So you have a photographer in mind, but you don’t even know where to start with a venue.  Do you have the wedding and reception in one place?  Do you have the wedding at a separate location?  How can you personalize this wedding to suit your tastes, make the day memorable and suit all your wedding guests?  Read on and learn some interesting ideas we have!

Wedding with an antique car, WV

This article will show you some ideas from a photographer’s perspective.  When the dress has been worn, the tuxes are all put away, the awesome decorations are given away, the cake is eaten, and the guests go home, you will have a beautiful ring, a wonderful relationship, maybe a couple of children to sit on your lap and view the pictures of how you looked younger on your weddings day.  You might be able to show your children photographs of your grandmother who has gone on.  The photographs and the relationship are what remains from the day of which you have dreamed.

Wedding at a bed and breakfast, WV

You want your pictures to describe your day and capture you as you have always imagined.  Personalize it and show your style!

Firstly you must choose a photographer whose work encapsulates what you want.  And secondly peruse your tastes and needs.  After all, weddings are personal.  Make your wedding as an extension of your taste and your relationship.  

Bride and groom at Stonewall Resort, WV

For the nature lover with budget concerns…

For the nature lover who loves all things rustic, imagine a barn wedding.  These are quite popular, and seem to be springing up everywhere nowadays.  You have the benefit of having the wedding and the reception all in the same place.  There is often beautiful landscaping, sweeping fields, and scenes without the view of a car parking lot.  For an accomplished photographer, he will adore having many photographic possibilities.  Trees, a horse or two, a quaint pond, the sides of a rustic barn, iron gates, hay, pumpkins, a rusty door, and flowers are beautiful opportunities for photographs.  

Dolly Sods Outdoor Wedding, WV

On the other hand, the down side to having a barn wedding is maybe your guests are allergic to hay? There might be a spider or two roaming the place.  In one wedding we photographed last year, a bride got a spider nest up into the folds of her dress at a barn wedding.  She handled it very calmly, but I think I might have “flipped out”.  Also ask if you can hire your own vendors.  If the venue says, “We have our own photographers”, beware!  Check out their website.  If their own “photography” work looks poorly lit, poorly composed, and amateurish, insist on bringing your own photographer.  Your day is too precious to waste your pictures on someone who can’t capture it properly.  Often these barn venues will insist the photographer and vendors provide his own insurance.  After all, these venues often have a monopoly in the wedding business with their own family members as vendors and make money off of one another.  However, you may not receive the quality of photography you are looking for. Are you willing to give that up for the venue?

Formal church wedding, WV

Additionally for the nature lover, there are park and national forest weddings.  Some of the most beautiful weddings we have photographed are near waterfalls, and on top of mountains.  If you love the sweeping views of wind swept rocks, cool mountain breezes, the sound of waterfalls or mountains carpeted with brightly colored trees, an outdoor wedding at a park or forest is a very nice option with limitless photographic opportunities.  Also, there is no cost to having a wedding other than your own food, and needs.  Valley Falls State Park, Dolly Sods National Forest, are a few that make for many outstanding photographic opportunities.  The cons are that as with any outdoor event, plan for weather changes.  You don’t want your great grandmother sitting in the cold rain.  Also as with many outdoor events, if it is hot sunshine, make sure you have enough water to hand out to guests.  You don’t want anyone to pass out. 

Wedding portraits at Valley Falls, WV

So you’ve booked a more formal venue!

Wedding at Waterfront Place, Morgantown

For the bride who wants a more formal wedding, make sure the resort, hotel, or venue has ample attractive and photographable place outside and inside the facilities at which to photograph.  For example, if you have booked a metal pole building with parking all around the place and no landscaping, you will limit your photographer as to what can be done as far as poses.  There are just so many ways to turn someone as they stand in one location because all around you is a parking lot.  If you have booked a venue like this, you may want to travel around a few days before to see if there is a nearby field or place of interest at which to take portraits.  Otherwise, your day will be over and you won’t have the many different looks you adored when you first saw your photographer’s website or had your consultation with him.  If your photographer is wonderful, he may say, “Hey let’s shoot on another day on location somewhere!”, in order to get additional photographs.

Rustic weddings, WV

Additionally, for the more formal venues, make sure you can work with them to pay installments.  Ask the questions, can you bring your own vendors?  Can you cater it yourself? Are there any restrictions as far as how loud the sound it?  Can I come the day before and decorate or is there another fee for that?  Is there a fee for cleanup?  

Wedding at Lakeview Golf Resort, Morgantown, WV

Please call us and share with us your plans!  We would love to hear them.  Tim Ray Photography has been photographing weddings for 30 years.  Chances are, he may have photographed another wedding where you have made plans and can help!


Stefanie Ray is a professional photographer, owner and operator along with her husband, Tim Ray, of Tim Ray Photography. She is highly involved in all the color enhancement of the wedding photography. Tim Ray Photography is a family owned and operated business and has been in the wedding photography business for more than 30 years.

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