It’s finally sunk in! They asked, you said yes! All of your family and friends know, you’ve envisioned the big day in your head, now it’s time to start planning! As we’ve seen and agree with completely, the first thing every newly engaged couple should choose is their wedding venue! Assuming you’ve got a theme or vision for the look or feel that you want to your wedding, we wanted to write this blog post in two parts starting with the ceremony. From our perspective, we wanted to talk about the pros and cons of the 3 major types of venues for your wedding ceremony to help figure out which one is best for you! This is not intended to say one is better than another, rather to go over some of the cool options and things to consider prior to selecting your type of venue :)
Churches/Chapels – Churches and chapels are no doubt one of the most popular options for wedding ceremonies!
Pros: Generally with the couples we’ve worked with, the positive feedback we hear most of the time about church wedding ceremonies is they are usually more affordable, easy to access, and can please your family if they are very traditional. Church and Chapel weddings can also make for beautiful pictures depending on the architecture of the church and the lighting!
Cons: Some of the feedback we’ve received which you would definitely need to consider is many churches and chapels can be popular for all of the aforementioned reasons and for those, they book up quick! This is something to consider if you would like to have your wedding sooner vs later as it’s not unheard of for some popular churches and chapels to be booked more than 1 year in advance! Some churches and chapels can be a little difficult in terms of flexibility for photography as well, so make sure to go over the following things with the event director -Can your photographer use flash? How close can they get during the ceremony? Are they allowed to move during the ceremony? Is there a spot that is off limits? Are you able to adjust the lights? After going over these things make sure to communicate this with your photographer and come up with a game plan to make sure you can capture the best images possible given any limiters in terms of the previous.
Outdoor Ceremonies – Living in Asheville, we are blessed with amazing outdoor scenery just about every time of the year, but here are a few things to consider for your outdoor ceremony.
Pros: Outdoor ceremonies can be flexible and fun! Would you like the mountains in the distance? Maybe a beach background? A rustic farm setting? Or even snow for a beautiful winter wedding? An outdoor ceremony offers this natural décor without having to go to crazy in terms of design or style as you are surrounded by natural beauty. Depending on the location of the outdoor ceremony they can be very affordable! Outdoor ceremonies are also a great option for couples who have a lot of guests, as most buildings are fixed in terms of number of people they can safely allow inside or seats you can fit, but with most outdoor venues can allow for more flexibility.
Cons: We will say outdoor ceremonies are usually our favorites, but there are some factors to consider even here in Asheville. One thing is being at the mercy of the weather. The good news is most venues will offer the indoor back up option or a big tent option if you opt for this, but with outdoor ceremonies, there is no guarantee the rain will hold off or the heat won’t be unbearable during a late May wedding. Something else to consider is the time of day and position of the sun. If your outdoor venue has it’s ceremony site set up in a fixed location, you could be standing the entire ceremony with the sun in your face (we could all use a little sun anyway!), so carefully plan the time of day with your planner and photographer to make sure you have the most comfortable experience all the while timing everything for the best images in terms of lighting as well. The last thing to consider is outside interference. I.e.: animals, bugs, or depending how close you are to society the occasional firetruck siren going off. I remember back when I was on the other side of the camera I was at my buddy Mike’s wedding when we all bowed our heads to pray and there was a vocal donkey who wanted to let us know he was there too during the prayer (LOL). Maybe a rarity, but definitely memorable and could be problematic depending on the couple and the site, so just something small to consider.
Indoor Ceremonies – Indoor ceremonies can be absolutely gorgeous and if you want something more stylized with less variables, an indoor ceremony may be just the thing for you!
Pros: Basically the opposite of the outdoor ceremony! Generally you will have temperature control, you will not have to worry about the weather or the wind, you can choose any color scheme you want and not have to worry about it clashing the natural colors of the landscape, no outside interference (usually!) and lastly most indoor ceremony sites for venues have been designed to meet the needs of couples getting married so they usually have great adjustable lighting and neutral color schemes to make for great photos!
Cons: Depending on the location and time of year, many indoor ceremony sites can be a bit more expensive. Depending on how strict the venue is in terms of their architecture or design scheme that may already be laid out there may not be much flexibility in terms of style, BUT, this being said, if your venue is flexible it does allow for you to get more creative with your set up, especially since you don’t have to worry about wind, weather, or bugs! Last but certainly not least, depending on the venue, not all can be quite as flexible with pets which is very relevant for the couple with fur babies or who has the dog that is well trained enough to be the ring bearer.
In our eyes, there’s no such thing as a bad wedding and it almost feels weird making a pro/con list. From our experiences shooting indoor and outdoor ceremonies, church and no church ceremonies, each option has something as special and unique to offer as the couple that chooses it. As with anything in life, it’s about figuring out what’s going to make you happy and work best for you! Hopefully some of these considerations will help you make the best choice for you and your wedding!
Joe & Jenny