Education, Wedding

What To Look For When Choosing a Wedding Venue



What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

Choosing a wedding venue can be difficult and stressful, but today we’re hoping to help make this decision not so intimidating. You’ve never done it before, so how are you supposed to know what to look for? Being in the industry, our goal is to help brides and the wedding planning process as simple as possible. Here are a things to look for when choosing a wedding venue.

1.  Look for a private area. What we mean by this is that strangers can’t walk around, through, or disturb your day. For example if you are getting married at a public beach, garden, or park, be prepared for the onlookers and honks to congratulate you, occasionally at the most inappropriate times.

2. Make sure the venue has enough space for you and your guests. As obvious as this sounds, who hasn’t been to a wedding where more space would have been nice? Finalize your guest list and  have a bit of a cushion at the venue to ensure everyone is comfortable.

What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

3. Keep your eye out for all-in-one locations. By this we mean that the getting ready, ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, can all be at one location. This will save you TONS of travel time, which equals you receiving A LOT more portraits. Plus having everything at one venue gives you a less stressed feeling like you have more control of what’s going on since you’re there.

This wedding was at The Perry House. This can be an ideal because the entire wedding took place in a gorgeous, historic Victorian home (with loads of of windows for natural light!). When it came time for couple’s portraits, we were able to visit the beach, a garden, bridge, and other beautiful stops in Monterey because we were so close to everything. There was even a gorgeous view of the ocean from the top story. To see the rest of the wedding click here.What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

4. As we mentioned above, look out for natural light (a.k.a. windows), if you’re getting married inside. If you’ve seen and love our work, you know we crave natural light. Of course we have the ability to bring artificial light into a dark scenario, some churches you just can’t get around this, but its something to think about ahead of time when walking a venue. If you are getting married outside, bonus! We love to help our couples create an ideal day-of timeline to ensure you have the best light during portraits.

5. When keeping guests in mind, look for a view. Being from Monterey, we’re surrounded by coastlines and beautiful vineyards, there are endless opportunities to take advantage of. Having a view isn’t a must but, it can be a nice touch!

This wedding was taken at the beautiful Holman Ranch. Again, this venue had it all from getting ready, to perfect first look spots, to ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. Where the sun seems to be always shining, the view in Carmel Valley aren’t to shabby. To see the rest of the wedding click here.

What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

6.  Make sure your venue has plenty of outlets. I know this is the last thing on your mind, but as your band or DJ should always be prepared, it would be helpful and give you more peace to let them know ahead of time that they will need to bring extension chords, etc.

7. While you are walking different venues, have your wedding colors in mind. Look at the colors of the inside walls to be clean, clear, and not distracting, and ensure the outside of the building doesn’t clash with your color pallet. Bringing bridesmaid dress swatches is helpful too.

This wedding was at Chaminade Resort in Santa Cruz. The ceremony location was stunning and had an overlook view of the Santa Cruz bay. The ceremony was held outside, the reception was inside their ballroom, and couple’s portraits were taken all around the woody garden surrounding areas. To see the rest of the wedding click here.

What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

8. Don’t forget about parking! Make sure your venue has enough space for all of your guests or you will have to think about hiring shuttle buses. In Monterey, often times there is little to no parking if your venue is right off the street. A helpful tip that our couples have done is to rent out a nearby parking garage. That way guests don’t have to find street parking, pay any fees, which keeps everyone on time and focused on what’s important, your wedding!

9. Not that our brides and grooms have run into this often, but it has happened. Make sure that you get along with the on site coordinator/owner of the venue. If you have a good connection and communication with them, the day will be a lot easier on you, which gives you peace of mind. Also, this is a person to hear what is allowed and not allowed. For example, you want to do a grand sparkler exit, that person can tell you whether or not it’s permitted on property.

10. Lastly, if your deciding between venues, pull towards the one that is more you. They all may be charming, each having their own features, but choose the one that is more you. One you believe that will best tell your dream wedding day story.

This dream wedding was at Talbott Vineyards. They have an amazingly gorgeous house on property for getting ready or even staying the night before, a beautiful huge oak tree to be married under, a wine barrel room to have dinner and cocktails, and endless amounts of vineyards that make for most breathtaking couple’s portraits.

What To Look For When Choosing a Venue | Laura Hernandez Photography

We would love to hear your thoughts! Is there a venue you’ve always dreamed of getting married at (or already have gotten married at)? We’d love to hear about it and why. We hope you enjoyed this little piece of our heart. We love to share what we’ve learned along our journey and hopefully you find some of these tips helpful. Happy Thursday!

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