All the Best recently did a wedding at a beautiful multi-function venue in northern NJ that has a strict policy of not allowing brides to see each other. We were rushed through the rehearsal that was held prior to the ceremony and the venue’s on-site coordinator started the ceremony early (my protesting did nothing to dissuade him). This lead to confusion during the ceremony and some guests not getting in to see the ceremony even though they arrived before the allotted time. There was also an issue with photographs being taken outside of the reception area without permission from the on-site coordinator. “You’re not allowed outside without asking me” the bride and photographer were told after they were found in the hallway with the bride’s aunt for a special photo.

If you’re considering a venue that can hold more then one event at a time ask who’s in charge of timing – you or them. Also ask how strict they are about one bride seeing another and if permission is required before the bride can leave the reception area for any reason. If you don’t like the answers to your questions or if they don’t seem flexible in their policy – another venue might be for you.

I am a firm believer in being on time. If the invitation says the ceremony is at 6:00pm that doesn’t mean 6:15 pm or 6:30pm. The processional starts at 6:00pm. The longer you wait to start the ceremony the less time you may have to enjoy your cocktail hour. If your timeline is delayed because you got a late start with your ceremony, or you’re late starting introductions at the reception, your reception venue isn’t going to add on extra time at the end so that you get your four hours (unless you pay for it of course).