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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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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.

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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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How To | Selecting Finding Choosing Your Wedding Hair Stylist

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Finding a hair stylist to do your hair on your wedding day can be as easy as hiring your regular hair stylist… depending on your stylist.

In other terms – someone that’s a great family portrait photographer isn’t necessarily a great wedding photographer. In the same way – a wedding day stylist needs a somewhat different or additional skills, and many stylist might not have the experience needed for your wedding day. Remember – your hair stylist is one of your wedding vendors. In the same way you wouldn’t just hire a cafeteria staff to cater your very important wedding reception, you wouldn’t hire a hair stylist with no experience doing bridal hair. There is a difference.

So. What do you look for in a great wedding hair stylist? Well…

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You want a stylist that wants to hear as much information as you can give them about the hairstyle you want, or think you want. Bring photos so they can see examples of what the heck you’re talking about. Don’t just say up-do, or side pony-tail… (in fact you probably should never say side pony-tail, but what do I know…)

You want a stylist that does wedding day bridal hair. In fact you want ALL of your vendors to be regular wedding industry veterans. This isn’t the time for beginners or weekend hobbyist to practice! A Professional hair stylist that works weddings will know current hair style trends, AND what will work with your hair.

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You want a stylist that also ask about your wedding. Details. Your dress, colors, jewelry – YOU want to match your wedding. In the same way you want your wedding photos to capture the atmosphere of your wedding – you want your look to match. If you’re having a vintage styled wedding – you may not want a clean and sleek look reminiscent of Blade Runner circa 2056. Maybe. Your wedding hair stylist will ask about how you want your hair to move (if at all) or if you have a hair piece that you’re thinking about wearing.

Finally – your wedding hair stylist will use 154 bobby pins and 23 cans of hair spray to cement your hair in place and make sure it doesn’t move when it’s not supposed to – NO MATTER WHAT.

 

All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Why You Need (Or Don’t) a Professional Makeup Artist for your Wedding

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. Tips on Choosing a Wedding Makeup Artist | How to | Pick | Select | Choose

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As a male wedding photographer – I’m an expert when it comes to professional makeup on the wedding day. You know – when the ladies are getting their hair and makeup done, drinking mimosas – I’m right there with them relating my stories of how I used to use bare minerals but then I found a new line of…

hahahahahaha. NO.

Here’s the question you have to ask yourself: How do I want to look on my wedding day?

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Do you want to look like you did the best job of doing your own makeup? Do you want to look like someone who hired a really great professional makeup artist? Neither is bad – you just have to decide which one is the better choice for you. Of course you can have your friend do your makeup – and then you can add ‘Do you want to look like your friend did their best job of doing your makeup?’ (if your friend is a professional makeup artist then the 2nd option still applies.)

SO. How do you want to look? Once you’ve decided that, there are only a few more things to consider. Things like – do you want your bridesmaids to get their makeup done professionally? Your mother? (& possibly your soon-to-be mother in-law?). If they’re getting their makeup done by a professional makeup artist it might be a good choice to just join in.

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Of course – depending on where you’re getting married, you may not have many options. We’ve photographed many weddings in the middle of nowhere and the nearest salon/makeup artist was 100 miles. Literally. So having everyone’s makeup done by a team of makeup artist was out of question from the start. Obviously if you’re having your wedding out in the middle of nowhere, your makeup might not be at the top of the list of challenges.

SO. Which choice is right for you? Budget-wise, and depending on your skill level with makeup – it’s generally not out of reach to hire a makeup artist to show up at your home, or hotel room on the morning of your wedding day (wherever you’re getting ready).

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Here’s a Pro Tip from a Professional Photographer though – you do not need MORE makeup so that it’ll show up in the photos. Many makeup artists still tell this to their brides – but they’re not photographers. I’m a Professional Wedding Photographer and I’m telling you that regular amounts of makeup is plenty – more than enough to show up in photos. Unless you’ve hired some part-time wannabe wedding photographer that doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Professional digital cameras are powerful and amazing – especially in the hands of an actual professional wedding photographer. How your makeup looks with your eyes is how it’ll look in photos. If you SEE that you have too much makeup on, even if it’s just a little too much – THEN IT’S PROBABLY TOO MUCH. It’s not that you can’t wear a lot of makeup and look amazing and great and flawless – it’s when you LOOK like you’re wearing too much. (Sometimes it takes a lot of makeup to look like you’re not wearing any at all – get it?)

You don’t need to get anywhere near looking like a hooker-clown from Mars – no matter what your makeup artist tells you. (If you hire a great makeup artist you won’t have to worry about this anyway.)

 

All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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