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Etiquette

HELP! Need Advice on Ceremony to Reception Distance

I would really like to get married in the church where I grew up, but there are no places to have a reception in my home town (VERY small). Is it ok for me to have the ceremony there and then have our reception in the city about 45 minutes away? Is this too far to ask guests to drive? Our other option is to get married at a church in the city, but I will be sacrificing the huge sentimental value of my home church. I need opinions!

Re: HELP! Need Advice on Ceremony to Reception Distance

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    chelcee22 said:

    I would really like to get married in the church where I grew up, but there are no places to have a reception in my home town (VERY small). Is it ok for me to have the ceremony there and then have our reception in the city about 45 minutes away? Is this too far to ask guests to drive? Our other option is to get married at a church in the city, but I will be sacrificing the huge sentimental value of my home church. I need opinions!


    A good general rule of thumb is that there shouldn't be more than 30 minutes travel time between the reception and the ceremony.  That said, do a majority of your guests live in the city or in between the city and your ceremony?  Would the ride home for guests be 45+ minutes because they live on the other side of your ceremony venue from the reception?  You may be able to get away with a 45 minute drive in between the ceremony and the reception if 75% of your guests live close to the reception venue.
  • chelcee22 said:

    I would really like to get married in the church where I grew up, but there are no places to have a reception in my home town (VERY small). Is it ok for me to have the ceremony there and then have our reception in the city about 45 minutes away? Is this too far to ask guests to drive? Our other option is to get married at a church in the city, but I will be sacrificing the huge sentimental value of my home church. I need opinions!

    Personally, as a guest I would prefer to not have to drive 45 min to the church and then back to the city. I understand the sentimental value of it, so it's up to you. I personally think it is a little far. Is that 45 min without traffic? You would probably cut down on the amount of stress in regards to planning logistics if you got married at the church in the city.

  • Most of our guests live in our home town, where the ceremony would take place, so even if we had both the ceremony and reception in the nearby city they will still have to make the 45 minute drive back home after. It's 45 with traffic, but could be done in 35-40 without. The logistics are definitely something I'll need to consider too. Ugh.

    Thanks to both of you for your help!!

  • Could you have the ceremony at your church and then rent out a community center or a park in your town as your reception venue? Look into banquet halls, community centers, VFW halls, parks and restaurants.
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  • I'm guessing if you live in a small town, most of your guests are used to the fact that they have to drive to "the city" for events. It's not ideal, but I wouldn't be upset from it. I would try to make it work in your hometown. I also think if there are OOT guests who will be staying in the city, they need to be taken into consideration too.
    Teddy917
  • I think 45 minutes of travel between the ceremony and reception is too far.
  • How often do most of your guest drive to the city? Weekly? Yearly? As someone who drives 30 minutes to work everyday 45 doesn't bother me, but if someone wasn't used to that sort of driving, I can see why it could be a problem.
    Teddy917
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think it's too far if there were other options for a reception near where the church is. Since there aren't, I think it's okay. My husband and I would either plan to drive home afterwards or make a night out of it and stay in the city.
  • I had the same problem. Very small town. I wanted my ceremony in my home church (also the church where my parents were married) But it would have been a half hour drive to the nearby city for the reception. We ended up going with having the ceremony and reception in the nearby city. I'm a little bummed I won't be married in my family church, but I really don't think about it much anymore.

    My advice would be to do the same, have the ceremony and reception in the city.
  • Depending on numbers could you offer a shuttle service? We are having a DW in Hawaii and the ceremony location is about 30 mins from the reception location. We are having a relatively small wedding (40 guests invited) and running a shuttle between both locations.

  • I would forgive it since its your home church and there aren't other options. What do others who get married there usually do? I would be prepared that some may skip the ceremony or reception. I'd also think that you'll want your reception to be pretty substantial (full meal, full bar if you're having alcohol, music/dancing, etc.) if you're asking people to make the drive for it.

    Disclaimer; my current round trip commute is 120 miles, so drives rarely phase me!
  • I went to a wedding in Seattle where they rented a big bus to take people from the hotel to the ceremony to reception, more for traffic and parking reasons than actual distance and it was really thoughtful and made the day run very smoothly. If it is important to get married in that church and no other options like VFW, community center or even  renting out a barn nearby for your reception, see how expensive offering a  transportation service would be and make it a priority in your budget. Perhaps you have to just invite less people if you cannot afford to offer them transportation. Or perhaps you are in an area where if this happens, people just won't come to the ceremony and only come to the reception.  This is weird to me, but I have been to weddings where the church had only 50 people there for the ceremony and the reception had over 200.  I also recall visiting my grandmother in a more rural area in the summer and the church had buses to pick up elderly parishioners or for youth trips and rented them out as shuttles for local festivals. Check with the church first and see if they already have a bus or vans that you can rent for this purpose.
  • Could you look at non traditional venues for the reception? A barn, renting a tent at a local park, a library, museum, restaurant, renting a large home, a farm, etc? Anywhere that could hold a large amount of people safely and has electricity or where a generator can be brought in.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

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