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.