Why couples are saying “I do” to the convenience of a single-venue wedding day

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published June 2019.

As the wedding industry has ballooned in recent decades, many celebrations have become multiday, multivenue affairs. While some still choose to hold a ceremony at a place of worship, park or other location before heading to a second reception destination, many couples seek out the convenience and simplicity of a single-venue wedding day.

However, deciding on a one-stop wedding shouldn’t mean sacrificing style. Some of Central Ohio’s best facilities can quickly and expertly “flip” a room between ceremony and reception, or create smaller, distinct and chic spaces within one site.

Chad and Noelle Barson were wed Dec. 7, 2018, at Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn in Westerville. They cited convenience and simplicity as their deciding factors in choosing a single-venue wedding.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

“We kind of just wanted to have everything in one spot as a convenience to our guests, so they didn’t have to go do a ceremony one place, and then drive someplace else for the rest of the evening,” says Chad. “The wedding was on a Friday, and we had guests coming from out of town that day. I think our guests loved having everything in one place.”

The Barsons also felt that a single-venue wedding best fit their overall vision. “We didn’t have elaborate centerpieces and all these intricacies that you might see in other weddings. We wanted it to be simple yet elegant and let the beauty of the venue speak for itself,” Chad explains. The “less is more” approach to décor helped reduce setup time, he adds, as did opting to use Jorgensen Farms’ own vendors in many cases, as their staff was already well-trained in how to utilize and efficiently flip the space.

Ann Marie Orren, catering and weddings manager at Scioto Reserve Country Club in Powell, advises that a single-venue wedding can provide flexibility and peace of mind. Given Ohio’s fickle, unpredictable weather, Orren recommends that couples looking for an outdoor ceremony space ask a prospective venue if it includes the option to convert the reception space for a ceremony if needed, as hers does, and if the venue staff has expertise in flipping a space with little notice.

“Ohio weather is crazy; you never know what will happen. We have to roll with the punches,” Orren says. “We always want to give couples the vision they’re looking for, but if conditions start to turn, I can start to do small things on our side to prep our indoor space, just in case.” Even for those couples who choose an indoor ceremony and reception, Orren and her team work quickly during cocktail hour, transitioning the space in roughly 30 minutes.

To keep the day moving smoothly during single-venue weddings, she recommends working with only those vendors and venues experienced in flipping a room, and to consult with them on how to coordinate any tricky transitions or reduce the amount of moving pieces without sacrificing quality. For example, a single statement piece like an arbor or backdrop can be placed behind the couple during the ceremony and repurposed behind the sweetheart or head table during the reception.

And like many wedding venues that offer single-room setups, both Jorgensen Farms and Scioto Reserve have flexible options for the ceremony and reception arrangements, as well as a dedicated area for cocktail hour. That element is vital, as it allows guests to relax and mingle in a new, distinct part of the space, none the wiser as staff work quickly behind the scenes to repurpose the main area for the reception.

Even in moments when the couple may need to use a portion of the space while it is being flipped, venues can often accommodate unusual requests, especially with good advance communication. For instance, because the Barsons were married on a December evening, outdoor photos were out of the question; they worked with their photographer and Jorgensen Farms staff beforehand to plan and avoid any potential snags.

“Where we had our ceremony, we had an arbor up front and lace curtains on the wall,” explains Chad. “When they were flipping the room, they just started in the back of the room, kind of just allowing pictures to be taken. The staff just worked around us. They’ve done so many weddings, and they understand the limitations at different times of the year. They asked us questions and talked through different scenarios.”

All that advance planning paid off; the Barsons and their guests enjoyed their fun and seamless single-venue wedding in a space just right for their needs.

“We loved working with the staff; they are very accommodating and lay everything out on the table for you so you know exactly what to expect,” Chad says. “We have no regrets at all.”