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Mobile bay area wedding photographer

Coastal Alabama Wedding Venues

2020

April 16, 2020

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Hi there! Welcome to my blog, a journal of the latest going on here at Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi, I'm ELIZABETH.

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PLANNING YOUR DREAM WEDDING

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The Organized Bride Series

If you read my last post in this series on wedding venues in the Mobile Bay area, you can skip this intro for the list of 13 Coastal Alabama Wedding Venues. If you are just now joining us, I recommend reading the intro below for my tips on beginning your wedding venue search!

 

For most brides, wedding day planning begins with the search for a venue. I always say, you don’t have a date until you have a venue and that truly is the case. Maybe you’re one of those brides who already has a particular venue in mind. Alternatively, you may be one of those brides who has no clue of where to begin because you haven’t had your wedding day planned on Pinterest for the last five years. Maybe you’re somewhere in between those two extremes. No matter what mindset you’re beginning from, know that the venue is typically where you want to begin with planning.

 

If you’re working with a wedding planner, they will have recommendations for you based on your overall vision for your day. If you’re not working with a planner and don’t have a particular venue in mind, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed over starting the venue search. I want you to know that is totally okay and one hundred percent normal!

 

To start your search for a venue, I recommend that you first think about what you picture in your mind when you envision your wedding day. If you haven’t taken some time to write out this vision, I highly recommend that you do so now. It will be so helpful! Grab a journal and jot down notes of what is important to you. These notes can be simple bullet points, or detailed paragraphs. There is no right or wrong approach!

 

Brainstorm Your Vision

If you’re struggling with writing out the vision for your day, ask yourselves questions like this to get started:

 

  • Do I want an inside or outside wedding and reception?
  • Do I envision an afternoon or evening ceremony?
  • Is my general style traditional, modern, carefree, bohemian, rustic, or a mix of styles?
  • Is seasonality important to me – spring, summer, fall, winter?
  • Do I want an all-in one venue, or will I be having the ceremony at a church and only need a reception venue?
  • Is the venue having getting ready space important?
  • Do I want to minimize travel between locations?

 

If you envision a canopy of oak trees and an outdoor ceremony, you’re not likely to choose a ballroom style venue. If you picture everything being indoors with plenty of space for a plated dinner, then you’re not likely to choose a historic home style venue. Knowing some basic priorities at the beginning will save you from overdoing it on venue tours. It will also help you be more decisive by seeing how things you like fit with certain venues and not with others.

 

13 COASTAL ALABAMA WEDDING VENUES

To help you with your search for an Alabama wedding venue near the coast, I’ve put together a list of venues in our area. This is by no means a comprehensible list of every venue in Baldwin County, but these are all venues I’ve worked at over the past few years. If you’re searching for a wedding venue in Daphne, Spanish Fort, Fairhope, Point Clear, Orange Beach, or Gulf Shores, then this post is for you! If you’re searching for a Mobile, Alabama wedding venue, be sure to check out last week’s post for 15 wedding venues in Mobile.

 

THE GRAND HOTEL – POINT CLEAR, AL

Known well beyond tiny Point Clear, Alabama for its Southern elegance and hospitality, the Grand Hotel is just as special as it sounds. This historic hotel is beloved by locals and vacationers alike. It’s part of many family traditions and has long been a popular place for weddings. When I’m at this venue during peak seasons, there are often two or three other weddings going on the same day! The beauty of this place is that they can accommodate several different ceremony and reception setups depending on what you envision. Some brides prefer a reception in one of the large ballrooms, while others enjoy the more casual vibe of an outdoor reception on Julep Point. I don’t think I could choose a favorite between the two because both are such beautiful options! The Grand Hotel property is so picturesque, with many options for portrait backgrounds!

 

THE VENUE – FAIRHOPE, AL

Nestled in the heart of downtown Fairhope is The Venue. I absolutely love venues that have a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces and the perfect mix of the two is exactly what you’ll find at this venue. If there isn’t a threat of rain, the open-air courtyard offers a view of the star-filled night sky, but it’s a beautiful space even when covered with a tent. Brides need not fear rain when choosing this venue because the tent can be set up so that guests don’t get wet going between the inside rooms and the tent. The patio is large enough to accommodate some seating for guests in addition to a big dance floor, but there is ample space for guests and the food buffet inside as well. The Venue is in walking distance of a few churches and just a short drive from several others located in Fairhope.

 

LITTLE POINT CLEAR – POINT CLEAR, AL

Little Point Clear is one of the sweetest spots in Fairhope, Alabama! If you’re looking for an all-in-one venue, this one is another great option! The design of this space is so perfectly coastal. Since this venue offers guest suites, it’s also an ideal getting ready location. My favorite detail at this venue is the adorable turquoise and white van! It’s seriously the cutest thing ever and I love incorporating it into portraits. Located near several churches in both Fairhope and Point Clear, Little Point Clear is also a wonderful reception venue, with space for celebrating both indoors and out. During the winter, pulling up a seat by one of the fire pits outside is a treat for your guests and creates a cozy atmosphere that everyone is sure to love!

 

HERON POINTE – ORANGE BEACH, AL

If you’re looking for an Orange Beach, Alabama venue with lots of Southern charm, then you should definitely check out Heron Pointe at The Wharf. There’s no need for a separate getting ready location because this venue has ample space upstairs for the bride and her bridesmaids. When you’re at this venue, you almost feel like you’re at someone’s home because it just feels so welcoming. The large outdoor patio and deck offer plenty of space for guests to mingle and dance. I love the large oak trees that perfectly frame the front of this building. They create a beautiful background for an outdoor ceremony!

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BELLA SERA GARDENS – LOXLEY, AL

Bella Sera Gardens is one of those venues that makes you ask where you are. Because it seems unreal that this place is actually in south Alabama. As you enter the driveway, you feel like you’re arriving at a villa in the Italian countryside. I adore gardening and this place is definitely ideal for a bride who wants an outdoor wedding with access to an indoor reception space. This is a great all-in-one venue because there is space for both the bride and groom to get ready on property. Timing your vows with the late afternoon light makes for a dreamy ceremony!

 

IZENSTONE – SPANISH FORT, AL

It’s always fun to shoot at a venue for the first time and I loved my first wedding at Izenstone in Spanish Fort! This beautiful property is family-owned and has quickly become a popular location for weddings. With ample space inside for dinner and dancing, your guest list doesn’t have to be limited. I particularly love the bride’s room, as there was ample space for getting ready photos and access to natural light. Golden Hour portraits on this property just might be some of my all-time favorites, but since the barn is located in a valley, the golden light disappears a bit sooner than the actual sunset. Keep this in mind if it’s your goal to get some dreamy bride and groom portraits!

 

OAK HOLLOW FARM – FAIRHOPE, AL

Oak Hollow Farm is beloved by the brides who choose this place for their wedding day. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to photograph the wedding for a bride who is related to the family who owns the farm. It was then that I learned the event space was created in memory of her late father by his siblings. I just love knowing the story behind a family-run venue and the family that owns Oak Hollow Farm is just the sweetest! One of the most recognizable features of the farm is the tunnel of trees. Most brides choose to have their ceremony under this beautiful canopy and it looks best when timed just right with late afternoon light! Just keep in mind whether or not you’re choosing to share a First Look when selecting your ceremony time!

This large oak tree that was struck by lightening several years ago is another iconic spot on the property!

 

HISTORIC MALBIS NURSERY – MALBIS, AL

I call the Historic Malbis Nursery a hidden treasure because so many people don’t even know it exists. This historic wedding venue is nestled in a historic neighborhood and is ideal for smaller weddings. The bride’s room upstairs makes it a great all-in-one venue, meaning you can spend your whole day from getting dressed to your grand exit on site. I love the canopy of shade provided by the trees that line the horseshoe driveway. They make such a gorgeous portrait background!

 

COASTAL ARTS CENTER – ORANGE BEACH, AL

The Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach Alabama overlooks Wolf Bay and is just a short drive from several churches. I absolutely love the diversity of backgrounds available at this location. There are a variety of portrait backgrounds to choose from between the water, mature trees and the arts center itself. I’ve also photographed portrait sessions at this location and it truly is a gem. If you have a large reception and need extra dancing space, there is room for a tent on the property.

 

THE VERANDA – GULF SHORES, AL

If a small beachside wedding is what’s in your dreams, then the Veranda at Gulf Shores is definitely one you should check out. The house is a rental property, but was designed with weddings in mind. There are plenty of windows for ample natural light, a beautiful porch and private beach access, making this a great all-in-one venue. For brides looking for a destination wedding option they can call home for a week, this is definitely an ideal option!

 

THE FAIRHOPE INN – FAIRHOPE, AL

The Fairhope Inn is a local favorite in Fairhope and this quaint inn is the perfect setting for a wedding. I recently photographed an editorial shoot at this venue and my mind went in overdrive thinking about how gorgeous a ceremony would be in this quiet little courtyard! I’ve photographed a reception here before, but never a ceremony. This inn is also an amazing restaurant! If you know me, you know I’m a foodie. Whether you’re interested in this place for your wedding or not, you should definitely check this place out for dinner. It recently underwent a renovation and is even more charming than it was before!

 

EASTERN SHORE ART CENTER – FAIRHOPE, AL

Located in downtown Fairhope, the Eastern Shore Art Center is within minutes of several churches and is a unique environment for a wedding reception. Guests can enjoy art and dinner at the same time! The main room has plenty of space for a dance floor and smaller rooms of the museum are ideal for seating and food stations. I always say that logistics are key on a wedding day. Traveling great distances between venues opens up the possibility of travel delays. If you want to keep things right in downtown Fairhope, this venue might be for you!

 

BELFOREST POINTE – DAPHNE, AL

I have not yet had the privilege of photographing a wedding at Belforest Pointe, but I’m looking forward to my first one there this year! This venue is located on beautiful farmland in Daphne, Alabama. The team behind Belforest Pointe are not new to the wedding industry. In fact, the Beebe family have run and operated Gulf Coast Events and Rentals for years. Belforest Pointe is their new adventure and they’ve been a wonderful addition to the lineup of wedding venues in Baldwin County. The photos below were not taken at the property, but all rentals for this wedding were provided by Gulf Coast Events and Rentals.

 

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I'm Elizabeth and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal of the latest here at Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. Stay a while and say hello!

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