Talking About Event Planning

Using One Ballroom For Wedding And Reception? 3 Ways To Minimize Turnover

Will you use the same ballroom space for both your wedding and reception? If so, turnover — transforming it from a ceremony space to a party space — is a key challenge every couple must face. How can you manage turnover so that it's smooth, fast, and stress-free? Here are three methods to consider and how they each contribute to a great wedding. 

1. Pre-Set Cocktail Hour

Cocktail hour serves a few important purposes, but the key for you is that it distracts guests while you transition the ceremony space. To do this in a single ballroom, start by arranging a space for cocktail hour in one portion of the ballroom only. This should have all the great features needed, including a bar (or bars), bar tables, lounge seating, a photo booth, and appetizer stations. 

Invite guests to cocktail hour, arranging it so that their attention is focused inward and away from the ceremony space while you turn it over. The cocktail space remains and can be used as a permanent appetizer station, lounge, and bar. Or you can turn it over for later use — such as by replacing it with the cake station — once guests are free to move around the entire reception area. 

2. Skip the Row Seating

Did you know that you don't actually have to arrange ceremony seating in rows? Couples who are nontraditionally minded may enjoy a more relaxed ceremony atmosphere instead — while also simplifying turnover. Arrange your ballroom in reception configuration at the outset. Use a stage to raise the nuptials higher so everyone can sit at assigned tables and still see the exchange of vows. 

This setup may not work as well for very large weddings, but it's a great way to manage smaller ones. It also speeds up events by removing cocktail hour entirely and keeping labor minimal. 

3. Rent a Larger Space

Finally, consider a two-zone layout. This requires more space, so you'll need a larger ballroom than you may have otherwise planned.

With this method, there is no turnover. The ceremony and reception spaces are already laid out but in two separate halves of the ballroom. Many couples decorate the front portion for the ceremony, leaving the back as a surprise reveal for the reception. Add more by including physical barriers such as room dividers, draping, or the ballroom's collapsible wall.

Where to Start

Which configuration is right for you? Start making the best decision possible by touring wedding ballrooms available in your area. No matter which route you take, you're sure to throw a low-stress and fun occasion for everyone.