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How To Plan A Wedding - Finding Your Ceremony Location

By Edited May 8, 2016 0 0

Before determining the location of your ceremony, you and your fiancée should decide what city or town you want to be married.  Tradition states that the bride will pick the location of the wedding, but this is by no means “law.”  Just make sure that you choose a place that makes sense for the two of you.  Will a lot of family attend your wedding?  Choose a location close to home.  Do you want to get married in a location that has sentimental value?  You might wind up deciding on a location where the two of your met.  Have you always dreamed of a tropical vacation?  Find some white sandy beaches that the two of you can agree on. 

Church, Outdoors, Reception Hall, or Destination Wedding

Why a Church?

If you grew up in a church or regularly attend services at your local place of worship, your choice of ceremony location should be easy.  Make sure that your church has the capacity to accommodate all of your guests, and be sure that your church is available on your desired wedding date.   If you attend church but would prefer an outdoor ceremony, ask if your pastor, priest, or officiant would be willing to facilitate an outdoor wedding.  Most religious denominations will allow outdoor services, but in some denominations, like the Catholic Church for example, an outdoor wedding is not possible. 

Oftentimes, the cost to rent a church is significantly less than the price to rent out a reception hall for your ceremony.  Some churches will only ask for a donation, while others may only charge a few hundred dollars.  If you were to have both your ceremony and reception in the same location, an extra hour or half-hour may add significant cost. 

Why An Outdoor Ceremony?

Today, it is becoming increasingly common to have outdoor weddings.  If this is what you want, then make it happen.  However, you should certainly have a few things in mind when you book a venue for an outdoor location.  Obviously, the big wild card with any outdoor wedding is the weather.  Make sure there is a tent or structure that will provide shelter from the elements during your ceremony.  If not, you will probably need a “plan B” location to move your festivities.  Keep in mind that wind may also be a potential obstacle from the weather—it is not just rain that could ruin your wedding day. 

Why A Reception Hall?

Having your ceremony and reception in the same location will make it much easier on you and your guests.  You will not need to coordinate people, decorations, and schedules at two different locations, and your guests will not need to drive anywhere.  It is easy, and by no means lazy.  So, if you find a reception hall location that is perfect, see what it will take to perform your ceremony there as well.  This is extremely common for most event venues. 

Before you sign any contract though, make sure you are comfortable with the logistics and pricing of everything.  If you ceremony and reception are in the same room, you could have a logistic nightmare if ceremony chairs need to be taken down to set up the reception tables.  Most venues handle this and have the tables and chairs set up in two different locations, even if they are in the same room.  Also, be sure to understand the pricing of the location since you might wind up needing to purchase an extra hour of time at the reception location. 

Why A Destination Wedding?

If you have always dreamed of tropical nuptials, then a destination wedding is for you.  Surprisingly, the price tag of some destination weddings may actually be significantly less than a traditional wedding—no longer is this option only for the rich and famous.  Since everything is packaged together and your vendor prices will be much lower, you could potentially find a good deal for your wedding. 

Keep in mind though, that many of your friends and family will not be able to attend your wedding if it is in an exotic locale (unless you have a very wealthy family) since the cost of airfare and lodging will almost certainly make it cost prohibitive.  If you have a family that gets easily offended, you may want to shy away from a destination wedding. 

Are Parents Paying For The Wedding?

Most people will tell you that this is YOUR wedding.  Make all the decisions based on what YOU want.  While this is true, you may have to also please the people who are funding your special day.  It is not uncommon for parents who are funding all or part of their child’s wedding to have an opinion about the wedding.  Therefore, it is recommended that you have an upfront conversation with your parents before you sign any contracts.  You must have a clear understanding of what it is they want for your wedding day.

Ideally, your parents will give you complete control of all decisions, but this is not always reality.  So, keep parents in mind when you find a location for both your ceremony and your reception.  You want to at least compromise with your parent so as not to jeopardize any of your funding. 

Proximity To Reception Hall

If you choose to have your ceremony and reception in different locations, you definitely need to take into account their proximity.  Generally, anything over thirty minutes between locations is just a little more than guests should be able to handle. 

Pick the Location That Means The Most To YOU!

Yes, you have to keep in mind your parents and your wedding guests, but ultimately the decision is yours.  Maybe money is your number one deciding factor, or maybe sentimental value holds the most importance.  Whatever it is, just make sure that you create the wedding day that you want.

Here is a quick list of all the other vendors you must book for your wedding day:

  • Cake Baker
  • Florist
  • Reception Venue
  • Caterer
  • Officiant
  • Videographer
  • Photographer


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