How to Plan a Wedding in PA (Berks county & Beyond)

Photo of wedding venue Tulpehocken Manor
June 14, 2018 Brandon 0 Comments

After photographing dozens and dozens of weddings in the Berks county area, I’ve decided to create this guide to planning a the perfect Berks County wedding. Of course, every wedding will be unique, but I have noticed factors that I see regularly and work well. For that reason, I’ve created some guidelines to help Berks County Fiancés start off on the right foot. Feel free to share this with anyone who was recently engaged or is planning a wedding!

Who am I?

I’m Brandon! I started taking pictures in high school after picking up a relative’s DSLR. I instantly fell in love and I’ve been pursuing it full time ever since. Weddings are one of my favorite things to photograph. Not to mention, going to weddings is a ton of fun.

Wedding Planning

First things first, you need to pick a season! My favorite time to photograph weddings is in the fall. Unfortunately for people trying to plan weddings, fall is a really popular time of the year. If you have a specific date in mind you might have a hard time finding a venue. Seeing what dates the venue has available can be a better option than picking a date first. Both the venues and photographers book clients as much as two years in advance. For perspective, most people start planning their weddings a year to a year and a half in advance. This should give you enough time to pick a date or shop around at different venues. Most people also book their venue first (or a wedding planner if you’re going that route), then their photographer, and then everyone else.

The Difference Between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator

To people outside of the wedding industry, the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator may be confusing. Here is a list of things both people will help you with and some of the differences between the two.

Wedding Planner
  • Not affiliated with your venue
  • Helps you book and find vendors
    • Photographer, venue, caterer, florist, DJ, videographer, officiant, wedding cake/dessert, make up and hair stylists, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
  • Plans your timeline for the day
  • Designs your ceremony and reception
    • Helps you pick your colors, table set ups, flowers, arbor (or not arbor), etc.
Venue Coordinator 
  • Everything involved with their venue specifically
    • Tables, linens, chairs, food, etc.
  • In charge of food and wait staff if venue offers it
  • Provides you with a preferred vendor list. Preferred vendor lists are a list of service providers they have worked with and have had good experiences with in the past.

Both the planner and coordinator are important to your wedding. You can of course plan a wedding yourself, but hiring a planner will make your life much easier and less stressful.

Five of My Favorite Wedding Venues

While some of these venues might technically be outside of Berks county, they are in close proximity to it. They are listed in no particular order.

Stirling Guest Hotel

This venue is located right on route 61 in Reading. It’s a beautiful old three story house with nice property surrounding it. This may sound bizarre, but there is a cemetery directly across the street that is great for photos. The archway pictured is the entrance to the cemetery with the hotel in the background. Reading Pa Photographers - Stirling Guest Hotel

Stirling Guest Hotel

Goggle Works

Also located in Reading, the Goggle Works is an old factory that’s been restored into art galleries and a wedding venue. If you like the bright and industrial look, this venue is for you.

Harvest View Barn

Located in rural Lancaster, this is a beautiful country style venue complete with a barn. The property is a vast open space surrounded by rolling farm land. 

Heritage Hills Golf Resort

Located in York, this venue sits on a beautiful golf course. There are two different reception venues on the property. One of them is attached to the hotel and the other is a stand alone octagonal building with massive windows on all sides.

Tulpehocken Manor

This venue is located in Myerstown and has old stone buildings on the property. The sunsets here are amazing!

Where to Take Wedding Photos in Berks County

The good part about these venues is that people usually take pictures right on the property. Depending on your wedding, you might be moving from a church to a reception venue elsewhere and taking pictures in between. Grings Mill, The Reading Public Museum, Nolde Forest, Hopewell Furnace, The Daniel Boone and Conrad Weiser Homestead’s are all great places to do photos as well!


Vendors you’ll need, or not depending on your preferences, include; a photographer, videographer, DJ, venue, florist, caterer, bakery, officiant, planner, and transportation. For brevities sake I didn’t include any specific vendors in this post, but I do have a list of people I have worked with on my recommended vendors page here.

Wedding Day Timeline

Again, every wedding is different, but here’s a loose example of a wedding day timeline. Some couples want to do first look photos as well so their timeline would look slightly different, although they usually take about 15 minutes. Whether or not you have a second photographer may effect your timeline as well. How much photography coverage you get will depend on your package or your photographer. My standard is 8 hours of coverage, but more can be added if requested. The same goes for most other photographers.

  • 10:00 AM – Bridal party starts hair and make up
  • 11:00 AM –  Photographer arrives – Getting ready photos of bridal party
  • 12:00 PM – Grooms party gets ready – Getting ready photos
  • 1:00 PM – Both parties photographed separately, or together if you did a first look
  • 3:00 PM – Ceremony
  • 4:30 PM – Cocktail hour – Family pictures and posed couples photos
  • 5:30 PM – Reception Starts
    • Introductions
    • First Dance
    • Speeches
    • Dinner
  • 6:00 PM – Daughter/Father and Son/Mother dances
  • 6:30 PM – Cake cutting followed by bouquet/garter toss
  • 7:00 PM – Dessert served
  • 8:30 PM – Dancing
  • 10:00 PM – Send off or end of reception

To say that there are a lot of moving parts that go into a wedding would be an understatement. I hope this guide helps to kickstart your wedding planning process!

If you’re interested in learning more about my wedding photography services you can check out my wedding gallery and services pages for more information!

You might also enjoy:

35 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

My main website:

Brandon Adam Photography

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