WICHITA, Kan. — For Sarah Wigger, a bride to be, the search for the perfect wedding venue has been a months-long journey.
“I know at the end of the day, we’re going to be married, so the site wasn’t the most important thing, but we’re excited it’s going to be beautiful," she said.
Originally from Pomona, Kan., the 26-year-old physical therapist had just graduated from school and started a new job when wedding planning began. Her fiance, Cody Wirth, is in the military.
After deciding churches either didn’t have the right look or would be too costly for them as nonmembers, Wigger and Wirth decided to hold their ceremony at the same place as the reception — the Terradyne Country Club in Andover, Kan.
“I liked the idea of the guests not having to travel," Wigger said. “We have a lot of friends and family from out of town, and they can watch a slideshow and drink cocktails while we do pictures. I’m not trying to be cheesy, but I’m looking forward to starting the whole rest of our lives together. I’m excited to relax and have fun with everybody and just celebrate."
Wigger is not the only bride to go that route.
Those in the wedding industry say they’ve seen an increase in the number of brides who want to hold the entire wedding in one venue.
Bridal consultant Ronni Johnston, who owns Perfect Touch Custom Weddings and has been helping Wigger plan her big day, said that families can lose valuable time switching from one location to another.
And when it comes to weddings, time is valuable because many vendor fees are based on the number of hours they provide services.
“It’s a cost saver," Johnston said. “If they can let guests right after the ceremony start eating, they can skip appetizers and keep the bar tab down since guests aren’t waiting on the wedding party to arrive. A lot of them are doing it for logistics, too."
Botanica Gardens, in Wichita, Kan., does about 125 to 150 weddings per year, said Linda Keller, events manager. More and more couples, it seems, are choosing to have the ceremony and reception there.
“I think it’s more economical to do it in one place," Keller said. “If you have a ceremony in one location, you have to pay for that set-up and cleanup, and then with a reception in another location, you have to pay for that set-up and cleanup."
The consolidation also helps lower decorating costs, Keller said, and by not changing locations, it “helps keep a captive audience."
Keller says they’re also seeing shorter ceremonies that last from 12 to 17 minutes, which is another reason more people may be choosing to stay in one spot.
Keeping the wedding and reception at the same venue also allows couples to avoid “the gap," or the time between the two, which guests often find awkward.
Building on a trend several decades in the making, couples also are looking for nontraditional venues for weddings. In addition to destination weddings — say, on a beach — area brides are choosing to tie the knot on ranches and farms.
“It’s sticking around. I don’t see it going anywhere," said Alli Sacket, owner and designer at Jubilations Events.
Sacket said that decorating venues like barns and ranches can also help out a bride on a budget, since items like burlap and mason jars tend to be less costly.