finding the right venue

Choosing your wedding venue is probably the first thing that you will need to get in place when planning your wedding.  It will dictate the size of the wedding, the style, the feel of the wedding, what you will be eating and drinking, where you will take your vows, how much money you will be outlaying and so much more.   There are some obvious factors that you will take into consideration when you are choosing, but I thought I would just add some here that you might not have thought of, from a photographer’s perspective!

Inside/outside space

With the lovely British weather being what it is, you really never know what you are going to get and when you are going to get it. There used to be the idea that summer will be hotter and sunnier than other seasons, but more recently it can be really hard to predict. The last few years have seen August, in particular, to be really wet. We've also seen some gorgeous weather in September, October and even November! For this reason I would really recommend that whatever venue you choose has good options both inside and out. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, in my experience, it is super important to have a venue with a good indoor option for your ceremony too. If it is raining, you'll still want a lovely space to get married. You might be thinking of your reception outside, which could easily be rained off. In many of the weddings I shot last summer, guests were huddled inside due to adverse weather. I felt that this actually added to the atmosphere, but the best ones were where the space inside was as inspiring as the outdoor space too.

If you are planning an indoor wedding, it's also good to have some outdoor space, because you never know! The sun might be cracking the flags and then you and your guests will be wanting to embrace the sunshine!

The light!

The more light the better!  If the venue has great big windows, then it’s a win from our perspective.  Not so great are rooms with little natural light.  So, for example, if you would like bridal prep photos, a great idea is to look at the rooms available and choose the one with the biggest windows!  It's not always possible to book this and will of course depend on the size of your party.  But something to bear in mind if you have a choice. The same goes for the rest of the wedding. The more natural light the better.  Of course, most photographers will have some flash with them, and the first dance will probably require extra lighting, but rule of thumb is that if you can get more light in your wedding the better.


The staff of the venue are the people who will make your wedding happen.  They will be there showing you where to go and what to do.  They will set your wedding room up, help with the arrival of guests and getting them where they should be, they will sort out your music for your ceremony.  They will show the registrars where to go and serve drinks and so on and so on.  It is important that they not only know what they are doing, but also that they are friendly and polite.  I think you can get a feel as soon as you meet the wedding co-ordinator.  You need someone who you can trust to make the day run smoothly, but also someone who you would also like around on the day.

Ceremony Space

Get a ceremony room as big as you can!  Vows are a very important part of the day and you'll want some good pictures of this.  Most wedding photographers will be discrete with taking their pictures of this.  After all you want to be focusing on the moment, not the overzealous photographer.  That said, we do need to get some nice clear shots of this event.  If we have the space to move around easily it means we can get a wider variety of shots and we are less intrusive in the ceremony.  Being able to move around means we can shoot from different sides and angles.  We can change up the light and composition.  If there is little space we are more likely to draw attention to ourselves every time we move.  Worse, if we have to negotiate with the registrars to move around because the only way to do so is if they stand aside.  We will get the shots, because that’s our job, I’ve had to poke my camera round the back of the registrar to get the first kiss, leap out from behind a screen to get the ring exchange and elbow an excited Aunt out of the way to get a good shot of the first look.  Personally, I prefer to do it in an unobtrusive way, so that the day remains about events as they happen and I can capture them in a discreet way. So it's great to have lots of space around the registrar and couple to help us in this. That way we can freely move around the front, quietly snapping the event unfolding, getting all the key moments, getting some fantastic shots to cherish forever.

Featured venues:

Berts Rooms and Events:

Thrybergh Hall:

Waterton Park Hotel:

Bagden Hall

Holiday Inn Brighouse

Whitley Hall:

Some photos shot in conjunction with Paul Walker Photography: