by Christie Brogan {2.28.17}

Back in August we featured a blog post providing some insight into “how” a ceremony and reception actually happen in the same venue space.  At both of our venues, 128 South and Bakery 105, we host both ceremony and reception on average 70% of the time. Meaning, it’s a popular option. But, is it the right option for you?

Here are a few details to consider:

1. Costs -This one is easy, right? It’s almost always more cost effective to host both in the same location (even if there is an additional fee for the ceremony) than it is to rent two venues. The exception to this would be if the ceremony is being held in a location with little or no fees/permits like a church, the beach, a park, or your grandmother’s ample backyard.

2. Logistics – This one seems obvious too, right? Convenience. Why make your guests go from one place to another? Moving your guests from the ceremony location to the reception site can be a challenge especially for a destination wedding. Couples often find it necessary to provide the transportation between the two locations (read: more $$$) otherwise the guests are tasked with locating the reception site and parking. That said, “not” moving the guests can provide it’s own set of logistical question marks. Here are a few things that can be impacted…(Pro) you only need to decorate one venue, (Con) you might lose the “wow” factor; (Pro) guests go right into cocktail hour while the bridal party is off to take photos, (Con) the Newlyweds and Bridal Party miss out on cocktail hour. (This final point brings us to #3 Photography.)

3. Photography – “First look” photos are a common suggestion from professional photographers in the case of ceremony and reception in one venue. The First Look means you and your honey will have a private photographed moment well before the ceremony which is followed by the collection of “formal” pictures including the bridal party, family, etc. Simply stated…the first look saves time in between the ceremony and reception. Some couples are ok with this while others want to wait for “the aisle” to see each other for the first time. It’s a personal choice.

4. Floor Plan & “Flow” – Hosting the ceremony and reception can certainly impact the floor plan and “flow” for your big day especially if the venue requires a “flip”. (A “flip” means, for example, the area used for the ceremony must be transitioned into the area for dining or dancing.) Logistics like: the timeline, where guests “go” during the flip, when and where the first dance will happen, what entertainment should be booked (Bands vs. DJs), etc. can all be impacted by the choice to host both ceremony and reception in the same venue. (BTW…a great wedding planner like Social Butterfly Events will know how how to make all the details fit together.)

Now for the real wedding “eye candy” courtesy of the very talented ladies at Magnolia Photography. Here’s a look at the October 29th 2016 wedding hosted at 128 South. The (seriously gorgeous) bride and groom started in the afternoon with “First Look” photos and most of the photos with the bridal party and family (#TimeSaver). They were married on the 128 South Riverview Deck (you really cannot beat the views of the Cape Fear River) followed by cocktail hour inside the venue. While their guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizer, the couple took the official Husband & Wife photos…then on to the festivities. The introductions, dinner (may we suggest the blackened flank steak and french-style green beans?), and cake cutting were all held inside 128 South while the toasts and first dance took the guests back onto the deck to enjoy the cool fall evening and the rest of the wedding festivities under the adorned tent. Deck views for ceremony and deck views for dancing (#winning).

Here’s what the ladies of Magnolia Photography have to say on the subject…“We absolutely love having the ceremony and reception in the same location! It makes the stress much less on the bride and groom, family, bridal party, planner and the photographer because everything is right there in one spot. There isn’t any coordinating who is riding with who and what stuff needs to go to the reception from the ceremony. As far as the photography goes, when everything is in one location we can easily photograph the reception prior to the ceremony when we have great light and a little extra time waiting on the ceremony. When a venue has to flip a ceremony space into a reception space, it can get a bit hectic with trying to get all of that done during cocktail hour and get the photographs before the guests come in, but it always works out!” (Magnolia Photography)

And the Wedding Pros who made it happen:
Ceremony & Reception: 128 South
Catering: 128 South Events & Catering
Planner: Social Butterfly Events
Photographer: Magnolia Photography
Flowers: Eco Chic Blossoms
Cake: Imaginary Cakes
DJ: Active Entertainment
Tent: Party Suppliers
Rentals: CE Rentals
Transportation: Wilmington Trolley Company

Join us next week for the Pros and Cons of “DJ vs. Band”…


Christie Brogan {Co-Owner & Partner – 128 South and Bakery 105 in Wilmington, NC. Entrepreneur, Event Planner, Wedding Geek, Writer, Business Innovator, Idea Maker, Boot Camp Betty, Yoga Nut, Animal Lover, Avid Reader}