We are having my daughter’s wedding and reception in the same place,. All guests will be seated at their tables before the ceremony except the wedding party. What is a good transition from the ceremony to the pictures after and then back into the reception? Will they walk out of the room and then walk back in?
Darlene Taylor, PBC. TaylorMade Weddings
I had an immediate thought while I was reading your post – why are the guests sitting at tables? Do they *have* to? I’m assuming that there will be some kind of special set up for the ceremony in the room and with guests sitting at banquet tables, they will not have a good view at all. Some will have to turn their chairs around to see and others will be craning their necks to see around others. I am also concerned that there will be lots of table “noise” going on during the ceremony. Being that close to dinnerware, it never fails, someone will knock a glass or clink something. Especially kids (if there are any).
Is there room enough in your banquet room to have rows of chairs set up on one half for the ceremony with maybe a draped partition to divide the ceremony part from the reception part? The reception can be partially set up behind the partition and all the staff would have to do is move tables and chairs into position after ceremony is over. Guest would have cocktails and appetizers in another location while this is going on.
Have you considered “flipping” the room between ceremony and reception? For example, use the room only for the ceremony first. After the ceremony, guests would file out to area for cocktails and appetizers while pictures are going on and the staff would be setting/arranging the tables for the reception. You MUST ask your banquet/catering manager if they have experience doing this as the tables would need to be pre-set and ready to move for quick turn-around! When the room is set, guests may enter back in for the reception.
Another alternative is to find out if there is extra space in the hotel for you to use for the ceremony. A courtyard? Another banquet room? Ask your banquet/catering manager how much it would be to rent extra space for the ceremony. You never know – they may offer a discount since you are already using their facility. As it gets closer to your event date, even 3 days before, ask to see if banquet rooms are open for you to use. If they haven’t booked them at that point, they may be willing to let you use them for a nominal fee or for free since no one else is using them. Having 2 separate rooms would be ideal if you cannot divide, or flip, the current room you are using now.
I suggest you and your daughter take your concerns to your banquet manager and bring your wedding coordinator (if you have one) to the meeting and discuss a plan. Ask them these questions. By the way, how does your daughter feel about this whole seating arrangement? For me, I would feel awkward, as a guest, sitting at a banquet table for a wedding ceremony. As a planner, I worry about the little things at the tables creating many distractions for the ceremony.
Let us know what you think!
Joyce C Smith, MBC, President and owner of Weddings Unlimited, Inc.
I really need more detailed information before I can respond to your question.
…why are the guests seated at tables for the ceremony?
…is there another room or location for the guests during the photo session?
…time of year and venue description.
I have seen this done a number of times and, although a bit unusual, it can be accomplished with no additional set up. After the ceremony, the bridal party meets outside or in another room for a brief water break while the guests begin enjoying the cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres. The bridal party can then return to the ceremony site and take their photos. The big concern with this set up is that the guests will want to interact with the bridal party immediately and it could delay the photos and take time away from food service. Try to keep all bridal party members together.