A ceremony in the round is a wedding ceremony setup whereby wedding guests are either seated (and/or standing) around the bride and groom in a full or partial circle. While there's nothing wrong with a traditional ceremony that has guests seating facing an altar, chuppah or other display, this unique service style is on the rise. "What a ceremony in the round gives you that a traditional set-up does not is flexibility," says Skylar Caitlin, a wedding planner for Chancey Charm Weddings. There are plenty of reasons why couples might want to consider this alternative ceremony arrangement, and the pro outlines the three most compelling here.
It's a Creative Solution to Venue or Location Challenges
"When there is a less than ideal backdrop, the round puts the focus on the couple instead of the surroundings," Caitlin says. With all eyes are laser-focused on the couple, no one's really thinking too much about the background—one reason why the setup is also an ideal option for weddings in public spaces. "Likewise, when the space would otherwise feel tight or has permanent features that could block views, the round can work around these issues while looking intentional and unique." In one instance, she used a seated half-round setup so that the couple could exchange vows in front of a venue's nearly floor-to-ceiling windows—which wasn't the typical wedding location. "Suddenly, the space felt new, fresh, and put all the focus on the couple and that killer backdrop," she adds.
It's Ideal if the Same Space Will Serve a Dual Purpose
"When a space needs to be used for both the ceremony and the reception, the round can create a totally separate feel that allows for a more dramatic transformation with only a short period of time," Caitlin notes, which makes for a smooth and seamless change-over while guests are at the reception's cocktail hour.
It Lends an Added Feeling of Intimacy to Your Vows
"I recently had a couple choose a ceremony in the round," Caitlin says. "They put a lot of thought into their ceremony. The bridal party was mostly made of up family and the bride's brothers and significant others were conducting two different traditions—the presenting of the Lasso and Arras. While their wedding wasn't small, they wanted all 220 guests to feel like they were close for an intimate part of their day. With all of this in mind it was only natural that they chose a unique ceremony setup like a round."