As a leading wedding photographer in Vancouver area for the last 10 years or so I have had the opportunity to photograph weddings at most of the major popular wedding venues in Metro Vancouver. Many of my clients that are planning their wedding ask me to recommend venues for both their ceremony and reception. It is hard to give one generic master list to all our clients as it really depends on quit a few factors. This article addresses some of the major and minor factors to consider when choosing a venue for your wedding ceremony and reception.
Choosing a venue that reflects who you are as a couple and your lifestyles
Find a venue that complements and represents your lifestyle and what you enjoy as a couple is an important factor when choosing a venue. A good example would be a couple that really enjoys fine dinning, quality food and enjoys the urban scene. Locations such as the Brix Restaurant come to mind right away. Foodie couples who want amazing ambiance in an urban setting are never disappointed with such venues. Is there a special spot that you met at? Perhaps that location may host weddings?
Considering guest capacities when choosing an venue
Before you even start to look for a venue you really have to know how many guests you’re planning on inviting to your wedding as that will largely dictate what venues will be available to you. This can be a relatively frustrating task for couples. Sometimes couples have their heart set on a specific venue but really cannot cut down their guest list to be able to reach the venue guest capacity. Sometimes the issue is certain type of venues, such as barns, are limited in numbers in Metro Vancouver so the ones that are available and have a large guest capacity get booked up very fast.
Location, location, location
As a Vancouver Wedding Photographer, I can say with certainty that location of the venue is an important factor in deciding where to host your wedding. There are many important questions to ask. Are your guests mainly from out of town? Are most of your guests elderly? Do most of your guests have cars? While you may find your dream venue somewhere in the middle of no where, you really have to think how easy it will be for your guests to travel to your venue. If you have many out-of-town guests you should factor things like hotel availability/location, proximity to airport and highway when choosing a venue. If you have many older folks attending your wedding you should also look at whether the venue is easily accessible for mobility challenged individuals.
Read all the reviews for the venue before booking
Looks can be deceiving! Just because a venue looks pretty and is in an ideal location doesn’t mean its always good. I have been to a few venues that look amazing and have beautiful backdrops but have terrible management and service. Looking at the reviews for your shortlisted venues is very important! I cannot emphasize this enough. There are many wedding related websites that have review services. One in particular that I find useful is Weddingwire.com
Timing of booking – Securing your venue asap!
As soon as you decide on a venue book it asap! Some couples book their venue as much as two years in advance. This is particularly true for venues that a have a specific look and are limited in supply (barns, venues by lakes, etc). Make sure to come up with a top three list so that if your top pick is taken you have backups you can look at booking.
Other factors to consider
Other factors to consider when booking your venue include cost, ability to bring your own alcohol on site and your own vendors. Some venues do not allow for you to bring your own photographer, DJ etc. Instead you have to use their onsite vendors which may or may not be what you had in mind in terms of quality, price and style. Also, being able to bring in your own vendors and / or alcohol for the reception can potential save you a lot of money. Speaking of money, wedding venue pricing ranges a lot. Make sure before you start looking at venues you come up with a realistic budget and stick to it. Nothing is worse then breaking the bank to have your perfect venue and starting your life with your partner in massive debt. You’d be surprised how many beautiful venues there are in Metro Vancouver that are reasonably priced. At the end of the day its all about compromise!
I hope this article has helped you think about some of the important factors in choosing your wedding venue!
Martin is a Vancouver Wedding Photographer located in Vancouver, British Columbia and has been photographing weddings for the past 10 years.
Vancouver Wedding Photographer, Butterfly Photography