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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. | 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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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…

Atlanta Wedding Hair & Makeup Artists | Tips Finding Choosing

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.

Atlanta Wedding Hair & Makeup Artists | Tips Finding Choosing

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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