For some couples, having the wedding ceremony and reception in the same place can be a convenient option. It eliminates the need for the guests and wedding party to travel to a second location, and it also provides a great solution for couples who don't want a religious service. When booking a reception venue that you'll also use for the ceremony, there are a few extra considerations to think about. Here are some items to discuss with your wedding planner to ensure you get the right setting for your special day.
You'll need to make sure that there is a place set up for your actual ceremony to take place; this might require adding a lectern for the officiant to stand behind during the ceremony, and it might also require a table that can be used for a unity candle or other ceremony tradition. In a large reception hall, there may also be a need for a microphone and sound system so everyone can hear the vows being spoken. Check with the reception venue to see if it offers any of this equipment. If not, you and your party planner will need to source it from another location.
There are several ways you can set up seating for the wedding ceremony, so you'll want to consider which one works best for your wedding day vision. You can have the venue set up rows of chairs in a traditional style, leaving space in between to create an aisle for the bride. Another option is to simply have the tables and chairs for the reception set up so there is an aisle separating each side of the room. This option may not give everyone the best view in the house, but it does make it easier to transition the room from ceremony to venue. For this option, have the tables set with just the centerpieces, glasses of water, and the programs for the ceremony. When the ceremony is over, the reception hall staff can begin setting the tables for dinner service.
There will be some time needed for the staff at the reception hall to turn around the room after the ceremony. This is the time that will be used to rearrange tables and chairs for the reception. However, this turnaround time can present a problem for couples. You'll need to arrange for your guests to be at another location during the transition period. Ask the wedding reception venue if it has any contingencies for this. In some cases, you can host a cocktail reception in the main lobby or in another room while the reception area is set up, while some venues may be able to set aside space at the front of the room for guests to gather and enjoy appetizers and cocktails.
Talk to your party planner about other ideas he or she may have to help you create a stunning space you can use for both your wedding and reception in one single, beautiful space.