moss-signage-wood-calligraphy-ceremony-reception-celtic-wedding

Should Your Ceremony and Reception Be in Different Locations?

There are both benefits and downsides to having two venues.

Though the specifics of the properties are necessary to make a final decision, going over the pros and cons of having your vow exchange and party in a different place will help you get on your way.

Locations & Venues
moss-signage-wood-calligraphy-ceremony-reception-celtic-wedding
Photo: Delaney Dobson

After getting engaged, the first steps in wedding planning should typically be determining a budget and an estimate of the guest list. Once those items are settled, you can start looking for venues in the time period you desire. In your search, you may find that one space has everything you want for a ceremony, while another checks all the boxes you have for a reception. This means it’s time to consider whether or not it is worth it to you and your future spouse to rent two locations for the big day. Though the specifics of the properties are necessary to make a final decision, going over the pros and cons of having your vow exchange and party in a different place will help you get on your way.

pros and cons of having a different venue for the ceremony and reception
Photo by Anna and Spencer Photography; Planning & Design by By BrianGreen

Pros: 

- More flexible for your budget. It may seem like paying for two venues would cost more than one, but it depends on the location! Certain venues will have ceremony time built in, but if there is an hourly rate for a beautiful spot for your vow exchange, you can do a shorter rental and then a simpler ballroom that can be dressed up for the reception.

- No need to compromise on your vision. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a church wedding and a backyard reception or hoped to exchange vows in the forest while still having the comfort of indoor dinner and dancing. With two venues, you won’t have to choose between your dreams. This can also help for compromising with your partner if you have competing visions.

- Likely more time for photos. Since people will have to travel between the two locations, you can build in a little extra buffer time to take your portraits without the cocktail hour being excessively long.  

Cons: 

- Harder to coordinate. While it’s nothing a wedding planner can’t help with, getting two different locations set up for the big day is certainly more complicated than having everything in one spot.

- Less convenient for your guests. There is no question that it is easier for your attendees to stay at one venue rather than figure out transportation between two places.

- Higher risk of something going wrong. Bad weather or traffic can make getting between the two locations more difficult, and there is an increased chance of miscommunications just because there are more people and vendors involved. 

For more advice and tips, discover the pros and cons of a church ceremony and be inspired by real weddings at popular types of venues