5 Fantastic Wedding Venues Near me in Northwest Georgia

I've been lucky enough to photograph many weddings and engagements in Kennesaw, Marietta and Cartersville and the surrounding area. I thought I would list some of my favorites and some of the wedding venues near me that I really respect and would love to shoot at.

The Grande in Kennesaw

The Grande is a beautiful Victorian-style house that stands on 2.5 acres of mature, landscaped grounds. The beautiful, romantic gardens and wedding ceremony areas are perfect! Inside the large victorian-style house are fabulous rooms for receptions that are spaceous and well appointed.

With a large, comfortable bridal suite and a fantastic "man cave' for the groom and groomsman, this all inclusive Grande is hard to beat.

The Dream Room

The Dream Room in Cartersville is ideally located close to town and major highways. The dreamy, romantic ambiance is intoxicating! Fabulously decorated to order and spaceous, The Dream Room has soem of the msot flexible options availalble for the modern bride.

The Bridal Suite is so cute and was recently enlarged so it's even cuter! The Grooms area is perfect for the guys to enjoy the game or watch movies while getting ready for the big day.

Baya and Brea, the owners will make your wedding dreams come true with some of the best values in wedding venues in the area.

The Magnolia House

I am looking forward to shooting my first wedding at The Magnolia House in Powder Springs Georgia this summer.

The house is over one hundred and twenty years old and is absolutely stunning. The lovely rooms are decorated to perfection and offer couples many options to create the perfect day.

The beautiful, immaculately maintained gardens provide the perfect backdrop for your wedding day portraits. I understand that the management team at The Magnolia House.

Stonewall Manor

Stonewall Manor in Cartersville is a grand, elegant Victorian era manor house. I love the architecture here and look forward to shooting my first wedding there in 2019 soon.

Stonewall Manor works in conjunction with Flavorful Events catering to bring you an elegant, worry-free wedding day experience.

The architecture and surrounding gardens create an ambiance that is hard to describe. The photo opportunities abound here to make and document your wedding day to perfection!

The Gardens at Kennesaw Mountain

Located in the shadow of the mountain, The Gardens at Kennesaw Mountain offer a unique yet timeless experience. Set on four beautiful acres the team works with their couples to create a one of a kind, memorable wedding day.

Working in conjunction with Parsley's Catering The Gardens at Kennesaw Mountain offers fresh, locally sourced and organic cuisine.

Message me with any questions you may have about wedding venues near me or far away!

Chris Cottrell, CPP

Certified Wedding Photographer



Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue Steps and roses

Wedding Venue Steps and roses

Bride and Groom Through Victorian-style Doorway

Bride and Groom Through Victorian-style Doorway

Being an Atlanta Wedding Photographer, there are lots of places I would love to photography weddings. One of my recent discoveries is the Whitlock Inn, just off Marietta Square, The Whitlock Inn is a Victorian era grand house and gardens, the internal and external architecture are perfection. The gardens are stunning and would be the absolute memory makers for any Bride and Groom. My meetings with the event planners have been so pleasant and they are super accommodating. As soon as I have photos I will update this post.

Grooms & Groomsmen Haircuts

I got my haircut the other day because I'll be shooting a wedding this weekend! I don’t know about you, but if I know that I have a function coming up, like a family event, invited to a party, shooting a wedding or going away for a holiday - I get my hair cut.


Why is important for a Groom to have his hair cut and styled for the big day?

Betsy Franklin said "Your Wedding photos will reveal if you are groomed or not. Get a fresh cut 1-2 weeks before your wedding day. If your neck and hairline are unruly it will be noticeable in the pictures. If your hair grows quickly, (most men's do) and there is time, ask your stylist or barber for a clean up around your neck and hairline a day or two before." 

Betsy also added "My husband wears short hair and it grows quickly, we were so busy we forgot to schedule a haircut for him. When we look at our wedding photographs it’s the first thing we notice, it just didn't look like him."


Thinking of Trying a New Hair Style?

If you decide you'd like to try a new hair style or something that is not the norm for you, speak with your stylist a few months before your wedding day. That way you'll have plenty of time to change to change back to your old style well before the big day.

Huge thanks to Betsy for answering my many questions, go over to Dyer & Posta's website to see how creative Betsy and the salon are. Have a great weekend, look out for the answers to other “guy” haircut questions soon.


The Grooms Photos

I shot these photographs at The Ponte Vedra Lodge, The Grande at Kennesaw, Smith-Gilbert Gardens, Omni Atlanta, Little Gardens, Atlanta Georgia and The Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida.


Let me know if you have any questions or would like to book a complimentary wedding day photography consultation. - Chris

Clean cut groomsmen getting ready for wedding

Clean cut groomsmen getting ready for wedding

Groom with boutonniere and short haircut

Groom with boutonniere and short haircut

Bride and Groom at the Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida

Bride and Groom at the Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida

clean cute Groom getting help with cufflinks from his Best Man

clean cute Groom getting help with cufflinks from his Best Man

Groom getting ready at The Grande

Groom getting ready at The Grande

Wedding Photography Styles - Kennesaw Georgia

Wedding photographers styles are so different across the board! I've been told my style is creative or artistic. I think I offer a unique style for my couples in that I can quickly adjust their stance to create a more natural looking and stunning portrait. I love documenting the day as it unfolds, then recreating the wedding day in chronilogical order for wedding albums.

Wedding Photos

The accompanying images were shot at The Kennesaw Grande, Kennesaw, Georgia. I can see a lot of influence from one of the photographers I respect, Jerry Ghionis from Australia in some of my photography.

Getting Ready Shots

I love to create unique getting ready photos for my couples and I always take time to look around the room, window light and furnishing to get ideas to create something special. One of the photos here was shot at Little Gardens in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta in Georgia and reminds of Yervant's style.


Wedding Dress Details

This photo shot at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church is one of my favorites. I love the light, the bride interacting with the bridesmaids who are helping get the dress buttoned up.

New Wedding Venues

Super excited this first week of 2019 as I have weddings coming up this year in three wedding venues near me that I've never shot at before. Embassy Suites in Kennesaw, Georgia, Juliette Chapel in Dalonaga, Georgia and The Magnolia House, Powder Springs, Georgia

Have a great weekend, let me now if you have any questions - Chris

Getting into the Wedding dress - Bride and Bridesmaids, Atlanta Georgia

Getting into the Wedding dress - Bride and Bridesmaids, Atlanta Georgia

Grooms details, Kennesaw, Georgia

Grooms details, Kennesaw, Georgia

Bride getting makeup applied, Acworth, Georgia

Bride getting makeup applied, Acworth, Georgia

Bride and groom laugh at Wedding Photographer, Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, Georgia

Bride and groom laugh at Wedding Photographer, Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, Georgia

10 Questions to Ask your Prospective Wedding Photographer - Atlanta Georgia

Recently I was listening to a photography webinar that was specific to sales and customer service. While listening I started thinking about great questions for a Bride and Groom to ask a professional photographer they were considering. I came up with a really long list, I’ve narrowed it down to the ten below.

Are you available on my wedding date?

If no, don't waste anymore time! you have to keep looking for the right one. It reminds me of a somewhat related blog post I wrote earlier this year Three Important Things…

Will you, (the person you’re speaking with) be the photographer at my wedding?

Make sure that you talk with the photographer and connect with him or her, feel comfortable asking for what you want. Communication on your Wedding Day is very important. Look here for more info Atlanta Wedding Photography Additionally, you may want to make sure that all of your “special shots” are taken care of and not missed by a message not getting to the right person.


What camera system do you use? Do you have back up cameras in case of a malfunction?

You may want to make sure that your Wedding Day Photographer has professional grade cameras and lenses plus back ups. With the big names Nikon and Canon, there are other fantastic professional cameras being used, ask see samples of the work they have produced with their preferred system. Additionally, it’s might be a good idea to find out if they use a lighting system for evening or low light situations.


Are you a technical photographer or creative, what’s your style?

Ideally you need a photographer who is technically proficient and also creative - let’s be honest the great wedding photos are the ones that capture the emotions of the day and are exposed correctly, composed correctly and processed correctly. Documentary or Photo-journalistic styles may be your choice, or you may need a more traditional look. I like the idea of a combination of a more formal look for the family and documentary style as the day unfolds. It’s also important that your photographer has the ability to talk with you both, your family, wedding planner and other vendors during the day to ensure that every opportunity to capture great photos as the situations dictate are taken advantage of.


How many years have you been photographing weddings?

You may also ask about product and fashion abilities, as there will be rings, shoes, cufflinks, cakes, flowers, a Wedding Gown, Tuxedos etc. to be documented that have nothing to do with the people that will need to be photographed on the day.

Can I see samples of your wedding, engagement, portrait, and wedding day details photography?

Along with this question you should confirm that all of the images you are being shown were taken by the photographer you are speaking with. Look for a complete wedding day start to finish, also if you are having them take care of your Engagement Photo Session, check their engagement photography to avoid disappointment or misunderstanding.


Do you have liability and equipment insurance?

I know it’s rare, but things can go awry, All vendors should have insurance to cover the what ifs. Some venues require all vendors to have insurance coverage - check well before your wedding day.


Are you a member of a professional association?

It’s so important nowadays with technology spilling into the creative arena that your photographer keeps up with the ever changing technological improvement and uses them to creatively capture your day. In the USA the Professional Photographers of America based in Atlanta, GA are the oldest and largest association specific to photography in the world.


Can you stay longer if the reception runs later and how much would that cost?

Very important to establish this up front rather than on the day. Make sure that your contract clearly says what to expect if the wedding runs later that planned.


Do you have any type of certification or education in photography?

A certified professional photographer will have the ability and competence to shoot your wedding and produce great images without you having to worry how things may or may not turn out. Also, consider asking about post-wedding processing of images, does the photographer do it or is someone else responsible for that. Be clear about your expectations for the photography, on-line galleries, wedding albums and wall art etc. Always ask what’s included and what’s an additional cost.


The photos shown with this post are taken by myself at The Grande in Kennesaw, Little Gardens, Atlanta, Rock Springs Church, Atlanta and Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida. I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have - Chris


Chris Cottrell, CPP (Certified Professional Photographer), British born Wedding and Portrait Photographer based Kennesaw, near Atlanta, Georgia USA. Available worldwide for near-to -home or destination weddings.


chris.cottrellco@gmail.com on IG @cottrellandco, FB cottrell & Co. Photographers or www.cottrellphotographers.com

Smiling Bride surrounded by Bridesmaids at Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida

Smiling Bride surrounded by Bridesmaids at Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida

Groom & Groomsman share a laugh at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, Atlanta Georgia

Groom & Groomsman share a laugh at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, Atlanta Georgia

Bride Getting ready photos at The Grande in Kennesaw, Georgia

Bride Getting ready photos at The Grande in Kennesaw, Georgia

Wedding rings photograph in rustic window at Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, Atlanta Georgia

Wedding rings photograph in rustic window at Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, Atlanta Georgia

Liveliest Wedding Entertainment in Chattanooga Tennessee

Bluff View Art District

Bluff View Art District, with outstanding views of the Chattanooga River makes it one of the most unique Chattanooga wedding venues. This close-to-home or destination wedding venue has a fairytale feel to it's indoor and outdoor wedding event spaces. The in-house catering is fabulous with the outstanding Bluff View Bakery and Rembrandts Coffee Shop just steps away.


With Class Wedding Entertainment

DJ Mark of With Class LLC really knows how to ge the reception hopping with guests dancing all night long!! Mark jumps right in and dances with them.

His awesome, easy-going personality really shines through as he shows the wedding guests dance steps.


Wedding Photography at the Reception

I love to create wedding reception photos that really take the viewer back to the dance floor and all the fun. I will often get on the dance floor with camera in hand and shoot from the guests perspective, often surrounded by dancers and in this case dancing right next to Mark the DJ!!


Chattanooga Wedding Venues

As of writing this I haven't photographed wedding at Tennessee RiverPlace, The Venue Chattanooga or Stratton Hall and a few others. Let me know if you have any questions - Chris

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception at Bluff View Art District with dancing guests

Wedding reception at Bluff View Art District with dancing guests

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception DJ With Class

Wedding reception at Bluff View Art District with dancing guests

Wedding reception at Bluff View Art District with dancing guests

The Three Most Important Things on Your Wedding Day - Atlanta, Georgia

Last Wedding Season I sat down to interview local bridal boutique manager Sheilah Barnhart. We were at “Impressions Bridal” in Kennesaw, near Atlanta Georgia. The interview was part of a project I started early in March of 2017 that centered around wedding venues near me and wedding vendors in the North Georgia area.

Wedding Planning

After our interview had finished I asked Sheilah a question. “In your opinion, Sheilah, what are the three things a bride to be should be aware of as the wedding planning process unfolds?”

Sheilah didn't answer me right away, but stopped and thought for a minute and then said.

Wedding Gown

“I think a bride has to find the absolute right dress. It’s got to be comfortable, look beautiful and make the bride look and feel like a million dollars on the the big day. The dress has to fit right as she could be in it for a many hours".

Wedding Photography

Next, "the photography, these are memories that are being created on that day with family, friends and loved ones. The day needs to be captured and an album created so as husband, wife and family will have the images of the day forever". As a Certified Professional Photographer (PPA) I couldn't agree more and when the big day is over the photos are the visual record of the day.

Wedding Entertainment

Thirdly, (with a huge smile on her face) "the band or DJ have to be the best! If there’s a celebration there needs to be something to get people up on the dance floor and have a good time and it’s those great times that people will always remember.” Some of my favorite DJs to work with are With Class, Celebration Crew and SE Events in Norcross near Atlanta.

Flowers and Wedding Cakes

Additional to Sheilah's comments, I would add the flowers for the day. Three of my all time favorite floral designers are Mike Whittle in Marietta, Moonflower near Athens GA and Liz Stewart in Jacksonville Beach Florida

Wedding cakes, I like them all! Bobbie Ruth's are awesome as are Gabriel's In Marietta.

Photos shown are from The Grande at Kennesaw, Bluff View Art District, Rock Spring Church


Sheilah Barnhart is the manager of Impressions Bridal, Kennesaw Georgia.

Chris Cottrell is a Certified Professional Photographer based in Kennesaw, near Atlanta Georgia

5 Secrets to Selecting the Right Wedding Photographer

Are you recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding? Have you begun looking for the perfect close-to-home or destination wedding venue and wedding photographer? If yes, my post might help you with asking the right questions in selecting your ideal wedding day photographer.


Secret 1: Connecting

Speak with your prospective wedding photographer on the phone. On your wedding day you’ll both spend a lot of time with your photographer, so it’s really important that you connect and can work together. The phone is the perfect place to have that initial conversation. I offer a free Zoom/Skype consultation to discuss your needs and help you find the right level of photography coverage for your big day.


Secret 2: Style

The photographers style. Look at your prospective photographers wedding portfolio on his or her website. If you like the style ask a few questions about specific images. Questions like, the image with the tears on the brides cheek, how did you shoot that? The grooms boutonniere photo, at what time during the day was that shot? What style do you call this type of image? As a Certified Professional Photographer I will document your day as it naturally unfolds in. I have the skill and experience to adjust you, your bridal party and guests to get the most beautiful, natural looking images possible.


Secret 3: Portfolio

Ask to see a complete wedding day from a previous client. This is super easy to do with Skype or Zoom and you’ll be able to look at a complete day from start to finish and not just a select few of the images that are viewable on a website. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask if the photographer shot the image or if it’s from a second shooter or an assistant. I always share with my couples which images were from second shooters that made the final edits that way they know they are getting what we agreed to when they hired me.


Secret 4: Cameras

What camera system do you use and what’s your favorite lens? Is a great question. Nikon has been my choice of camera systems for many years and I have a selection of cameras. and always bring back up cameras and equipment to weddings. Lenses are super important as the lens directs the image/light to the sensor, which usually means, higher quality lenses produce a superior image.

I have a wide selection of Nikon & Sigma lenses. I always bring some of my specialty lenses from other manufacturers like Sigma (the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art is one of my favourites).

You should consider the genres of photography on your wedding day. From fashion, with the dress and grooms tuxedo etc., products, using macro lenses for rings, cufflinks etc. and back to products with shoes and of course portraits. Each one looks better when we use the lens designed for that type of photo.


Secret 5: Certification

It doesn’t hurt to ask if the photographer has any type of certification or other supporting credentials. The peace of mind knowing that your photographer has the craft and technical expertise to photograph your big day is priceless. Photography, like a lot of industries, continues to change with technology. Photographers who invest time in learning and continuing education are valuable not only to clients but also to the industry at large. I am a Certified Professional Photographer, CPP and a member of PPA. Being a CPP means I adhere to a strict code of conduct and I am accountable to PPA at all times. I continue to learn new things every day to better serve my clients.


If your prospective photographer checks all the boxes, I’m pretty sure he or she can shoot at any wedding venues, any weather or challenging situations to produce awesome photography that will document your day to perfection.


I hope my post helps you with selecting the right photographer for you both on your wedding day. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

I shot the posted wedding photographs at The Grande in Kennesaw

Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, Atlanta. Although I haven't shot weddings there, some of the photos remind of The Gardens at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia and similar to Indigo Falls, Dallas Georgia

Bride and Groom on Rock Spring, Atlanta Church steps

Bride and Groom on Rock Spring, Atlanta Church steps

Smiling Groom getting boutonniere assistance

Smiling Groom getting boutonniere assistance

Happy Bride Twirling in the barn at The Grande In Kennesaw, Georgia

Happy Bride Twirling in the barn at The Grande In Kennesaw, Georgia

Excited, smiling Bride getting ready next a mirror

Excited, smiling Bride getting ready next a mirror

Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, Buckhead, Georgia - Wedding Day First Looks

Rock Springs Presbyterian Church is a 150 year old stone built church in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. It was a warm, late spring day with early clouds giving way to brilliant sunshine that flooded into the building through the large antique windows as I began to document the bride, groom and rest of bridal party getting ready.

Wedding Venue

The church, surrounded by lush gardens and a super courtyard in the middle of the buildings which became an awesome location for Heeyoung and Daniel's "First Look". Rock Spring Presbyterian has lots of nice features that are tucked out of the way and serve as great photography spots.

Timing

With the ceremony time fast approaching, we had a narrow window to setup and shoot the first look. With Daniel and the groomsman facing the little gate in the corner near the fountain, I had Heeyoung and the bridesmaid quietly walk into the courtyard.

At just the right moment I told Daniel to "turn around and look at your beautiful bride". There were a few seconds of silence, then smiles and tears of happiness from both of them as they hugged and kissed each other.

The Bridal Party

I did notice the wedding party wiping the odd tear away too! As for me and my second shooter, well let's just say I always have a pack of tissues in my camera bag for first looks! I love First Looks and documenting the emotions around a special moments like these, I think are priceless.


The Weather

The weather was changing from clouds to sun faster than a British summer! which meant we were getting a little sheen coming off the bridal party's faces. I quickly grabbed some paper blotters for them and that did the trick and kept them all looking great. Being a PPA, Certified Professional Photography the changing light and challenging situations are never a problem.

Rock Spring has fun, traditional yet contemporary feel and I love photographing in wedding venues like Rock Spring Presbyterian Church.


Message me if you have any questions or would just like to chat about weddings and first looks. - Chris

Shy Bride at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks

Shy Bride at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks

Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks

Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks

Bride & Groom at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church

Bride & Groom at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church

Bridal Party Surprise at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks

Bridal Party Surprise at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church First Looks