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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!)

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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

How to Find or Choose a Wedding Photographer

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Right after everyone gets engaged they’re only thinking about one thing – how am I going to find a great wedding photographer? Okay maybe not RIGHT AFTER – but eventually, at some point – everyone has to find a great wedding photographer. Well – we all set out to find great wedding photographers but then for some reason, some people end up with just okay wedding photographers… Anyway – here are a few tips on selecting a great wedding photographer.

1. Identify what style or type of wedding photos you like.

There are many articles out there that describe the different styles of wedding photography. From photojournalistic to modern to traditional to fine art to… modern-traditional-fine-art-photo-journalism. (Seriously – I’ve seen that mashup on a few photographers’ websites.) The easiest and most simple way to determine what style of wedding photos you like – is to look at several wedding photographers, and take note of the ones that blow you away. And WHY.

Some things to look for are how comfortable the couples look in their wedding portraits. How creative (or simple/basic) are the poses and compositions? Some photographers get REALLY Artsy. Others are basically making yearbook photos. That’s not bad – you just have to decide which one is for you. Some photographers focus largely on the ‘STUFF’ and products of the weddings they attend (you can see this in their blog posts and how 50 of 100 images are shots of flowers, table decor, and shoes.) Other photographers focus on people, your friends, your family – the heartfelt genuine moments of love. Some photographers are amazing and can capture both equally well. | Atlanta Wedding Photographers | Miami | Gay Wedding

2. Ask friends if they recommend anyone.

If you don’t already know a few wedding photographers off the top of your head – you want to start by asking around. Ask your friends if they know anyone you should check out. And if they give a glowing review then DEFINITELY check out that wedding photographer. You can’t beat good word of mouth referrals.

Now if none of your friends have any good suggestions – then you can do a basic google search for Atlanta Wedding Photographers and check out all of the photographers listed on the 1st page (Especially LeahAndMark & Co.) ha!

3. Look at the blog of the wedding photographer and read what they write.

Do they write boringly? Are they able to express themselves? Are they offensive to you? Do they make jokes? Really bad jokes? Do you think they’re funny? Or interesting? An easy way to find out more about the personality of a wedding photographer is to read what they write. Read what they say online. You want someone that you think you’ll work well with – and even ‘click’ with. Because if you do hire them, you’ll be hanging out with them for 8 hours on your wedding day. There are too many boring people disguised as wedding photographers and you DO NOT WANT THEM.


All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Creating Your Wedding Guests List (part 1 of 8)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co. | Creating Your Wedding Guests List

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Whether you have 10 guests or 300 guests – you’re going to have to feed them – something. Even if you’re having a mid-afternoon wedding so that you can avoid buying everyone dinner – you’re still going to have to give them at least a few animal crackers and some boxes of Hi-C fruit juice. Of course, that might be looking at things a little harshly.

These are your wedding guests and not just hungry warm bodies that want you to pay $50-$100 per person just so they can party and drink as much alcohol as you’re willing to pay for. They’re your closest friends and family – all of the people that you care about and that most want the two of you to be together. I know – there are going to be people you think you are obligated to invite, and that’s true – you will think that – and that’s okay. Just know that obligated doesn’t mean must.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co. | Creating Your Wedding Guests List

I want you to approach your guests list as if you are making a list of people that you want witnessing your professing of love for each other. You’re making a list of the people you want to witness your marriage ceremony. Not a list of people who will bring strangers (their +1) that will meet you for the first time ever at your wedding. Not a list of relatives you don’t like. I know – that one’s a tough one to accept – but it’s true. Whether strangers or guests – you don’t have to invite people you don’t like. F*ck that. It’s your wedding. Be surrounded by the people that love you both. 

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Surround yourself with people that don’t care about the flowers, or the open bar, or anything other than the fact that they get to be there for the two of you. Those are the people you want. They’re the ones on your guest list. Not the folks that want anything from you. Not the ones that want you to make them feel special on your wedding day. It’s your wedding not theirs. 

Fill your guest list with people that will celebrate your wedding and your love above everything else that day.



All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. How to Create Your Wedding Guest List. Pick. Select. People. Tips. Choose.