From the Ceremony Site to the Reception Venue: How Far Is Too Far?

Etiquette, Planning Tips
how close should ceremony and reception venues be

Photo: Katch Studios

There are a number of factors that go into choosing your wedding ceremony and reception venues, from the vibe and the view to whether you're planning to have a religious or secular ceremony. If you've decided to have two separate venues instead of having your ceremony and reception on the same property, you'll also want to take the distance between your venues into consideration. How close do a ceremony and reception venue need to be? Our experts weigh in.

While there is no hard and fast rule about the distance between your ceremony and reception venues, you'll want to keep convenience and comfort in mind when you're making your selection. If you're concerned about parking or don't want to arrange for a shuttle to bring your guests from the ceremony to the reception, look for locations that are around a 5 minute walk apart. This will allow guests to park just once for the evening (instead of driving from the ceremony once you've exchanged vows), will enable you to provide easy-to-follow directions, and won't be uncomfortable for any guests who might take a little more time to walk. You'll also be able to more seamlessly transition into cocktail hour, as guests should all arrive around the same time.

See more: How Should We Let Guests Know About Our Shuttle Schedule?

Looking at a short drive? (We're talking under 15 minutes here.) Be sure to factor drive time into your wedding-day schedule. You should also make sure guests have directions from your ceremony to your reception. Include a note on your ceremony programs with the address of the reception venue, and if you have space, include the directions as well. Otherwise, consider having a second card printed with directions and handed out as guests leave your ceremony venue.

For a drive longer than around 20 minutes, you may want to provide a shuttle service (or very clear directions!) so guests don't get lost along the way. You could either have everyone picked up at their hotels, or have them drive to your reception venue and park there, then provide shuttle service to and from the ceremony. If it's going to be a long ride, or involves bumpy or dirt roads, make sure you let your guests know well in advance. This way they can be sure to use the restroom and pack a snack and some water before they're on the road! Clearly communicate the shuttle pick-up time so no one arrives at your ceremony start time when they should have been ready to go an hour earlier.

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