Many weddings have the ceremony and reception all in one place. It’s a convenience for the bride, groom and guests to not have to travel from one venue to another. But of course, brides and grooms think of their ceremony as a rite of sanctity and beauty and want their wedding to feel like a wedding.

The following ideas lend dignity and grace to a party center room, creating a reverent and smooth-flowing atmosphere for your ceremony:

  • Walk around the room and in your mind’s eye, lay the room out. First note prominent architectural features that draw your attention and may function as your chancel, magnificent windows, for example. Think about your center aisle, placement of guest chairs and the way bridal party members will move about the space. Envision side aisles to facilitate guests’ impromptu arrivals or departures.
  • Think of where the guests’ eyes will go as you decide on the selection and placement of furniture. A rectangular banquet table in white or ivory tablecloth and skirting can echo your gown while making an altar-like focal point while a ribbon edging the top of the skirting can echo bridesmaids’ gowns, your gown, groom’s attire or wedding cake motif. Consult your florist about opulent floral altarpieces to function as visual centers of interest. Also, you may want to visit a religious bookstore for a shining brass icon.
  • Be sure to allocate an area for musicians. Envision how your photographer and videographer will move about the room while getting good camera angles. For the sake of good photos, avoid spots where the two of you will be backdropped by mirrors. Also, glance around for convenient electrical outlets.
  • Near the room’s entrance, where guests will be walking in, place the gift table and guest bookstand. If you place a table to hold items guests will pick up (like programs or little bells), be sure to station a groomsman or hostess there to distribute the items.
  • Make a sketch showing where furniture will be placed. Most party centers can give you, on paper, a blank floor plan upon which to work. On placement of furniture, consult the party center’s catering salesperson on what works best for your space.
  • Think of recognizably church-like items such as a rented lectern that makes a handsome pulpit, an aisle runner, which heralds the aisle and freestanding candelabra to add an uplifting light.
  • Think of adornments to set the mood. Chair covers, pew bows or pew floral arrangements can add color, softness or an ethereal tone. Plants, such as ficus trees, can give an indoor garden aura.

Best of all, know that when you hear your recessional music your reception room is just a few steps away!

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