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Should You Have the Reception and Ceremony at the Same Time and Place?

Should you have your wedding at the same time and place?

Traditionally, your ceremony takes place at one location, then everyone meets back again later at the reception venue. Unfortunately, from a cost and logistics perspective that can get a bit cumbersome. The photographer is going to multiple places, everyone needs to make sure they have a ride, and you or your planner are coordinating with managers of two sites. There ARE other options that can make it simpler and less pricey.

Have the ceremony and reception on different days.

This approach is not often talked about, but it can be a great idea if you are on a tight budget yet want a huge, party-like reception. By splitting the days you can have a more private ceremony (if you want) and a laid-back reception, which can be inexpensive. A casual “celebration party” instead of a more formal reception opens the door for all types of savings potential.

  • Do a casual dress code for all (or just you and your new husband in your wedding attire).
  • Boom box it instead of hiring a DJ or band.
  • Skip the lavish decorations and flowers.
  • Go with friends’ photos instead of the pro from the ceremony.
  • Make it a “kegger” instead of having a bar, plus open the party to byob.
  • Designate “no presents,” but have everyone bring a potluck dish.
  • Skip the favors.
  • Have homemade desserts instead of a wedding cake.

Have the ceremony and reception at the same location.

If the separate, very informal gathering does not appeal to you, there is a second solution: have everything at the same time and place. For the following reasons, your reception can be more formal but you still save money, time, and stress.

  • You are bringing business to one venue, which means fewer logistics and could mean less overall venue cost.
  • Your guests, vendors, and you have no need for back and forth transportation.
  • The photographer and videographer spend less time, as do a planner/coordinator and florist.
  • There is only one set of decorations.
  • The reception can be shorter, due to guests not having to wait for the bride and groom to arrive.
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