Written by Mollie Wetta of Mollie Wetta Photography. We are excited to have Mollie as a guest contributor to Wedding Wednesdays!
Pinterest Disclaimer: I could write an entire post about my love/hate relationship with Pinterest. While it has reeked havoc on the wedding world and raised bridal expectations often to an unreachable height, it is still a valuable tool for collecting thoughts and sharing ideas.
When planning a wedding the venue is one of the first things to be chosen. The venue of your dreams (go ahead and google "New York Botanical Gardens Wedding" now) it is not always possible. Sometimes the most beautiful venue available is just not in the wedding budget and even with no budget, space can be a restriction. If you are going to have a 300-400 guest wedding in Wichita,KS your options become very limited. As wedding photographers, we have seen the best and worst venues and I continue to be amazed at how a creative bride and/or wedding designer can transform the least ideal spaces. In our opinion, the best solutions are those that focus on lighting. In photography, lighting is truly everything. The better lighting you have, the better your pictures will be. Something we see often in a venue is a drop ceiling and fluorescent lighting. When that is what you have to work with, the best thing to do is turn off that fluorescent lighting immediately. Now you need to add better light back in. Let's start with the tables: one word: Candles. They are underrated and relatively inexpensive for the impact that they make. Don't feel like you have to get caught up in a Pinterest whirlwind of trying to be different either...candles are classic and timeless. (that being said, here is a Pinterest board I have made of well lit tables)
The other great place to add lighting if possible is over the dance floor. Here is where that drop ceiling *slightly redeems itself. If your venue has a drop ceiling, you are more likely to be able and allowed to hang decorations from it. Strand lights, lit paper lanterns and chandeliers can make a huge difference not only to the feel of the reception but in your pictures. (Check out this pinterest board. The lights are what makes the pictures.) At my sister-in-law's wedding this past New Year's Eve, we added lit lanterns over the dance floor. Look at how much it adds to pictures. Yes, the lanterns could have been unlit but the additional light they put off lights up the guests faces and really adds to the overall feel of the room:
Another negative aspect about some venues are the walls. They can either be too plain or plain ugly. Easiest fix for this is uplights. We shot a wedding in a space that was originally an areana attached to stables. The walls were cinder block with mortar that looked a bit messy. Anybody could easily be turned off by the lack of elegance in the walls. The wedding designer uplit them and it made a huge difference. In pictures, it looks like they have a really neat texture. While uplights are the obvious choice, there are lots of other ideas to fix or hide ugly walls. (Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas)
You can see how much all of the lighting adds to their first dance images...see that cinder block wall IS kind of cool...
look at these two pictures and the difference the lighting in the background makes in the second one.
At this wedding, the walls were up lit in pink:
A Little About Mollie:
Mollie Wetta is a photographer based out of Wichita Kansas specializing in Weddings and Newborns. She (and her husband, Patrick) has been shooting weddings for 4 years and will be shooting their 60th wedding together this year. She does an amazing job of balancing shoots, editing, all while taking care of her two beautiful daughters. Her photos are timeless and her attention to detail is unmatched. We are very excited for her to share her expertise and creativity with us as a guest writer! View more of Mollie's work at her website: www.molliewetta.com or visit her blog at molliewetta-blog.com/