(Closed) Outdoor Wedding and Reception, Same Place. Layout?

posted 5 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I had a backyard wedding and reception, all outside. The yard was probably half that size. It worked very well. We did get seperate chairs for the ceremony and reception. Although people only sat in the ceremony chairs for like 20 minutes, it was better than having to move everything over, especially since we would have had to have family/guests move the chairs.

We had both the ceremony space and reception space set up at the same time. We had a seperate cocktail space with 8 or so high tables in front of this shed thing.

You can kind of see here how far our reception and ceremony space were from each other here. That’s the last row of chairs.

Post # 3
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

Well I didn’t have an outdoor wedding but I did have my ceremony and reception all in the same club level.  We had both areas set up and ready to go before the ceremony started.  We had chairs at both locations because moving the chairs just would have been a bit chaotic while the cocktail hour was going on.

And yes, you should have enough seats at all the tables for every guest to sit and eat their dinner.  

Post # 4
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

I would second the comment about having all chairs set up in advance (ceremony and around the dinner table).

I recently attended a wedding where the ceremony and reception were in the same barn, just on different sides of the barn.  The total attendance was about 37 people, so it wasnt a problem for the younger relatives to just grab chairs and relocate them to the dinner tables after the ceremony was over.  For 150 people, I think that could create a bit of a hassle if it falls on only a few people to grab chairs or if people get distracted and just walk away, and then get to dinner and theres no chairs.

Post # 5
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’ve seen several weddings where staff moves the chairs from the ceremony area to the dinner area during cocktail hour. The only pain with this is that typically photographers get photos of the reception setup before the wedding, and in this case, there wouldn’t be any chairs at the tables. You’d also need the staff to do this also. I have also attended weddings where the guests move the chairs themselves.  

I’m confused about the cocktail hour tables and dinner tables. Are you skipping a cocktail hour and going straight to dinner? If that’s the case, then cocktail tables are unncessary. I would HIGHLY recommend assigning each person a table, but not a seat. There are plenty of threads on here supporting a seating chart. One thing to keep in mind – I’ve attended a wedding where the guests ate dinner almost immediately following the ceremony, while the bride and groom were off taking photos. It was really awkward eating without them, then having them come back and eat in front of everyone while we just sat and waited. I’d definitely recommend you two be there for the start of dinner. Then if you need to run off and take some photos, that’s fine. At least guests feel like they are eating with you rather than before you. Side note: going straight into dinner may make the wedding and reception seem a bit rushed. Like, too many main events too close together. I’d definitely encourage you to wait at least 30-45 minutes before having your guests start dinner.

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