We need to have the ceremony and reception in the same room. The venue has a foyer, ante room but it’s not big enough to hold all the guests for a cocktail hour to have the room changed over. We will have a dance floor in the middle and were trying to figure out the best way to seat people comfortable without having to move a lot of chairs and tables around. Any ideas? — Heather T. (bride)
Hi Heather and welcome to Unique Wedding Ideas. Yes, actually I do have an idea. I had a unique bride a few years back with almost the same dilemma. The venue she rented did have another room they could have used for cocktails but it just wasn’t in their budget. They didn’t want to give up something else for just an hour to change over the banquet room from ceremony set up (theater style seating) to tables and chairs for their dinner and dance.
We sat down and drew out the floor plan and starting playing. She decided guests would be very comfortable if they just sat at their tables during the ceremony. We arranged the tables around the center dance floor. The dance floor would be the “alter” were the ceremony would take place. We then added 3 rows of chairs on either side of the middle of the dance floor. This allowed aisle space for her to walk down as well as providing VIP seating for her/his immediate family. They got a birds eye view of the ceremony while the rest of the guests sat comfortably at their tables and enjoyed the ceremony.
After the recessional, the bar opened and the hand passed hors d’œuvres were immediately started. At the actual event, I heard several compliments on the set up. The guests seemed to enjoy the one location and not being herded from one room, building or location to another as well as being very comfortable at the tables.
This might work for you too. Here is a rough sketch of the layout with the arrows marking the processional and recessional.
With this type of set up, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Keep your centerpieces low. Everyone will want a nice line of sight towards the ceremony area. Large and/or tall centerpieces can cause a problem with this. Alternatively, you can bring out tall centerpieces after the ceremony is over as the hors d’œuvres are being served.
- Make sure there is a clear aisle way so that guests won’t be in the way during the processional or recessional.
- You won’t need escort cards. Have a seating chart or a list for the ushers to use when seating guests.
- Don’t make one side of the room bride’s guests and the other side groom’s guests. In this case, it is different than a church or traditional ceremony set up. Mix them up so that throughout the evening the two families and groups of friends are getting to know one another.
- Don’t forget to reserve tables for the family members that will be seated on the dance floor during the ceremony. On the plus side, these empty tables will make it easier for your other guests to see the ceremony.
For more ideas about the Grand Bridal entrance at a venue with the ceremony and reception in the same room, see Have Your Ceremony and Reception in One Room and Still Make a Grand Bridal Entrance