Choosing a venue is so important!  You want it to be beautiful and fit the number of guests you want to invite all without breaking the bank.  Here are 5 tips that will help: 


Often couples think they need to have the wedding wherever most of their family members are.  I believe when you are on a budget, you need to choose a venue that is the most cost-effective for you.  Location is an area that is important. If most family members are on the east coast and you’re in California, some think you should choose the east coast.  But think about your wedding dress and all the decor to ship there. It could get lost and it will for sure be quite costly to do so. Plus, you’ll have to pay for a hotel room for more than a few days, as well as flights, etc.

Sometimes, it’s easier and certainly more cost-effective to have it where you live.  You just need to make sure that you consider whether and seasonal costs for the price.  Choosing a date that is not during wedding season (November-March) can definitely save you money.  Considering Monday-Friday will save you money because it’s not on the most popular days (Saturday and Sunday).

I truly believe that if your guests truly love you, they will come to no matter where it’s located or what day you’ve scheduled.  Just ensure that you choose something near an airport and/or hotels that are affordable and you can even get a discount for a block of rooms.  That way, you’ll ease the overall cost for them.


Often times, people will say it’s an ugly venue.  But, if you can get the venue for less money because it’s not super pretty, don’t forget that you can design it to be pretty.  Draping and uplighting can do wonders for creating a beautiful venue out of one that isn’t so pretty. If the venue can hold the number of people you are inviting, it’s easy to get to and has ample parking and is in the price range that’s attractive, work on making it attractive.  I know many coordinators that are also planners that can come up with a beautiful plan to make an ugly venue look beautiful for your wedding day.


Many of my brides secure a venue because of what it looks like, without considering the customer service side of the business!  It can fit invitees, it’s the right price, etc. but they struggle for the months leading up to their wedding and on the wedding day because the staff and/or management are super hard to work with or they have a rotating staff.  Here are some questions you can ask to get a sense of their customer service: 1. How flexible is it where the ceremony takes place on the property? Is there a day of planner included? 2. Will I be working with the same person leading up to and including the wedding day?  How long have employees worked there that you will be working with (including the person you book with)? You can also check their reviews on google and yelp. Doing this due diligence can save you from future headaches. 


Beware of venues that include all the vendors. On one hand it’s helpful and because it’s bundled it may be more affordable, but I can’t tell you how many times my friend’s children or my children’s friends have secured a wedding venue where I can’t be their photographer because the venue has only specific vendors that they work with.  If you book there and you don’t like the photographers they offer, there is nothing you can do! Each and every time my friends or children’s friends have booked these bundled venues, they are super disappointed with at least one if not more of the vendors leading up to and including what they deliver. They don’t seem to have to worry about customer service and flexibility because you HAVE to work with them.  An example is I brought along my camera to a friend’s wedding and snapped several images to create a gift for their wedding. Turns out those images are the only ones they love. They were very disappointed in the photographer that delivered their actual wedding images. They had three photographers to choose from and all included certain things, but they were pushed hard and sold to firmly for them to pay more to get a better package.  It was really sad that they wished they got to work with me because they were so disappointed and you can’t redo the wedding! Sometimes, the old saying is true. “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”.  



Venues that have a ton of rules and guidelines that MUST be followed, tends to be the venues that ultimately my brides aren’t happy with.  A wedding is super personal and you want to ensure that you and your fiance’s vision is delivered. An example of this is one friend had her wedding and was told she could only get married on the property in one area.  Well, the lighting was horrible and her ceremony images were all half sun and half shade which is terribly hard to correct. Another friend’s daughter’s venue required she use their timeline and she didn’t have the time she wanted for each thing during her wedding including not enough time to get the sunset images she wanted with her groom.  And everything ran so tightly that she felt rushed and didn’t feel she enjoyed the whole experience because she felt rushed.


So we’ve gone over the five tips:  Location, Function over Style, All-in-one, and Making sure they are flexible. 

All of these tips will help you to get the wedding of your dreams. Since wedding venues are usually the biggest part of your budget and you want to make sure that you get the “experience” you always wanted for your big day, ensure that you ask a lot of questions.

Are you getting married and looking for a photographer?

I'd really love to chat briefly to learn about you and your sweatheart and what you have planning for your wedding.  Click HERE to schedule a free consultation by phone or video chat!!


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Cool Christmas gifts for men or gifts for groomsmen

Cool Christmas gifts for men or gifts for groomsmen

I’m so excited to share these gift ideas for groomsmen or your favorite men for Christmas! 

I often get people sending me items they want to feature on my blog.  I am NOT one to post or share anything that I don’t fully love. So the things I share below are things I’ve actually bought or received that I really think are good quality and the men in my life will love!

I’ve copied and included links for you to easily find them and purchase.  This can save a ton of time and energy as I’ve already done the research. But, in full disclosure (which I’m all about), I was sent a ton of items that I didn’t love and those are NOT shared here.  I’m only sharing things that I would personally purchase. Additionally, some of the items are items I’ve purchased for loved ones and liked them so much, I’m making them available via my Amazon affiliate link.  Those I get a tiny stipend, but you won’t pay more for the item to accommodate that.  Click the link to view my fun suggestions!

How Write a Review for your Wedding Photographer

How Write a Review for your Wedding Photographer

I really appreciate anyone who clicked this link to learn how to share your experience with your wedding photographer.  And if you are a JVP Bride – then I so appreciate you!!  I am always most appreciative of my JVP Brides that leave reviews!!

I have the best job in the world working with brides who are in love.  They always have the best friends and family members.  Capturing all of them for my couples so that one day their children can relive their wedding day makes my heart melt!

When my brides leave a review, it enables me to work with more brides like them!  The majority of brides that book me are referrals from brides or their family and friends.  This is so great because I love photographing weddings from a referral – because **SECRET** most brides refer people like them and I LOVE my brides! Click the link below to read the tips!

You’re Engaged? 4 Tips to Help you Plan!

You’re Engaged? 4 Tips to Help you Plan!

CONGRATULATIONS!!! This is an exciting moment in your life! After you make all those fun phone calls to your best friends and family members, there will be a moment when you think, “OH. MY. GOSH! I’m getting married, now what?!?”

It’s always a great idea to take a few weeks for everything to sink in before you get started planning.  But below are 4 tips of things you can get started on after you take that time to really discuss with your fiance what you want your wedding to be like.

SET THE DATE: Consider this carefully. If you have an open wide budget, choose any date. If you are on any type of budget, know that the day is the biggest expense or biggest budget saver. For example, if you are getting married in the most popular months of June, August, September, or October – those will cost you way more than say January, February, and March because those are the least popular (which means the least expensive). Additionally, Saturday night is….. Click the link to read more!