and you can decorate with an ocean theme. I’m moderately obsessed with photos I saw once that utilized starfish in the centerpieces.

No matter where you choose to get married, make sure it’s the perfect spot for you. My husband and I ended up choosing Riverside Weddings by Clore. My sister had actually gotten married there years before, although quite a few changes had been made since then. It offered the outdoor location we were looking for, featured the river as a backdrop, allowed for wine and beer (with an easy-to-get ABC event license) and had a great reception space where everyone was able to dance the night away. Also, there was a cabin onsite that the bridal party was able to use for the wedding day prep. It ended up being exactly what we were looking for and our guests had a wonderful time.

Getting Ready and Details (6 of 193) Getting Ready and Details (13 of 193) Formals (193 of 319)Last three photos by Angelina Photography.

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