Choosing a Venue for Your Wedding Ceremony

Choosing a Venue for Your Wedding Ceremony

In the second installment of our 3 part series about choosing the venue for your wedding— reception, ceremony only, and combination venues— we bring tips to help you choose the right venue to host your wedding ceremony.

The possibilities for wedding ceremony venues are far more than a church or synagogue. They extend to parks, beaches and other outdoor locations as well as in private homes.

As this is written, much of the country is isolated during the attempt to control the Covid-19 outbreak and this has greatly impacted weddings scheduled for this point in time. Many couples have rescheduled their weddings, others have married on a ‘smaller’ scale at a private or outdoor venue, with plans to “marry” again later and have a fantastic party.

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The big question as you plan your wedding is

WHERE do you want to say I Do?

If you’ve followed along from the first part of this series, you have determined a good solid working budget, you know your guest count, and you have a pretty firm idea of what your wedding style/vibe is. Since you’re searching for a ceremony location only, you have booked (or are in the process of booking) your wedding reception venue. (Because not having available dates for both venues makes it impossible to continue wedding planning!)

If you or your fiance have a ‘home church/synagogue’, one where either of you grew up or your family is involved, the decision may be easily made for you. Enjoy being part of tradition and begin your own family history.

Bobbi Brinkman Photography

Church or Synagogue:

  • Will there be enough room for all of your guests? Some couples opt to limit the guest list at the ceremony and have a larger list for the reception, this is seen in about 20% of weddings. Making the decision to limit guests in this way usually opens up a lot of questions and family dynamics. {your call!!!}
  • Will your guests drive themselves or will you require transportation?
  • Is there a church/synagogue liason that will help you with any special rules for you, your guests, or your vendors? If so, have an initial call with this person, get a feeling for working with them and the church/synagogue.
  • If there are specific rules for your vendors (usually the most impacted are the photographer and videographer), does the church/synagogue have information that you can send along?
  • Is there a place to get ready/wait for the ceremony such as a designated bride’s room?
  • Does the church/synagogue have a limit on the time you can use their facility, i.e. what time do you need to be out?
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Beach, Park, Outdoor Venue Location

  • Again, we start with the foundation knowing the guest count, this outdoor venue location can adequately hold your guests. Is there plenty of room?
  • Is there a fee to use this location? Other paperwork/permits you need to make sure you fill out?
  • Can you bring in chairs if you want?
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  • If you are not bringing in chairs and guests have to stand up, be mindful of the time they will be waiting/standing etc. This is especially important for your older guests.
  • Is the location easily accessible from where the guests are parked or dropped off?
  • Will you need to secure help for older, or a guest or family member that might be disabled?
  • Is there a weather back-up? Don’t overlook the very real need to have a Plan B.
  • Who will set up chairs, arbors, or the props you want to include at your ceremony?
  • Think about the use of candles or other things you want to incorporate in the ceremony in terms of wind, rain, etc.
  • Are there things you need to provide your guests in an outdoor location such as flip flops, sunscreen, paper fans, water, wraps, etc.?
Bobbi Brinkman Photography
  • We suggest that you have someone not involved in the wedding or a part of your family that can act as point of contact for set-up, to help seat guests, and generally oversee things.
  • Does the outdoor location have someone who will be on-site during the ceremony?
  • Know where the closest restrooms are to your outdoor location (just in case), and have the numbers of emergency personnel available and at the ready.
Bobbi Brinkman Photography

That Quiet Private Spot:

  • For weddings with a small guest list, or even private elopements, choosing a venue is important.
  • Because the ceremony is likely to be shorter you are perhaps less likely to need chairs, water, and guest comforts. It is still important to make sure that if there is a fee involved, or if you need any permits, etc., that you fully adhere to these.
  • Find an officiant that isn’t part of your family. That officiant should be willing to take the time to make an individualized ceremony that speaks to your hearts and doesn’t add any stress to your day.

Where will YOU say I Do?

Party of Two Photography


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