Post # 1
Hi. I am having a wedding which involves a first, "Americanized" ceremony, a second, Vietnamese style tea ceremony, and finally a reception at night. I will be having my first ceremony at one location and my reception at another location, and we will only invited 50 people to the first ceremony. These locations are about 2 minutes apart driving time. There is a two hour gap between the first ceremony and the reception, and we need this gap so that we can do the tea ceremony in between the first ceremony and the reception. I cannot do the tea ceremony earlier in the day because I do not want to see my future husband until AFTER I walk down the aisle. Here is the time frame for my wedding:
Afternoon Tea- 3:00-4:00
Private House Tea Ceremony- 5:00-5:30
My question is this: is it ok to have this two hour gap? I will provide a list of places for guests to entertain themselves and give them the option of going home to change into "evening" attire. As I said before, there will only be 50 people at the first ceremony. Some of these people will be invited to the private, family tea ceremony, and the rest of the guests (about 150) will only come to the reception at night. So this leaves about 10-15 people who may be peeved with having a two hour gap. What can I do for them?
Post # 3
It looks like you’ve already done a good job of accomodating almost everybody. For those 15 people, if they can’t be invited to the other stuff, you might suggest by word-of-mouth something that they could do nearby – I’m not sure what the area is like. These gaps are really common in Catholic weddings because churches often force couples to have early afternoon ceremonies. Is it a little annoying? Yes, but with a heads up, people usually find plenty of ways to kill the time. : )
Post # 4
I think you got it, if people know why there’s a gap that might be helpful. My wedding is at 3 and coctails don’t start until 5, and it’s only 20 minutes to the hall so I think you’re right (catholi or not) gaps are really common, and you’ve done well in accomodating t everyone.
Post # 5
The responses here crack me up. I have a 2 hour gap and was told how my guests would feel like "Wow… what are we going to do during that time" and with this post, it’s just hunky dory.
The truth and the bottom line in anyones wedding planning is this. It’s your wedding. Go with what you feel is right for you and your guests. Not everyone is going to be pleased no matter what. Just don’t be a bridezilla about things that are really irrelevant.
Like Amysue said.. let people know and they will find a way to kill the time.
Post # 6
I have a two hour gap too – 2pm ceremony and 5pm cocktails. I am letting people know and I assume most will go back to the hotel…take a nap or something?! Of course, they will also get ideas of places to go, etc, but I assume most will be happy to spread out the day, it can be a long day of socializing. I wish I could get a nap!
Post # 7
July2008Bride – I think the difference is with your wedding, it was pretty much all the guests that had a two hour gap, and with her wedding it will only be a handful, I think. I have never been to a wedding/reception where there was a large gap, so I don’t know how I would feel about it. It depends on the couple. If it was someone I was super close to, I would hang around, but if it was someone that I wasn’t close to, I probably would just go home (or go to the reception only and not ceremony, just depends). If it’s just 15-20 people, I’m sure it would be alright especially since you’ve given them options.
Post # 8
I have been to weddings with long gaps and to me, the biggest issue was the location of the ceremony and reception.
For one wedding, the ceremony was at a church in the middle of a not very nice neighborhood that was far from any hotels or homes of the guests. The reception was about a 20 minute drive from the ceremony and was 2 hours after the ceremony. I honestly thought that it was inconsiderate because people had no where to go and nothing to do in the gap. I have been to other weddings where there was a gap but the bride and groom either had things for people to do or everything (ceremony, reception, hotel, stores, restaurants, etc.) was in the same area so you wouldn’t be bored for 2 hours. I appreciated the fact that people thought enough about their guests to try to make them comfortable.
So I think that as long as the handful of people not invited to the tea ceremony will be able to occupy themsleves somehow, it will all be fine.
Post # 9
July2008Bride- the difference for me between your post and hers is she actually will be doing something cultural and meaningful during her gap where yours is just a timing and money issue (not that your day isn’t meaningful!). I think of hers like not all guests get to be there as the bride gets dressed, so we will respect her privacy and go grab a bite to eat while they do their thing. Besides if I’m not common with that culture, I would find it really awkward to take part in it anyways. (my boyfriends vietnamese and I am spending this weekend celebrating the new years with him and his family, awkward central!) Also since most of her guests won’t even need to be anywhere until the reception, most of them won’t even have to deal with it, so its a much smaller scaled situation.
Maybe you could just write a little note to those that are potentially going to be peeved explaining that having them at the other places would mean the world to you but your tea ceremony is something you want to keep smaller and more intiment.
Post # 10
As a guest, I always disliked having gaps, but if there is no way around it, it is fine if you can’t do anything about it.
I wonder..What about having the cocktail reception the same time you are having the tea ceremony? You could make it an hour and a half cocktail hour or something. That way you can do the tea thing and still have time for pictures (or show up at the cocktail hour). Depending on the time of the year, it may be already quite dark at around 6-7PM for pictures anyway. Just a thought. 🙂
Post # 11
I am with the bees who are on the fence… If I had traveled to come to the wedding, I would certainly make the best of it. If I was local, unless I was pretty close to the bride or groom, I probably would skip either the ceremony or the reception. Realistically, you are asking people to devote the whole afternoon and evening to you – eight hours of their day, including the gap, where most events are more like five hours total. And they’re not going to stop off at the mall in their fancy clothes to kill an hour or so. And the guys may be the deciding factor – I discussed it with him, and while I was sort of willing to think of how it could work, his response basically was "You’re kidding me." He’s a nice guy, but you give him two hours gap and he will be home and in his comfy clothes again, and you’re not getting him back out the door.
If there were cocktails in between, he might go for it.
Post # 12
We are stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of the logistical problems. We could move the tea ceremony time to coincide with the cocktail hour, but that would not make a difference since we cannot move the first ceremony time because the mansion will be closed by then. Also, we are only inviting those we feel are our nearest and dearest for the first ceremony because the space (which I LOVE!) is limited and will not accomodate anymore than 60 comfortably. Ideally, all of the people who went to the first ceremony would go to the private tea ceremony, but again, there is an issue with space because the tea ceremony must be done at the FMIL’s smaller home where the family altar resides.
I think most of the guests who are familiar with Vietnamese culture or long weddings in general will be ok with this gap, but for those who aren’t I think Suzanno brings up a very good point because I know there will inevitably be one couple who decides that they’d rather not give up their whole day just for our wedding. I think what we will do is have those guests who are invited to both of the main functions indicate whether they will attend one, the other, or both events so that the limited seating does not go to waste because we are paying an arm and a leg for the ceremony area, and we would rather give their seat to those who are willing to be there.
Anyway, thanks for the responses! I will let the guests know why we need this gap. Both reception and ceremony locations are close to shops, restaurants, and cafes so hopefully we won’t get too much moaning/groaning and/or no-shows.
Post # 13
And I would think (being the bee who moaned and groaned) that for those guests who really are important to you, they will do their best. Fiance and I actually discussed this tonight (he is a closet bee now, and always wants to know what was on the boards) and he admits that for his (or my) really close friends, he would hang in there and manage to hold it to a couple of gin and tonics in the gap. However, there are lots of weddings we have both been invited to where we aren’t as close to the bride or groom, and so probably would have loved the option of RSVPing yes to one and no to the other. My sister, who is a fairly new mother (and also a closet bee) hopes that you don’t have small children invited as she supposes their parents will either opt out of part of the event or want to kill themselves and you by the end of it all. Of course her baby, at 6 months, is too young to go 10 hours without her close and personal attention (still breastfeeding) and too old to be counted on to sleep through most of the event.