(Closed) This is SO CONFUSING!!! :(

posted 6 years ago in Venue
Post # 4
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the ceremony and reception were at the same venue. 

Cocktail hour normally happens straight after the ceremony. If I were you I’d take pics during cocktail hour. Perhaps ask your photog to scout around for places close to the venue where you can take pics – many photogs offer this as part of their service. If not – go with Fiance.

Using the same chairs can be tricky – it may seem a bit chaotic. If you have a DOC and staff that are willing to do this it should be fine. if it was me though, I’d probably set everything up before hand.

Don’t stress… things will be fine ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 5
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I had my ceremony/reception in the same place for 150 guests.  Same time breakdown as you, too! 5pm ceremony and 10pm end time..

I highly recommend getting a planner.  They usually are experienced in “flipping” a space. 

1) Find a way to separate the space so there is room for you to take pictures after the ceremony, and the guests can mill around elsewhere.  For us, we had guests go to an outdoor within the venue (with a bar, of course) while pictures were going on inside, and planning assistants were moving tables in from a hiding spot.

2) No, it is not weird to take pictures with guests milling around. You are kind of expected to take pictures after the ceremony so people generally understand.

3) Yes, yes and YES.. People will gravitate towards drinks.  If you give people beverages, they won’t care about much else.  Any awkwardness you are imagining about taking pictures in the space will be gone. Trust me, I have been there!

4) We used the same chairs for the ceremony and reception. Our planner flipped the space and used the same chairs to put at the dinner tables.  We rented a few extra chairs for our makeup cocktail hour space outside (and part of it was in the ceremony area too.. kind of hard to explain) so people could sit if they wanted to.  We also scattered a few cocktail tables..

I hope this helps!

Post # 7
506 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@alotlikelove:  Just have your cocktail hour not “facing” the recep being flipped. You will def want staff/friends/dedicated strangers to flip for you. 

Post # 8
8382 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Have you talked to the venue about it? It’s kind of hard to say without knowing all the logistics of the place. I would assume you’d have the ceremony at the gazebo, and there would already be a tent set up in another area with the tables/decor for dinner. If necessary you could move the chairs after the ceremony I guess, but I wouldn’t plan on setting up everything in an hour.

I would have cocktail hour immediately following your ceremony and take your pictures during the time, or do a first look (or both).

Post # 9
15 posts
  • Wedding: August 2012

Sounds like we have a similar venue.  My ceremony started at 4:30, some pictures were taken beforehand of the groom and his men, and the ladies getting ready, etc.  My wedding was all at one place as well, so what I did in the interim was have a cocktail hour while we finished up with pictures and the food was being put out.  I told them to have the dinner plates and everything already set out at the actual tables (for looks obviously) so when the ceremony was done, they just mozied over to their tables until the announcing of the wedding party. Until that time, the crowd could see what was going on, but it was all family and friends, and really liked being involved and watching everything come together so beautifully ๐Ÿ™‚  It seems chaotic now, but the day will go smoothly. 

Post # 10
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@piacavoleKt:  agreed. 

Have cocktail hour sort of “away” from the reception area. Perhaps closer to the water’s edge? And then guests walk back for the reception. A few cocktail tables and umbrellas would look  beautiful! Maybe a few tiki torches for the evening? I love it when reception areas provide kind of a break away space for people who just need a breather from the party.

By the way – that venue is gorgeous!

Post # 11
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My brother just had his wedding and we had to walk through the cocktail hour to get certain pictures– no one cared! Generally, guests love it b/c its their chance to snag some cute photos as well.  Just have the cocktail hour near the reception area, but not in it (so that the chairs can get moved).  As for the moving of the chairs, your caterer might be willing to do this.  Otherwise, tap some nice cousins or uncles and I’m sure they’d be happy to oblige. 

On another note- your venue is GORGEOUS!

Post # 12
1212 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Love that venue – wow!


You need to ask the venue what they provide in terms of labour for flipping. Most places include it.


My brother had a very similar set up and just had some extra tables & chairs to lounge during cocktail hour but most people just mingled. We were off to the side taking pictures, sometimes people (cousins) wandered over and took pics with their own cameras and then went back. They had a latin band playing outside which gave a nice atmosphere and of course people were all about the drinks and munchies. Venue staff will guide people from the ceremony chairs over to the cocktail hour area, or the minister can announce for people to make their way over to XX.

Staff can then do the same when you are back from your picture area and start guiding them to the reception set up. You can have your guest book or something set up for during cocktail hour that will help keep people occupied.


Ours was also outside – same space for ceremony and reception but Darling Husband and I slipped away into the forest on the property for our pics so we weren’t as visible. Same thing – the staff pulled ceremony chairs and opened the bar and brought out food and people wandered through the venue etc. until we came back and went to the ‘box office’ we had set up at the edge of the cocktail area and gave out the ‘tickets’ that were the seating plan (we did this in lieu of a receiving line, much more fun!)


 You need to talk to the venue about this asap – they are the experts, they do this all the time – I let our caterer be the expert with vision guidance from me and it took a load of stress off for sure!! Ask them for recommendations and advice – it is what they do!!

Post # 15
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

You could have cocktail hour for guests while you do pictures. Personally I’d stay at the venue for pictures because then it saves you travel time. Your cocktail hour can’t really be too long or guests would be bored- I’d say 1.5 hours max. So staying in the same location means you don’t waste any of that limited time. 

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