Three Things You Can't Overlook If You're Having Your Ceremony and Reception in Two Different Locations

Make sure guests have enough time to get where they need to go.

While having your wedding ceremony and reception in the same location creates a cohesive, streamlined experience for your guests, many factors could inspire you to choose two different spots: Maybe you're getting married in your childhood church or the synagogue where your parents met; perhaps you've always dreamed of an outdoor ceremony in the woods but don't want to invest in a full build-out reception; maybe the weather at your beachfront property is just a bit unreliable in hurricane season. But whatever the reason, if you're asking guests to move from one spot to another, make sure you don't overlook these three essential details, say Sunna Yassin and Mollie Jones Hennes of Bash Please.

elegant white wedding sign for unplugged ceremony on beach
Julieta Amezcua

The Timeline

If your guests have to switch locations, you need factor in the time it takes to travel from one spot to the other—and you may want to extend your cocktail hour to accommodate guests who arrive late. "Think about guest transportation and how long it will take them to drive, park, and get to the location," say Yassin and Jones. But don't leave so much time that guests go back to their hotels, get bored wandering by themselves, or lose their post-ceremony enthusiasm. "Make the two events back to back and do not have a large time gap in the day," they say. "Keeping guests waiting too long in between can really zap the spirit and energy of the day!"

The Directions

By the time your guests dress for and travel to your wedding, they've probably forgotten they need to make another trip to the reception—which means you should supply maps, directions, and timelines whether they're driving themselves or riding shuttles you reserved (bring extras for your vendors, too). "Once guests are at your ceremony, they are present in the moment and won't remember what they need to do next," say Jones and Yassin. "Provide very clear instructions about timing, locations, and transportation—have printed directions and times available or someone to help gather everyone to shuttles."

The Transportation

Some guests may choose to drive themselves, but offering shuttles, buses, or other group travel options will save everyone some stress—and can start the party before you even reach the reception site. "Provide transportation for guests, if budget permits, and be sure to have a transportation coordinator on site—this way all guests are together which helps everyone to arrive on time," say Yassin and Jones. "It's always nice to include beverages and snacks—they are key! Use the in-between time well with yummy and easy-to-transport food and beverages."

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