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5 Key Considerations for Choosing the Perfect Ceremony Space

There is so much choice in today’s wedding market when it comes to choosing the space for the most important part of your day – your wedding ceremony. Here are my 5 top things to consider when choosing your ceremony space.


1. Close your eyes and listen!

When selecting a ceremony site, what you hear is just as important as what you see. Ensuring that your ceremony space will allow your guests to hear you, and allow you two to hear each other and your officiant, is essential. While some ceremony sites may be visually stunning, they can also come with unexpected sounds. If possible, visit your chosen site at a similar time and day as your ceremony to assess the noise levels. Close your eyes for a moment and just take in the sounds!

 

For indoor venues, consider whether you can hear activities from adjacent rooms. Is the heating or air conditioning system noisy? Can you hear any kitchen noises? Is there a space over your ceremony room that might cause noise e.g. footsteps?

 

When considering outdoor venues, pay attention to external noise sources. Are you close enough to a road to hear traffic? For beach or waterfall weddings, can you hear each other over the sound of the surf/water? Are there other noisy features like fountains or waterwheels that could disrupt the ceremony? Can these features be turned off during the ceremony if needed? Is there any bird life around a lake space that might be noisy?! Geese especially are loud! Also make sure to consider whether the venue is in a flight path, or near a railway track. Make sure to check with the venue, officiant and DJ about whether they advise that your officiant is mic'd up on the day to help their voice project into the space you are choosing, especially if it will be a large space and full to capacity. Not all ceremony spaces require it but an experienced officiant will always be able to advise you on whether they think a mic is necessary.

None of this means you shouldn’t choose a particular space, but surrounding noise is something you should decide whether you want to deal with. It’s something a professional officiant will be able to talk through with you so you can choose whether they will pause for any noise or just keep going and make light of it!


2. Are there any rules from your venue that might limit your vision for how the space will look on the day?

 

No doubt you’ll have many ideas about how your ceremony space will actually look! But be sure to inquire with your venue as to whether they have any rules that might affect how you will be able to decorate your ceremony space and what you may be able to use in the ceremony to enhance it.

Some common restrictions that I’ve seen in some of the venues I’ve officiated at include

No open flames (which would restrict inclusion of a unity candle ceremony for example)

No amplification (so no PA system)

No flash photography

No dirt or sand (meaning no planting or sand ceremonies)

No scattering of birdseed, bubbles, rose petals, or confetti

As an officiant, I have plenty of experience with these restrictions so would always be able to advise my couples, in liaison with their venue, on workarounds that meet any safety rules from the venue.


3. Be mindful of how the time of day affects the ceremony space

You'll need to make sure that the lighting in your ceremony space for the duration of the ceremony. If your ceremony is outdoors in the early morning or late afternoon, check the sunrise or sunset time for your ceremony date so that you can check with your venue that there will be enough light, especially for your officiant to be able to read their script, for you to be able to read your vows and for any family or friends who are reading for you. Lighting is also something your photographer will be considering so that the ceremony shots are perfect!


4. Will there be enough space for your bridal party?

A main consideration of your ceremony space will be whether it can comfortably accommodate all of your guests. But make sure to also consider whether it will accommodate your bridal party, especially if you are having a large one! There should be plenty of room in the actual ceremony space for you both to stand comfortably with your officiant with your groomsmen, bridesmaids etc. able to stand either side of you without being crammed together because of limited space. If they are crammed, they won’t feel comfortable, and it can make you both feel a little ‘closed in’ too. Which we don’t want! Having plenty of space either side of where you will be standing also helps with the aesthetic for your photographer. Your officiant should also know that there is enough space for them to move out of the way for your first kiss without taking out a bridesmaid or groomsman! Believe me when I say that there isn’t always much space to do this, especially when decor like flower arrangements and candles are added into the ceremony space! And make sure to consider the space available to your photographer/videographer as well as any musicians that will be playing during the ceremony. I’ve often arrived at venues to find that the musicians don’t know where to set up or have been given a spot that doesn’t work in relation to the rest of the space.


5. Weather contingency

We all hope for beautiful weather on our wedding day! But it’s the one thing you have no control over. I remember in the weeks and days leading up to my wedding being so stressed about whether it would rain. And it did! A lot! But planning for it can help to alleviate some of that worry. Whilst the simplest thing to say is look at options to move your ceremony indoors, this is not always possible at some venues. So, my biggest piece of advice if the venue you have your heart set on doesn’t have an indoor option is to fully discuss with them what the wet weather option is. Normally, it will be that the venue will erect a marquee over the ceremony space. But this can change the whole ‘feel’ of a space, impacting the light, space available and positioning of decor etc.  I’ve also seen some pretty poor-quality marquees/tents that have been put up to cover an outdoor ceremony space that look dirty and poorly maintained. And often the area where you and your bridal party will process and recess to/from the ceremony space is not covered. Early conversations with your venue about wet weather will help you to understand how the space might change and then allow you to make a decision as to whether the changes are something you would be happy with or not.

 

Bonus Tip!

A professional officiant will have encountered all of the above which means they can support you and guide you in making decisions about your ceremony space. I never have any hesitation in liaising with venues on my couples behalf in order to ensure the space on the day is nothing less than perfect. So, as well as choosing your venue early on, make sure you secure your officiant too so that they can begin offering you that support from the start.



 

 

 

 

 

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