Venue pictured in the cover photo: Bailey Barns Venue in Fairview, WV
Choosing the perfect wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you'll make while planning your wedding. As a West Virginia wedding photographer, I've seen some of the most beautiful venues in the state and Have learned a thing or two about how to choose the right one for you. Here's a more in-depth look at my top tips for choosing the perfect wedding venue in West Virginia:
TOP 10 TIPS for finding the perfect venue for you:
1. CONSIDER YOUR OWN PERSONAL STYLE AND TASTE:
First and foremost, think about what type of wedding you want to have. Do you envision a rustic outdoor wedding, a whimsical forest function, or an elegant indoor soiree? West Virginia has a variety of venues to choose from, so you and your boo will need to think about the type of atmosphere you want for your big day and find a venue that fits that style.
2. THINK ABOUT YOUR GUEST LIST:
Make sure the venue you choose can accommodate the number of guests you plan to invite. You don't want your guests to feel cramped or uncomfortable. Before you start your venue search, create a rough estimate of how many guests you'll be inviting. This will help you narrow down your options. It's also important to be mindful of any disabilities or handicaps that your guests may have and whether the venue can accommodate them.
3. DECIDE ON MUST HAVE AMENITIES:
Some venues offer more amenities than others. Make a list of what's important to you and look for venues that offer those amenities. Things such as a bridal suite, an on-site caterer, or a built-in sound system for your DJ. Hell, even a hot tub to soak in after the party is over can be one of your must-haves (I know it would be one of mine!). Don't be afraid to ask venues about what they offer and compare your options.
4. Consider your Catering options:
Some venues require you to use their in-house catering services, while others allow you to bring in your own caterer. If you have a specific caterer in mind, make sure the venue allows outside vendors. If not, consider the quality and reputation of the venue's catering services. Some locations may have few options due to the area of the venue as well.
5. VISIT THE VENUE IN PERSON:
As a photographer, I am here to tell you that venue photos can be very deceiving. That's why it's important to schedule a visit to the venue before you make a final decision. Seeing it in person will give you a better idea of what it will be like on your wedding day. Pay attention to the details, such as the condition of the decor, lighting, and layout of the space. Don't be afraid to ask questions or take notes. And if an in-person tour isn't available, try to set up a video walk-through of the venue instead! While it won't have quite the same effect as an in-person visit would, you'll still be able to use this time to envision your own wedding day taking place, ask important questions, and gain a valuable sense of security and peace of mind that you wouldn't have if you book "blindly."
6. Consider the season & weather that brings:
West Virginia experiences all four seasons, so if you're getting married here, you'll need to think about what time of year you want to get married and make sure the venue is suitable for that season. For example, if you're getting married in the winter, make sure the venue has indoor space and heating to keep your guests warm.
7. Consider the Location:
Think about the location of the venue and how easy it will be for your guests to get there. If most guests will be traveling to attend your wedding, is it close to major highways or airports? Are there nearby hotels for guests to stay in? Consider these factors when choosing a venue.
8. Ceremony and reception space:
Some venues offer separate spaces for the ceremony and reception, while others offer one large space for both. Think about what you want and make sure the venue can accommodate your needs.
9. The parking situation:
Make sure there is ample parking available for your guests. Consider the size of the venue and the number of guests you plan to invite when assessing parking options. If parking is a bit of a walk from the venue itself, many will provide additional transportation such as golf carts or charter buses, though those services may be limited to the guests with more limited mobility.
10. BE DILIGENT AND DO YOUR RESEARCH:
The internet is a great resource for researching wedding venues. Look up reviews and photos of the venues you're considering. You can search them up on Google, Yelp, Facebook (both public posts and in local wedding groups), Reddit, and anywhere else you can think of to find reviews and ensure you're going to get what you pay for. Feel free to ask your wedding planner or photographer for recommendations as they may have worked at a venue of interest before and be able to offer valuable insight.
Well, THOSE ARE MY TOP 10 TIPS for choosing the perfect wedding venue for you!
Choosing the perfect wedding venue can be a daunting task, but by following these tips, you'll be able to find a venue that fits your style, accommodates your guests, and has the amenities you need to make your big day unforgettable.
If you need help finding a wedding venue near you, you can check out this ever-growing list of venues I have saved on Google Maps. Most of them are in West Virginia, but I am adding to it almost daily as I come across new wedding venues. I hope it helps you out in your search to find the best wedding venue for you!
Meet the West Virginia Wedding Photographer
Hey Homie, I'm Aireal.
I'm focusing in to capture souls who are wildly in love & searching for a fun, passionate, laughter-filled photography experience for their wedding and elopement day.
By capturing photojournalistic, candid, and posed images throughout the day, you'll be sure to have a wide variety of images that illustrate your wedding day and love story.
Inclusivity & representation matter. I am an LGBTQIA+ Wedding Photographer in West Virginia. Same-sex & non-binary couples are always welcome in front of my lens.