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My Favorite Wedding Venue So Far

I did my first wedding in October of 2017. I was a second shooter for the main photographer. (Sort of, that is a story in itself.) The ceremony took place at a Catholic church. The reception was at a large community center in a very small town, near a quiet wooded area. The venue was beautifully decorated with a cozy and elegant pastel theme, and it had a large grassy area and spacious wooden stage/deck. There was also a bridge nearby that made a wonderful backdrop for romantic photos.

Just before the first look.

Magic hour

Since that first wedding I have been to an array of different venues, from teeny tiny one room chapels, and court houses, to someone's backyard. All of the weddings I've done have been beautiful and unique and magical in their own way.

But my favorite venue, so far, was the Ainsley House, in Campbell California.

The Ainsley House is a beautiful old historic house, turned museum, built in 1925 in the style of an English Tudor Cotswold cottage. It was once the home of local canning pioneer, John Colpitts Ainsley and his wife Alcinda Ainsley.

Here are the reasons I love this venue, both from a photography viewpoint, and a practicality viewpoint.

1. Room to get ready for the day

Just above the carriage house is a lovely on-site dressing room, spacious and perfect for a wedding party to relax and get prepared before the ceremony. There is a large window that allows for some lovely natural lighting while taking your "getting ready" photos.

(Taken in that room)

It's always wonderfully convenient when you can get ready in-venue. The less travel and getting in and out of vehicles, time trying to keep clothes and hair from getting messed up, the better, in my experience.

2. Classic, timeless, yet something for everyone.

The beauty of humans is our diversity. We all have different looks, different styles, different tastes. A venue like this provides a style that fits nearly everyone. It is elegant, it has a sort of dark and mysterious feel, it is comfortable and homey, it can look fancy and expensive. Being able to match your surroundings with the mood and style that fits you best is very helpful in finding backdrops for photos that will capture who you are as a couple forever. If a venue has so much personality throughout, it makes this part of the job much more easier.

3. Spacious

A venue like this has everything that you need. There is a large garden (yard), that can easily accommodate both the ceremony and the reception. The area between the parking lot and yard is a great, separate area for a buffet and bar area. Sometimes it's hard to have everyone trying to squeeze by around tables and guests trying to get their food. With a separate area, you can keep the dining area clear, and comfortable. The wheelchair accessible bathroom is tucked privately behind the carriage house. The parking lot is large, free, and just a handful of feet from the back garden. Everything is separate, organized, and flows nicely. When doing photos, being able to move through an open and well organized space just makes my life so much easier, and your photos framed so much more nicely.

4. Secure

I know that not everyone has children at their weddings, which is understandable, but many do include their favorite small people in their big day, which I love. There's so much joy in seeing kids on the

dance floor, getting pumped over the cake, and seeing them light up at all of the special and magical moments that they're soaking in. But one issue that can along with having children at a wedding, especially outdoors, is making sure that someone is keeping an eye on them at all times. One of the best things about this venue was the fact that they not only had someone watching to make sure no one entered the building, but the back garden was able to be closed, so that children could run and play without fear of them wandering off somewhere. As a photographer, the candid moments of the children running free and having fun make for some of the sweetest memories to give a client.

5. A quiet moment alone

At this venue, they only allow fourteen people inside of the house at a time. This means a quiet place for the guests of honor to sneak away for a moment alone. There's a desk in the den where the

couple can sit in a beautiful and comfortable setting and sign their marriage license. The wedding party can get together and take photos in some of the elegantly decorated and historical rooms. The front of the house also makes for a lovely backdrop away from all of the commotion

and the grassy area nearby is a great open space for more relaxed and candid shots. Sometimes, your wedding day moves so fast, you feel like you don't get a moment to slow down and soak it all in together. This venue gives you that opportunity.

As I said, no matter the venue size, shape, set up, flow, decor, lighting, or any other aspect of your wedding, a good photographer can take what's given and bring out the beauty in it. The most important thing is to make sure that your venue works for you and your loved ones, makes you feel excited and enthusiastic, and provides you with whatever is needed to make your special day everything you want and more.

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