How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue
Every once in a while, we recycle posts on this blog because a topic is so important it merits being pulled up to the top of the heap. Friends, this post from early 2017 is one of them. I'm sharing my perspective as an event designer and stylist to weigh in on the challenge every couple faces: the inevitable hunt for the perfect wedding venue. Enjoy!
Ever wondered why the wedding design photos you love most in magazines and blogs stand out so much? It probably has a lot to do with the quality of photography, the composition of each shot, both in terms of how well it is styled, and how well it is captured from behind the lens. But it also has a lot to do with the surrounding environment. If I had a nickel for every time someone showed me a photo of a white tented wedding from a magazine and said "I want my wedding to look like this", I'd be a really wealthy girl. Here's the thing: give me the opportunity to tent your wedding reception and I can give you something just as spectacular - or more so - than what you saw in that magazine. Give me a dark ballroom with very few windows, low ceilings, and blinds or drapes that the venue doesn't allow us to remove, and all the dreaming and scheming in the world won't help me make that place look like an airy white tent. It's not just about the walls, textiles, and fixtures. It's mostly about the light.
The best venues are those that allow the natural light to flood in during the day, and the sky to be in clear view at night. It's very true that natural light allows the best opportunities for photography, but it's also true that you don't have to be seeing things through a camera lens to appreciate the difference. Don't have the available land for a large tent? Then just hunt for a space with large windows and lots of them.
It's also important to consider the style of your wedding and how it relates to the style of the venue. For example - I love a design challenge any day of the week, but if you ask me to create "farmhouse chic" style in a mid-century modern space, I'm going to run the other way fast. Okay not really, but I will advise you that you're making a big mistake and help try to steer the ship a little differently. It's crucial to make decisions that set up you for success. If you love vibrant, bold colors - then the best space for you is actually one that is neutral (a large city loft, or a white tent!), rather than one that is already full of color. If you love a rustic, outdoorsy aesthetic, then choose a warehouse or barn venue with exposed wood beams. If you like a classic black tie reception with all white details, then choose the country club ballroom, a tent or structure in the botanical gardens, or a historic mansion. The style of the space doesn't have to be matchy-matchy with your details - but it does need to be complementary.
At the end of the day, here's a little critical food for thought: even the most beautiful design elements will be unappreciated or even worse, altogether lost, in a space that's wrong for them.