Reception location separate from ceremony- is this normal?

posted 2 months ago in Reception
Post # 16
9632 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Separate locations are fine. 

I’d do as many photos as you can beforehand to limit the gap time. Most people do a cocktail hour before the reception with drinks and snacks so your guests have something to do from say, 3-4.

Post # 17
292 posts
Helper bee

my wedding was exactly like this, with a ceremony at a church at 2 and then a reception at a hotel ballroom at 4.  it is totally normal and not at all inconvenient.

we didn’t end up having much of a gap.  we did photos before the service.  our service lasted about an hour, then we did a receiving line and greeted guests until around 3:30, when everyone headed over to the reception (which was about a fifteen minute drive).  people had a few minutes to stop by their room or whatever if they wanted but no one was waiting around for more than fifteen mins or so. 

Post # 18
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Really normal, esp if the ceremony is in a church or other place of worship.

My ceremony was in a church and the reception was a 35 minute drive away. Not ideal in a dream world, but it worked out fine. 

The invitation was along the lines of:

Secondtimer and SecondtimerHB 



to their wedding on

[date + time]

[ceremony location]

Dinner + dancing to follow at

[reception location]

from [reception start time]

RSVP etc.

The drinks reception at the second venue started two hours after the start of the ceremony. So timeline was:

Ceremony (45 mins)

Confetti/faffing around (15 mins)

Group photos at ceremony venue (30 mins)

Guests transfer to new venue (30 mins). We didn’t transfer with the guests because we went to have some private photos taken first. The first 45 mins at the new venue was for cocktail drinks and not compulsory, so guests were flexible in when exactly they transferred between venues (eg if they wanted to spend the whole drinks reception at the ceremony venue instead, then they could).



Post # 19
561 posts
Busy bee

Totally normal!! I’ve been to plenty of weddings where they had two locations i.e., a church then a golf course for receptions!


And thats so close i would take a second thought to go!


I just pulled the last two invites i went to that had different locations for each one invite had:

Date, time etc. 

Name of Church


Reception to immediately follow



Then the second invite was listed like:

Name of venue for ceremony, date and time, address of ceremony (all on one line)

Reception to follow

name of reception venue

address of reception venue

If you want to see them, private message me and ill block out personal info but send you the invites

Post # 20
2100 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

All the religious weddings I’ve been to have been separate ceremony and receptions locations. Most of the civil weddings I’ve been to have been in the same place. I actually think it’s nicer to have two separate locations though. When you’re in the same space, you tend to be moved from the ceremony space to a place for drinks and then moved back for dinner. I find it less disruptive to just up and move to a new location and get myself a seat, put my things down at my seat and just relax knowing I’m not moving to another room shortly.

Post # 21
113 posts
Blushing bee

It’s definitely very normal to have separate locations for the ceremony & reception. Almost all the weddings I’ve been to have been this way, whether the ceremony was at a church or not. Maybe your dad is just thinking of convenience for the guests? It’s definitely more convenient for guests to be able to walk right into cocktail hour, especially if it’s raining or snowing. But they will understand if they have to travel a short distance to the next location! Totally normal.

Post # 22
8467 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

daydreamdoll :  ours was in two places and it was absolutely not a big deal! Some people drove between the church and the reception and we also provided transportation. The only times I haven’t had to travel between is if the couple skips a religious ceremony. A 2 hour gaps seems long unless you are doing a full mass or something. 

We said “merriment to follow” on the invitations and included a separate reception card. 

Post # 23
41 posts

Our ceremony was at a vineyard and the reception was at a hotel about 5 miles away. No one seemed to have an issue with it. The nice thing was that people could have fun and party then go to their hotel room. We were 21&22 when we got married so lots of partying going on.

Post # 24
923 posts
Busy bee

Every wedding I’ve ever been to has been at two locations, mostly with between a 15 and 40 minute drive between, it’s not a big deal at all to have split locations. 

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