The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Ceremony Sites

Planning Tips

When deciding where your fiancé and you will exchange vows and say "I do," first, think about what type of ceremony suits you — religious and traditional? Laid-back and bohemian? Then check out the pros and cons of each type of site listed below to find the perfect venue for your big day.

A House of Worship
Pros: Religious sites come with an officiant, and there are generally musicians and, in some cases, a ceremony template in place.
Cons: Most houses of worship host weddings for members only. Those that allow nonmembers often charge an additional fee. Many churches, temples, and mosques also restrict decor, time and length of the ceremony, readings, and musical selections, and you'll have to pay extra to bring in your own musicians.

See more: Every Question You Need to Ask Your Ceremony Site

Your Reception Venue
Pros: This choice is the most popular for a reason: You'll have tons of freedom to customize your ceremony, and you'll be able to take advantage of your venue's resources, like rentals and an on-site coordinator.
Cons: For indoor I do's, you might need more decor, like a ceremony structure, to spruce up the space. You'll also be responsible for chairs, musicians, and your own officiant. And, Catholic brides, remember: Any ceremony held outside a church won't be officially recognized.

An Outdoor Off-Site Location
Pros: A beach, field, or spot that's special to you, like your parents' backyard, makes for an extra-personal ceremony. Bonus points for picking a place surrounded by natural beauty: You'll save a ton on decorations.
Cons: You'll likely have to bring in everything — chairs, speakers, signage — and parking can be tricky. Some public spaces have noise ordinances or require a permit, which can cost about $100; check with the municipality for details.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

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