Determining The Gap: How Long Between Ceremony and Reception?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: With a 30 minute commute between venues, how long is an appropriate gap?
    30 minutes - the gap should only be as long as it takes the fastest guest to get from A to B : (29 votes)
    40 %
    1 hour - keep the current gap : (40 votes)
    55 %
    1.5 hours or more - your guests will use this time to go back to their hotels or grab coffee : (4 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 4
    Member
    11717 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I personally feel like there should be as small of a gap as possible.  A gap, especially if it’s not 100% required by having a religious ceremony, is annoying to many guests, 

    Post # 5
    Member
    6505 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Ideally the gap should be the length of time it takes to get from the ceremony site to the reception site. I really dislike gaps between wedding events.

    ETA: If you can’t avoid having a gap I would suggest a longer one. If I have an extra 30 minutes (with your one hour gap) I probably don’t have enough time to go back home or do anything. I would likely just sit in my car for half an hour :/ 

    Post # 6
    Member
    351 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    Well maybe you can do what I am doing. Our ceremony ends at 3:30 and the reception space is pretty close by. Cocktail hour officially starts at 4:00pm but they will open the bar and drinks as soon as the first guests arrives but food won’t start till 4:00pm. This way if people get there early, they can have some drinks and relax but all the food won’t be passed around till everyone has a chance to get there. 

    Post # 7
    Member
    5421 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @lemiller:  Personally I think that the cockatil hour should start as soon as guests start to arrive at the reception venue.

    Bear in mind that guests will likely arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony. Allowing for travelling time, you could be talking 2.5 hours plus with no refreshments if your cocktail hour doesn’t start until 6.30pm.

    Our ceremony is at 1pm and will last approx 25 minutes. Our reception venue is a 2 minute walk away, and we’ll have some group shots done on arrival. Our drinks reception (like cocktail hour) will start at 2pm; I would not be happy having it start any later.

    Post # 8
    Member
    729 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I have 3 hours in between! No clue what my guests are going to do in that time! But it was the only time we could get! 

    Post # 9
    Member
    1793 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Keep your gap as short as possible.  What is a guest really going to do with an extra 30 minutes?  They have no reason to go back home, no one needs to freshen up after sitting in a chair watching a wedding, fill up their car, or loiter. Please, keep it as short as possible.  There is no gain to your guests to increase it to an hour and a half when you are currently at 60 minutes.  I wouldn’t be thrilled to have kill an hour – what am I supposed to do?

    Post # 10
    Member
    5460 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I misread your original post and voted incorrectly (for keeping the gap the same) HOWEVER, I read that the reception would start at 6:30 which is no big deal since cocktail hour is what your guests enjoy while you’re doing photos between the ceremony & reception.

    So, if you’re not planning on starting cocktail hour until 6:30, then I feel that is too long of a gap.  I’d have the ceremony at 5, then allow for the 30 minutes travel time, then start cocktail hour as soon as guests arrive at the reception site, then start the reception as soon as you arrive.

    Post # 11
    Member
    11379 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2012

    keep the current timing.  every wedding that i have been to, there has always been a lot of chatter outside the church after the ceremony.  this gives the guests plenty of time to chat, drive to the reception and then get settled in to the cocktail hour.   your guests won’t feel rushed and have to worry about traffic, etc.

    Post # 12
    Member
    2419 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I don’t think an hour between ceremony and reception is too long if there’s a 30 minute journey involved. Especially as you might need to factor in traffic or other delays. But I definitely wouldn’t allow any longer as there’s truly nothing worse than discovering yourself kicking your heels between ceremony and reception. 

    Post # 13
    Member
    1899 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - TTC #2

    Are you taking any photos between the ceremony and reception?

    Post # 14
    Member
    2111 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    We’re having a 3-4 hour gap. Our guests are used to this and know how to take care of themselves without having their hands held every step of the way.

    Post # 15
    Member
    8905 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

    Not a fan of gaps…  Anything more than the travel time from point A to point B starts to get annoying.  Your guests are all dressed up ready to celebrate YOU – why make them wait around?  I would definitely move the reception time up 30 minutes, if not 60.

    Post # 16
    Member
    9412 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    @lemiller:  Most people hate gaps. What are they supposed to do in between? They are all dressed up and they get to…sit around? I would use a gap for cocktail hour but not a gap where people had to entertain themselves.

    Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but most folks won’t be thrilled about it.

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