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Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

As a bride-to-be and professional wedding photographer, one of the experiences I've had so far I found really unique was finding our perfect wedding venue that not only fit our wants and needs as a couple but that I knew would support the kind of photos we wanted taken during our day. I'd love to share the key things we kept an eye out for in a wedding venue as a wedding photographer that have helped me feel confident in the way our wedding day will be documented!

Can Accommodate both Indoor and Outdoor Gathering Spaces

One of the most important things to look for in a potential wedding venue is that they have options for you in case of inclement weather. You never know when a summer storm, fall monsoon or other less-than-ideal changes in weather may occur. Maybe they won't! But it's better to be safe than sorry and to have a venue that can accomodate both indoor and outdoor gathering spaces that fit your vibe in case something needs to change. While many venues offer outdoor tents, its important to have a conversation with your partner about if that's really where you want to spend your wedding.

What to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

Offer both a Bridal Suite and Groom Suite

Another thing I recommend looking for in a wedding venue is a property that offers both a bridal suite and groom suite. From a photographer's point of view, getting ready on the same property means your photographer doesn’t waste time with travel between sites on your day. This ultimately means you have more flexibility in what kind of photography package you can select from. I always let my clients know that getting ready on the same property means there's less of a need for a second photographer and there's potential for a more cost effective package requiring less hours of coverage.

Bonus: The Suites are Spacious!

Some wedding venues I've been to have bridal and groom suites but they aren't designed to accommodate you and your wedding party. These smaller spaces get hot and cluttered which (again, from a photographers perspective) can lead to messy getting ready photos. A photo of your mother zipping you into your dress is much less sentimental when there are crushed white claw cans and dirty clothes in the background.

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

Naturally Lit Indoor Spaces

Naturally lit indoor spaces are a pretty obvious green flag in a wedding venue. While skilled photographers can make due with flash and artificial lighting options, it helps the day move much smoother if spaces are already flooded with natural light. This is especially so, again, in the case of inclement weather that might mean using indoor spaces as a Plan B for bridal portraits, first looks, etc. Plus, less distraction of a flash firing away during any special moments.

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

Beautiful Spaces on Site for Bridal Portraits

As a wedding photography, I suggest looking for a wedding venue with at least two beautiful spaces on site for bridal portraits is such a game changer. My clients always tell me that they look forward to their newlywed photos (or bridal portraits) the most but oftentimes don't plan ahead for where those photos might be taken. I encourage finding a venue with as many spaces as possible that you love for newlywed photos. Being able to sneak away and tackle this part of the day on property is key so you don’t have to coordinate rides off-site and ultimately you don't spend too much time away from your wedding.

Alternatively: Central or nearby spaces that can be utilized for Bridal Portraits

If the venue doesn't offer much in terms of on-site options for bridal portraits, consider nearby spaces. Botanical gardens, historical spaces or beaches might be some options to explore. Chat with your wedding venue about what nearby spaces their other couples have utilized for bridal portraits. For example, in Flagstaff, most of our venues are either backed up against the Coconino National Forest or just a quick 2-5 minutes drive from woodsy backdrops.

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

Shaded Ceremony Site

Okay, this one doesn't totally matter but let me plead my case. I love a ceremony site that has some shading. Why? Because I've captured too many wedding ceremony photos with one spouse and their half of the wedding party perfectly lit with even lighting on their face and the other spouse and wedding party squinting into the sun and sweating bullets. It can be noticeably distracting from a moment that should allow you to be fully present. Chat with your venue about what the lighting looks like and when the best time of day is to exchange vows at the altar.

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos Jessica Maddella Photography

Shot for Jessica Maddella Photography

Has On-Site Lodging for your Guests

Another huge benefit in a wedding venue is if it's able to offer lodging for your guests. There are so many obvious benefits to this perk, from preventing drinking and driving to being able to spend more quality time with your guests who have traveled. A wedding venue that offers on-site lodging also means saving money on transportation. This typically also solves any dilemmas that may come up with the bride and groom suites mentioned above as you likely each have your own place for getting ready taken care of.

Key Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue for Perfect Photos

In total transparency, it is a luxury to pin down a venue that can meet all of these check boxes, but even if you can cover a few of these bases you'll give yourself so much peace of mind going into your big day. If you're having trouble finding the perfect venue, chat with your wedding planner and other vendors who you can lean on as a resource in the town you're hoping to tie the knot in.


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