By Diane Farquhar, courtesy of I Just Said Yes
The ceremony is without a doubt, the most important part of the wedding. This is where the two of you become one in front of your family and friends.
There are so many ceremony sites to choose from; church, outside park, winery, historical museum, backyard or at the reception venue itself. If your pastor or clergy will do it outside of the church, or you choose to do a non-denominational service, I would strongly suggest to have the ceremony at the same place as your reception. You can offer the service in the late afternoon, around 4:00pm – 4:30pm which usually lasts about a half hour max and then immediately follow with appetizers and drinks – nothing is worst than a long wait for a long receiving line followed by a long wait for a drink! The bride/groom can sneak away for pictures and then return for a quick mix and mingle with guests and then dinner.
You can choose to set up some chairs on the dance floor while the remaining guests can stand around you or can have all guests be seated at their tables and watch the service from there. If the venue offers a separate room or has outdoor facilities then you can book that strictly for the service.
Guests love having to go to only one destination for both service and reception. This is also great help to the immediate family because they don’t have to worry about out-of-town guests and what to do with them when one books a ceremony earlier in the day.
The other consideration is the added cost. Some things you may want to consider is the cost of “entertaining” your out-of-town guests during the break, the cost of renting the limo all day versus a few hours (or not at all) and don’t forget many photographers charge by the hour as well.
Having both ceremony and reception in the same location is a wonderful idea and best way to avoid the drawbacks of an early service and a long wait until the reception. A big plus is the turnout at the ceremony. To be honest, the longer the wait between ceremony and the reception, the fewer people will usually come. When doing both at the same location, I found almost all guests will attend.
So, if you are thinking of doing both back to back, then go for it. It is a growing trend and by doing the ceremony later in the day, allows you and your families to take your time to get ready. You want to remain fresh well into the night so you can be the last ones to leave your own party!