What a Picture Photography

Venue – Reducing the Stress of Wedding Planning

Hi again, venue today

A lot of couples that I’ve spoken with at wedding fairs tell me that they have spent many weekends looking round different fairs to look at venues.

Venue types can, by and large, be put into the following categories:-

  1. Registry office
  2. Registry office and a reception
  3. church and a reception
  4. all in one ceremony and reception venue.

First thing to consider then is ” what do we want?” This can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks when one partner has a religious faith and the other does not. Unfortunately one person will have to be charitable.


Many couples who have been together for a long time go for either a Registry Office only wedding or Registry Office and a small get together somewhere, similarly for elopements. It’s fairly easy to arrange although, personally, I think a little impersonal. The Registrars in some areas will not permit any photographs at all during the ceremony and you might want to enquire about local policy when booking.

The largest choice is the Church and venue or all in one wedding. For the all in one wedding venue there are now so many choices it is hard to choose. So what sort of things should you be looking at?


venue blog Confetti storm West Midlands Wedding Photographer

A confetti shot in a confined space outside a church

Few of us have a significant number of Churches to choose from for a wedding as not all perform weddings. Hopefully you will have a favourite. Depending on the number of guests there may be non-religious reasons for a selection. As an example I can think of two churches near us, one we have worked and one not, where there are significant traffic issues. One is situated on a tight 90 degree bend with no footpath outside and limited room outside for photographs. The other one is also on a similar type of bend as the armco testifies. In this case there is a car park on site, a grass area for photographs and volunteer marshalls to ensure the safe arrival of the wedding guests. Be mindful of how your guests will get there and onward to the reception.

The time of day for your wedding is also a choice that you may have control over or perhaps not. I’ll look at that in a post on it’s own.

Do check with the officiant at the church when you first make contact about photography during the ceremony. Some have had bad experiences with photographers and as a result everyone suffers.

a  previous blog for church:-

Andrew and Marie


Reception Venue

So many options depending on numbers, budget and privacy considerations. Some small family celebrations just need a nice pub restaurant, check out trip advisor but learn to read between the lines with some reviews. Some people will write a bad review for the most flimsy of reasons but they are usually quite easy to spot.

If you are planning a bigger event it’s usually a room in a pub or club or a hotel. The pub/club route allows the option to make it YOUR event and decorate to suit. If you want lots of help to let you enjoy the occasion without getting too hands on there are some great hotels out there. Just as I always advise getting to know your potential photographers I would suggest the same approach at a hotel. You need to know if you will get on with the co-ordinator. Some will be guided by you, others will want to dictate the flow to the minute. I have never met one of the latter however, although I know that they exist.

Know in advance whether you will want a full on wedding breakfast or a buffet so that you can quickly compare like with like between the venues or weed out the venues that don’t meet your needs.

All in one venue

The all in one venue comes in two flavours, one is usually the hotel where you can stay overnight after the reception and the other is the barn or historic building type venue where you all have to move on after the event.

Many people chose this type of venue as it is one set price with no added cost for cars to get people from A to B and of course no risk of traffic issues delaying the bride.

Taking the many barns and historic buildings first, I am generalising of course, you will may have to have a later wedding if you are having hair and make up done on site. Many of these buildings have great exterior lighting if you like the idea of a shot of the couple with a lovely venue lit up agains the darkness. Thinking of a couple off the top of my head Hazlewood Castle Hotel in Yorkshire, Hodsock Priory near Worksop and Highbury Hall in Birmingham all look great when lit up.

Venue Blog Kings Norton Wedding Photographer - Abi and Adam at Hodsock Priory

This one from a training day just to give you an idea of imaging against a building with character

Hotels have the option, particularly for the bride, of being able to stay overnight with the bridesmaids and have the hair and make up done first thing in the morning, so a little more leisurely. Little chance of being spotted by the groom before the ceremony if you are a traditionalist. Here you may find that one or more rooms are multi functional. The ceremony room may get converted to a dining area for a wedding breakfast whilst the family and couples portraits are done and time for a cocktail hour. The evening reception may be in another room again.


If looking at either of this time of venue get to know the co-ordinator and work out with them a comfortable timeline – more on that next time.

Have a look at some of these points and, if you can use some to cut down the number of choices to make or areas to pay special attention too I hope that it helps you plan an amazing wedding day.

Till next time






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