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(708) 490-8860

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About Thomas Witham
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Wedding Venues Where I've Performed
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Your Greatest Advocate
Letters of Appreciation
For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

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Death By Venue
Backlit wedding ceremony
A large and well know conference center.

Your Ceremony at the Reichstag

When choosing a venue it matters not whether you can afford the "Astoria Room" or the "Zombie Room." What matters is how that room is decorated, the arrangement of the chairs, and where within the room you and your bridal party will stand.

Some venues will tell you just about anything to land your contract, and so you must be very specific about the details of your ceremony and its reception. They will show you how they set up the room, arrange the seating, where you will stand as bride and groom etc. If you don't like those arrangements then change them, but you and the venue must agree to your layout BEFORE YOU SIGN.

Venues are interested in renting space and selling food. One week the "Astoria Room" hosts a wedding, the next week it hosts a baseball card collectors show. It matters not to the venue. Venues are especially interested in efficiency. After the wedding ceremony is performed in a given room, the guests are invited out into the foyer as hired help comes in, rearranges the seats and brings in tables for the reception. This must be done quickly and often involves a significant number of staff.

To defeat this problem, some venues which are hosting both the ceremony and the reception, set up that room for the reception only. The ceremony, which takes place before the reception, is put off to the side of the room as shown above. The bride and groom and their large bridal party have been placed on a long, narrow raised platform. This flattened out the bridal party making it look like a police lineup. They have been placed directly underneath the low overhang of the tented sealing. To make matters worse, the bridal party has been placed against the bright light of the late afternoon sun. This condition is known as backlighting and is murder on photography.

Get specific about your ceremony and reception room layouts. You should also ask if you are guaranteed to have the room you negotiated for. Some venues will change your location so that they may accommodate other receptions that will be signing on after you do. Again, get specific and get your agreement in writing.


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