Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Ceremony and Reception in the Same Room...Ideas??

Hi everybody! This is my first post here, though I've been lurking on the boards for awhile.

I'm getting married in October and my fiance and I have had our reception venue booked since last July. When we saw it in person, we knew it was the perfect place for us. It's a small, historic ballroom in the downtown district near our house. Reasonably priced, and they include our DJ/uplighting, officiant, catering, cake, etc...so it took a huge load off our shoulders in terms of planning and finances. We also fell in love with the character and charm of the space right away; it's old-school and gorgeous and everything I imagined.

Now, I originally wanted to book an outdoor venue for the ceremony itself, but with it being a fall wedding in Indiana (where it could be absolutely beautiful or totally cold and miserable), we decided that the stress of worrying about weather wasn't worth it. Not to mention, the ONE outdoor ceremony site we were able to find near us had no indoor backup option, so that was pretty much out of the question anyway.

After talking to our reception coordinator, we decided to hold the ceremony and reception in the same (indoor) location: the ballroom. They claim that they've done this many times in the past for weddings of our size without any issues.

What this means, however, is that most of our guests will be seated at their reception tables during the ceremony itself. The only exception will be a small group of immediate family (parents, siblings, etc.) who will have aisle seating. Unfortunately, the ballroom simply isn't large enough to do a room flip or anything like that. I don't have an issue with guests seated at their tables, as we're not having a very large wedding...but there is one logistical concern I have because the layout of our venue is a little awkward.

While the majority of our guests (~50 of them) will be seated on the main floor within view of the ceremony, about 20 of our guests will likely be seated in a balcony area within the ballroom itself. They won't be able to see much of the ceremony from their tables (although we do have a sound system set up, so they will be able to hear). My question is: should I have our officiant ask these guests to stand for the ceremony, along the balcony railing? The ceremony itself will likely be ~15 minutes in length, and the majority of the people seated on the balcony will be co-workers of my fiance, who I don't imagine will have a problem standing. 

The only other possible option I'm considering is having our officiant invite guests from the balcony down to the main floor during the ceremony if they wanted a better view, as there would be plenty of room for them to stand to the side of our small aisle without obscuring other guests' views.

I guess I should also note that the fiance and I want a very informal and laid-back ceremony. I understand that this kind of set-up isn't ideal nor traditional by any means, but I'm trying to make the most of it! Any ideas, input, or suggestions are welcome. :) Thanks!

Re: Ceremony and Reception in the Same Room...Ideas??

  • i like the idea of inviting people to come down for a closer look. makes it more intimate. would your venue be large enough to invite everyone to for instance...surround you in a circle or something? maybe you could incorporate it into your ceremony to symbolize unity since you're a relatively small group.:)
    OurWildKingdom
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree with MobKaz.  Either cut your guest list so that everyone is on the same level & can see .... or find another venue 
    [Deleted User]STARMOON44
  • Can you line the walls with extra chairs, so the guests seated upstairs can sit and view the ceremony on the main level? That's about the only way I see this working out. Do you have a dance floor on the main level that you can place seats and then remove after the ceremony?
    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
    charlotte989875MairePoppyOurWildKingdomSTARMOON44
  • I have this same issue!  Our ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors, but our rain plan is to move everything inside the banquet hall.  It's a beautiful location and I may have to play around with the table setups in order to make things work.  The big issue is that up to 70 out of 200 guests may be seated at tables in the balcony.  I'm toying with the idea of asking people to make their way down for the short ceremony.  If I can manage it with the logistics of the room, I may set up some chairs for them on the dance floor.  I only think this works because it's not my main plan.  We'll only be doing this if there's a downpour.  I believe our laid back family and friends will understand in that case and I plan on seating only younger friends and cousins in the balcony - not immediate family or great granny!

     

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    jenidubbs said:
    I have this same issue!  Our ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors, but our rain plan is to move everything inside the banquet hall.  It's a beautiful location and I may have to play around with the table setups in order to make things work.  The big issue is that up to 70 out of 200 guests may be seated at tables in the balcony.  I'm toying with the idea of asking people to make their way down for the short ceremony.  If I can manage it with the logistics of the room, I may set up some chairs for them on the dance floor.  I only think this works because it's not my main plan.  We'll only be doing this if there's a downpour.  I believe our laid back family and friends will understand in that case and I plan on seating only younger friends and cousins in the balcony - not immediate family or great granny!
    Regardless of how laid-back you think they are, it's rude to ask that 1/3 of your guests (or any, for that matter) sit in a balcony.  
    InLoveInQueens[Deleted User]adwks
  • jenidubbs said:
    I have this same issue!  Our ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors, but our rain plan is to move everything inside the banquet hall.  It's a beautiful location and I may have to play around with the table setups in order to make things work.  The big issue is that up to 70 out of 200 guests may be seated at tables in the balcony.  I'm toying with the idea of asking people to make their way down for the short ceremony.  If I can manage it with the logistics of the room, I may set up some chairs for them on the dance floor.  I only think this works because it's not my main plan.  We'll only be doing this if there's a downpour.  I believe our laid back family and friends will understand in that case and I plan on seating only younger friends and cousins in the balcony - not immediate family or great granny!
    Regardless of how laid-back you think they are, it's rude to ask that 1/3 of your guests (or any, for that matter) sit in a balcony.  
    Plus, how are you sure that your younger friends and cousins will be able to make that work? Many people do not tell others about illnesses that they have or issues might pop up the week or so before the wedding, leaving them to have issues with what you are asking of them. 
    image
    InLoveInQueens
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    You had me until you got to the balcony.  

    IMO it's rude to seat some of your guests separately, regardless of relation.  Can you make the first floor 100% dining and move dancing upstairs?  It's still not ideal but better than a clear line that says " you weren't important enough  to have visibility."

    If you insist on keeping the two floors, then you have to have chairs on the first floor for the second floor guests to sit in for the ceremony.  The venue staff can flip the chairs back upstairs for the reception.
    image
  • Msuprincess, that's a good idea! We probably could have them seated on the dance floor for the ceremony. I'll have to talk to my venue about this. 

    As for seating guests upstairs during dinner, I'm not worried about that. They will all be able to see the head table, projection screen, etc.and be part of the action. Appreciate the feedback though. 
    jenidubbs
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Msuprincess, that's a good idea! We probably could have them seated on the dance floor for the ceremony. I'll have to talk to my venue about this. 

    As for seating guests upstairs during dinner, I'm not worried about that. They will all be able to see the head table, projection screen, etc.and be part of the action. Appreciate the feedback though. 
    Projection of what? 
    [Deleted User]STARMOON44
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Msuprincess, that's a good idea! We probably could have them seated on the dance floor for the ceremony. I'll have to talk to my venue about this. 

    As for seating guests upstairs during dinner, I'm not worried about that. They will all be able to see the head table, projection screen, etc.and be part of the action. Appreciate the feedback though. 
    You may not be worried about it for yourself, but you should be worried about it from the POV of your guests.  That plan is rude.  No guest should be a "part" of anything.  All guests should be treated with equal hospitality.  Will they be served upstairs, or will they be required to schlepp downstairs to get their meals or beverages?  What if they want to converse with guests on the preferred level?  Does that mean they have to abandon their second rate seats and stand the rest of the evening?
    holyguacamole79STARMOON44
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MobKaz said:
    Msuprincess, that's a good idea! We probably could have them seated on the dance floor for the ceremony. I'll have to talk to my venue about this. 

    As for seating guests upstairs during dinner, I'm not worried about that. They will all be able to see the head table, projection screen, etc.and be part of the action. Appreciate the feedback though. 
    You may not be worried about it for yourself, but you should be worried about it from the POV of your guests.  That plan is rude.  No guest should be a "part" of anything.  All guests should be treated with equal hospitality.  Will they be served upstairs, or will they be required to schlepp downstairs to get their meals or beverages?  What if they want to converse with guests on the preferred level?  Does that mean they have to abandon their second rate seats and stand the rest of the evening?
    Would the guests on the preferred level want to talk to the peasants?
    [Deleted User]JediElizabeth
  • marsupalamimarsupalami member
    10 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary
    edited February 2016
    My venue is similar. The ceremony will have the seating on the dance floor tables set to the side. when the ceremony is over the chairs will be moved (by staff) to the tables. They said it takes 5 minutes. Guests will be received  by fiancé and me and head to bar and appetizers while this happens. 
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MobKaz said:
    Msuprincess, that's a good idea! We probably could have them seated on the dance floor for the ceremony. I'll have to talk to my venue about this. 

    As for seating guests upstairs during dinner, I'm not worried about that. They will all be able to see the head table, projection screen, etc.and be part of the action. Appreciate the feedback though. 
    You may not be worried about it for yourself, but you should be worried about it from the POV of your guests.  That plan is rude.  No guest should be a "part" of anything.  All guests should be treated with equal hospitality.  Will they be served upstairs, or will they be required to schlepp downstairs to get their meals or beverages?  What if they want to converse with guests on the preferred level?  Does that mean they have to abandon their second rate seats and stand the rest of the evening?
    Would the guests on the preferred level want to talk to the peasants?
     
    holyguacamole79
  • I went to a wedding where the ceremony and the reception where in the same room. During the ceremony, they didn't have enough seats for all the guest and then after the ceremony, we all had to leave the room so that the staff could flip the room and set up for the reception. That took about an hour. We watched the bride and groom and BP take their pictures. By the time the reception started, half the guest had been standing for almost 2 hours.

    Long story short, don't make your guest stand and don't make them leave the venue for a long period of time for setup. It sucks.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker Wedding Countdown Ticker
    MobKazInLoveInQueens
  • definitely figure out a way to have extra chairs on the floor for those seated up in the balcony.  Do not make them stand.  Will the balcony guests be able to see anything even at the reception, or will they have to peer over?  That is odd
    image

    Anniversary
    adwks
  • justsie said:
    jenidubbs said:
    I have this same issue!  Our ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors, but our rain plan is to move everything inside the banquet hall.  It's a beautiful location and I may have to play around with the table setups in order to make things work.  The big issue is that up to 70 out of 200 guests may be seated at tables in the balcony.  I'm toying with the idea of asking people to make their way down for the short ceremony.  If I can manage it with the logistics of the room, I may set up some chairs for them on the dance floor.  I only think this works because it's not my main plan.  We'll only be doing this if there's a downpour.  I believe our laid back family and friends will understand in that case and I plan on seating only younger friends and cousins in the balcony - not immediate family or great granny!
    Regardless of how laid-back you think they are, it's rude to ask that 1/3 of your guests (or any, for that matter) sit in a balcony.  
    Plus, how are you sure that your younger friends and cousins will be able to make that work? Many people do not tell others about illnesses that they have or issues might pop up the week or so before the wedding, leaving them to have issues with what you are asking of them. 

    Thank you for so kindly sharing your opinions.  Thankfully, my Fiancé's twin sister was married in the same location over 10 years ago.  They sat people in the "balcony" which actually has a great view of and quick access to the dance floor and other festivities.  The Bride's family and friends still rave about how much fun that wedding was and how much they loved the venue.  So I am glad to know our circle of wonderful people will love it and will not consider it rude.  Our venue is highly sought after and we were lucky to get such a wonderful location.  It's one of many multi-level, venues in the area.  Everyone is different and what some people may consider rude others may consider beautiful.  We can't wait for out big day!

     

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited March 2016
    jenidubbs said:
    justsie said:
    jenidubbs said:
    I have this same issue!  Our ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors, but our rain plan is to move everything inside the banquet hall.  It's a beautiful location and I may have to play around with the table setups in order to make things work.  The big issue is that up to 70 out of 200 guests may be seated at tables in the balcony.  I'm toying with the idea of asking people to make their way down for the short ceremony.  If I can manage it with the logistics of the room, I may set up some chairs for them on the dance floor.  I only think this works because it's not my main plan.  We'll only be doing this if there's a downpour.  I believe our laid back family and friends will understand in that case and I plan on seating only younger friends and cousins in the balcony - not immediate family or great granny!
    Regardless of how laid-back you think they are, it's rude to ask that 1/3 of your guests (or any, for that matter) sit in a balcony.  
    Plus, how are you sure that your younger friends and cousins will be able to make that work? Many people do not tell others about illnesses that they have or issues might pop up the week or so before the wedding, leaving them to have issues with what you are asking of them. 

    Thank you for so kindly sharing your opinions.  Thankfully, my Fiancé's twin sister was married in the same location over 10 years ago.  They sat people in the "balcony" which actually has a great view of and quick access to the dance floor and other festivities.  The Bride's family and friends still rave about how much fun that wedding was and how much they loved the venue.  So I am glad to know our circle of wonderful people will love it and will not consider it rude.  Our venue is highly sought after and we were lucky to get such a wonderful location.  It's one of many multi-level, venues in the area.  Everyone is different and what some people may consider rude others may consider beautiful.  We can't wait for out big day!
    Sorry, but this "We did it and had no problems, so no one else should have a problem with it" attitude is rude and inconsiderate of your guests.

    Some of your "circle of wonderful people" may well have had a problem with this, didn't "love" it, and would consider it rude, but didn't say so before so as not to hurt your feelings.  By no means does that make perpetuating a rude and inconsiderate idea okay.  Silence doesn't equal consent, much less "loving it."

    The needs of your guests need to take priority over the "great view" and "quick access to the dance floor and other festivities."  That need includes being actually seated with the other guests and not off somewhere else.

    Sorry, but you're not going to get validation for this, much less authorization to be rude from us, just because (in your own mind) you think your "circle of wonderful people" "loves" this.  Just because you think it's "beautiful" to treat people like that doesn't negate the rudeness of it.

    There is nothing "beautiful" about treating guests like that.
    jenidubbs[Deleted User]
  • Thank you for your honest and not rude opinion.

     

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I went to a wedding where we were in the B room. Whilst there were double doors open, it was so awkward. We had to stand along the wall for the toasts and cake cutting. It was definitely a "young person" room, but it was rubbish to be second tier.

    This venue isn't perfect.  Far from it. You only have 2 options: You either need to cut your guest list by 20 or find a new venue where your guests are treated equally seated in the same area. 

    Im not even touching on your rude stand at the balcony ceremony. Why would you want your wedding looking like the courthouse scene from "to kill a mockingbird"?!


    [Deleted User]Jen4948adwks
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards