Chances are, if you are getting married in a Church, your reception is at a different location or venue. While having two separate ceremony and reception venue locations is not the most convenient for your guests, there are things you can do and consider to make your guests lives a bit easier on your best day. Here are some of our tips and tricks for having a smooth transition from ceremony to reception.
Keep the time between your ceremony and reception short.
The time between your ceremony and reception should be no more than two hours. This is especially important for out of town guests. You don’t want to make the time gap too long for guests who will have to kill time in a city they are not familiar with. You should also keep in mind the amount of time required to travel between your ceremony location and your reception venue.
Be sure to include a details card with relevant info when you send your invitations.
This is a nice way to give your guests a heads up that there will be a break between the ceremony and the reception. This ensures that all of your guests are in the know and there is no confusion the day of! You can also include recommendations for how guests spend their time (local bars to get a drink, museums to pop into or must see spots close by). Be sure to include this in your wedding website as well!
Consider the travel between the ceremony and reception for elderly guests.
It is not as easy for elderly guests to get from your ceremony site to reception venue. You may want to consider hiring transportation for your VIP guests and guests with mobility issues. Be sure you allow for enough time for your elderly guests to make it to the reception venue as well.
Be sure to chat with your wedding planner (& photographer) about logistics of your ceremony.
Often times, wedding planners are not welcomed into churches to run ceremonies (this is typical with Catholic ceremonies). Often times, there is a church coordinator present that facilities the whole ceremony. Be sure to communicate with your planner on how they can best assist with your ceremony or aid with the transition of guests to the reception venue. Also, some churches have very strict rules for photographers so make sure you communicate the churches rules and regulations prior to your wedding day so your photographer is prepared.
Decor options are limited with Church ceremonies.
Unlike having a ceremony at a traditional venue, churches are limiting in what you can do for ceremony decor. Typically, flower arrangements and aisle markers are allowed, however, you will not have the freedom to make this space entirely your own. Be sure to discuss with your church coordinator about what is allowed vs. not allowed so you and your florist can work up something for the ceremony.
Don’t get us wrong, church ceremonies are beautiful. There is always plenty of seating for guests, the church is usually very seasoned with running wedding ceremonies, music is included, and weather is a non-issue. Plus you are keeping with tradition and is a way for you to honor and follow religious customs that are important to you and your family. However, be sure to keep the above things in mind while planning your wedding to ensure you have a smooth transition for guests from ceremony to reception and the expectations are clear prior to your wedding day.