Wedding gazebos can be impractical

When you are looking at wedding venues with gazebos, there are several considerations to think about. While they wedding gazebos are romantic and pretty, they can also be impractical. Most gazebos are too small for wedding parties of five or more.

When the wedding couple is inside the gazebo, the sight lines may be difficult for your guests to see you, which means it is also difficult for the photographer to get great photos. Sometimes gazebos can create ugly shadows on the wedding party, especially gazebos with lattice.

Here are some tips from a professional wedding photographer

Scott Schoeggl, Wallflower Photography, gives this practical advice, “Wedding ceremonies held inside gazebos are shaded by it. This poses a difficult exposure challenge for photographers because the surrounding area and the exterior of the gazebo itself are invariably brighter than the people inside. It gives us three choices: Do we 1) expose for the shaded wedding party, which turns the bright areas to patchy white with washed-out color, 2) expose for the bright areas, which retains their color and detail but turns the wedding party into silhouettes, or 3) try to light the wedding party to bring them into balance with the bright surroundings, which requires multiple radio-controlled lights that clutter the ceremony site, potentially ruin the ambiance of the ceremony with bursts of bright light, and aren’t even in the kit of most wedding photographers.”

When selecting a gazebo, here are some things to ponder.

  • First, how many people are in your wedding party? If it’s large, you will need to place most of your wedding party outside the gazebo.
  • How many people will fit in the gazebo?  If it’s only the couple and the officiant, is there space outside the gazebo for the wedding party?
  • What is the size and structure of the gazebo? If it is large and your wedding party will fit indoors, that’s great. If not, where will you place the rest of the wedding party?

Other considerations
Look at it from a guest’s point of view. When the couple is in the gazebo, how well will the guests be able to see you when they are seated? Try it and experience what they will see; it will help you make your decision.

If the gazebo is small, consider taking photos there before or after your wedding.

Or, use the gazebo as a backdrop during your ceremony. The wedding party stands outside the gazebo, so your guests can see you and the photographer can see you well to get great photos.

Another option is to get married further away from the gazebo, so the gazebo is seen in the distance.

If the gazebo is directly behind you during the ceremony, there will be boards behind you in the photos, which is distracting in the images. You probably want a non-distracting backdrop for your ceremony photos. Ask your wedding photographer for advice.

Gazebo photos taken at 2013 in the garden of the Weyerhaeuser Estate in North Tacoma. Photos by Wallflower Photography.

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Published on April 29, 2016.

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