Outdoor Weddings

Flipping the same space for ceremony and reception

I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with flipping the ceremony space into the reception space?  We're getting married in a backyard, and logistically, I can't figure out how to flip the space without either having the tables already set up and visible in the corner of the yard (which I think will be distracting and unsightly) or asking guests to help completely set up tables, lay out linens, and arrange centerpieces.  I don't like either option.  Everything is basically going to be DIY, so I'm not going to have staff to do the flip for us, but with 75 guests, I think that's a lot of chairs and tables.  Any suggestions?

Re: Flipping the same space for ceremony and reception

  • Well you're not alone!!! I don't know how big the space is but our wedding is in my parents back yard that sits on their private lake!  I plan on having our "reception area" tented with a 30 x 60 tent (they'll tell you what size you need for the number of guests) and ceremony next to tent area....probably only room for a 20 ft. gap between the two.  my tent will be closed until reception but it has the cathedral windows so it won't be a total surprise since my family is pretty nosey! Instead of paying for 400 chairs I'm going to be tacky and change my ceremony chairs to the reception area, I'll have men in my family obviously do this for me while i'm doing what i need to do at that time!!  If the venue doesn't have that much space then i could see where it would be hard but i'm sure there are women on here that have seen it done and can give you advise for that part!!!  Good Luck!
  • If I had this problem, I would probably have the tables set up and have a few rows of chairs nearer the ceremony site for those who would be sitting too far away at the farther tables. Those who are seated at tables nearer the ceremony site will be able to see from their tables, and those farther away will have the chairs set up in a half circle near the area where you are saying your vows, and just those can be moved to the tables afterward.

    I've seen this question asked on other boards when an indoor venue is used, and there usually isn't a problem with just having the room set up for the reception, and some chairs nearer the ceremony if needed.

    Also, if the ceremony is on the short side, those who want to can stand, but you'll have the chairs available if then want to sit.

    Good luck.
  • I think the ideas above are great!

    We are having a much smaller wedding than you (only about 35 guests) and the ceremony is in my FMIL's backyard. Luckily, there is a natural split between the yard area (ceremony) and pool area (reception/food). We will not be having a seated meal, so there will be sporadic seating throughout the reception area for those who want to sit.
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  • I have the same issue...

    Cant make pretty table settings while people stand around and watch you... so tables wil already be done.  Chairs will be by the ceremony area.. and we will have the younger "boys" move the chairs from one place to the next.

    I'm sure this will result in someone feeling the need to grab a chair and help... but what can you do.  Ours is a backyard setting and it kind of goes with the territory.
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  • Tented areas would be a great idea... You could even have them draped and pull the curtains back with the same color ribbon as in your wedding color...  have your tables, napkins, candles, food and everything already set up and ready.  Just have your tents away from wear you walk down the aisle and your alter... hope this helps.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_outdoor-weddings_flipping-same-space-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:666Discussion:8fc7adb0-c345-495b-9243-46bce29f5e68Post:8dda79e7-e7f2-4ce5-bedd-e5d5e49eb6f8">Re: Flipping the same space for ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE] Instead of paying for 400 chairs I'm going to be tacky and change my ceremony chairs to the reception area...[/QUOTE]

    I think thats something we're going to do as well. The venue we're looking at (which is the site of both ceremony and reception) has chairs for up to 250 people, which is a little more than our projected guest list. So we're going to have things for people to do while we switch the chairs and get our pictures taken and everything, then by the time they're done doing other things, the reception will be all ready!
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  • Both my cousin and step sister did this, and both had about 100 guests. However, they both had staff for the set up. 

    For my cousin's casual wedding, the tables & chairs were set up already. Everybody just sat at a table and turned their chair to see the ceremony. 

    For my step sister's wedding, her caterers set up the chairs, and brought in the tables after the ceremony during the "cocktail hour" So, she used the same chairs for both.

    My ceremony & reception is in my dad's backyard. I haven't figured out how I'm going to set it up, but I'll probably find a few volunteers a week before that can help with set up and break down.
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  • possibly look into having the tables and chairs set up and you could make your isle down between them, maybe not a straight line like normal.  You could walk in an "S," then have a few family members help with bring out silver wear and table decor while you take pictures.  Then the tables will be set and you would have only the decorations to to. 

    Good Luck
  • We're having the ceremony and reception in different parts of my grandparents' yard, but we're more than likely using the same chairs for the both as well.  To help ease the awkwardness while moving the chairs, we're going to have beverages and lawn games (like croquet, bocce and horseshoes) available to keep people entertained during the transition.
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