Finding the right wedding venue takes a lot of time and research. It can often be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, but it’s also critically important! Your venue sets the tone of your entire wedding. Plus its availability is likely to determine your actual wedding date, and THAT’S when you can start booking other vendors. So, here are 3 things to consider when selecting a wedding venue to make sure that it ticks all the right boxes before you make a final decision!
In the end, you need to make sure that your venue speaks to your personalities and style as a couple. As you search, just remember these 3 things to consider when selecting a wedding venue. You’re sure to choose something absolutely perfect<3
Need a starting point?? Check out my favorite wedding venues in Indy!
One of the biggest influences on whether you have beautiful wedding portraits is having a beautiful wedding venue, so I’ve put together my list of the top 7 best wedding venues in Indy for 2020! In order for a venue to make THIS list, there are a few things that have to be true:
Laurel Hall SCREAMS Beauty and the Beast and is my absolute FAVORITE venue, which is why it’s at the top of this list. When I get married one day, this WILL be my venue and I *WILL* be a Disney Princess!
If you’re not feeling a country club wedding, then 1899 is another amazing all-in-one venue that allows you to both have your cake and eat it too! From an outdoor ceremony to an indoor reception, everywhere you look is sure to be picturesque. The high ceilings inside lead to a feeling of grandiose and the character of the building is anything but bland!
If your heart is set on a barn for your wedding, but you ALSO love light & airy photos, then White Willow Farms is the place for you! Now this isn’t just any old barn, they’ve got tons of glamorous touches on site, like the chandelier in the photo above. Not pictured is their new outdoor ceremony space lined with pews overlooking a beautiful field. Seriously. It doesn’t get any more scenic!
I’m convinced that the Sycamore at Mallow Run was designed with photography in mind. The bridal suite is divine, the men’s getting ready cabin is manly but light and airy, the vineyard itself is the perfect backdrop for a ceremony, and the indoor reception space, as you can see, is absolutely divine.
The Hawthorns Golf & Country Club is an absolutely ideal wedding venue for those who want a classic, elegant wedding. The grounds are immaculate, the staff is friendly, and, of course, it’s BEAUTIFUL!
The Balmoral House has become one of my FAVORITE places to shoot. The venue is gorgeous, with every single space being perfectly crafted to suit your wedding day needs (and your photographer’s needs) on the wedding day. Plus, the venue coordinators at this place are AMAZING and work so hard to ensure that your day is absolutely stress free.
If none of the galleries or descriptions above convince you, check out some other AMAZING spots in the Indy area!
The list of MY top 7 best wedding venues in Indy for 2020 (and a few bonus recommendations)! This list is a living document, so check back often to see my new favs! AND, once you’ve chosen your beautiful venue, make sure you read all about how to keep those photos beautiful with an unplugged ceremony!
Imagine this with me…. you’re in my shoes…. the most important moment of the day is about to happen. You’ve checked your camera settings, you’ve taken test shots and you’re ready to capture the bride coming down the aisle to her groom. You want to capture reactions, variety of angles and every moment of joy and emotion in those few seconds.
However, just as everyone stands and the music plays, not one, but three different family members and friends get so excited that they take just one step out into the aisle with their iPhones in hand trying to capture the moment. I’m scrambling. My couple is trusting me not to miss this!!!
But now I’m dodging guests who are trying desperately to have a good Insta-story to share and they have no idea that the back of their heads, their arms and their phones are blocking me from capturing the bride and her dad walking down the aisle. It’s honestly one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a photographer during a ceremony …. and the hard part is, it can always be avoided.
This issue is a growing one. Every wedding season we experience more and more of these issues. However, there is a solution! We highly recommend having an “Unplugged Ceremony”. This is just another way of saying that you want only your photographers to be capturing photos and you would like everyone else to enjoy the ceremony instead of trying to capture it themselves.
Having an “unplugged ceremony” means that you ask guests to be fully present in your wedding by putting away their mobile phones and cameras. Your professional photos will be stunning without your guests holding cameras and they will be fully present to participate in your day. Plus you will be able to share the files you receive with your guests via your beautiful online gallery!
Okay, so I’ve convinced you to have an unplugged ceremony. But now what? How do you ask all of your guests to put away their phones when they’re ALMOST as excited as you are?
1. Preparation : Include a quick line on your invitations.
2. Signage : Have a simple sign that guests see as they are entering the ceremony
3. Spoken : Have your officiant politely announce that you have a professional photographer on site and to keep phones away
4. Program : Include your Unplugged Ceremony request in your program design
To be honest, there’s really no reason NOT to have an unplugged ceremony! As long as you have 100% trust in your photographer that they can capture all the big moments (and DON’T hire them if you don’t have this faith in them), then everyone else should be able to relax and enjoy the day.
If you found this helpful, then make sure you check out tons of other helpful advice in the Client Corner!
I have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times and I tend to point them out as often as possible. There is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off. So many brides want a REACTION…. they want their groom to be so surprised and overcome with joy when they walk down the aisle that he bawls at the first sight of her! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? Don’t worry, often times even after sharing an intimate “First Look” moment on the wedding day, the groom STILL loses it when his bride comes down the aisle. Keep on reading, to get my top 5 reasons to consider a first look with your groom.
Based on my experience in wedding photography, I’ve come to this conclusion. Some brides love “traditions”…. but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, is a REACTION. Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found (this is starting to sound like a research paper!) is so ironic! Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom.
The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows.
It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom who was playing games just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his que from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking FOREVER.
Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready. With clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? …. he finds anywhere from 80-300 people and they’re all looking where? Right at his face… because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s SO powerful and SO wonderful. But after a first look, when the bride walks down the aisle… the groom isn’t a nervous wreck…he had spent the morning with his bride and best friends and the pressure was OFF. By the time the ceremony rolls around, everyone is ready to ENJOY the beautiful day!
So if I were to condense what I just wrote… basically, Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days…. even if they seem cool and collected.
For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place…
and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her… he could embrace her… cry with her…. kiss her… and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks… his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway.
Because they aren’t on a time crunch… they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer….. capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER…and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…. it doesn’t. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare… the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN.
There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!
After portraits finish, the girls and guys separate to prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..she’s stunning…. ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.
Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again, and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons…. Keep reading to find out more of the benefits of sharing your first look privately!
This is the most tangible reason to consider a first look. You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your first home with! With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and ensure that you have plenty of decorations to use forever.
You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of the idea at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve wracking it can be. In the end, they’re glad that they took the time to consider and share a first look
Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look (at which point your photographer will be getting you into position for all of your family formals). And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.
Normally the wedding day starts when you come down the aisle, then you rush through portraits, and then it’s reception time. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your wedding party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day.
First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day.
Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!
So there you have it! My top 5 reasons for why you should consider a first look on your wedding day! If you’re worried that seeing each other beforehand will take away from the special-ness when you’re coming down the aisle, check out this idea for keeping a little surprise hidden for later!
No matter what you decide, make sure you choose a photographer who is on board and ready to capture all of these sweet, once-in-a-lifetime moments!
Ahhhhh the veil… a classic wedding piece that can evoke so much elegance, grace, romance… and frustration when it flies off your head in the wind! After photographing so many weddings, I’ve seen it all, so I wanted to share a few of my tips with you about WHEN you should wear your veil on the big day.
Read that again, you don’t HAVE to wear your veil all day long. In fact, I advise that you only wear it during key points (both for the sake of your sanity AND for the sake of beautiful portraits).
So here it is in a nutshell, I advise that you wear your veil at the ceremony and for portraits immediately following, but NOT at the first look and pre-ceremony portraits. Here’s why:
Now let’s be real, some of these tips are more for my benefit as a photographer than they are for your experience as a bride, BUT just considering some of these things can ensure that you have a variety of beautiful portraits of you and your soon-to-be-hubby from the wedding day! That being said, this is not a make or break issue! If you are just as in love with your veil as you are with your groom, WEAR IT GIRL. WEAR IT ALL DAY. Either way, it’s going to be perfect(:
Your budget is one of the FIRST things that you will sit down and discuss when planning your wedding.
But whether your budget is big or small, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. All it means is that you have to PRIORITIZE what’s most important to you.
Do you want your wedding to be a huge party with your guests laughing and dancing all night? You may want to prioritize an open bar.
Do you want to relive the day over and over for the rest of your life? Prioritize a wedding photographer who can capture your memories in the style and tone that you imagine them!
Do you envision a cliffside wedding with only your closest family and friends? Prioritize the venue and location!
No matter what you decide, keep in mind these 3 things that could affect your wedding budget and add to your wedding planning stress:
Listen, your wedding is going to be an AMAZING DAY! But to stick to your budget and avoid debt when you get back from the honeymoon, do yourself a favor and carefully plan your finances before you even begin planning your wedding, that way you don’t get your heart set on wedding elements above your budget. It’ll still be beautiful, you’ll still marry your best friend, and life will still be completely amazing!