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December 2013

How to Choose a Venue for Your Wedding Reception

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I know – you’ve seen photos of amazing wedding receptions with lots of flowers and/or paper goods all bought from green-vendors from Etsy with everything color coordinated and not just primary colors like you bought all of your decorations from Party City. And you’re just like whoa, I want my wedding reception to be exactly like that – you know – AWESOME.

First though – you have to find a venue to hold your wedding reception. Where do you start? You start by figuring out what style of reception you’d like to have (which might also determine the overall style of wedding you’ll have.)

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SO. Again – where do you start? What types of venues exist? Church? Beach? Hotel with ugly carpet walls? Ugh.

Here you go – a list of different types of venues to consider:

  • Church (and their cafeteria reception hall)
  • Backyard (your house, relatives’ house, friends’ house)
  • Hotel Ballroom (you know – super high ceilings, carpet walls, but super convenient)
  • Country Club
  • Old House/Mansion/Plantation
  • Farm house/property
  • Aquarium
  • Zoo
  • Museum
  • Historical building
  • Concert hall/club
  • Beach
  • Beach clubhouse
  • Destination (um, beach again but a far away beach!)
  • Bar/restaurant
  • Vineyard
  • Brewery
  • Woods/Forest
  • Mountain

So basically… any space you can think of – you can have a wedding. Your only restriction is what you’re trying to stuff into that specific space (there’s a joke in there somewhere I know it!)

Atlanta; Wedding; Photographer; Engagement Sessions; Red Top Mountain; State Park; Camping; Paddleboard; Standup; Fall;

Now – none of these venues are problem free – you just have to decide which problems you’d like to take on. Do you want to find all of your own vendors or do you want to have everything taken care of for you? You can buy the FULL WEDDING Package or you can build it yourself. Of course – I’m a photographer – so I have to ask – how do you want your wedding to look? Do you want beach photos? Do you want a private ceremony deep in the woods/mountains? Do you want a traditional church wedding ceremony? Do you want do you want do you want? What do you want?

Alright – here’s the real advice. See the list above? Pick your top three. Go FIND your top three locations and visit them. And then score them on these factors:

  • Are they available for the dates you want?
  • Can we fit everyone?
  • Do you like the staff/get a good vibe?
  • Will it look great in photos?
  • How easy is it for all of my vendors to work there?
  • How well does it fit our budget?

Those are the questions you need to answer when you’re choosing your venue. Oh – and finally – is this venue the place you want to get married and celebrate your wedding?

No really – ask yourself that question. It’s not about what’s available, or even what’s easy – it’s about where you want to get married and celebrate your love with all of your closest friends and family.


All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. How to Choose Your Wedding Venue | Reception Venue

“When” Should You Have Your Wedding?

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When should you have your wedding? What season? What date? What TIME?!

When. When. What. When. What. When. Yeah.

First off – many wedding books/guides/magazines will tell you that there are in fact busy wedding seasons and peak times for getting married. That’s true. Duh. But don’t let that deter you or even force you to get married when you don’t want to get married. I say this because we photograph weddings basically all year long. Our ‘wedding season’ goes from January all the way into December. So we’re basically photographing weddings 12 months of the year. I’m not trying to brag (okay maybe a little) – but I’m also saying that people get married WHENEVER THE HELL THEY WANT.

So you can too.

What Season of the year is best to have your wedding?

Now that we’ve said that – Fall weddings are very popular and Summer weddings are just HOT (temperature-wise). You can have your wedding in the Spring and I’m sure it’ll be lovely. Winter can be cool and different. Pick one. There. See how easy that can be? Okay – really you pick the season depending on how you want your wedding to look. Sweaty? Summer or early Fall. Freezing cold with jackets? Winter or early Spring. You have a lot of options when it comes to what season – now you just have to make the time for your wedding. As in – a school break or saving up enough vacation from work (or unpaid days) so that you can actually enjoy the whole thing and not just get right back to your desk the next day.

Yes, venues and vendors all get booked and during peak times it might seem like everyone is booked – but honestly? Don’t worry – you’ll find all of the vendors you need for your wedding. There will always be an available photographer, you’ll always find some food, and you can always find somewhere to get married. Trust me – weddings happen EVERYWHERE.

What day of the week should you get married on?

Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Friday. In that order. Yeah Yeah Yeah – weekday weddings happen too – and we’ve photographed many of them. But they’re a different event. A wedding on a Tuesday is NOTHING like a wedding on a Saturday. Saturdays are more expensive when you’re considering venues – but many other vendors don’t give any discounts because of what day you’re getting married. Things with fixed costs like caterers, floral design, and cake makers charge the same rates. Photographers work just as hard on your Sunday and Friday wedding as they do on your Saturday wedding.

What time of day should your wedding take place?

Here are your choices: Brunch or Dinner… oh okay and you can have a Luncheon too.

No really – don’t have a luncheon. That’s what old ladies have when they get together after church. You are celebrating your wedding – you’re not having a luncheon. Have a brunch wedding if you must – but if you’d like to have a party – have a wedding reception that goes into the evening. Of course – that’s if you want the full on party reception affair. If you’re having a small gathering then again – do whatever the f*ck you want and have a luncheon with 20 people in a private garden. Heck – with only 20 people attending your wedding you can spend that extra money on a petting zoo! (Or Elvis.)

Ah what am I saying – your guests will have a great time at your wedding no matter what time of day.

Wait – except for a sunrise ceremony. Don’t do that to your guests. Even I’ll be mad at you. F*ck sunrise ceremonies. Those are just cruel.


All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. When Should You Have Your Wedding / Get Married?

You Just Got Engaged! Why Are You Having a Wedding?

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You just got engaged! Awesome. Finally! Woohoo! YEAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Okay. Great. Now what? Planning. Planning? PLANNING! If you haven’t already thought about running away screaming – don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for that. Oh – you’ll have more than enough opportunity to feel overwhelmed, pressured and generally want to give up and go elope. I mean – it’d be so much more simple right? Just the two of you and maybe your parents or some friends. Go to the courthouse, sign some papers, eat some food at a nice restaurant, maybe get some photos. DONE. Simple. Easy. But again – DONE. Right? Oh man – that would be so awesome AND stress free!

Well – it’s definitely one way to go – and one that you shouldn’t rule out. But wait.

Don’t give up on your wedding yet.

There’s a reason so many people still have weddings - and it’s not because of expectations (family, friends, or your own.) Weddings are a celebration of the union of two people. Your wedding is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other. It’s that simple – and everything - everything in regards to your planning should keep that in mind. If there’s something that doesn’t feel motivated by the celebration of your love then it should be discarded, excluded, and not given any consideration. No one should live vicariously through your wedding, they shouldn’t take advantage of the occasion and nothing you don’t 100% agree with, should occur.

I’m sure I sound like some crazy hard-liner. Of course you should listen to opinions from your closest friends and family – they definitely play a role – and you’ll do what you can to meet their needs and wants up to the point where it doesn’t agree with what you truly want, authentically believe, and basically feel good about doing. Be strong. You can honor your family and meaningful persons without betraying yourself, your beliefs and decisions.

The reason you have a wedding is to celebrate your love. It’s not a must-have, or an absolute – you’re having a wedding because you want to have a wedding. So have the wedding you want.

…Well, of course you have to consider budgets, and who’s paying for your wedding, and tricky family situations – but there are ways to deal with these problems – because they’re not real problems.

So. You just got engaged. Now what? Well – now that we know why you’re having a wedding, we can start planning for it. Finding a venue, photographer, planner, your outfit, your food – yeah – all of that. We’ll be talking about all of this, all week long. See you tomorrow.

(This post will be updated with specific links to the future posts regarding finding vendors, and other planning processes.)

When should you have your wedding?

All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. Just Got Engaged. Why You Should Have a Wedding.