There are many great Arizona wedding venues. When it comes to finding the perfect wedding venue, you really have to look at the venue as a whole and really feel that connection with it. My advice when going into a wedding venue would be to spend time at the venue to really see if your heart is choosing this wedding venue. Also, do not just visit one venue. Take a weekend and visit multiple venues. This is your wedding, one of the biggest events in your lifetime. Don’t be impulsive. Be patient and allow that connection to form when visiting multiple places. 

Now let’s talk about lighting. As a video team (this also applies to photographers), we love good lighting. It will look way better in video and photos if the venue knows how to understand this. Here are 4 different areas of the venue where you will need good light to make your videos and photos pop.

Let’s start with the bride and grooms suites. Are there windows? Is there good light coming in? You spend quite a bit of time in the suites and a lot of the getting ready photos and video are taken in these suites. Natural light is the best light. You don’t want to get your photos or video back and the lighting looks bad, the dress looks dark, and the faces don’t have that pop from the makeup that has been applied or the hair that has been done. Finding a a venue that cares about this is crucial as this really begins your special day.

Now let’s talk about the surroundings. Arizona can get really hot and VERY sunny. I think the venues you choose should have some type of shaded areas to take photos and video. There is usually that period of time where you have the first look, family portraits, bridesmaids and groomsmen portraits etc and that all happens before the ceremony. Well before the ceremony is when the light usually is the worst. The sun is straight up in the sky which leaves for harsh skin tones and very over exposed lighting that honestly just won’t look good for your final product. So make sure the venue you choose can have a variety of areas that we can do these certain shots so the product turns out amazing!

Ok, let’s talk about the MOST important location of your wedding day. This is the ceremony location. Lighting at this time is crucial. We tell all of our clients to do their ceremony as late in the day as possible. We want the sun to be going down a little bit. We always say 30 min before golden hour is a good time to start a ceremony. We also prefer the sun to be in back of you so you’re nice and back lit. So a ceremony facing west is usually the best spot to be in while doing the ceremony . When we are shooting the vows, there is nothing worse than one of you having your face in shade and one of your faces being blown out by the sun. The contrast of these shots are very different and provide different moods when creating the final edit. Also when the bride is coming down the aisle and her skin is harsh from the sun, this is also a very bad thing for us a artists because it truly takes that moment away. So  ceremony location is HUGE when it comes to picking the perfect wedding venue.

Since lighting isn’t a big part of the reception (because it is dark usually by this time and we light it ourselves) let’s move on to the bride and groom portrait session. Lighting will ALWAYS be good at this time because we take these photos and video right after ceremony closer to sunset or as we like to call it “golden hour”. This is when the sun is the softest and the gold rays of light back lighting you is truly a site God provides us from heaven above! The way he creates this light at this specific time is just majestic! So since the lighting is already good at this time, you just need to make sure they have breathtaking spots to do these photos because this Portait time of just you two truly brings the video together and really shows the love you have for one another and the intimacy you share. So whether they have a back field we can go to, a desert full of cactus, tall trees, a backdrop of the mountains, a lake, a river and the list goes on and on. THESE are what we are looking for. 

So again, when choosing your venue you want to make sure you look for these specific things from a video and photo perspective. You obviously want to make sure that the venues has enough space for you and your guests, great entertainment, good customer service, beautiful decor, amazing food etc. BUT if your venue also has great lighting the photos and video you get to keep forever, will look absolutely incredible! 

Our favorite wedding venue in Arizona is Venue at the Grove. There is something truly magical with the sun coming through the orchard of pecan trees. We also love that they do the reception outside because it just looks way better with the wrapped lighting around each tree and  the dangling lights over the dance floor. Its just a very pretty place to get married. There are more venues that we adore but this one just knocks our socks off. Although they could improve their bride and grooms suites a little bit, everything else makes the suites look like a small problem. Here are a couple of weddings we did at Venue at the Grove.