Just over 15 years ago I moved here from Los Angeles, Yes I was a wedding photographer in Los Angeles as well. Over the years working in LA I got to work at a wide range of wedding venues. Some of these venues were great for one reason but also were awful for other reasons. Because of the venues positive and negative aspects I never really had a favorite venue. In addition my attitude toward a certain venue may have been more about the venues wedding planner and less about the venue itself. When a photographer is on the job the goal is to get the best pictures possible and to make the client happy. If the venue has issues with starting times because the venue has back to back weddings, such as a wedding that starts at 10:00AM and the venue won't let the photography start until 3:00Pm for a 5:00 ceremony, thats a problem. Some venues have the goal of packing in as many wedding as they can in a weekend. The venues I considered Top were top because working there was a rewarding experience, also the venue had great photography locations. Some of these venues had great ocean views, others were in the woods in the mountains, some were hotels, that were upscale and had beautiful grounds or city skycaps. Funny Story about a beautiful venue with a bad attitude, (I won't mention the South Florida venue). I had a wedding reception at a venue that would not allow the guests to arrive until 5:30PM. The couples church ceremony ended at 4:00PM. Since the couple did a "First Look" most of the posed family pictures were already taken. I shot a few more pictures in the church, then the bride and groom told me they wanted to go to their reception for the cocktail hour. When I got to the reception venue I was greeted at the front entrance by the venue wedding planner. The planner told me that the venue was not ready for the couple to enter yet. I was told to take more pictures of the bride and groom outside around the venue. I'm always looking to get additional pictures so I escorted the bride and groom to some very pretty places in front of the venue. I shot picture after picture past 5:45PM. Then the couple told me they wanted to go inside the venue to see the ballroom and practice their first dance. They were not going to take no for an answer. While I want to have a great relationship with the venue, I couldn't keep insisting we stay outside and keep taking pictures. When they went inside they were mortified to find the guests from the previous wedding eating their cocktail hour appetizers. As you could imagine, the bride and groom bitched out the venue wedding planner, in turn the planner bitched me out for not following her directions and keeping the couple away. It's a bummer because this is a beautiful venue, but working there is often a problem because they have back to back weddings booked.
The picture in this article was taken at one of Palm Beaches top luxury wedding venues. If you have never been to The Breakers, you should visit this awesome hotel. The Breakers is located directly on the beach and has beautiful ocean views. I'm always excited when I get to work at The Breakers. However, I'm not excited just because of the ocean views. The Breakers has amazing perfectly landscaped grounds, and several upscale ballrooms. Every view of The Breakers is special, the front entrance is awesome, the ocean view is beautiful, it's impossible to photograph as wedding at The Breakers and cover all the awesome photo spots. Check out these links to some wedding photos which were taken at The Breakers. Bride and Groom at The Breakers, Palm Beach
Romance at The Breakers. Bride and Groom getting cozy in the Breakers ballroom. Breakers Wedding Ceremony. I think after viewing the pictures in this link, all you could say is WOW!! If you are wondering, Is The Breakers one of South Florida's top wedding venues? The answer is YES!
There are several factors that make a wedding venue a top venue. As a South Florida wedding photographer, you know I'm going to say, photographic opportunities play a big factor. Having great places to take pictures is very important for any wedding photographer. Another huge factor is the layout of the venue. Is there a place for the family to relax while the pictures of the wedding party are being taken? I also consider how many different places are available for pictures. This is important when you consider the fact that many of the South Florida beach venues have a wind issue. When you combine a bride with long hair that is down, combined with a long veil and heavy wind any photographer will have a more difficult time fighting the wind. I have found that most of the top South Florida wedding venues have enough photo spots available to change locations if one place is too windy. The Breakers has several beautiful picturesque locations that feature ocean views with different wind patterns. Wind has never been a problem at The Breakers.
Since I moved to South Florida I have worked at some amazing wedding venues. People always ask me, what is your favorite venue? Honestly, I can't pick one as a favorite. In this article, I'm going to mention several of my favorite top venues, I'm also going to include links to some of my favorite pictures from these venues. The wedding venues I mention here are on my list of top venues for several different reasons. Let's start this this link: Bride and Groom at The Ocean Reef Club. The Ocean Reef Club is on my list of top venues because of all the awesome photo locations available at this venue. Tucked away off of Key Largo, Ocean Reef club weddings are often several day events. There is so much space and so many activities available at the Ocean Reef Club, a golf cart is a handy vehicle for getting around to club. Because the property is on a peninsula off the Florida Keys ocean views are found when looking in every direction. Here is another awesome Ocean Reef Club photo. Bride and Groom on the Ocean Reef Club golf course. Check out this blog post from another wedding which took place at The Ocean Reef Club. Wedding Elegance in the Florida Keys.
Another Top South Florida wedding venue is The Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale. I love this venue, not just because it's on the beach, it's on an amazing big beach. It's only one of two venues on Fort Lauderdale beach Blvd that sits in it's own private beach. Read this blog post which includes pictures from this great venue. Wedding at the Harbor Beach Marriott. Here are more pictures from the Marriott Harbor Beach. Here is another blog post from the Harbor Beach Marriott. Wedding Pictures taken at the Harbor Beach Marriott
So far I included a venue in Palm Beach County and a wedding venue in Broward County. Here is a venue in the Miami area. This is a dream wedding venue. If you happen to be in Miami you really need to visit Vizcaya. The photographic opportunities at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens are unlimited. A visit to Vizcaya will take you several hours due to the size of this South Florida top wedding venue. I can't shoot pictures at Vizcaya without smiling. Here is a link to a wedding we photographed at Vizcaya. A luxury wedding at Vizcaya
Next we go north to The Boca Raton Resort and Club. I'm at The Boca Resort all the time and I just love working here. This is another venue that is very large and also has many many shooting locations. The hotel itself is beautiful indoors and outdoors around the grounds. The venue sits on the Intercoastal waterway and has beautiful scenery. I could write more and more about this Boca Raton wedding venue, however its very late 3:00Am and I need some sleep. However, here are some links to pictures that you should check out. Boca Raton Resort and Club wedding pictures.
When couple getting married start looking for wedding venues they should consider a few things in addition to get views. The first thing to consider is, Does the venue have an indoor location in case of rain. Sometimes it rains here is South Florida and choosing an outdoor wedding venue that doesn't offer an indoor option is just crazy. Once we were hired to shoot a wedding at a beautiful outdoor garden wedding venue. The forecast said rain and the wedding planner went crazy trying to find a tent for both the wedding ceremony and reception. Well, it didn't just rain, it down poured all morning, all afternoon and all night. The tents leaked, everything got muddy, the brides hair got soaked and so did the parents hear. Luckily we started the pictures at a local hotel. The plan was to start at the hotel and them move to the garden venue after the bride and groom first look. The wedding planner called us at the hotel and said, STAY THERE! Do all the pictures here because you don't want to be here now. It was a mess, and I came home soaked and so did my entire staff and the bride, groom and guests all got wet. Personally, I don't mind shooting pictures in the rain, but no one else was happy.
How many people will attend the wedding? The capacity of a venue can make or break you wedding day. It's a bad idea to cram 300 people into a venue that's designed to accommodate 100. I have seen this done before and it's not pretty. Some couples will choose a wedding venue that is too small thinking that many wedding guest won't travel from another state to South Florida. Remember, this is South Florida, everyone is a cold climate wants to be here in the wedding season.
Location: One South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480.