Top 5 Reasons to Have Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue

I don’t claim to be a wedding historian, but as I think back to how weddings have operated for the last 50-ish years, I think we can see some trends in how weddings started out using a single venue. I think back to my grandparents wedding photos, and even the photos and stories of some of my parents’ friends. They would have a ceremony in the sanctuary of the church and would follow it with a dinner in the church basement. For some, it wasn’t even a full dinner but it was a dessert reception or something even simpler! Things have really changed, huh?

As time went on and weddings got more elaborate, we saw a shift to having a ceremony in a church (or park or somewhere else) and then the party would move to a reception location for dinner and dancing. And while that is still a prominent trend, we are also seeing a shift back to the one-venue system for weddings. It seems that venues specifically for weddings are opening up rapidly with their goal being that you would hold your ceremony and reception in the same space or location. Oftentimes, this is a requirement for these beautiful new venues due to the fact that they are relatively far outside of town and you wouldn’t want your guests traveling that far in between the two big portions of the day. But also, it truly simplifies the day and allows for a little more wiggle room in your timeline.

tall floral reception table

Being able to utilize these gorgeous new venues isn’t the only perk of using the same venue for your ceremony and reception! We want to give you our Top 5 List of reasons to have your ceremony and reception at the same venue!

1.Simplicity in Setting Up

When you have two different venues that are focal points of your day, that means that you have to set up and decorate both spaces. While that may not sound so bad in theory, it can get pretty stressful when both of those venues have different hours that you’re allowed in the building. Not only that, but some venues will even charge hourly rates and you don’t want to have to spend all of your venue budget on set-up time! In an effort to make the days leading up to your wedding as stress-free as possible, we would recommend only having to decorate one venue. Even if you’re setting up two different spaces in the same venue, this will still be less overwhelming than being at two completely different locations. The icing on the cake comes when you choose a venue that comes with a staff to help with the set up! A lot of event venues will have this either as an option or part of your wedding package, and speaking from experience, it’s amazing! I didn’t touch a single decoration on my wedding day (or leading up to it) and it allowed for me and my family and friends to enjoy the day without the stress of having to make the place look good!

altar and cake stand

2. Less Travel Troubles

We know that it’s not the worst thing in the world when you and your guests have to travel in between the ceremony and reception, but it can create some issues that wouldn’t be there otherwise. For starters, it may result in your guests showing up late to the reception, or not showing up at all. Not to say that your guests don’t want to be there for you, but if they got lost or stop for some reason in between, it may result in them showing up at an awkward time (i.e. during bridal party introductions!) or missing the whole thing all together. Being in the same place eliminates that risk and ensures that, for the most part, everyone who was there for the ceremony will be there for the reception!

ceremony in reception tent

3. Saves Money

Not only will it potentially save money to only have to pay for one venue instead of two, but it will also save money if you don’t have to pay for transportation for your bridal party. A party bus to get your bridal party from Venue A to Venue B can be a lot more expensive than you think and being able to eliminate this cost allows for you to either save the money, or spend it on something else you’re excited about! Not to mention, a lot of rentals like that will charge by the hour, and you most likely won’t even be able to use the full time. And honestly, even if you did need it for an hour, that probably means that you’re getting on and off of it to take pictures so you’re not even getting to enjoy what you’re paying for!

gold and floral details

4. Wiggle Room in Your Timeline

If you talk to any wedding photographer, they will tell you that anytime you’re planning to travel between places you should budget 30 minutes. The actual distance between places could be short, but when you are trying to get a whole bridal party or group of people to travel, it’s bound to take longer. And if you’re already in your dress you basically need to budget at least 5 minutes to get in and out of cars! When you can eliminate travel time in your schedule, it will free up space in the timeline of your day which allows for some things to take longer if needed, or will give you a little more down time to hang out with your bridal party and family! Both of which are desperately needed on your wedding day! The extra time in the schedule will most likely also allow for your photographer to take more pictures since they aren’t having to travel in between venues and don’t have to capture two different spaces.

bride and flower girl

5. More Time With Your Guests

Being at the same venue probably means that you will have some time in between the ceremony and reception for the room to be re-set or for some sort of cocktail hour for you to see all of your guests. This time is so valuable! Whether you realize it or not, once the reception starts you will basically be busy until the dancing portion of the night, which isn’t always the best time to say hello to everyone! But if you’re able to be at the same place for that time in between, you can walk around, be intentional with seeing your guests, and enjoy a little bit of unstructured time to be social. Again, from experience I can say that it was such a fun and laid back part of the night and went by way too quickly!

cocktail hour photography

(Bonus tip!) 6. Covid Friendly 

I couldn’t bring myself to make this a part of the Top 5 List because the hope is that this wouldn’t be an issue for too much longer! But in the season of life we’re in, being in a single venue does have some Covid – friendly perks. If you can ensure that the one venue has been sanitized before you come in and has good air flow, this will help your guests feel more comfortable and that much safer. It can also help if you’re able to have guests in the same seating area during the ceremony and reception as this will limit exposure and makes it easier to keep family groups together!

bright reception venue

All this to say, while we see a lot of pros in using a single venue for your wedding day, we know that there are also some cons! We absolutely fully support couples who choose to do two venues for their wedding day. We know that every couple is different, and therefore everyone’s wedding dreams are different! Above all else, we will always love to photograph the different spaces that you choose for your wedding day!

For more Wedding Wednesday tips, click here!

Top 5 Reasons to Have Your Ceremony & Reception at the Same Venue



Hey there, and welcome to the JWP blog!  We are a photography team based in Iowa and we’re glad you’re here!  We hope you’ll enjoy viewing our most recent weddings, tips brides, and business and educational resources for photographers.  


search the site

featured posts

How to Create the Perfect Photo Timeline for Your Wedding Day

18 Questions to Ask your Wedding Venue


A senior portrait experience just as unique as you!  View our favorites and get on our calendar!


Beautiful portraits so you don’t forget one moment!


A luxury experience like nothing else.  For EVERY woman who wants to remember they are beautiful.