Q. The wedding and reception will be held in a ballroom and there will be 150 total guests. We are budgeting the whole affair somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500-$3,500. We both are Christians but are not overconcerned about religious conflicts because the wedding will not be held in a church.
A. Guessing it is probably formal, but at least semi-formal, I would suggest having a buffet (easier to manage and usually less expensive) which can be setup in advance and hidden behind folding screens - have the actual wedding in front of the screens then plan the "after the ceremony wedding photos" in a pre-set location to the rear of the ballroom (in full view of all). Following the ceremony you and yours go to the rear of the ballroom (attention follows you) and while you are having the photos shot the screens are removed and the facility reverts from chapel to reception. Though sitting at tables for the ceremony is not the norm, there is nothing wrong with it. or You may wish to have the ceremony in another part of the facility (or outside if convenient) and then come into the ballroom. or You could arrange the ballroom much like a showcase hall, with different "stations" setup around the room. In one location you can have the "alter" for the wedding - in the next location you can have the photo sessions set up - in the next location you can have the buffet set up - in the next location you can have the DJ or Band or Entertainment and dance floor setup (this is also where you would have your head tables (with the two of you facing the rest of the guests). This is probably the most theatrical, entertaining and convenient way to handle a multi-purpose ballroom event.